Graveyards and Cemeteries are burial grounds and there’s something mystical and creepy about these places. They have frightening stories of paranormal activities about them. This is quite natural because that’s certainly something about the deceased and the afterlife which is completely unknown to us. The spine-tingling creepy factors of burial grounds are not for their phantom sightings, many of them are infamous for their bizarre decorations, architecture or their past history. Let’s take a look at 20 such creepy cemeteries in the world.
1. Capela dos Ossos, Portugal
Capela dos Ossos or the Chapel of Bones was built in 16th century in Evora, Portugal. It was named so because its walls and pillars are decorated with human skulls and bones. About 5000 skeletons were used to decorate the church. An inscription is inscribed at the entrance of the chapel which says “We bones, lying here bare, are awaiting yours”. Isn’t it enough to scare you?
2. Capuchin Crypt, Rome, Italy
The Capuchin Crypt is a small space comprising of several small chapels situated beneath the church of Santa Maria Della in Rome, Italy. About 3,700 skeletal remains of Capuchin Franciscan friars are housed here. Here different types of bones are used in different chapels such as there is “Crypt of Pelvises” and “Crypt of Skulls”. That’s freaky enough, isn’t it? If that’s not enough for you-you can see a solemn reminder underneath a child’s Grim Reaper. That says, “What you are, we once were too and what we are now, you will be”.
3. Chamula Cemetery, San Juan Chamula, Mexico
The Chamula Cemetery of San Juan Chamula in Mexico was intended to be a Catholic Church in 1960. But when the main priest left, the priest from neighboring village comes here only once or twice a month to baptize. Local shamans play the role here to give out potions and advice. Healing ceremonies are held here and sacrificed chickens are seen scattered here and there in this creepy place.
4. Cimitero di San Michele, Venice, Italy
In the 19th century when Napoleon decreed burial of bodies would be prohibited in the mainland of Venice, Italy, Cimitero di San Michele was set up on the island of San Michele. Corpses are delivered there by special gondolas and they are buried on a 10 years contract. As the whole island is given over to the dead, many ghostly encounters have been reported about this creepy cemetery.
5. Ganges River, Varanasi, India
For the vicinity to the Ganges, Varanasi is one of the holiest places for Hindus. The river is the symbol of spiritual health and purification to them. After death, every Hindu wants to be cremated on the bank of this holy river. Every year thousands of corpses are cremated on floating stages in the river. In this way, the Ganges become ripe with bacteria and get polluted. In spite of the mass pollution, Varanasi people play, bathe and wash their clothes here.
6. Gladiator Graveyard, Ephesus, Turkey
This site is scientifically authenticated as the cemetery of the Roman Arenas. It is located in Ephesus, Turkey. About 67 individuals aged from 20-30 with marks of several injuries from the fights they fought with wild animals, criminals and each other have been founded here by the archaeologists. It is surprising that no paranormal activities have been reported about this place, but when you will think about the buried gladiators you’ll certainly feel creepy.
7. Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, Ireland
As the Irish Catholics had no cemeteries to bury their dead, the large cemetery in Glasnevin, Ireland was established in 1832. It houses about 1.5 million bodies in its 120-acre graveyard. It is reported that the place is haunted by a dog which refused to leave it’s owner’s graveside and died from starving.
8. Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh, Scotland
Now the graveyard was once a monastery garden and it was established in 1560. Burial has been taking place here since the late 16th century. It is one of the most haunted places in Scotland where restless spirits haunt the visitors. the most infamous of them is of George Mackenzie who was interred here in 1691. It is reported that the ‘Mackenzie poltergeist’ causes bruising, bites and cuts on those who come in contact with it.
9. Highgate Cemetery, London, England
The Victorian era cemetery is established on 37 acres of overgrown woodland of London. About 170,000 people are buried here in approximately 53,000 graveyards. The chilling fact about this cemetery is the spectacular statues of people, animals and angels stand in different states of decay. This Cemetery highlights the obsession of the Victorian era with ancient Egyptians, perhaps due to the fascination of both cultures with morbidity. It is said that the original Dracula writer Bram Stoker was inspired by the ambient creepiness of the Highgate Cemetery.
10. La Recoleta, Buenos Aires
The Recoleta Cemetery is one of the main tourist attractions of Argentina for its mesmerizing display of nineteenth and twentieth-century funerary arts and architecture. It is located in the famous Recoleta neighborhood of Buenos Aires. Many rumors about paranormal incidents are heard about this place. It is said that a ghostly night watchman who took his own life and a lady named “The Lady in White” frequents the tomb at night.
