WPC: Eerie places I’ve shivered in.


For this week’s challenge Cheri Lucas shared a photo taken by Merilee Mitchell entitled “Ghost Child.”  She said that “a photo doesn’t have to be blatantly macabre to be eerie. But it can have a mysterious, otherworldly vibe — the viewer wonders what lurks in the shadows. Something eerie has a story to tell — one you aren’t quite sure you want to know.”

Cheri asks that our pics be in B&W, so here are a few places I’ve visited on my travels, which have literally given me the shivers. If you click on the pics, you’ll get the full ‘eerie’ effect.  😯

In downtown Lima, Peru, below the ‘Convento de San Francisco’, along some secret passageways, are catacombs containing an Ossuary in which it is estimated lie the bones of 70,000 people. They are lined up along narrow hallways, and one area contains several large and deep holes, filled with bones and skulls arranged above each other in circular patterns. This 17th century Baroque church, originally had a normal graveyard for its members, but when space became a problem, the skulls and bones were removed from the graves and thrown into a deep pit, which over time, became the last resting place for most of Lima’s dead. When the place was discovered and opened up for archeological excavation in 1943, they found the bones just heaped up in there, and decided that the catacombs would have more ‘appeal’ if they were arranged artistically, so they placed the skulls together in a centre pile, with same length arm bones radiating outward, and matching leg bones extending beyond the arms; a rather eerie sight indeed.

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In the Italian Medieval town of Monterosso in the Cinque Terre, is the Romanesque style church of Saint John the Baptist, built of black and white Italian marble. Right next door is the Oratory of the Dead (also black and white), which was built by a brotherhood of good works. Their good work consisted of arranging funerals, taking care of widows, orphans, and the shipwrecked, and their symbols were a skull and crossbones, an hourglass, and the happy inscription “Death awaits us all.” There is a skull and crossbones above the door, and skeletons decorate the cornices.

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On 24th August 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the city of Pompeii under twenty-seven feet of volcanic ash. The ruins were discovered in 1748, and in 1865, excavations began. At the time of its destruction, Pompeii had a population of some 20,000 people.  It was a really eerie feeling to be walking along the original roads, and to be able to see ruts made by the chariot wheels all those years ago, before this community was blanketed in a thick layer of hot ash.

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The Colosseum in Rome has a very bloody history indeed. In this arena, the Emperor entertained the public with free games, which started off with a few circus acts, but usually ended with fights to the death between wild animals and gladiators. To mark the inauguration of the building in AD 80, some 9,000 wild animals were destroyed. Today it stands as a monument to Roman imperial power and cruelty, where for centuries, literally thousands of people whom they saw as criminals, Christian martyrs, professional fighters and wild animals, were cold-bloodedly killed, just for sport. Standing there imagining the cheers of the 50,000 strong crowd, and the horrible gory spectacles, really gave me the shudders.

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In the Black Hills of north-eastern Wyoming is the 386 metre high monolith called ‘Devil’s Tower’. This National Monument has been the source of many legends, and the story from the Cheyenne tells us that there was once a band of Cheyenne travelling to worship the Great Spirit at Devils Tower. One of the warrior’s wives was charmed by an enormous bear without a mate, so the warriors set out to find and kill it. They were chased by the bear, and climbed into a tree. The Great Spirit gave the men the strength to kill the bear, but the woman had also turned into a bear and made the great rock her home. Because of this, it came to be known as ‘Bear’s Tipi’. We were the only people around when we came upon this eerie sight looming in the mist. It really did look like the stuff of legends.

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Well I think that’s enough doom and gloom for one weekend. I usually say “I hope you enjoyed my pics for the challenge,’ but if you didn’t, I’ll totally understand. 😀

Have a great weekend.

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133 comments on “WPC: Eerie places I’ve shivered in.

  1. Thanks for the mini documentary. You’ve really done a nice job of photographing those historic places in captivating compositions.

  2. Paradise, You happened upon my blog because of a shout out by Paulette Mahurin of Mildred Dunlap fame, I thank you for taking the time and visiting. I truly enjoy this post, because I have shivered in some of these same places. I don’t have the beautiful photos you do, but I have wonderful memories. Please take care, Bill

    • Hi, Bill. Yes, Paula did recommend your blog to visit, and I read your about page. I then got sidetracked looking at Google to see what exactly COPD is, so I could understand more what you are suffering from. Unfortunately, just as I was getting engrossed it that, hubby whisked me off to Lowes to choose kitchen tiles. Thanks so much for looking at my ‘eerie’ post, and for your comment. 🙂 Sylvia

      • Paradise, thank you for visiting once again. As your research leads you, you will find that COPD is terminal, but it takes it’s time. I still write about it, and it is the focus of my Blog, but I have started using my Blog to share my life with my granddaughter. So after I am gone she will have a book of memories just for her.

        I thought the 8th bday party was a massive success, something that rivaled the one we threw for our daughter a million yrs ago. I truly love how your photos work, and tell a story. Take care, Bill

  3. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Eerie | Through the Eye of Bastet

  4. “In downtown Lima, Peru, below the ‘Convento de San Francisco’, along some secret passageways, are catacombs containing an Ossuary in which it is estimated lie the bones of 70,000 people.” That was an eerie photo! I found the colosseum to be wildly intriguing.

