10 Horrifying Haunted Villages Around The World

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10 Horrifying Haunted Villages Around The World



Villages are usually quiet, small places where the atmosphere is rich with history. Sometimes, however, history comes back to haunt the inhabitants . . .  On this list are some of the most haunted villages from around the world.



Photo credit: Colin Smith

Ask about haunted villages in the UK, and most people will immediately say “Pluckley!” But about 90 minutes from Pluckley lies the village of Bramshott, in Hampshire. Bramshott has been around since before 1086. By the 1700s, the village had an inn called Seven Thorns, where many crimes—including murder—took place.

Around the time that all these violent crimes were happening, paranormal sightings began and still continue to this day. Bramshott is believed to have up to 17 ghosts haunting it, including Mistress Butler, who dwells alongside the river where she drowned herself in 1745, and the Flute Boy, who roams the lanes of the village and sometimes even climbs the trees. He plays beautiful music and often appears close to the apparition of a white calf. Other ghosts include the White Lady, the Grey Lady, and a young boy murdered by highwaymen in 1772.




Photo credit: The Karavali Times

Kuldhara in India used to be inhabited by the Paliwal Brahmins until all of them abandoned the village overnight in 1825. The story goes that a diwan fell in love with the daughter of the village chieftain and threatened the Paliwal Brahmins with exorbitant taxes if they did not hand the girl over to him. Hence, they disappeared overnight and left a curse in their wake: Anyone who attempted to make the village their home would lose their lives.

Kuldhara remains abandoned except for tourists and paranormal investigators passing through its streets. Investigators have reported seeing unexplained apparitions as well as being touched on the shoulder by an unseen presence during their visits there. Perhaps most chilling is the discovery of handprints on their vehicles after they completed their investigation.



The village of Borgvattnet in Northern Sweden is known for having one of the most haunted houses in the country. The Old Vicarage was constructed in 1876, and reports of ghosts first came in 1927, when Chaplain Nils Hedlund reported his clothes being pulled down from the washing line by an unseen hand.

In the 1930s, a priest witnessed an old woman appear in a room, and she disappeared in front of him when he tried to follow her. In 1945, Chaplain Erick Lindgren reported a disturbing phenomenon: He was thrown out of his chair on multiple occasions by an unseen entity.

Today, the Old Vicarage is a restaurant and guesthouse, and the reports of paranormal activity continue.



In February 2016, Tropical Cyclone Winston struck the village of Nayavutoka, Ra Province, Fiji. Tidal waves caused by the cyclone resulted in many destroyed homes and the loss of two lives. One of the victims was a 32-year-old disabled man named Pauliasi Naiova. He was buried the next day, after his body was found among the debris left by the storm.

Osea Balesavu, who took care of Pauliasi, awoke a few nights after the funeral because of incessant barking by the village dogs. Pauliasi was standing in front of him, muttering “kakana,” which means “food.” Balesavu also claimed that the dogs barked again the next night right by the mattress where Pauliasi used to sleep on. After a week of more of the same, a group of young men ran out of a house they were camping in, terrified. They told the village headman that they had seen Pauliasi limping around the place asking for kakana.

6Beenleigh Historical Village


Photo credit: Ghost Riders via The Courier-Mail

Beenleigh Historical Village is located in Logan and is comprised of 20 heritage buildings containing original historical items used by those who lived there from the 1860s onward. Paranormal investigators took a series of photographs after a number of reports were made by visitors and employees regarding ghostly activities in the village. These photos show a blurry, dark shadow in the gardens, the face of what looks like an old man in one of the windows, and a female in a long dress in one of the halls.

Photography experts are not convinced of the authenticity of the photos. However, the CEO of the historical village confirms that suspicious activity has been occurring for a long time, including unexplained shadows and even a piano playing by itself.

5Prince Albert
South Africa


The little village called Prince Albert, located in the Karoo in South Africa, dates back to 1762. Quite a few ghosts have accumulated here, but strangely enough, they all seem friendly.

