SCARIEST PLACES IN THE WORLD : St. George’s Church, Czech Republic

Originally built in 1352, St. George’s Church (about 125 miles east of Prague) boasts quite a history. The building was nearly destroyed by fires many times over the centuries, and its roof partially collapsed during a funeral service in 1968. Many people were convinced the place was haunted and opted to leave it to the elements instead of going inside. People refused to enter, as a result, the building was stripped by robbers and fell prey to vandalism.

In 2012, local resident and volunteer caretaker Petr Koukl wanted to raise the funds to repair it but wasn’t sure how to do it. He enlisted the help of student Jakub Hadrava who created the installation as his thesis for art college. He created plaster models of real people, then covered them with sheets before placing them in the church. In the past five years, the ghosts have slowly given the church a new lease of life. They sit solemnly in the pews, congregate at the altar, and stand at the doorways, as if to beckon you inside. Word of mouth began to spread and in 2014 a video published on YouTube helped more people discover the Czech curiosity.

600,000 koruna (€23,500) has been raised from admission fees so far and they were able to get the roof repaired last year. They also organise concerts and even hold the occasional mass in the church. At present, the ghost church is only open on Saturdays from 1pm to 4pm – though the installation itself is permanent – and attendance is excellent with about 150 people coming every weekend.

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