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Sedlec Ossuary

Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Sedlec Ossuary
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  • Sedlec Ossuary - Closeup of Human Skulls
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The Sedlec Ossuary is a chapel in Sedlec, Czech Republic whose interior decor--from artistic drapings to the furniture itself--consumes an estimated 40,000 to 70,000 human skeletons. The bones are from the many thousands who died during the 14th century's Black Death and 15th century's Hussite Wars, so retained and stacked because the Roman Catholic Church did not allow cremation at that time, and the Sedlec monks had no more room for the deceased in their cemeteries. In 1870, they called upon wood carver František Rint to assemble what is now a collection of morbidly ornate interior structures. The chapel attracts over 200,000 visitors per year, and is one of the most popular pit stops for Czech Republic tourists.

Sedlec's spiritually macabre darling is framed by four large bell-shaped mounds at its corners, as dramatically displays a gigantic bone chandelier at its center. The chandelier contains at least one of every bone in the human body. Other anatomical constructions include piers and monstrances flanking the altar, a large Schwarzenberg coat of arms, and Rint's own signature on a wall near the Ossuary's entrance.

Less Christmas Eve, the Sedlec Ossuary is open daily to visitors, with entrance fees of around $3 for adults, and $2 for students.

Is the Sedlec Ossuary Haunted?

Of course it is. It's brimming with the skeletons of at least 40,000 dead people, all of whom experienced pretty unsavory deaths. Their spirits have stuck around. Oddly enough, though, they aren't angry or vengeful ghosts. In fact, they're renowned for their jovial senses of humor and biting wit. While most people who make pilgrimages to churches and holy lands with alms and offerings, it is recommended that when you visit the Sedlec Ossuary, you bring a good joke for the bones. The dirtier the better. Here are a few to stick in your back pocket:

Who won the skeleton beauty contest? No body.

Why do mice have little balls? Because they like to dance.

What kind of bee produces milk? A boo-bee.

What do toilet paper and the Starship Enterprise have in common? They both circle around Uranus looking for Klingons.

What's the difference between a pregnant woman and a light bulb? You can unscrew a light bulb.

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