The village offers a guided ghost walk that introduces tourists to the ghost of a young bride who lost her life the evening before her wedding day. She now haunts the local museum but is said to be in good spirits despite her tragic fate. Then there is a young girl in night clothes who jumps up and down on a bed in Mearns House, where a war doctor by the name of Dr. Mearns used to live. There is also an old man who haunts the stoep of a local home and waves at ladies who pass by.




Photo credit: John Clegg & Co via Mother Nature Network

Although only ruins remain of the village of Lawers in Scotland, the site has been put up for sale. However, the offer comes with a warning: The village has allegedly been cursed by the Lady of Lawers.

The Lady, who was a soothsayer from the 17th century, reportedly cursed an ash tree. She was also buried next to the tree after her death. A farmer by the name of John Campbell cut down the cursed tree in 1895 and was gored by his own bull soon afterward. He died from his injuries, and a neighbor who tried to help him later went insane and was taken to a mental institution. A horse that was used to drag the tree away also died without apparent cause.

Sightings of a female ghost continue at the site, and a lot of visitors are convinced it is the Lady herself haunting the ruins.



Photo credit: Ella Pellegrini via News.com.au

Over roughly two weeks in 1937, thousands of people, including women and children, were killed in the village of Belchite during the Spanish Civil War. The water supply to the town was shut off, and thousands starved to death or were hit by shells fired from the surrounding hills. Bodies were burned in the town square, and others were sealed up in an underground olive oil press.

Today, the plaintive cry of a child sometimes sounds off at dusk, wailing along the deserted streets of Belchite. The child cries and calls to his mother; both child and mother were lost during the war. Farmers in the area hear other unexplained sounds and voices echoing from the village at night. The place has now been secured as a movie set, with filming taking place in spite of the hauntings.



In the small village of Voltri in Liguria stands an ominous-looking house next to a winding road. The house, Ca’delle Anime, was once an inn owned by a family that suffered from mental problems. The family would drop heavy pieces of furniture on their sleeping patrons, who died terrible deaths being crushed and suffocated. They would then steal the dead guests’ money and other belongings before adding their bodies to a mass grave they had constructed.

It is said that the spirits of the victims are restless because they cannot leave the house they were murdered in. They wander the halls and rooms of the terrifying house, moving furniture and dropping crockery to make their presence known.



Photo credit: Adrian Farwell

On June 10, 1944, the Germans invaded the village of Oradour-sur-Glane in France. They proceeded to separate the men from the women and children, after which they shot most of the men in the legs and then lit them on fire. Only five men managed to escape the massacre. When a gas bomb failed to detonate, the soldiers shot the women and children with machine guns and grenades. Some of them were also burned to death. Afterward, they burned nearly all the houses in the village to the ground.

A new village by the same name was established near the destroyed one in 1958. However, residents refuse to set their feet near the ruins of the old village. They claim to see the spirits of the dead men, women, and children roaming the ruins at night and also smell the stench of burning flesh and wood coming from the old village.

Estelle lives in Gauteng, South Africa. She loves creepy stories of all kinds.

10 Tragedies That Destroyed The Canadian Inuit Way Of Life

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10 Tragedies That Destroyed The Canadian Inuit Way Of Life



Life for the Inuit, the natives of Canada’s Arctic, has never been easy. They have built up their lives in a frozen part of the world where permafrost keeps most life from growing from under the earth.

Things didn’t get any better when they made contact with the outside world. From the moment they first met the Europeans, the Inuit have gone through tragedy after tragedy. They have been taken from their homes. Their culture has been crushed, and countless lives have been ruined—all in ways that still affect them today.

Featured image credit: mmc-news.com

10First Contact With Europeans Ended In A Kidnapping


Martin Frobisher was one of the first European faces the Inuit saw. Frobisher met and talked with the Inuit—and then kidnapped three of them.

Frobisher dragged a man, his wife, and their infant child into his boat and brought them back to England to show them off. There, they displayed their talents, demonstrating how they made kayaks and hunted animals.

The European didn’t think highly of the Inuit. “They were savage people and fed only upon raw flesh,” one man wrote. His entry abruptly ends: “They died here within a month.”

