History, A Thrilling Experience -- Beyond The Paris Catacombs

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Free to Travel

It was 2004 when I decided to travel all over the world. We all, back then, could blow more green cash than today. The money was there for grabs, and life didn't stop us from travelling. First stop?

Paris, France

The British Airways flight landed at Charles de Gaulle Airport on time after 6 Hours over that Atlantic from Columbus, Erick the Red and Leiff Ericcson. My Française was pretty much decent, even just to play a part on the next DaVinci Code installment. "Mon pere (dad), mon pere... wish you were here with me dear dad..."

I was shocked to see that Eiffel Tower and the "Arc de Triomphe" at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. For some reason all I wanted to see was those mysterious and cavernous Paris catacombs. I was a history buff thanks to a wonderful History teacher in 8th grade. Besides I took Geology in my 20's. What was there to stop me?

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The Catacombs

This underground ossuary holds the final resting place for more than 6 million souls. Located at the south end of the former city gate. These underground stone mine tunnels hid some many unsung heroes from the French resistance movement. Believe it or not, German troops found out about this network location and began to use it as an emergency bunker.

Why an Ossuary?

Paris, the one the Franks knew, held Roman traditions to bury their beloved ones on the outskirts of the city gates. By the Fifth century, paganism gave way to Christianity, and as we see it today in some churches in the U.S. or UK, people began to bury their dead behind their local churches sacred yards. Life was slow and the space for burials did abound. Most people would work the land or maybe become a jack of all trades.

A mason was always available for his church, and of course was promised a glorified resting place for him and his family. The rich didn't have problems at all, because they knew they had to collaborate with their church religiously.

Population grew and the Church cemeteries were already full. The Saints Innocents Cemetery was closed and demolished in 1780. It was having issues with stenching odors and decomposing smelling of corpses that not need to be named when we are eating.

It was Police Lieutenant General overseeing the renovations, Alexandre Lenoir, who first had the idea to use empty underground tunnels on the outskirts of the capital to this end. At first in 1786, the tunnels were used as an underground warehouse for those massive bones and skulls. We don't know for sure, who started to pile them artistically as we see them today. Maybe some masons that saw a better use to millions and millions of femurs and tibias that probably once were "bad to the bone?"

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The Visit

Early next day morning, we headed to Denfert-Roucheau Station. The only legal entrance for visitors. Descending through a narrowed spiral stoned staircase from the dark ages, we started to sense and smell that dense humidity along with a silence from under any graveyard. Yikes! We felt like "les miserables" indeed, but this time with some euros and our camera. Finally we reached rock bottom 60 feet under Parisian busy life.

"Arrête! C'est ici l'empire de la Mort "

'Halt! This is the empire of Death' Said the port to the real Catacomb entrance. Was not an easy task before getting there. We were told to walk for about 30 minutes through an enigmatic twisting hallway of mortared stone. Machu Picchu was up above 8000 feet, but this time we were in the kingdom of the death.

The signs were helpful, but graffitti from hundred of years ago almost stopped us from the crowd. But we did stop and were atracted to a curious spot. A skull was there... like staring at us. I was bold enough to do my "three stooges" move. Your fault Moe!!

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Suddenly...

The darn thing pulled me toward it. My... I couldn't scream or beg for my life. The view in front of me was terrifying. A living nightmare trying to punish me for doing this to a formal human being.

The artificial lights got dimmer and the whole cavern turned around 360 degrees under my feet, just to confuse my "conscious self."

Through Tunnels and Lights

A force, or an spirit like energy took me away through people who didn't see me pass them by! But where was I heading without my own agreement or consent?

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"Mon nom est.." My name is...

Every bit of me, every breathing and sweating was drawn to a secluded area, and this person from long time ago sat in front of me. It wasn't Rousseau, Montesquieu, Condorcet or Voltaire for sure. Curiously, I was able to understand his old French, a Provencal or old Occitan.

"My name is Pierre-Guillaume Delacroix," he said to me. "Don't worry mon ami," he continued, "I was this well known troubadour from long time ago. But way before my career as an entertainer, I was a "prieur de la maison de l'ordre de l'Hôpital " (a Knight Templar like priory tenure). I was killed by road robbers when I was coming back from Montpelier."


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My Sudden Questioning...

After getting myself together and taking a deeper breath, I was able to understand this spirit, or whatever you want to call him. To be honest his mouth smelled like raw liver, and this fetid odor came from under his dark brown robe. Talking about a bloated up deer smelling like a dead goat. I was about to throw up on his face...!

