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31 Days of Halloween


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31 Days of Halloween: 

On Atlas Obscura this October, every day has been Halloween. Below are the true tales of the unquiet dead: Come for the severed heads, stay for the book bound in human skin. Every story is true, and each one is a real place you can visit. We dare you.

 

Hallstatt

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: HALLSTATT OSSUARY
Hallstatt, Austria

Ah October: shorter days, longer nights, and an endless parade of “spooky” ghost stories accompanied by photos of the local cemetery with the fog machine turned up. We call bullshit.

Devil's footprint

DAY 1: THE DEVIL WALKED HERE
Munich, Germany

Break a deal with the devil; live with the consequences… In this case, surprisingly reasonable consequences.

Lovecraftian Horrors

DAY 2: LOVECRAFTIAN HORRORS 
New England, US

Today we turn to the master of madness, the impresario of eerie, the creator of Cthulhu himself: Howard. Phillips. Lovecraft.

Highgate

DAY 3: VAMPIRES, MAGIC DUELS & HEADLESS BODIES
London, England

Dueling magicians, a roving vampire, and mobs of stake-carrying “vampire hunters.” Welcome to Highgate Cemetery in the 1970s.

Fontenelle Cemetery Caves

DAY 4: LOTTO SECRETS OF THE DEAD
Naples, Italy

All over Europe, ossuaries hold the skeletal remains of the long dead, but only in Naples are they expected to produce winning lottery numbers.

Odessa

DAY 5: A KILLER CATACOMB
Odessa, Ukraine

Today we find ourselves wandering the largest catacomb system in the world. Try not to get lost.

Corpse Bride of Portugal

DAY 6: THE CORPSE BRIDE OF PORTUGAL
Alcobaca, Portugal

It may be awkward, but when the kings tells you to kiss the hand of his dead mistress, you damn well kiss that cold, dead hand.

Sex Death Surrealists

DAY 7: SEX, DEATH & SURREALISTS
Los Angeles, CA

There are lots of tales of sex and death in the Hollywood Hills, but few lie buried in such stunning and eerie monuments. The Sowden House has long been a favorite of architecture buffs, but it also hides a surreal and salacious past.

Aokigahara

DAY 8: AOKIGAHARA FOREST & OTHER SUICIDE SPOTS
Tokyo, Japan

Places where people choose to end it all, popular enough to require signs asking people not to do it.

Vampires in Venice

DAY 9: THE VAMPIRE PLAGUE OF VENICE
Venice, Italy

It’s bad enough when the plague rolls into town, but the citizens of Venice apparently also did battle with vampires.

Columbus Tomb

DAY 10: THE MANY TOMBS OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS
Spain & Dominican Republic

In 1542, the body of Christopher Columbus was transported and laid to rest in the Cathedral of Santa Maria, in the Dominican Republic. In 1795, they dug him up, and the international corpse shell game began.

St Foy

DAY 11: SAINTS WITH WHITE HOT HAMMERS
Conques, France

In life, St. Foy was one of many young Christians who was martyred for her faith by the Roman Empire, but it was several hundred years after her execution that her life got really interesting.

Cushing Brain

DAY 12: PICKLED ZOMBIE SNACKS 
New Haven, CT

When the undead masses rise and the zombie apocalypse is upon us, our first priority will be finding a good zombie-proof stronghold, but a pantry full of delicious, zombie-ready brains may be worth a detour.

Frankenstein

DAY 13: CASTLE FRANKENSTEIN
Darmstadt, Germany

Dr. Frankenstein, I presume? Today we explore the Castle Frankenstein, the real life alchemist who lived in the castle, and the brilliant young lady who wrote the first true science fiction novel.

Chuuk

DAY 14: DIVING WITH THE DEAD
Chuuk Lagoon, Palau

Chuuk lagoon entices divers with its gorgeous sheltered reef, its clear, tropical waters filled with exotic fish - and with the hulking, haunting wrecks of more than 50 ships, tanks, and hundreds of Japanese aircraft.

