Catacombs

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Skulls

 

Twenty meters down

One hundred thirty steps

Fifty seven degrees

One hundred eighty six miles

It’s the second city

Called the Empire of Death

Chambers and hallways

Connected by bones

Thousands upon thousands

Carefully placed in patterns

Others strewn like trash

Journey across the skeleton sea

Some say seven million

Bodies laid to rest

And so many secrets

Some old, others emerging

Hidden in the empty sockets

Of half hidden skulls

Ghoulish sculptures

Romantic beauty

Comingled

And you can take a tour….

 

The Dark Underworld of Paris

Hidden beneath the streets of Paris, France are the remains of over 6 million people.  The Paris Catacombs are a network of caves, tunnels, and old quarries that stretch for hundreds of miles.  Many of the walls are ornately lined with the hardened bones of those long-dead souls.

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The Catacombs can be traced back to the Roman Empire and the limestone quarries outside of the city.  Early builders removed the limestone for many of the buildings in the city.  Later, during the 18th Century these limestone mines were transformed into underground crypts. The growth of Paris as a metropolitan area dramatically added to the number of dead each year.  The main cemeteries quickly became overwhelmed, leading to corpses being abandoned or improperly buried.  The resulting stench of decayed flesh and disease were affecting the populace.

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The final straw was when the supporting wall around the largest Parisian Cemetery, Les Innocents, collapsed in 1780.  The cemetery was elevated and when heavy spring rains soaked the ground past the saturation point, it was like a bursting dam.  Bones and bodies spilled out into the neighboring land, turning the holy place into a nightmare.  Many former quarries were consecrated and blessed by the church in 1786, making them the first of many catacombs.  After nearly two years of work, all of the bones and remaining bodies from Les Innocents were transferred to their new resting place.  Over the next twenty years, bones from other overcrowded French burial grounds were also transferred.  The heavy casualties of the French Revolution saw for the first time, newly deceased being laid to rest in the catacombs.

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The tunnels combined total about 200 linear miles with some areas not mapped out and are on average about 50 feet below the city streets.  Public tours are offered daily, but in a very limited area.  Many people have taken it upon themselves to make the catacombs a place of their own over the years.  About a decade ago, the special police unit which patrols the catacombs found the remains of a fully functioning “movie theater” set up, complete with a dining area and bar.  It was thought to be a debut area for underground (no pun intended) films.  Many fans of the macabre have done photo shoots and even made adult videos deep within the tunnels, although all activities such as this are illegal.

Off the record, people have a way of finding the resources to get what they want.  It’s commonly known that a group of people who call themselves the Catophiles exist.  This group supposedly numbers in the low hundreds and are believed to know of all the secret entrances throughout the city as well as how to access the hidden levels, some which are reported to go as far as 500 feet below ground.

thegypsy

Owner/Admin at The Gypsy Thread
As a hopeless romantic at heart, Ralph indulges in romantic poetry, but also allows his mind time to wonder across all subjects.A master of vocabulary and word-use, Ralph has a writing style that gives his works their own life, often giving his readers just enough information that they end up doing additional research on his subject matter.
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