Unprepared for European diseases, the Inuit man fell ill and died nearly as soon as he arrived. His wife died the next week and their baby shortly after. The family was buried with only a short obituary left behind. “Burials in Anno 1577,” it read. “Collichang, a heathen man, buried the 8th of November. Egnock, a heathen woman, buried the 13th of November.”


9They Were Put In Human Zoos


Photo credit: viralnova.com

By the 1800s, Europeans had started gathering up all the exotic people they’d met in the New World and showing them off in human zoos. Some were kidnapped, and others were lured into it—but none of it went well.

A man named Johan Adrian Jacobsen lured a group of eight Inuit, who startedperforming in European zoos on October 15, 1880. They didn’t last long. The first, a boy named Nuggasak, got sick and died within two months.

The troupe went on, but 13 days later, Nuggasak’s mother died. “The husband is very sad,” Jacobsen wrote in his diary, “and expressed his wish to be able to accompany his wife.” Jacobsen denied his request. The show went on.

Two days later, the man’s daughter died. The heartbroken father fought with Jacobsen to stay with his dying girl, but Jacobsen didn’t let him. They had to go to Paris. When they reached France, though, the last five Inuit were sick and had to be rushed to the hospital. By January 8, all five had died.

“Everything went so well in beginning,” Jacobsen wrote as he watched the last of the Inuit die. He briefly mused over accepting the tiniest hint of responsibility: “Should I be indirectly responsible for their deaths?”

8An Entire Tribe Was Wiped Out


Photo credit: George Francis Lyon

At the turn of the 20th century, European whalers met a new tribe. They were called the Sadlermiut and lived on three islands in Hudson Bay.

The Sadlermiut lived in complete isolation from the Inuit. They didn’t build igloos. Instead, they lived in stone houses. They had their own religion and their own language. They appeared to have been influenced by Inuit culture, but they were their own people with their own beliefs and their own lifestyle.

Then, within a couple of years, the entire population was wiped out. European diseases spread among them quickly. By 1903, every single one of them had died.


7The Canadian Government Gave The Inuit Numbers For Names


Photo credit: vice.com

The first missionaries to the North couldn’t pronounce the Inuit’s names, and they weren’t particularly interested in learning. Instead, the missionaries gave the Inuit new names taken from the Bible, like “Noah” and “Jonah.”

The Inuit soon lost their family names, too. The Canadian government labeled each Inuit with an Eskimo Identification number that doubled as their last name. Their numbers were used as their last names on all government documents. The Inuit were also forced to wear their numbers around their necks like dog tags.

By the 1940s, the Inuit went by names like Annie E7-121. They kept those names until disturbingly recently. The Inuit people weren’t officially allowed to use their own names (instead of numbers) until 1978.

6People Were Forcibly Moved Farther North


Photo credit: mediaindigena.com

In the 1950s, the Canadian government decided that it was time to tackle “The Eskimo Problem.” They told the Inuit that the government wanted to improve their lives by taking them to a new home with better game to hunt and fish to catch. It was supposed to be an easier life.

Instead, the government relocated the Inuit to places like Grise Fiord and Resolute Bay, where the temperature on a winter night drops to -40 degrees Celsius (-40 °F) and the darkness of night lasts for five months straight. For the first year, people had to live there in tents without enough food or other supplies.

Hunting was also much harder there. Most Inuit wanted to go home immediately, but they weren’t permitted to return to their homes for another 35 years. As it turned out, the government didn’t want to help the Inuit. The Canadian government just wanted the people living in the North to cement their claim to the Arctic against the USSR.

The Inuit were moved north for “the strategic interests of Canada’s great neighbor to the south.” That’s not a conspiracy theory; that’s a quote from a government document.

5The RCMP Slaughtered Sled Dogs


Before the 1950s, many of the Inuit still lived off the land. When the government tackled the “Eskimo Problem,” though, that changed. Every Inuit they could find was moved into new government-created settlements.

The government promised the Inuit that this would lead to a new flood of wealth into their territory, but it didn’t really pan out that way. Instead, the Inuit lived in abject poverty in these settlements.

It was worse now, though, because the Inuit couldn’t sustain themselves by hunting as they had before. Now they had to follow Canadian government laws that limited how much the Inuit could catch. These laws weren’t intended for people who lived off the land.

