They Weren’t Kidding When They Called This The Bone Church

Season 1 Episode 23

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This week, we’re visiting the Bone Church, AKA Sedlec Ossuary. My guest  is Mike Shubic of Mike’s Road trip. Mike  recommended that I visit this church a few years ago. Ever since he told me about it, it has been on my “must see” list. Aside from being a completely bizarre and unique property, it is a UNESCO world heritage site.This is a very unusual church, located just outside the Czech town of Kutna Hora. The Bone Church and adjoining cemetery is the final resting place for the remains of somewhere between 40,000 to 70,000 individuals.

This cemetery was a premium place to be buried in the 1300’s and 1400’s. The cemetery was consecrated with earth brought back from Golgotha in Jerusalem. This made it “holy land”.  All through the years of the Black Death, people clamored to be buried here. The cemetery became very overcrowded and was continually being dug up, so room could be made for more people.

Pyramids of human bones remain stacked in the corners of the church. This is the work of a blind monk whose job it was to stack all the dry bones from the bodies that had been exhumed.

What makes this cemetery/church so unusual today is the macabre decor.

A little over a hundred years ago, a decision was made to do something with all the bones that had literally been piling up for centuries there. A local wood carver was hired to create decoration from the remains. The bones were cleaned and bleached and formed into the decor that remains there today. 

Chandeliers of bones, garlands of skulls, chalices of femurs, coats of arms of clavicles. They say seeing is believing, but we’re discussing all that we saw and felt at this highly unusual church.

I was surprised to find that the church was not all that large. Touring doesn’t take much longer than a half hour or so. There is a steady stream of tourist in and out of this location as it has been featured in many popular sites.

Some places can be a bit of a let down when you’ve waited to for ages to see them. But the Bone Church did not disappoint. It’s an awesome sight to see, and almost impossible to comprehend that these decorations were once people, like us. Most of the decorations look slightly unreal. It’s almost as if you are looking at decorations for a film set, possibly something from a more thrilling Disney ride.

But no… these bones are real and there is a definite poignant feeling as you look at the naked remains of so much humanity, assembled in one place.

But did we see/hear/feel the ghosts? You might be surprised to hear the answer to that question. Listen to the entire episode by clicking the link above!

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