  5. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Eerie Tomb | Processing the life

  6. Great photos!! Interesting that you chose a photo from Pompeii as did we for this challenge 🙂
    And San Francisco Convent with all those bones definitely gave us the chills when we were there. We were on a day tour and had no idea we were going to see that. Made us feel ever so uneasy especially the way the bones are displayed…. And the amount of skulls we saw.

    • Thanks so much for your visit here. Yes, it was a really gruesome and eerie sight to see. There was a red glow around those bones, which I’m sure you saw too. This made it all the more scary. 😯

  7. Nothing more scary than seeing a real skeleton, much more thousands. Each one was once a person but what’s eerie is how they died. They say, those that died in a horrible way comes back to haunt or ask for our prayers. Awesome images!

  8. I visited these places, with exception of the first in Lima… but right now I prefer to search for more appelling places (and let the death R.I.P.) 😉 You caught a great impression with your pictures…
    serenity and a good week :-)claudine

  9. It’s easy to see why 108 people plus me liked this post! Fantastic group of eerie legends you’ve highlighted here and the photos are just so dang good!!
    How about those skeletons carved into the cornices in Monterosso’s Oratory of the Dead! Holy Canoli! That may be the creepiest, most eerie pic of the lot!
    Great post all around!

    • Thanks so much for liking my eerie post. 🙂 Yes, that place in Monterosso was really weird, with the skull and crossbones over the door, and all those jolly skeletons dancing around the cornices. 🙂

  10. amazing places you have been blessed to visit – intrigued with the catacombs and having all the bones rearranged in an orderly fashion. actually that seems such a lovely gesture. instead of being treated like heap of garbage, the remains are set in honorary positions. bless those who worked hard to gain back respect to those lost lives.

  11. “Death awaits us all.”

    I can’t believe Hallmark haven’t put that one in a birthday card! 😉

    Great photos, in an eerie kind of way. I can’t believe they decided to rearrange the bones though…

  12. Not sure I should say this, but what beautiful photos, even though they are doom and gloom. There’s so much to see in this world.

  13. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Eerie (3) | Through the Eye of Bastet

  14. Perfect for the theme, ad. That first shot amazes me. I don’t know if I like the idea that people rearranged the bones and skulls, but that’s just me. These shots are great!

  15. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Eerie | Processing the life

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  17. Excellent pics, I’ve seen the Devil’s Tower from a distance befor taking up photography, I wish I had my cameras…:-)

    • Thanks so much for the link, Marion. It’s absolutely incredible to think that this place is decorated with human bones. I’m not sure that I would like to visit it, but it would certainly make for a good blog post. 😀

  18. This is the most interesting article I have read on the “eerie” theme. I wonder how the people that were arranging all these skulls and bones felt. I know I would not be able to lend a hand :S. Great job with the pics and writing, Sylvia 🙂

  19. An eerie gallery with excellent photos. After reading your post I am prodded to get moving this morning- life is fleeting for sure. Terrific collection for the challenge.

  20. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge – Eerie | Isadora Art and Photography

  21. Love the last line. No bias. I love the pictures along with the stories. I would say I love the ones in Italy more but the first and last are so interesting. I don’t mind turning into a conspicuou big rock if I was surrounded by ladies and got attacked by a bear. 😀

    • Hehehe. I think you wouldn’t mind at all, Rommel, except that you wouldn’t be able to move from there, and I know how you just love hopping from place to place. 🙂

  22. Love the black and white photos of these historical places. Eerie but very interesting indeed. Thanks for this very informative post.

  23. Arranged artistically has the side effect of making the place looks more eerie. The place looks like a place for a ritual than just an overflow pit.

  24. So amazing Sylvia. Now I appreciate living in Australia in the 21st century so much more! Great collection of photos but gee so confronting.

  25. All most interesting. That is an awe-inspiring rock. Pity the legends growing up around such places aren’t less morbid. One would welcome an up-beat one, especially to go with such a spectacle.

    • Thanks, Col. Maybe there is a less morbid legend if one has a look. Do you like this one better, from the Kiowa tribe, which tell that there were seven sisters who got lost and were being chased by a Grizzly bear. They hopped up onto a tree stump that at once grew into this enormous stump-like formation. On this stump, they were borne into the sky and became the stars which now make up the Big Dipper formation. 😕

    • I wasn’t really given a choice. I didn’t quite know what to expect, but being as I found myself face to skulls with this grisly scene, I didn’t want to miss out on taking a couple of pics, just as compensation. 😀

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  27. I’m not sure I’d want to know how it feels, to be handling skeletons and skulls in catacombs. Let alone re-arrange them. oh boy, now mount vesuvius. What a tragic event, so many victims encased within ashes. :O

  28. molte delle tue storie da brividi riguardano il passato del mio paese l’Italia, …ne ho anche io in serbo una per fare una sorpresa nei prossimi post…forse penserai allora che il tuo bellissimo post non era così poi pauroso…he he, ne riparleremo allora, ah, io non sono affatto taurosa per quanto riguarda i defunti…temo molto di più alcuni tipi di esseri viventi
    un grande abbraccio Ventis

    many of your stories from the past creeps in my country, Italy … I also I have a to do a surprise in the next post … maybe you think then that your wonderful post was not so then scary … he he, that then,
    ah, I am not at all taurosa regarding the dead … I fear much more certain types of living beings

  29. “…decided that the catacombs would have more ‘appeal’ if they were arranged artistically, so they placed the skulls together in a centre pile, with same length arm bones radiating outward, and matching leg bones extending beyond the arms; a rather eerie sight indeed…”

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