Many Inuit kept hunting anyway—until the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) slaughtered their sled dogs. Claiming that these dogs were dangerous, the RCMP killed them by the thousands. Without sled dogs, it was impossible for the Inuit to hunt the way they had before. They were left to rely on their work as laborers.

“I never understood why they were shot,” an Inuit man named Thomas Kublu later related. “I thought, was it because my hunting was getting in the way of my time as a laborer?”


4Children Were Separated From Their Parents


Once in the settlements, the children were sent to schools. Most of these towns, though, didn’t have schools of their own yet. So the kids were taken from their parents and sent to other provinces.

Many parents believed that they would lose any financial support from the government if they didn’t send their kids off. These families were newly impoverished and unable to hunt as they had before, and so the parents let their kids go.

In their new schools, the children were forced to speak English. Some have related that they were beaten if they spoke their own language, Inuktitut. They were taught a curriculum based on Southern values and languages.

By the time they were sent back to their parents, they barely remembered their own culture. “I thought I was a Southerner,” one man related. “I didn’t want to come back. I didn’t like the tundra and the house.”

3Children Were Abused


Photo credit: The Guardian

The children were sent to residential schools that were horrible. This is seen as one of the low marks in Canadian history, and it really was. At least 3,200 natives died in these schools, many from abuse and neglect.

They were physically abused. If they spoke Inuktitut, one student recalled, they “had to put their hands on the desk and got 20 slaps.” If they didn’t stand during the nation anthem, they were beaten.

Worse still, they were sexually abused. According to one student, a group of Catholic priests at one school made students “touch their penis for candy.” Another has said that she “was thrown into a cold shower every night, sometimes after being raped.”

People reported the sexual abuse, but an active government campaign worked to block all investigations. Their staff was mostly volunteers, missionaries who were barely paid a dime. They were hard to replace—and so the government turned a blind eye to the abuse.

2Substance Abuse


The Indian Act made it illegal for the Inuit to buy alcohol. In 1959, though, immediately after pulling the Inuit out of the lives they knew, the government decided to make an exception and let them drink.

It wasn’t the best time to do it. The Inuit were going through an incredibly hard time and adjusting to a new sort of life. They didn’t quite know what to do with themselves in their homes and with their new lifestyles. They spent most of their time bored. So when liquor was introduced, they drank it.

“Back then, the whole town would be drunk for a whole week,” one man recalled. “Everyone was hurting inside, not living as they should. People growing up with a lot of pain. I don’t want my grandchildren to grow up with that kind of pain and end up like us.”

1The New Cost Of Living Is Unbelievably Expensive


Photo credit: cbc.ca

Since then, things have improved. The Nunavut Land Claims Agreement has given the Inuit some autonomy, and the Canadian government has issued apologies for the past. Life in the North, however, is still far from ideal. The Inuit territory of Nunavut is the poorest in the country, and 60 percent of the people there can’t afford to feed their families.

The average Inuit makes one-third the wage of the average Canadian, and the Inuit cost of living is significantly higher. Much of the Arctic is covered in permafrost, meaning that most food has to be imported from the South. That leads to some incredibly high prices.

The people of Nunavut started taking pictures of the prices at their grocery stores, and they’re absurd. A cabbage can cost $28.54. A slice of watermelon goes for $13.09, 18 pieces of fried chicken fetch $61.99, and a 24-pack of bottled water goes for $104.99.

Worse, though, is the lingering impact of everything that’s happened. Among the Inuit, the suicide rate for teenage boys is 40 times higher than it is in the rest of the country—a symptom of a culture that has been systematically destroyed.

10 Facts That Conclusively Prove The Holocaust Really Happened

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10 Facts That Conclusively Prove The Holocaust Really Happened



It’s terrifying to think that there are still people out there in the world who refuse to believe that the Holocaust was real. In the face of so much evidence, it takes an incredible combination of hatred and will to convince yourself that the deaths of at least six million people were faked.

