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The Catacombs of Paris

In the late 18th century, as political unrest stirred in the heart of Paris, local residents of the neighborhoods surrounding the city’s urban cemeteries faced a pressing crisis: the putrefying stink of rotting corpses, many of which were likely friends and family members, crept into every house and business due to overflowing burial grounds. The city’s population had long since outgrown its centuries-old cemeteries, and mass graves packed tightly with corpses lay open for months at a time, sometimes upwards of a year, as they waited for more bodies to join. Before long, over-filled charnel houses spilled bones into their neighboring churches.

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