Buried underneath the streets of Paris lie the Paris Catacombs, housing the bones of over 6 million people. Created due to a shortage of burial space in the city, the Paris Catacombs have become one of the eeriest sites of Paris.
Lots of legends and folklore now surround this cemetery, luring more and more people each year to visit the darker side of Paris. The legends found here within draw millions of visitors each year.
Bone-Chilling Paris Catacombs Legends and Myths
Who doesn’t love a good story? The fact of the matter is that some places have a propensity to produce better stories than other places. The final resting place of 6 million+ bodies that has been opened up as a tourist attraction with lines wrapping around the block is going to fall into the better story category.
“The Uncovered Video Camera“
This, by far, is one of the creepiest Paris Catacombs legends. In the early 1990’s, a group of cataphiles (people who study and explore the Paris Catacombs regularly) were walking through the dark chambers of the cemetery.
They happened upon a video camera on the ground. To their surprise, the camera had footage on it. As the group watched the footage, they heard disturbing noises.
It became apparent that the man holding the video camera was lost, and had no idea how to escape. In the video, the audience can clearly draw that the man is going mad inside of the underground network of tunnels.
The video ends abruptly, with the man dropping his camera on the ground. To this day, no one knows who this man was, or if he came out alive. Many believe that the movie “As Above, So Below” was inspired by this tragedy.
“Voices at Midnight“
Possibly linked to the video camera story above, a famous Paris Catacombs legend says that a mystifying thing occurs within the burial site after midnight.
The legend says that if you are inside of the Paris Catacombs after midnight, the walls begin to speak. Disembodied voices will try to persuade you to venture deeper and deeper into the Catacombs until you can’t find your way out.
Heading to Paris and want to check out the Catacombs first hand? Check out our Paris Catacombs tours and tickets below!
“The Ghost of Philibert Aspairt“
During the French revolution, a man named Philibert Apsairt was a doorman at the Val-de-Grâce hospital. On a mission to fetch a certain liqueur from a cellar, Philibert actually ended up entering the Paris Catacombs instead.
Walking around the pitch black Catacombs alone with just a single candle, Philibert became incredibly lost and confused. Many believe he may have been intoxicated at the time as well. Philibert’s candle blew out, making his vision completely black.
At this point, it was virtually impossible for him to escape the profound darkness of the Catacombs. His body was not found until 11 years later when a group of cataphiles uncovered it.
They identified him by the hospital key ring hanging from his belt. Aspairt is buried in the Catacombs in the exact same place where he died with a tombstone describing his death. Cataphiles and Catacombs folklore tellers say that each November 3rd, Philibert’s ghost haunts the labyrinth of the Catacombs.
“Secret Hideout Inside of the Paris Catacombs“
In 2004, a group of police officers was exploring a part of the Paris Catacombs restricted from public access and they began to uncover very strange things.
First, they found a PA system with pre-recorded guard dog barking noises playing. Then, they found 3,000 square feet of galleries, wired for phones using pirated electricity.
The officers found a bar, living area, workshop, lounge and even a cinema with room to seat 20 people.
The cinema seats had been carved into the stones of the Catacombs. The creepiest part was, they saw cameras on the ceilings recording them.
The police squad went back to the area a few days later with a larger team to further investigate. Everything they had discovered, from the phone lines to the Paris Catacombs cinema, had vanished.
The only thing they found? A note that read: “Ne cherchez pas,” meaning, “don’t search.”
If you are super interested in this attraction, check out the tours we run! Guides have a wealth of anecdotes and stories that will make your experience more memorable!