Toyland

DAY 15: TOYLAND GONE HORRIBLY, HORRIBLY WRONG
Isla de las Munecas, Mexico

When faced with terrifying visions of a long-dead child, should one a) get the hell out of Dodge, b) seek the source of the specter’s discontent, or c) decorate your little island home with hundreds of dismembered heads, legs, and arms of baby dolls?

Buried Alive

DAY 16: BURIED ALIVE 
From Buenos Aires to Houston, TX

Vivi·sepulture; the action of burying, or the fact of being buried alive. Don’t worry, it probably won’t happen to you. That kind of thing could never happen nowadays…right?

Sati

DAY 17: A BURNING LOVE
Mehrangarh Fort, India

Before the fifteen wives of the Maharaja left home for the last time, they left impressions of their hands that would endure after they gave their lives on the funeral pyre.

Pomoche

DAY 18: SPENDING TIME WITH FAMILY
Pomache, Mexico

In Pomuch, Mexico a visit to the grandparents involves more skull cleaning then you might think.

The flayed Man

DAY 19: THE FLAYED MAN
Paris, France

His cousin painted nubile beauties in flirtatious poses. He skinned, preserved, and posed dead bodies.

Stortebeker

DAY 20: SEVERED HEAD, WALKING CORPSE
Hamburg, Germany

There are many stories of severed heads surviving for minutes after an execution, but only one headless body that stood up and took a stroll - on this very day 610 years ago.

Trapped Souls

DAY 21: THE FIERY TOUCH OF TRAPPED SOULS
Rome, Italy

Many churches in Rome use artful images of hellfire and damnation to keep the faithful in line, but they may not have the same impact as this collection of objects scorched by the hands of of trapped Purgatorial souls.

Momias

DAY 22: SANTO VS. LOS MOMIAS
Guanajuato, Mexico

What is even better than an incredible museum filled with mummies? Why, when they come to life to fight a gang of Mexican wrestlers, duh.

Murder Dolls

DAY 23: TEENY TINY MURDER VICTIMS
Edinburgh, Scotland

In 1836, two boys discovered a dozen tiny carved figures hidden in a niche in Edinburgh’s massive park. Could they be effigies of victims planted by the city’s most notorious murderer?

Capuchin Crypt

DAY 24: SLEEPING BEAUTY & THE WELL DRESSED DEAD
Palermo, Italy

The most stylish mummies since the ancient Egyptians sport stylish ensembles in Palermo’s Catacombs.

Nutshell Studies

DAY 25: NUTSHELL STUDIES OF UNEXPLAINED DEATH
Baltimore, MD

This is what happens when you leave Barbie and Ken alone in the doll house for too long.

Poison

DAY 26: PICK YOUR POISON
France, Italy & England

Deadly Nightshade was once used as a beauty aid. An innocent looking flower left citizens of Jamestown in a drugged stupor for eleven days, and Mozart went to his death believing he was poisoned by a draught typically concealed as a saintly cure-all.

Zverev

DAY 27: CHEMICAL WEAPONS IN THE BASEMENT: BAD IDEA
Kronshtadt, Russia

Like a bad dream, the dank, dark corridors and warped walls of Fort Zverev are a terrifying and stark reminder about the dangers of chemical weapons.

Mozart

DAY 28: THE MURDERER & THE MAESTRO
Vienna, Austria

The screams of a murderer helped shaped music history and still ring in our ears today…

Radio Guy

DAY 29: A COLLECTION OF ODDITIES LIKE NO OTHER
Courtlandt Manor, NY

As if they were pulled from the props room of A Clockwork Orange, this unparalleled collection of head-encasing, torture chamber-esque objects is like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

St zita

DAY 30: ZOMBIE, VAMPIRE OR SAINT?
France, Italy & India

A grave disturbed, the coffin opened, and the body of a young girl, years dead, freakishly un-decomposed: Undead monster or miracle of faith? It depends on who’s asking.