Despite what a small fringe believes, though, the Holocaust really happened—and we can prove it. Even discounting the stories of the million Jewish survivors who witnessed it firsthand, there is a wealth of physical evidence that the Holocaust happened just the way history records—and that the details were not exaggerated.

Featured image credit: history.com

10The Jewish Population Dropped By A Third


Photo credit: Parke O. Yingst

In 1939, there were 16,600,000 Jews in the world. When the war ended, that number had dropped by a third. Even after seven years of new lives being born, there were a mere 11,000,000 left alive.

The Nazis took a deep interest in these numbers. They monitored the number of Jews still living in Europe, working to get the number down to zero. We have proof of that. In 1943, Heinrich Himmler commissioned a report called “The Final Solution of the European Jewish Problem”—one of the Nazi documents that most clearly shows their approval of Jewish genocide.

This was a statistical report, listing the number of Jews still left in Europe. It notes how the numbers are dropping and takes a twisted pride in Germany’s role in getting the Jewish population down.

“Altogether,” the report boasts, “European Jewry must have been reduced by almost half since 1933, that is to say, during the first decade of the development of the power of National Socialism.”


9The Gas Chambers


Photo credit: history.com

The gas chambers used to exterminate Jews were left behind, but they were not in the same condition they’d once been in. The Germans tried to destroy them, dynamiting some in the hopes of erasing the evidence.

It didn’t work. The chambers were still intact, along with the doors that were lined with airproof seals around the edges. There’s no question that these airtight seals were meant to keep poisonous gases from leaking out of the chambers. In the work order sent by the Auschwitz Construction Office, the doors are specifically described as “gas-tight.”

We’ve also found holes in chamber rooftops. These holes perfectly match survivors’ descriptions of how the Germans would pour Zyklon B crystals into the chambers. Zyklon B also left a residue that proves it really was used. The insides of the chambers are lined with hydrogen cyanide—a key component of Zyklon B.

8Catalogs Of Cremated Bodies


In a letter dated June 28, 1943, Auschwitz administrator Karl Bischoff wrote up a tally of all the cremations his men had performed on a single day. In just 24 hours in one camp, his men had cremated 4,756 Jewish people.

It seems like an impossibly high number, but the people who burned the bodies insist it is accurate. One, Henryk Tauber, reported that “on average, we incinerated 2,500 bodies a day.”

They used cremation equipment that was only meant to burn one body at a time, which would have made those numbers impossible. The Nazis, however, ignored basic decency to get through the work more quickly.

“Generally speaking, we burned four or five bodies at a time in one muffle,” Tauber explained, “but sometimes we charged a greater number of bodies. It was possible to charge up to eight.”


7Photographs Of Open-Air Pits


Photo credit: forum.md

Sometimes, the Nazis killed too many people to cremate in a single day. On those days, the Nazis took the dead out to a large burning pit to dispose of the bodies.

We have pictures of these burning pits—and it took an incredible act of bravery to get them out of the camp. The Nazis suppressed or destroyed most photographic evidence of the camps. The pictures of the open-air pits are among the only pictures that survived. These were taken by a prisoner who smuggled the film out of the camp in a tube of toothpaste.

We also have aerial photos of the burning pits letting out plumes of smoke. These were taken in 1944 by Allied reconnaissance planes that happened to photograph Auschwitz, not fully aware of what they were seeing. They caught, on camera, smoke emanating from one of the burning pits as Jewish lives were brought to an end.

6The Reinhard Death Camps


Photo credit: deathcamps.org

“Operation Reinhard” was the code name given to three death camps in southern Poland: Treblinka, Belzec, and Sobibor. While some Auschwitz prisoners were put into lives of forced labor, these camps were used purely for extermination.

Mass graves have been found in all three. Inside the graves are the cremated remains of the dead and a few bones that had been crushed into tiny shards.

In 1943, a telegram reporting on the Reinhard death camps was intercepted by the Allies. It was coded, referring to the camps by their first letters, and was ignored by the men who found it. It took until 2001 before anyone realized what it was.

The telegram was a death tally of Jews in the camps. Belzec: 434,508 dead. Sobibor: 101,370 dead. Treblinka: 713,555 dead.

By the end of the war, an estimated two million people died in these camps alone.

