catacombs

This Friday marks the theatrical release of one of the few remaining big screen horror films of 2014; As Above, So Below. The film centers on a group of explorers who find more than they bargained for in the catacombs of Paris, uncovering a dark secret that threatens to destroy them all.

Though the events of the film aren’t actually grounded in reality, the setting most definitely is. Yes, underneath the streets of Paris actually does lie a mass underground graveyard, which has long been open for public visitation and exploration.

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About six million people are buried in the so-called ‘Catacombs of Paris,’ their bones and skulls ornately decorating the walls in a most macabre fashion. It was in 1785 that the painstaking process of moving the dead from Paris’ cemeteries into the underground tunnels began, the bizarre project being a direct result of Paris’ cemetery overflow problem.

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Prior to the construction of the Catacombs of Paris, the crude cemeteries in the French capital were far from conventional, one of which saw centuries worth of bodies simply packed under mounds of dirt. A series of abandoned mines in the area became the solution to the problem, and workers spent two years displacing the dead.

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In 1810, the catacombs were renovated and the underground tunnel system was turned into a visitable mausoleum, which has been open to the public ever since. The perfect setting for a horror film? Let’s just say we’re surprised it took this long for someone to realize that!

Check out the trailer for As Above, So Below, which takes you deep into the Catacombs of Paris this Friday!

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