WATCH: This eerie Czech 'ghost church' gets tourism revival

2018-09-06 21:00
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Czech Republic Ghost Church

Would you live out this House-of-Wax-like experience? (Photo: Petr David Josek / AP)

A 14th-century church in the Czech Republic that was once in ruins is getting a new life from tourists who want to see the eerie visitors from beyond the grave.

In 2012, art student Jakub Hadrava used St George's Church in the village of Lukova as his canvas for his senior arts thesis. He filled the Catholic church's pews with ghostly figures, made from plaster casts of live models draped in white cloth. The effect is chilling. He called the work "My Mind."

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Word got out about the "ghost church" of the Czech Republic and in 2013 a videographer published a stylised YouTube video featuring creepy music and movie effects.

It was a hit and has almost 200 000 views.

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Curiosity about the installation has been building, and there is now a website and mentions on travel websites. The church is open to the public on Saturday afternoons, when around 150 people come to the "ghosts."

Petr Koukl, caretaker of the ghost church, says that most people have a positive reaction to the church's ghoulish guests.

Czech Republic Ghost Church

An exterior view of the church of St George, in the village of Lukova, Czech Republic.

Czech Republic Ghost Church

(Photo: Petr David Josek / AP) 

But "it's also true. we had two or three visitors that refused to enter," he said. "They peeked through the door, but didn't enter because they didn't feel well about it."

The church fell into disrepair after World War II when the ethnic German parishioners were expelled by the Czechs. The church kept deteriorating through the late 1960s and was abandoned after pieces of the ceiling began to fall during a funeral.

Czech Republic Ghost Church

(Photo: Petr David Josek / AP)

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The church, about 200 kilometres east of Prague, got a new roof in 2017 mainly from 600 000 koruna (about R416 244 @R0.69/koruna) in donations that the spooky specters have brought in by visitors eager to take selfies and shoot video with them.

Czech Republic Ghost Church

(Photo: Petr David Josek / AP)

A Mass is held annually in April at the ghost church to celebrate St George's Day. Pictures online show the pews are packed on that day with both the living and the "dead."

Czech Republic Ghost Church

(Photo: Petr David Josek / AP)

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