There’s a spine-tingling chill in the air. The darkness of night hangs like a cloak; thick and heavy, covering all visible sight. The only sound heard through the still night is the howling of the wind and the crow of the crows that lurk atop the tombstones of the deceased…
Halloween is all about scary ghost stories, and what setting could be better for the frightening holiday than a cemetery? Although cemeteries are in reality, peaceful locations and even used as a place for meditation, they are an iconic setting to spooky Halloween stories. Now that you know the A-Z of Halloween, we are going to kick it up a notch with a tour of the world’s scariest cemeteries! These cemeteries are famous, highly visited but mostly, scary. Read on and find out what ghost story lies underneath the graves of the cemeteries in Paris, Stockholm and New Orleans, if you dare …
Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris
This is the largest cemetery in Paris and although at first, it was not well received by the Parisians, it is now used as a park. Taking a walk through the labyrinthine streets, strolling past abandoned tombs and its impressive architecture makes this cemetery more beautiful, thna it is scary. The famous resting eternally in this cemetary are Chopin, Delacroix, Georges Méliès, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf and Oscar Wilde, among others. The tombstone of the latter Irish writer, was recently cleaned in 2011 and covered in protective glass, due to the lipstick-stained kisses that marked the stone, a tribute that became tradition.
Arlington National Cemetery
Centuries of fallen war heroes and veterans are buried in what may be considered the United States’ most hallowed ground. Arlington Cemetery is home to fallen soldiers spanning the Civil War through to the war in Iraq. Two of the most memroable grave sites, and perhaps the most haunting, are the tomb of the unknown soldier, which stands atop of a hill overlooking Washington, D.C. and the tomb of John Fitzerald Kennedy.
Mount Jerome Cemetery and Crematorium, Dublin, Ireland
Mount Jerome Cemetery in Dublin is plagued with Gothic monuments, including its chapel and carved tombstones. Through time, some of the tombs have become quite damaged, giving the cemetery a gloomy, eerie air. This cemetary is definitely an original tourist attraction when visiting the Irish capital.
St. Louis Cemetary, New Orleans
In reality, the St. Louis Cemetery consists of three Roman Catholic cemeteries, with above ground vaults, which were constructed in the eigteenth and nineteenth centuries. One of the cemeteries most notable tombs is that of the vodoo queen, Marie Laveau. Legend has it that if one draws an “X” on her tomb, turns around three times, knocks on the tomb and yells out a wish, the vodoo queen will grant the wish. Once granted, an offering and a circle around the “X” would need to be made as well.
Old Jewsish Cemetery, Prague
Formerly called the Jewish Garden, this cemetery was first used as a cemetery in the fifteenth century and remained so until 1787. For religious reasons, Jews cannot destroy tombs of other Jews or move their bodies. So, when the cementery was full, new layers of earth were added above the existing garves to make room for more. In the end, there were 12 layers of earth, 100,000 bodies buried and 12,000 tombstones.
Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno, Genoa
This cemetary is said to be one of the largest in Europe and the most beautiful in the world. Walking through the tombs in Staglieno, Genoa is like walking through the halls of the most prestigious museums with breathtaking sculptures. Here, the stones are veiled by beautiful women and angels and is decorated with the most delicate carvings.
Almudena Cemetery, Madrid
An estimated 5 million persons are buried in this cemetery, which is the largest in Madrid and one of the largest in Western Europe. The imposing entrance and the chapel located in the cemetery are modernist, and undoubtedly the most impressive architecture in the Almudena Cemetery. Of the more notable histories written on the walls of the cemetary, are that of the 2,500 people who were shot during the Civil War and the thriteen in 1939, also known as“the thirteen roses”.
Cementerio de la Recoleta, Buenos Aires
Tucked away in the middle of the great city of Buenos Aires, La Recoleta Cemetery holds the most concentrated number of tombs of famous Argentine personalities. The contrast between the upscale neighborhood of Recoleta, hovering over the walls, and the imposing mausoleums with the decrepitude of some of the tombs, makes this space even more interesting. The main entrance of this cemetary boasts the majestic nature of the cemetery and there are 11 columns set, which represent the great allegories of life and death. Eva Peron rests in this cemetary and it is her tomb, which attracts many visitors.
Highgate Cemetery, London
This cemetery was erected in 1839 and today, stands as a true gem of Victorian architecture. The style is gothic, and the cemetery fashions a beautiful forest more than it does a classic interpretation of a cemetery. For this reason, and because this cemetery houses the graves of Karl Max and Michael Faraday, the cemetery is a popular attraction for tourists. There is also a legend that states a vampire lurks between the tombstones and trees of the cemetery.
Skogskyrkogården, “The Woodland Cemetery”, Stockholm
This cemetery, named a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1994, holds approximately 50,000 graves of which are divided into two areas. One of them is known as the “Forest of Remembrance” where individuals are buried anonymously, allowing anyone to visit and leave flowers in remembrance. The night time at this cemetery is particularly beautiful, as it is lit by the lanterns visitors leave behind as an offering. The most famous tomb in the Skogskyrkogården is of actress Greta Garbo.