A trip to Paris sounds nice, doesn’t it? The Eiffel Tower, centuries of history, and so much more. Does a tunnel system, however—that leads to the skeletons of more than six million people—add into this beautiful trip?. I’m talking about the catacombs of Paris or Catacombs de Paris.
In the 17th century, a 200-mile tunnel system was filled with bones and skulls of people to overcome the problems of the overflowing cemeteries.
Today, only a small part is open to the public, known as Denfert-Rochereau Ossuary. It is one of the most famous tourist sites in Paris.
Structure of the catacombs
The catacombs are around 75 feet deep, and the area is approximately 2 kilometers long. But this is just the length of the section open to the public. The actual tunnel system extends from Barrière d’Enfer or Gate of Hell in the south for 320 Kilometers, and yes, all of it is made of skeletons of actual people.
Several of the catacombs are not connected, like the one in the 15th arrondissement. These tunnels have changed a lot over the centuries; they have seen a lot of Paris’ history and have evolved with the city’s needs. From piling up of bones to utility purposes.
Why were the catacombs made?
By the 17th century, most of Paris had become a central European hub. This came at a price, death. There was a time when the cemeteries began overflowing with bodies, and there was no more space to bury the dead. After the collapse of a cemetery because of the underground mass grave, the burial of bodies was banned. After the odor of the rotting bodies became too much to bear, Louis XVI ordered them to be moved somewhere else. The only problem was, where?
There was a mining system below Paris extending over 200 miles, and it had not been in use for a long time. So, they took the bodies, from the graves that had since been reduced to bones and put them in the tunnel system. It took about 12 years to move all of the bodies in the tunnels. And by then, there were about 6 to 7 million bodies down there.
The bodies were not moved into the Catacombs after 1860.
Catacombs open to the public
Today, only a mile of the Catacombs are open to the public. It takes about 45 minutes to walk through it.
After the site was consecrated as “Paris Municipal Ossuary” on April 7, 1786, it was named ‘Catacombs’ by the public. Since 1809, they have been open to public.
What Happens In The Catacombs Hidden From Us?
We know that only a part of the Catacombs is open to the public, so what happens in the other parts? Satanic rituals? Animal sacrifices? Human sacrifices?
Cataphiles (lovers of Catacombs) dug rooms and new tunnels inside, and there are real living spaces. Some of them are quite huge and impressive. Even a throne made out of bones is found in one such room.
As you suspected, yes, it is a hotspot for cult activity. Many rituals and sacrifices happen underneath Paris that the public does not hear about. There are many strange markings inside, not the kind made two hundred years ago, but the kind made by cults and dark spirits. No one knows what happens deep underground, as many don’t survive to tell the tale.
It is also said that the spirits inside will make you mad, if you stay in there for too long. Even after people leave the Catacombs, there have been reports that they felt a presence, as if something came with them.
People have often gone missing because they lost their way while exploring the Catacomb tunnels. For example, a 16 and a 17-year-old got lost, spent three days underground, and were found by a team of firemen and K9 units.
Even though there is no evidence known to the public about any kind of dark arts taking place in the Catacombs, the presence of an entire tunnel system, under one of the world’s most popular city, is quite eerie. Miles and miles of tunnels full of bones makes it quite easy for us to believe that something dark does lurk in the Catacombs.