Each time I go to Rome I try to find something different -- and ghostly -- to do. I discovered this museum on a list of the 10 most obscure museums in the world. I knew I had to go.
After asking for a few days (the tour company had to look it up and double check the location. It's not a hugely popular destination, apparently) my group finally went to see this. I must admit that I was a bit disappointed. It's one wall in a room in a MODERN church (only 100 years old -- that's young for Rome). The church is the Chiesa del Sacro Cuore del Suffragio and it is located right next to the Tiber. The rather modern architecture matches some of the churches I have seen locally at home in Florida.
The Museum hosts a series of about 16 items that have imprints of people (ghosts) who have visited from Purgatory. For a euro, one can buy a sheet telling stories about the various visits. One included a man who touched his friend's hand and the touch was like acid -- the friend had a hole burned in his skin. The ghost then followed up by touching one of the books and leaving a burned imprint of his fingers.
Some of the ghosts visit once, some a few times. Every ghost has a request for aid -- souls in Purgatory will, according to Catholic belief, be sent to heaven. However, they must atone for any misdeeds. For a fun check into the popular folklore of Purgatory, check out Dante's Divine Comedy -- there are three parts and the second is about Dante's travels through Purgatory. I seem to recall scholars forced to wear leaden cloaks with the words of forbidden (academic) texts (that didn't abide by church teaching) written on them. I may be in some trouble.
It was interesting to at least view a semi-Spiritualist view from another culture. Most of the images were produced during the 1800s -- a time when Spiritualism was on the rise.
For more information on this unique place, here are a few websites and links:
Though Rome was a bust, I did get a nice ghost story from a tour guide in Florence. See what you think!
Rome is no stranger to death. Other sites include 2nd century cemetery stones built into church walls and relics. The one below is the skull of St. Valentine. Yes, THAT guy.
I have taken multiple trips to Italy starting in 2000. I've come in contact with multiple sites across the country and have attempted a bit of paranormal investigation. I've decided to compile the information into a haunted travel log based on my trips and reports over the years. Each is just a touch of haunted but I hope that it sparks some interest!
This was an interesting trip and one of the few I have taken over winter break. The weather was bitterly cold and the airlines lost my luggage. I spent days in inappropriate winter wear and ended up very sick when I returned home. To spare you the entire travel log, I've opted to post just the piece where I did feel that I had a paranormal encounter:
We did get to Herculaneum today (via train). It is a great place. I think I took about 45 photos with digital camera and another roll and a half with 35 mm. I brought a compass to see if there was any ghostly activity in the place. The only thing I can say for certain is that there was one spot that I was walking through where I felt an intense moment of sadness, to the extent that I thought I was going to cry. I saw my compass fluctuate (indicating possible EMF fluctuations) and got my digital ready. I snapped a picture immediately and a double orb image appeared in front of where I was standing. Remnant of the past or total fluke I have yet to decide. However, I got only one other orb image as we got ready to leave, and the compass (and my emotions) remained in check for the rest of the trip.
I did get a book on the excavation of the area. We actually got kicked out of the park at closing (both Mark and I admit that it is the first time we have been kicked out of an archaeological site). However, I thought Herculaneum was beautiful, though a lot of it has been removed to the museum of Naples. Enough of the mosaics, statues, and frescos remained to give a true flavor of the place. It was so much fun.
So, I was walking into this structure with my Boy Scout compass. As I walked forward, holding the item carefully in hand, I noticed that it started to turn a few degrees. I was suddenly hit with a wave of highly intense sadness that passed in a second or so, but it was so bad that there were tears in my eyes. I took a photo with a (sigh) digital camera and got the double orb image to left. I'm not a big orb person but I have NO idea what happened or why I was hit but this emotion. I was fine for the rest of the trip and the rest of my walk through tie city.
When faced with actual bodies in Pompeii (see below, left) there were no emotions. These were actual physical remains taken from the site. The white showing at the top of the head is this man's skull.
This trip was interesting. At the end of my last trip, I had heard that there was a Roman ghost tour. To my surprise, when I asked about it this year, I was told that Rome is absolutely not haunted and if I were to look for ghosts I'd have to go out into the countryside. So, that was quite the bummer. However, Rome did manage to toss a mild ghost case to me.