5The Gas Vans


In some death camps, Jews were exterminated in gas vans. These were large black vehicles with massive, airtight cargo compartments in the back. Thousands of Jews were forced into those compartments, and there they died.

The exhaust pipes were curved, turning under the car and up through holes in the floor. When the ignition was sparked, the carbon monoxide of the exhaust would fill up the compartment, killing everyone inside.

Several German officers left behind letters about the vans, most complaining about the way the vans were built. One, Dr. August Becker, wrote that he “ordered that during application of gas all the men were to be kept as far away from the vans as possible” to ensure their safety.

Another suggested moving the exhaust “so that the gas is fed from the top downwards” to keep the vehicles from rusting. In another letter from an SS officer to the Reich Security Office, the officer complained that he didn’t have enough gas vans to kill everyone he was expected to kill. “A transport of Jews, which has to be treated in a special way, arrives weekly,” he complained. “The three S-vans which are there are not sufficient for that purpose.”


4Anne Frank’s Diary


Photo credit: Heather Cowper

Some Holocaust deniers believe that Anne Frank’s diary was faked. They claim it is a forgery, a scheme by her father to get rich. One denier called it “just one more fraud in a whole series of frauds perpetrated in support of the ‘Holocaust’ legend and the saga of the Six Million.”

Most people just ignore the Holocaust deniers, but the Dutch government actually tested their claim. The government analyzed Anne Frank’s original diary and proved in several ways that it was legitimately written by Frank herself.

For one thing, the handwriting was consistent throughout the diary and with other examples of her handwriting. According to the report, the diary entries also had characteristics that fit the way young girls tend to write.

The materials were also proven to have been purchased before the end of the war. The paper, ink, and glue used in the diary were all created before the early 1940s. Different types of glue and ink were introduced in 1950, and the materials that made up Frank’s diary were extremely rare after the war ended.

The government also found that Anne Frank had passed the time by making a second draft of her diary. Fittingly for a teenage girl, she’d wanted to adapt her life into a detective story. So she rewrote her own life, using the family name “Robin” instead of her own.

3Witnesses To The Babi Yar Massacre


The Babi Yar Massacre was one of the worst mass killings of the Holocaust. On a single day in September 1941, 33,771 Jews were massacred in a ravine in Ukraine. There were few survivors. But some faked their deaths and escaped to tell the story.

However, the victims aren’t the only witnesses who confirmed that the massacre really happened. Some of the killers did, too, and their versions of the story perfectly corroborate the ones told by the survivors.

A German truck driver named Hofer said that the victims were forced to lie down on top of the bodies of the dead. “A police marksman came along and shot each Jew in the neck with a submachine gun,” he described. “It went on this way uninterruptedly, with no distinction being made between men, women, and children. The children were kept with their mothers and shot with them.”

Kurt Werner, one of the executioners in the massacre, described the same scene. “I had to spend the whole morning down in the ravine,” he said. “For some of the time, I had to shoot continuously.”

2The Einsatzgruppen Reports


Photo via Wikimedia

When the German Army marched into the Soviet Union, a group called Einsatzgruppen followed behind them. These were Nazi death squads who sought out and massacred Jews, usually gunning them down. The death squads murdered at least one million people before they were turned back, leaving a trail of mass graves in their wake.

The Einsatzgruppen sent weekly reports back to Berlin with updates of their massacres—and 194 of the 195 reports have survived to today. The reports list the dates, numbers, and ethnicities of the people killed by the Einsatzgruppen. Most of their victims were Jewish.

“I consider the Jewish action more or less terminated as far as Einsatzkommando 3 is concerned,” one report reads. “I am of the view that the sterilization program of the male worker Jews should be started immediately so that reproduction is prevented. If, despite sterilization, a Jewess becomes pregnant, she will be liquidated.”

1Hitler Knew About It


Photo credit: theunredacted.com

There is no question that Hitler knew and approved of what was going on. To keep his records clean, Hitler never wrote and signed an official order. But there is more than enough evidence to show that he was behind it.

