There’s nothing creepier than seeing a human skull and being reminded of the end of life as we know it. However, there are places that use these skulls to decorate spaces in their church!
In fact, they are called “ossuaries” and they exist in many places in Europe where they use human bones as decorations. They can be a simple pile of skulls but many are even placed on the walls of these churches, using human bones to create works of art. Take a look:
1. Rome, Italy – Capuchin Crypt.
This is a tiny space under the Santa Maria della Immacolata Concezione dei Cappuccini church. You can see that the bones are well organized and used to create arches that frame entire human bone structures for display. It is both creepy and creative and it is meant to honor the Capuchin monks.
At first, all of the bones were buried in the soil that was brought from Jerusalem but as more and more wanted to be buried in the holy soil, the older bones were removed and used as decorations to make room for additional people to be buried in the soil as well.
There are a total of six small chapels with more than 4,000 monks who died between 1528 and 1870. Some of the crypts are even organized by bones such as “Crypt of the Leg Bones and Thigh Bones” and the “Crypt of the Pelvises”.
2. Sedlec, Czech Republic – Sedlec Ossuary.
This is located beneath the Church of All Saints and it feature a massive collection of bones that are creatively decorating the walls. It was built in 15th century to make more room for burials but the bones were later used in the 1870s as decorations when a local wood carver was hired to organize the bone chaos and this is what he came up with included a massive chandelier made of bones!
3. Wamba, Spain – Medieval Ossuary.
This tiny town is the home of another massive collection of bones that were piled up for the simple reason of lack of space in the cemetery. Now, it contains the bones of hundreds of villagers who died between the 12th and the 18th centuries.
In this bone church, the bones are merely piled high and not used for any sort of decoration but the pile alone is an overwhelming sight! In fact, there are so many that it’s impossible to create a complete skeleton of any particular human being. The sign over the entrance reads, “As you see yourself, I saw myself too. As you see me, you will see yourself. Everything ends in this. Think about it and you won’t fall into sin.”