"Is this how you make people dissapear?" I inquired

Not at all! Things happen for a reason, remember that. Energy never gets destroyed, it just changes. Now to make sure you understand, you will be granted some powers from now own. You will master several languages and we will join you in your journey...

I don't really understand anything about this shit you are telling me, Jean Paul!

Pierre-Guillaume, monsieur!

Sorry for the harsh words Pierre-Guillaume , but I think, and you know it! I really believe this is just a cheap nightmare for a Halloween story...!

I knew that anger of yours was coming... but you will need us for your future inspirations. I will make things rhyme and the world will come to you like avid swans.

So, you are telling me that I will write a book, or..?

You will become a writer for sure. And when you leave this dungeon of the lost souls from oblivion, you will choose a surname that will make you unique.

Which is..?

"Lord De Croix," or "Lord De Cross."

I don't see a meaning to it...and I hope I can go back to my own life as soon as possible! I belong to my own time up there! And why are we here in front of these cold and insensitive skulls? Are they your family?

No mon ami.. those are the road robbers that took my life. I just knew they would end up worse than me.

So they died a terrible death..?

Oui! Just after that black death of 1348 C.E. (kneeling down and doing his own sign of the cross) pater, filius, spiritus sanctus, amen!

Amen!


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Back to my Freakin' Life...

Fighting my way back through wicked souls that wanted to pull me away for good, my whole physical body reunited instantly with the group that descended to the Catacombs with me that morning. I was already walking a little behind and I felt like passing out. I wanted to look back, but I wanted to leave as soon as I could. I knew this trip was meant to be, but enough was enough!

But there we go again! Right in front of me and my own eyes, this curious couple was following already another chosen one, or victim? Pierre-Guillaume, mentally told me to, "mind my own business!"

Voila!

Was this the end?

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Comments 36 comments

Janine Huldie profile image

Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

Wow, Joseph, great story to get us into the Halloween mood. I was very much captivated and couldn't wait to see how your story turned out. Great job and have voted and shared all over :)


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States

Lord De Cross. I had wondered how you came upon that name and now we know. This is certainly a riveting story and what a way to start the day! The catacombs of various cities have always held a fascination for me also and your story is outstanding.


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

WWWooowww!!!! Superb great hub. Would like to see this too. You take the readers into the depths of this catacombs. Amazing.

shared


denisemai profile image

denisemai 4 years ago from Idaho

Tres bien, Lord de Cross. I thought I was entering a typical recap of a trip to Paris and then you grabbed me by my arm, spilling my coffee I might add, and took me in a whole different direction. How fun. Well done!


midget38 profile image

midget38 4 years ago from Singapore

Went to Paris, but somehow missed this!! Oui, this is scary! the aura of any place where souls abide is definitely a little less positive. Thanks for the scary share, I share it too. Au Revior, Joseph!


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

wow scary Joesph.. I would still want to go just to check it out..lol.. I love your story.. and the pictures awesome and the video.. great hub

sharing

Debbie


LaThing profile image

LaThing 4 years ago from From a World Within, USA

Interesting story! Trying to scare people, are we?? :))

Pictures are great, loved the read...... Thanks for sharing.


LABrashear profile image

LABrashear 4 years ago from My Perfect Place, USA

This is one of my "bucket list" destinations...including the Catacombs. I'll definitely think about my actions while walking through them! Well done - enjoyable - voted up!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

Magnifique monsieur! Merveilleuse histoire! (meaning: Magnificent sir, wonderful story.) A great way to introduce us to the catacombs (of course via Monsieur Pierre-Guillaume) as well as to the origins of your name! Really brilliantly done...in tune with the season, very original and beautiful pictures (even looks like a ghost in the tunnel picture)! Your imagination and creativity make this an interesting journey.

Voted up, awesome, and interesting. Shared with my followers so they may get to know the great Lord De Croix!!


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

Joseph, you are " Bad to the bone " I never completely know if you are writing a fantasy or a true adventure, either way, I enjoyed learning about the catacombs...


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

I WAS going to go to Paris, but now... If I go I will stay out of the catacombs. What an adventure. I loved your photos. Very interesting.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

An exciting story, great imagination! Well done.


newusedcarssacram profile image

newusedcarssacram 4 years ago from Sacramento, CA, U.S.A

I enjoyed reading this hub. Great experience!


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago Author

Morning Janine. Scary at times; being more than 6 feet under, and feeling the pressure of the living world on top of us, is just... gives us so much to think about. We are not here forever for sure. Thanks for the input and your wonderful comment!