11. Les Catacombes, Paris
Extending south from the former city gate, the underground ossuaries of Paris, France, the Catacombs of Paris holds the remains of about six million people. Strange paranormal activities are reported to occur here on a regular basis. Here, spectral lights appear suddenly. Ecto mists, phantom shadow walking along the corridor and among the piles of bones etc. are being reported every now and then.
12. Okuno-in Cemetery, Mt. Koya, Japan
Okuno is a sacred village in Japan. It is located adjacent to 120 Buddhist temples whose cemetery houses a creepy legend. The founder of Shingon Buddhism, Kobo Daishi, is resting here. According to the traditional myth, he will reborn along with this followers. The mausoleum is filled with numerous statues of giant spaceships, cups, and other monuments.
13. Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague
The Old Jewish Cemetery is located in Prague, Czech Republic. Lying in a Jewish quarter, it was in use from the early 15th century. As there are layers upon layers of tombs, the number of gravestones and the number of burials are uncertain. However, an estimation suggests that approximately 12,000 tombstones are there along with 100,000 burials. Paranormal activities and ghost sightings have been reported here.
14. Saint Louis #1, New Orleans
The oldest of three Catholic Cemeteries in New Orleans, Louisiana, Saint Louis Cemetery no. 1, was opened in the 1780s. Of all the three bearing the same name, it is the creepiest. It has a history of a wide range of ghost stories. The cemetery hosts one of the most infamous tombs of all time; that of Marie Laveau also known as “Grande Voodoo Queen”. According to hearsay, her spirit haunts the graveyard and the people who want to disrupt her sleep. For sure, you wouldn’t want to awake such a notorious voodoo queen.
15. Sedlec Ossuary Near Kutna Hora, Czech Republic
Located beneath the Cemetery Church of all Saints in Sedlec, The Sedlec Ossuary is a small Roman Catholic Chapel in the Czech Republic. This ossuary contains skeletons of approximately 40,000 to 70,000 people. The bones have been artistically arranged to decorate and furnish the chapel. It is believed that the place is haunted but the ghosts living here are not angry. Instead, they are jovial and pranksters who like a joke.
16. Stull Cemetery, Stull, Kansas
Known for its torn down churches and hanging trees no graveyard has as big a reputation as Stull Cemetery in Kansas. It is also called the “Gates to Hell” because numerous haunting guides listed this graveyard as one of the Seven Portals of Hell. It is the most haunted place in America. Rumors say that if you knock on a rock in the church’s rubble pile, you will hear Devil’s answer.
17. Suicide and Banzai Cliffs, Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands
At the northern tip of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, Banzai Cliff is a historic site where a tragedy took place during 2nd World War. In 1944, when the American soldiers took over Saipan, hundreds of Japanese civilians including mothers and children and soldiers jumped off the cliff to their deaths to avoid being captured at the command of Emperor Hirohito. Some who jumped did not die and later rescued by the Americans.
18. Valley of the Kings, Cairo, Egypt
The Valley of the Kings, also known as Valley of the Gates of the Kings is a graveyard for the Pharaohs and powerful nobles of Ancient Egypt. Tutankhamen’s grave had been discovered here which is believed to come with a curse and who participated in the opening of his grave died within a few years. Scientists stated that the deadly molds of the tomb are responsible for their death but others believe that its the ancient Egyptian curse for disrupting the tomb of the dead.
19. Witches Cemetery, Tennessee, USA
One of the lesser known US graveyards, the Tennessee Backwoods Graveyard is state’s oldest one. It is said that the pentagrams etched into the stone grave markers contain the witch’s evil powers. Here the dead’s resting place is marked with weathered jagged stones. There are numerous rumors about this place. some claims to see strange lights in the woods at night while others claim to find sacrificed animals in rituals.
20. Bachelor’s Grove, Chicago, USA
Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery in Illinois was opened in 1844. It is one of the most haunted cemeteries not only in America but also in the entire world. The graveyard is tucked away in the middle of a forest. Once you hear the ghostly tales connected to this place, you will begin to realize why the cemetery creeps you out. 1930s gangsters used this place as their dumping ground and they leave their victims here. Visitors reported seeing them wandering around the cemetery. There is a rumor of a ghostly farmhouse which approaches to its victim by floating and then vanishes in the thin air to terrorize the victim. Late in 1984 witnesses claimed to see multiple figures coming out of the graves dressed in Monk’s robes. Which is the most common creepy sighting of this graveyard is a woman sitting on the tombstone.