Places of Both: the Sedlec Ossuary

In The Company of Souls, you’ll learn about “places of Both.” These are areas where bodies have been buried, effectively bridging the worlds of the living and dead. This is why we’re able to see ghosts in graveyards, houses, etc. Obviously this is just my take on how the rules of life and death work, but last year a friend who knows me far too well introduced me to the most blatant real-life place of Both I’ve ever seen.
Ladies and Gentleman, I give you the Sedlec Ossuary, a chapel in the Czech Republic…decorated with human skeletons.
Ages ago, an abbot brought back some soil from Golgotha in Jerusalem. As a consequence, more and more people wanted to be buried in proximity to the holy dirt, which eventually led to the construction of a Gothic church, which eventually held too many bones, which were eventually put in order by a woodcarver…which ended up looking like this:
ossuary chandelier
That’s right; that’s a chandelier made out of people. Unfortunately, the ossuary does not turn up in The Company of Souls, but it would certainly fit right in. It’s a perfect place of Both, and its many carvings, statues, and macabre arrangements are also proof of a truth I’ve stuck to in my writing: darkness has a beautiful face.
For those of you beginning to think, “Good grief, this chick thinks light fixtures made out of body parts are pretty; what the heck am I still doing here?”, I want you to pause a moment and consider this.
Those bones lying around the chapel could have been thrown away. They could have been destroyed. Instead, somebody took the time to create something meaningful out of the only things these people could leave behind. Whoever they were, they are now immortalized. Part of human nature is the urge to combat death, and I think the woodcarver of the Sedlec Ossuary made it very clear who won.

(photo found here: )


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