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago Author

Hi Pamela 99, The pics are real (no photoshop at all) and the place is more than "deeply" real. It all started in 1786, three years before the French revolution. Probably we wouldn't have seen this place, if the Take of the Bastilles had happened on July 14th 1786. Great commenting and appreciated by your support!


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago Author

Thanks for the visit unknown spy, this is a must see place. You cannot bring a dog who would love to get hold of a bone, you know? Thanks!


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago Author

Denisemai, the fun was ours! It not that we don't love stories, but we can go into depth thinking and therefore writing what we see in a mind blogging virtual screen in front of us. Glad to have you with us.


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago Author

Hi Michelle Liew, Thanks for stopping by, and yes, going down to the antechamber of hell is like scratching those fallen angel's backs. "C'est la vie!"


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago Author

Deborah Brooks, thanks my friend! You would love to be down there, but is not recommended for people that hate closed environments. Id you see the ceilings from the pics, you can feel the pressure of the outside world. Always happy to see you with us!


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago Author

Lathing, scaring you? Who is trying to scare you? Not us! Just check your closets before going to bed. Scare you? Nah! Just commom sense. Unless you have stories of your own...! Thanks for the fun commenting!


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago Author

LABrashear, thanks! At least you have a preview of what you will see. Take it or leave it! See you soon!


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago Author

What a vivid and eloquent commenting Mary C. I felt that virtual shaking of hands. Thanks for checking on our humble inspirations. You definetely know your Francaise, mademoiselle Craig!


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago Author

Morning Rubi, The place is real, the pics are real, the bones more than real, the tunnel networks at times suffocating. The story? Ours! LDC was born from his love on history, languages and that science.


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago Author

Hi Tammy! Kinda thrown back by your commenting. Are you going to skip this experience? Not that we love our sweet friend, but I would take you blindfolded down there, then you decide which way to run. Thanks for your continuous feedback!


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago Author

Hi there Jackie Lynnley, what is that I just get women commenting on this hub? I guess is a women's thing to watch scary movies late at nights.Women love that flabbergasting, and we, the human race comply and abide. Thanks Jackie Lynnley! Your visit is truly appreciated.


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago Author

Hi newusedcarssacram. I wanted to read a hub of yours, but oh well! Thanks anyway! Hope you enjoy HP as we do! Take care.


FSlovenec profile image

FSlovenec 4 years ago from San Francisco, CA

I have been to Paris many times and have never visited the catacombs..the memorial to the resistance across the street behind Notre Dame is a stark reality of the sacrifice for freedom, which I think the French have forgotten. I was shown this place by a friend who had been in the resistance as we approached it, he began to cry..thanks


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Thank you for taking us along as only you can on your cataclysmic visit to the catacombs while clarifying how you came up with your name filled with character and charm. Voted UP and UABI. Hugs, Maria


Genna East profile image

Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Wow!! What a unique way to see Paris…through the catacombs and Lord De Cross. Merci pour ce voyage stupéfiant! (Thanks for the amazing trip!)


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago Author

FSlovenec, war and memories will only stop when we end the trip of life. Your friend must've been holding emotions for a long time. Thanks for your support and feedback my friend.


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago Author

Hi Maria, seems that pics can help us boost a story. The Catacombs were a experience beyond those 6 feet under. Thanks for checking on us. Now I need to check your last installment!


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago Author

Hi there Gena East; You won't regret it if you go one day. Amazing how so many lives have joined themselves "down to the bone" in this eternal dance, next to a pit of hell. Au revoir!


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 4 years ago from West Virginia

Joe, awesome article! I believe I have seen a few documentaries on these. I watched how they are considered to be one of the most haunted areas in the world or something to that nature. By reading your article, I see that the old saying is true. But think about it, all those souls lost? You know many are down there and I would say they are many that are evil. What a crazy article Lord, well done. Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting, and shared. AWESOME!!!!


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago Author

thelyricwriter, Thanks for reading this modest hub my tattoed friend! The pics are as real as any haunted movie. Even the pic with the lost soul rushing us...is real, no photshop at all! Glad you stopped by!


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

Wow, what an awesome read!!

I have been to Paris several times and only visited boring stuff such as the tower and museums!

Brilliant, loved this and voted up!


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago Author

Movie Master, you are less than 4 hours drive through the Channel. This world is becoming smaller and smaller. Need to catch up with a visit to The British Isles this or the next year. Thanks for your wonderful words!

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