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A Capuchin Crypt Full Of Well-Preserved Old Friars

Posted: 10/30/11 11:31 AM ET

Established in the 16th century by friars as an outgrowth of their original cemetery, the Capuchin crypts were originally dug in 1599 to hold the mummified body of fellow monk, Silvestro of Gubbio. Originally intended for other dead friars, a strange tradition emerged over the ensuing centuries as affluent Sicilians were entombed in the crypts as a symbol of social status. These well-to-do would request to spend the rest of time adorned in their favorite outfits, some even insisting that their wardrobe be changed at regular intervals...

8,000 Mummies
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Lining long, dimly lit corridors, seated on benches and chairs, and tucked into open coffins are the 8,000 quasi-mummified corpses of the Capuchin Monastery and Catacombs.

Read More about the Sleeping Beauty and Sicily's Well Dressed Dead on Atlas Obscura.

photo by Seth Teicher

31 Days of Halloween: On Atlas Obscura this month, every day is Halloween. Stop by the Atlas Obscura blog every day this month for true tales of the unquiet dead. Come for the severed heads, stay for the book bound in human skin. Every story is true, and each one is a real place you can visit. We dare you.

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