The Ossuary in Sedlec
April 19, 2002 2:51 AM   Subscribe

The Ossuary in Sedlec in the Czech Republic is a chapel, built around 1511, decorated in 1870 by a local woodcutter. His material? Human bones.
posted by fidelity (13 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The great Czech filmmaker Jan Svankmajer made a short movie about the Sedlec Ossuary. Some versions have a tour guide talking throughout but Svankmajer intended it to be shown with his own soundtrack—part jazz, part Jacques Prevert poem. The weird combination of upbeat music and strange poetry make the church of bones even creepier than it already is. My video store doesn't have any Svankmajer, but I think I've almost convinced them to get some. If you're not familiar with his surreal and disturbing work, consider watching "Ossuary" or his equally powerful "Jabberwocky."
posted by gutenberg at 4:05 AM on April 19, 2002

It has a certain rustic charm about it, sure, but who has time to clean all those bones? I'm scared of the living dead if the window behind me is open. I'm sure the human remains scattered about would be comforting in times of spiritual crisis.
posted by gleemax at 4:07 AM on April 19, 2002

Where'd he get all the bones?
posted by MeetMegan at 6:39 AM on April 19, 2002

Oh, nevermind.

Mental note: read the whole freaking site before posting a comment.
posted by MeetMegan at 6:43 AM on April 19, 2002

I'm wondering if Abbot Henry has been recently reborn as Amy Hughes.
posted by Danf at 8:05 AM on April 19, 2002

If you think about it, except for the work of this woodcutter, these bones would have long since disintigrated, and with them, *any* trace of the people themselves. Think about it, if you were a high-school student in the year 2250, would you give two hoots about the people living today, unless you were mildly freaked out by their remains?
I mean, call it a last laugh. "Yesiree, I've been giving nightmares to high school kids longer than Freddie!"

Since you're dead anyway, what do you care? Maybe some artist will make a Geiger-like 3-D thingy out of you that will end up in the MET. Cool for a thousand years.
posted by kablam at 8:17 AM on April 19, 2002

I'm the 35th visitor that site's ever had since 1997.
posted by protocool at 8:19 AM on April 19, 2002

In fact it's looking like the site has recieved more hits in the last five minutes than in its entire five year life span.
posted by protocool at 8:25 AM on April 19, 2002

That's okay, protocool. I'm visitor 9.
posted by MeetMegan at 8:32 AM on April 19, 2002

There's also the Capuchin Church Santa Maria della Concezione in the Via Veneto in Italy made of the bones of departed brothers. Bill Bryson had a great bit about that place, like it must have been unnerving when you'd get a cold and they'd start measuring your femur for a window frame.

Sorry if they mentioned this in the original link, but it seemns to be down now.
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:23 AM on April 19, 2002

The counter is wrong. His guestbook goes back to 1996, and it's full.
posted by yhbc at 9:25 AM on April 19, 2002

A few years ago, I visited the chapel in Portugal built by monks from the bones of their departed brothers in order to remind themselves of their mortality.

Stephen King would have been proud. I can see why it would also make a good movie set.
posted by Geo at 9:57 AM on April 19, 2002

Some pictures of the Capela dos Ossos that Geo mentioned. (Where's Miguel to tell us more about this thing?)
posted by fidelity at 1:41 PM on April 19, 2002

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