We were staying in a hotel (Madre Pia) near the Vatican. The hotel is run by nuns who focus on education and aid for the poor. It's clean, quiet, and really a decent place to stay. I asked how old the building was and a conversation between a nun and an employee ensued at the front desk. One said it was from the late 1800s, the other said it was from the World War II era (thus, as old as my house, but very young for Rome).
I was approached by two people staying at the hotel who knew I did ghost investigation. They asked me to check on their room. One, who had traveled abroad before, woke up to find herself tracing a pattern over her stomach -- kind of in the shape of an "M". She didn't think she had done that before and had not had any sleep issues that she was aware of on her prior trip. The other came from an area in New Jersey near where the Jersey Devil had been sited; the family home was built on a location that was former Native American land. Everything built on the property had burned over the years, including the family home (rebuilt). Both reported odd dreams, the feeling of being watched from one corner of the room, and one said that she saw a shadow moving back and forth in the bathroom while in the shower. (The corner from where the other felt watched was on the other side of the bathroom wall). The night before, the other roommate felt like something was standing next to the bed (also by that wall) and she thought she saw a shadow move into the wall across the room.
Naturally, everything I had for investigation was at home, with the exception of my Kindle digital camera (could not download digital images from my standard camera since the computer I took was old and cranky). I had my Boy Scout compass as well. I walked into the room which felt normal to me. I asked about what items they had in the room from shopping. These included items blessed by the Pope, rosary beads, and hamsas, which they did place out in the room. I did a brief interview with them. I also walked the area with the compass. Only one wall -- the corner where they felt they were watched -- had any response and the compass turned slightly. I did note that there was an electrical plug there with several EMF-producing items plugged in. I did advise that the person sleeping in that bed see if she could unplug or move away from that wall a bit.
With permission, I took photos of the two areas of activity and sent to my team sensitive. I asked her to read the images. The only thing that she got was really a sense of traveler fatigue and possible residue energy, but not the sense of a presence. Neither of us felt threatened or harmed, and both had to consider that the folks reporting the activity were on a tight schedule of activity and had the stress of travel/jet lag to deal with.
With the residence hosting nuns, and with the hotel being within eye shot of St. Peter's Basilica, I could not figure how an entity would get there. The place had a strong business with international guests. I did attempt to do research on the location but could find little more than reviews of the accommodations. I found no death records or other such materials related to the property.
Be sure to check this out! Not really haunted, but it sure makes death look beautiful. Pictures are not allowed inside, but I did get the Museum Book just to give you an idea.
This is likely my last trip over to Rome (at least as a study abroad) for quite some time (or ever...?). BUUUUUT.....I finally got some new materials and ghost stories! I managed to record a set of 4 interviews with 3 people to share with you this year.
The first two come from Fabio. In one, he describes an educated friend of his who had a poltergeist ghost in his home. He and his family moved out. In the second, he describes the mournful ghost of a woman, BEATRICE CENCI, who was forced to disavow herself to forceful aristocracy on the promise that her family would be safe. This failed and she lived to see her brother skinned alive in front of her, two other members of her family killed, and she was, herself, beheaded. She can still be heard weeping for her family or, on the anniversary of her death (Sept. 11, 1599) her ghost walks the Angel Bridge carrying her head.
A third ghost story describes the plight of a "Black Widow" (Dame Olimpia) of the Middle Ages. This woman married well and outlived her husbands. She acquired a great deal of wealth and power with this technique until, at last, the powers in charged had enough of her and demanded that she hand over her wealth. She refused and as she attempted to escape Rome her carriage crashed. She was flung into the river, where she can still be heard weeping.
This last story comes from Florence and is a nice anti-ghost story. (She was almost a ghost, but not quite).
We did discuss reasons why there were so few ghost stories (these are more of legends) in Rome. One theory is that the Pope is so close and there are so many churches in the area that the ghosts don't stand a chance. Another is that there ARE ghost stories but that they are exchanged among natives and not spread to the tourists.
I was given a recommendation of a tour to learn more about Roman legends: Massimo Storyteller Guidde (www.storytellingrome.com).