The mysterious grounds of Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris is the final resting place for many celebrities and if we are to believe the rumors, ghosts! Walk among the strange haunted graves of Jim Morrison and Marcel Proust as well as graves may or may not belonging to a vampire.
Have you heard about the mysterious tales of hauntings at Père Lachaise Cemetery? Located in Paris in France, this historic cemetery has been a popular tourist attraction for centuries and is the largest one in the city.
Famous people like Jim Morrison and Marcel Proust are buried there and if we are to believe the legends, there is a ghostly tale or two that have become part of its history.
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The History of Père Lachaise Cemetery
The Père Lachaise Cemetery was established in 1804 by the French Emperor Napoleon as the first cemetery of its kind. Throughout the centuries, it has grown to become a vast necropolis that covers more than 110 acres of land.
Here, you’ll find graves and monuments of notable public figures such as Oscar Wilde and Édith Piaf — among many others. The history of this site certainly adds to its mysterious allure, and is part of what draws tourists from around the world to experience it first-hand.
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The holy cemetery was also the location of a battle and the fallen soldiers are said to still linger.
Ghosts of the Père Lachaise Cemetery
There is not only one ghost that are talked about at the Père Lachaise Cemetery. Tourists have reported being chased away or startled by mysterious figures among the graves and mausoleums — like the former prime minister of France, Adolphe Thiers, who doesn’t seem to get any rest around his tomb. People working in the cemetery have also ghost stories to tell about multiple of the souls resting here.
There are also peculiar tales behind some of the graves you can find in Père Lachaise Cemetery, like the Polish composer Chopin who was buried without a heart because he was scared he would end up being buried alive.
The Cemetery as a Battle and Execution Ground
Although the idea of a cemetery is that it is supposed to be a place of eternal rest, living life often comes in conflict with it.
Within Père Lachaise Cemetery you will find the Communards’ Wall or Mur des Fédérés. This is the site of a bloody murder as 147 of the Communards were executed by the French army in what would be called The Bloody Week.
The semaine sanglante or the Bloody Week was a weeklong battle in Paris from 21 to 28 May 1871, when the French Army recaptured the city from the Paris Commune. The Paris Commune was a French revolutionary government that seized power in Paris from 18 March to 28 May 1871.
Read Also: This is not the only haunting connected to the Paris Commune: The Red Man haunting the Jardin Tuileries in Paris
One of the last remaining strong points of the National Guard was the cemetery of Père-Lachaise that was defended by about 200 men. In the army used cannon to demolish the gates and stormed the cemetery. There was a bloody and savage fight around the tombs until nightfall, when the last Communards were taken prisoner.
The prisoners were taken to the wall of the cemetery and shot and then buried with them in a common grave. This group include one woman, the only recorded execution of a woman by the army during the Bloody Week. The wall is now called the Communards’ Wall, and is the site of annual commemorations of the Commune.
This was the final battle of the Paris Commune and it is believed that in that one week between 10 and 15 thousand people died.
The Ghost of Jim Morrison by his Protected Grave
One of the more famous ghosts said to haunt the cemetery is Jim Morrison. He was the lead singer of the Doors until his death in 1971 when he was only 27 years old. Still today the exact cause of his death is unclear, however, many speculate that it was drug-related.
He had moved to Paris not long before his death to focus on his poetry writing after making hits like Light My Fire, Riders on the Storm and People are Strange.
His grave is covered in graffiti in Père Lachaise Cemetery as he is still a legend to many and the bust was even stolen in 1988, and ever since, a security guard protecting the grave. But during the night, people claim to have seen his ghost wander around the cemetery.
The Ghost of the Writer Marcel Proust Looking for his Lover
The French novelist remains a legend in literature, and so many students struggle through his heavy books before finding solace in his genius writings when they finally understand its meaning. Many reading fans leave chestnuts in his honor at his grave today.
Perhaps fine way to have the afterlife, surrounded by fans still reading his works. But according to legend, this is one of the graves that are alledgedly haunted and people claim to have seen his ghosts wandering the cemetery today.
Apparently, he is still distraught that no one listened to his dying wish. Proust spent the last three years of his life mostly confined to his bedroom of his apartment 44 rue Hamelin in Chaillot, sleeping during the day and working at night to complete his novel. He died of pneumonia and a pulmonary abscess in 1922.
Alive he had a final wish of being buried next to his lover, composer Reynaldo Hahn.
However, he was a homosexual in a time when same sex love wasn’t considered true love, so when he died at 51 of pneumonia his wish wasn’t granted and he was buried alone.
It is said he rises from his grave in Père Lachaise Cemetery every night to search for his lover who he dearly wanted to be buried next to.
The Spiritualist Allan Kardec Granting Wishes from Beyond his Grave
A peculiar grave in Père Lachaise Cemetery is that of Allan Kardec, born Hippolyte Rivail from Lyon. He is seen as the founder of spiritism that took the world by storm in the 1800s and a medium with wealthy and famous clients like Victor Hugo and Sir Conan Doyle.
On his monument it is written Naitre, mourir, renaitre encore et progresser sans cesse, telle est la loi . This means To be born, to die, to be reborn again and keep progressing, that is the law.
This is not exactly a ghost story per se, but there is definitive something mysterious stuff going on with it. According to the legends, Allan Kardec said that after his death you should put your hand on the neck of his bust on his grave and make a wish. If the wish was granted, you should come back with flowers.
There are according to rumors, almost always fresh flowers by his grave.
A Years Stay at Elisabeth Stroganovas’ Mausoleum
The strangest grave though found at Père Lachaise Cemetery must be that of Baroness Elizaveta Alexandrovna Demidova (Елизавета Александровна Строганова) a wealthy Russian aristocrat from the Stroganov family who resided in Paris in her final years. When Elisabeth Stroganova died at 40 in 1818 she gave a strange clause in her will with a huge cash prize.
Anyone who dared to spend a full year, 365 days and 366 nights inside of Elisabeth Stroganova’s mausoleum would inherit a big chunk of her inheritance. Why this was a clause is unclear. Her sense of humor? Maybe a fear of being alone? Something else?
There were at least 3 people who tried to the insane clause to try to get their hands on her inheritance. The brave, or desperate depending on how you look at it, had food served to them through a bucket, and on their own they were to stay there for a full year.
To this day there is still no one who managed to endure the challenge. People went crazy and they started seeing and hearing things. Perhaps worst of all was the retelling of how they claimed to feel the very lifeforce were sucked out of them. Could this be the ghost of Elisabeth Stroganova still being there, not wanting to be alone for eternity?
The White Lady or Vampire of Père Lachaise Cemetery
The clause in the will and challenging people to stay inside her mausoleum is strange in and of itself, but the rumors surrounding this grave doesn’t stop there. One of the so-called Lady in White ghosts that roams among the dark graves of the Père Lachaise Cemetery is most often attributed to Elisabeth Stroganova. But there are also rumors of her being something much more sinister.
Some also claim she is a vampire because of the date of her death with the number 8 being the number linked to vampires as well as wolfs head ornaments on her mausoleum, also symbolizing vampirism. Perhaps that is stretching for many, but the reasoning of keeping alive people in her mausoleum and their feeling of their lifeforce being sucked out of them has also contributed to rumours of her being a vampire.
Read Also: Another place rumoured to be haunted by vampires: Poveglia Island — The Most Haunted Place in the World
Well, that and the legend that says her body didn’t decompose as it should have. Keen to try her challenge?
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