Spooky churches

Decaying Victorian mansions and cemeteries fill our imaginations when it comes to Halloween, but churches are not to be outdone in providing a sometimes spooky atmosphere, as you are about to see with the following ten examples.


Mortemer Abbey

Notre-Dame de Mortemer Abbey, founded in 1134, is home to many legends linked to the folklore of Western France. The abbey is said to be haunted by at least three ghosts: the Garrache, a werewolf woman, the White Lady Mathilde, and the ghosts of four monks killed during the French Revolution. These legends are so tenacious that they led to the exorcism of the abbey in 1921.

Mortemer Abbey
Flickr/Ken Hircock

All Saints' Church, Sedlec

The All Saints' Church was originally part of the Cistercian monastery of Sedlec, founded in 1142. The site also contains a cemetery whose legend has made the place noteworthy. In the 13th century, an abbot reportedly scattered a handful of earth from Mount Golgotha in Jerusalem on this ground. Disturbed by the heavy concentration of bones on the ground, the Schwarzenberg family decided to redecorate the church as an ossuary in the 18th century.

All Saints' Church

St. Johannes Baptist Church, Wessobrunn

The current building of St. John the Baptist Church was built in the 1750s near the site of the demolished monastery of Wessobrunn. Legend has it that after the monastery was pillaged by Hungarian raiders in 955 AD, the ghosts of the massacred abbot and six monks have haunted the site ever since. Today, perched above Wessobrunn, a cross commemorates the martyrs of the year 955.

St. Johannes Baptist Church
Martin Knutsson

Hedvig Eleonora Church, Stockholm

The Hedvig Eleonora church, recognisable by its octagonal shape, was inaugurated on the 21st of August, 1737. It is said that many of the deceased buried in the surrounding cemetery live together in the church: a grieving white lady, the Ghost of Baron Carl von Cardell, and those of the deceased doctors of the congregation, who periodically gather for a banquet with their former patients.

Hedvig Eleonora Church

Mont Saint Michel Abbey

While several romantic stories revolve around the abbey of Mont Saint Michel, so too do less romantic stories revolve around the dangerous nature of the Mount itself. Stories are told of pilgrims trapped in the marshes, quickly covered by the sea, and of prisoners drowned in the lower dungeons, having been flooded at high tide.

Mont Saint Michel Abbey
Flickr/N i c o l a

Otranto Cathedral

The Otranto Cathedral was founded in 1068 on the remains of a Messapian village, a Roman Domus, and an early Christian temple. In seven large cupboards in the right nave and in the apse, there can be found the preserved bones of the Holy Martyrs of Otranto. These are the remains of nearly eight hundred people that were massacred by the Turks for refusing to renounce their Christian faith.

Otranto Cathedral

Capuchin Catacombs, Palermo

The Capuchin Catacombs are part of the complex of the convent of the Order of the Capuchin Friars, the Capuchin cemetery, and the church of Santa Maria Della Pace. Monks in monasteries began embalming their brothers in 1599, a practice that later became popular among the rich population of Palermo, wanting to be perceived in the same presentable state once they died. The Capuchin Catacombs contains no less than 8000 bodies and 1252 mummies.

Santa Maria della Pace

Chiajna Monastery

The monastery of Chiajna, built at the end of the 18th century, is widely believed to be cursed. Intended to be the most important place of worship in Romania at the time of its construction, the neoclassical building was quickly destroyed by the Turkish attacks. Since then, the ruins of the monastery have been the site of many paranormal activities, disappearances, and even murders.

Chiajna Monastery

Capuchin Crypt, Brno

The church of the foundation of the Holy Cross, built between 1648 and 1656, is part of a Capuchin monastery in Brno. In the basement of the church, the Capuchin crypt contains the naturally mummified bodies of around one hundred monks from the monastery, as well as some personalities from the city of Brno such as Baron Trenck.

Capuchin Crypt
Flickr/Weekend Wayfarers

Skull Chapel, Czermna

The "Chapel of the Skull" was built between 1776 and 1784 by a local priest, Father Wacław Tomaszek. Built on a former battlefield of the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648), the priest decided to use the bones he found on the grounds to transform his building into an ossuary chapel, inspired by the catacombs of Rome.

Skull Chapel