In 1922, Hitler told Josef Hell, “Once I really am in power, my first and foremost task will be the annihilation of the Jews.” Likewise, Joseph Goebbels wrote in his diary, “Regarding the Jewish question, the Fuhrer is determined to clean the table. [ . . .  ] The world war has come, therefore the annihilation of the Jews has to be its inevitable consequence.”

In 1923, Goebbels recorded in his diary that he had informed Hitler that mobs were holding demonstrations in which they burned down synagogues. Goebbels recorded Hitler’s response: “He orders: Let the demonstrations go on. Withdraw the police. The Jews must for once feel the people’s fury.”

Hitler, worried about the public reaction to the Holocaust, seems to have given orders verbally rather than writing them down. So we don’t have his Holocaust order in writing.

Nazi soldiers confirm, though, that the orders came from Hitler himself. SS officer Adolf Eichmann wrote in his memoir that Reinhard Heydrich told Eichmann in 1942 “that the Fuhrer had ordered the physical destruction of the Jewish opponent.”

Despite all his caution, Hitler’s name is on one damning piece of paper. The “Report to the Fuhrer on Combating Partisans” announced that 363,211 Jews had been executed. On it are marked the words: “Shown to the Fuhrer.”

10 Amazing Underground Temples

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10 Amazing Underground Temples



When we think of places of worship, we tend to imagine airy buildings designed to let the light of God flood in. Not everyone has followed this design aesthetic. In the ancient world, it was common for people to descend into the Earth to come closer to their gods. Even today, there are religious complexes throughout the world where you can pray, so long as you aren’t too claustrophobic.

10Rock-Hewn Churches


Photo credit: Jialiang Gao

The usual, the easy, way of making a building is to pile components up until you have the structure you want. The other way is to start with bedrock and hack away everything until a building emerges. That is what the builders of the rock churches in Lalibela, Ethiopia, chose to do. Each of the churches is a single structure carved from the rock.

There are 11 monolithic churches in Lalibela, begun by King Lalibela in the 12th century. Muslim conquests in the Middle East made pilgrimages to the Holy Land dangerous for Ethiopia’s Christian community. Lalibela set out to create his own Jerusalem. In one of the churches can be found replicas of Adam’s tomb, Jesus’s tomb, and the crib of the Nativity. Legend has it that thousands of laborers worked during the day but construction was continued at night by angels.

The churches of Lalibela are still used for worship, but they are also part of a program to bring tourists to Ethiopia.


9Mogao Caves


Photo credit: Wikimedia

The Dunhuang oasis in China was once a major stop on the Silk Road, the overland trade route between Europe and China. A city grew up over the centuries. And where there are cities, there will be temples. For the Buddhists of Dunhuang, the earliest Buddhist community in China, they carved their temples into the nearby Mogao caves.

Begun in the fourth century, there are 492 richly decorated caves at Mogao. The walls are vividly painted with both religious and secular scenes and in a variety of styles that pay tribute to the mixture of peoples that met along the Silk Road. The Thousand-Buddha cave has walls entirely lined with miniature carvings of the Buddha. As well as Buddhist art, evidence has been found of Jewish, Christian, and Manichean influences.

In 1900, a cave, sealed for over 900 years, was opened at the site and proved to be packed with manuscripts. One of these documents proved to be theoldest printed book ever discovered.

8Hal Saflieni Hypogeum


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Imagine you decide to build an underground cemetery. You want it to last, so it has to be cut from the rock. Even today, with modern tools, that would be quite the undertaking. The builders of the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum did it in 4000 BC, so the only tools they had were stone, obsidian, and deer antler to carve out the structure.

A multilevel complex, the Hypogeum seems to have been modeled on the sort of temples that could be found aboveground. There are false windows and doors cut into the periphery. Strikingly, the roof is carved in the imitation of the wooden roof of a temple, which would otherwise be lost to us with time. Dead bodies seem to have been left in carved recesses to rot until only bones were left, at which time they were removed for burial.




Photo credit: Michelle Touton

Roman Paganism was remarkably open to allowing worship of new and diverse gods. In the first century, it seems that Roman soldiers began to embrace the veneration of Mithras, an Eastern god. Little is known about the theology or religious practices of the followers of Mithras, but what have remained are their underground temples—known as Mithraea.

