The town of Hallstatt never had a great set up for mourning the deceased. It is crunched tightly in between extremely steep hills and a large lake, leaving little room for a cemetery. In fact, until the late 19th century the town could only be reached by boat via narrow trails. The small piece of land between the hills and the lake was almost entirely occupied.
Nearly 900 years ago the townspeople began exhuming the dead every 10 to 15 years and relocating the skeletal remains to "the bonehouse." Bienhause (in German) is in the chapel of St Michael and today tourists visit to see an astonishing 600 skulls from men, women, and children lining the walls of the chapel. The skulls are eloquently decorated with leaves or flowers and marked with the names of the deceased.
2. The Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Italyvia:Flickr
The Sicilian City of the Dead houses 8,000 corpses, including 1,200 mummies. Originally, it was a catacomb for friars of the Capuchin monastic order but the process they used for preserving the bodies attracted the "local elites." The drying and embalming techniques were just too mesmerizing to pass up so today you can find thousands of past residents dressed in their finest clothes alongside their countrymen from several centuries. The 16th through 20th, to be precise.
Awaiting the after life.via:Flickr
3. Church of Ghosts, Czech Republicvia:Flickr
Local artist Jakub Hadrava gave new life to a condemned and abandoned site of devastation after part of the church of St. Georges collapsed during a funeral in the late 1960's. In honor of their memory and to make inspiring use of the condemned, neglected building, Hadrava filled the pews with a congregation of "spectral parishioners." The eerie, ghost-like figures are made of plaster and some are even equipped with internal lighting making their wispy appearance that much creepier.
4. Hoia-Baciu Forest, Romaniavia:Flickr
With nicknames like "The Bermuda Triangle of Romania" and "The World's Most Haunted Forrest" you know you're in for a good story when you first hear about he Hoia-Baciu Forest. The Forest is famous for just about everything spooky in the universe from strange disappearances all the way to UFO sightings, all within the small parameters of only 3 square kilometers! Horror stories come at no shortage from this eerie forest. In fact, recently a New Zealand tourist was electrocuted to death when he accidentally touched a live electrical line deep in the woods. The Forest is also infamous for it's "unexplained circle wherein no living thing can grow."
5. Hill of Crosses, Lithuaniavia:Flickr
Don't be fooled by the sole creep factor this location pulses like a nightmare. It's intention is a powerful statement of protest, defiance, and survival. Lithuanian Catholics have been traveling to this hill and depositing crosses since the 1830's and it's come under threat of the Russian Orthodox Church and Soviet Communism between the 19th and 20th centuries. Never the less, the site persisted and today it is estimated that the number of crosses has surpassed 100,000. The location is very famous, of course and even in 1993 Pope John Paul II visited the site to pay tribute to their rather unusual form of devotion.
6. Edinburgh Castle, Scotlandvia:Flickr
Depending on who you ask, some will tell you that Edinburgh, the Scottish Capitol, is the most haunted city in all of Europe. If that is the case then that puts the city's 12th century castle would as the "epicenter of all that paranormal activity." It is believed that the tunnels and dungeons of the eerie, ancient castle are haunted by ghosts of the prisoners who perished there and musicians who visited.
7. Cortijo Jurado, Spainvia:Flickr
The history of this eerie, abandoned mansion that was built by a wealthy family in the 19th century has an extremely high creepy factor. It is located on a highway outside of Málaga and is considered by locals to be haunted due to the rumors surrounding its original owners. Supposedly, the family kidnapped young women and teenage girls then brought them to secret chambers in the basement where they were tortured before being murdered. Today, tourists seeking thrills visit the property and regularly report back to hearing the horrific screams of the long-deceased girls as they roam.
8. Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republicvia:Flickr
In the lower level of "The Bone Church," a Gothic church in the Czech Republic, one will find the Sedlec Ossuary. Containing the bones of nearly 50,000 people who all died in the 14th and 15th centuries thanks to the Black Plague, this unusual chapel is adorned and decorated with the deceased. The bones wind up and down the walls and across the ceiling and it's allure is apparently irresistible to somewhere in the realm of 200,000 tourists every year.
Interestingly, this chapel is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We couldn't resist adding a bonus photo just to emphasize how creepy and fascinating this place is.via:Flickr
9. Bran Castle in Transylvania, Romaniavia:Flickr
If you ask any modern Roman tourist they will eagerly inform you that this is Dracula's Castle. However, it's history is rich and only enhances the creepy factor of the fascinating structure. Before being destroyed by Genghis Kahn's Mongolian warriors a fortress stood here, built in 1212. After it's demise the structure we know and can visit today was built in the late 1300's and has been a staple watching over the corner of Transylvania ever since.
We know that Bram Stoker (the author of Dracula) never visited this site but many scholars believe that he was indeed inspired to base his iconic vampire's homestead when he saw a wood carving of the Bran Castle in the 1865 book Transylvania: Its Product and Its People, making it a further unique piece of history.
Anime always makes things look ten times cuter than they actually are, and this even applies to European paintings. Check them out here!