Spooky Saint Stories That Will Give You the Chills

by Hannah Quense

There is no denying that throughout the Church's history there have been both astounding miracles and incredible men and women who, since their death, have been honored with the title of Saint. However, if we're really honest, there are some miracles that are downright creepy, and there are some Saint stories that can be considered, in the spirit of Halloween, spooky.

Here are three Saint facts that are all too fitting for Halloween, because while they are great testaments to God's miraculous power, they will leave you with the chills. 

The Headless Saints

A painting of Saint Denis picking up his recently disembodied head

A painting of Saint Denis picking up his recently disembodied head

Nowadays, zombies are a big deal. People are watching The Walking Dead (guilty as charged), wishing they had a friend who rocks a crossbow like Daryl, and taking notes on how they are going to survive the impending zombie apocalypse.

But zombies are absurd, right? I mean, the dead can't really walk around. Or can they? According to science, no they cannot. According to the history of the Saints...well, that's a different story.

St. Denis, in 258 A.D., met his untimely death by way of decapitation. St. Denis' story, however, didn't end after he lost his head. In fact, the Saint's headless body stood up, picked up his disembodied head, and proceeded to walk a couple of miles to the place where he was to be buried. Some legends state that St. Denis preached the whole way - head in hand. 

 

Dead on Display

Imagine opening up a casket years after the person inside had died - only to find that the body looked exactly like it did the day it was buried.

That's creepy, right?

The head of Saint Catherine of Siena

The head of Saint Catherine of Siena

Well, believe it or not, there are countless times in the Church's history where clergy members have been faced with that exact situation upon exhuming the body of a Saint. These Saints, whose bodies defy the regular laws of decomposition and decay, are called the Incorruptible Saints. Despite the many months and often years that the body should have spent decaying, it is found to be pliable instead of brittle, intact instead of decayed, and often a sweet aroma will come from the corpse instead of a rotting stench. 

The stories of Incorruptible Saints, however, don't just end with the opening of their caskets. There are several other facts about Incorrupt Saints not listed here that are worth exploring. So take a look at "The (Not Really So Very) Incorrupt Corpses" to learn how churches display the Incorruptible Saints, why incorrupt bodies may decay over time, and more. 

 

 

 

 

Gruesome Martyrdoms

Did you know that the Saints who were martyrs are often depicted in art holding something related to how they died? For example, St. Paul is usually seen holding a sword symbolizing his decapitation by way of a blade.

Some martyrs, however, are seen in art holding more gruesome items than a sword...*cue menacing music*

St. Lucy, for example, is usually holding a platter containing two eyeballs as a testament to her eyes being gouged out before her execution. St. Bartholomew, who was skinned alive, is depicted holding his own flesh. While St. Apollonia holds a pair of pliers with a tooth at the end, symbolizing her teeth being pulled out as torture before she was martyred.

A Painting of Saint Lucy holding her gouged eyes on a platter

A Painting of Saint Lucy holding her gouged eyes on a platter

A Statue of Saint Bartholomew holding the flesh of his face and hands

A Statue of Saint Bartholomew holding the flesh of his face and hands

 

Time to Celebrate

The creepiness of these stories aside, there is no denying that God displayed His miraculous power in the lives of the men and women above. The Saints are tremendous examples of not just what we can do in the Lord, but what the Lord can do in us. 

So this next week, let us take the time to celebrate not just Halloween, but All Saints Day as well (November 1st), by learning about the Saints and letting them teach us how to better strive after Christ.

Happy All Saints Day!