The Mithraeum under the Circus Maximus, the huge race course, in Rome is one of the best preserved. The temple includes a sculpted frieze that shows Mithras in the act of slaying a bull. Similar images have been found from across the Roman world. This suggests that worship of Mithras may have included the ritual sacrifice of a bull—tauroctony.

6The Sinca Veche Temple Cave


Photo credit: Wikimedia

The underground complex at Sinca Veche is known by several names: Temple Cave, Monastery, and Temple of Destiny. Despite the research that has gone into the site, no one is quite sure how old it is, who built it, or why. There are nine separate rooms, two of which have been used as chapels, but the walls have non-Christian symbols. There is a Star of David and a Yin-Yang sign.

Research into traces left by tools used to carve some of the religious symbols has been revealing. The study of these atomic traces suggests that the temple was carved in the second century, though the original purpose is still open to speculation.

5St. Kinga Salt Church


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Mining has always been a dirty and dangerous business. In the 13th century, miners would need all the help they could get—it’s no wonder many of them sought help in prayer. At the Wieliczka salt mine in Poland the miners carved the shrines and chapels out of the salt. The rock salt at least has the benefit of being soft.

No one knows exactly how many of these places of worship once existed in the mine as they tended to be demolished as the mine was opened up. But there is now a spectacular church dedicated to St. Kinga. Legend has it that the saint dropped her engagement ring in Hungary. When she came with her husband into Poland, she had a premonition and ordered a well to be dug. Instead of water, they found salt. And in the middle of a block of crystal salt was her dropped ring. The site this supposedly occurred at was Wieliczka, where her underground chapel is now located.


4Zipaquira Salt Cathedral


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The mines at Zipaquira have been active since the fifth century BC. The cathedral hewn from the salt here, though, is much more modern. Smaller chapels existed in the mine, for similar reasons to those at Wieliczka, but in the 1990s, they were refurbished and expanded.

Now visitors to the mine can descend 500 feet into the earth and view the cathedral alongside the miners who still dig for salt there. There are 14 chapels, each with salt statues depicting a station of the cross, with the carvings and walls lit by LEDs that suffuse light into the salt. The site is a functioning church but is called a cathedral mainly to attract tourists.

3Temple Of Damanhur


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Damanhur is an ecovillage commune in the foothills of the Alps. There are similar sites all over the world. What most of those other communities lack is a Temple to Humanity.

The founder of Damanhur, Oberto Airaudi, began to have visions as a young child. He saw temples. As he grew up, he looked for a place in which to turn these visions into reality. Gathering others who shared his aims to him, he started construction of the underground temples in 1978. Since they kept their temples secret, without getting planning permission, when the authorities discovered them in the ’90s, work had to stop. They have since been allowed to continue. The Temples now contain a Hall of Mirrors, Hall of Metal, Halls of Spheres, and other areas used for meditation.

2Batu Caves


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To reach the underground shrines at Batu, pilgrims must first climb up 272 steps. Cathedral cave, at the top of the mountain, has an arched roof 100 feet high. Under this dome can be found various Hindu shrines.

During the festival of Thaipusam, devotees of the Lord Murugan will walk from Kuala Lumpur to the Batu caves. They carry offerings on special platforms called Kavadis on their shoulders. Most impressive is themortification of the flesh, piercing the cheeks, nose, or ears. Others will have hooks pushed through their skin. When they reach the top, priests bless the pilgrims by sprinkling them with holy ash. Then they may enter the richly colored caves.

1Neanderthal Caves


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175,000 years ago, someone entered a cave in France and ventured 1,000 feet from the entrance into the darkness. Here, they broke the natural rock formations, the stalactites and stalagmites, and arranged them into a circle. 400 of them were knocked into similar lengths. Whoever did this was surprisingly adventurous. Whoever they were, they were also not human.

The age of this structure puts it 100,000 years before the first modern humans came to Europe. The best guess is that the site was built by Neanderthals. The location of the circle, as well as its limited scale, make it unlikely it was a living space. Burned bone fragments and other evidence of fire show it was artificially lit.