The Vatican houses some of the most beautiful Catholic churches in the world, filled with priceless artifacts tied to deeply held beliefs. But its echoing corridors and high vaulted ceilings may house more than just history: perhaps restless spirits linger here, too.
Is the Vatican haunted? It's impossible to say for certain. There are whispers of Vatican ghost stories, though the city-state's officials seem vigilant about keeping those under wraps. Perhaps ghost stories from the Vatican are carefully covered up because any association with the occult is a serious sin. So, even though spooky tales from the Vatican are common, the Church isn't talking about it.
Thankfully, thanks to the rise of smartphones, tourists have begun documenting their own brushes with the paranormal in Italy. Whether you believe their stories or not, these supposed spirits of the Vatican seem to be making their presence known.
The Catholic church sanctions exorcisms from time to time, and perhaps no one became more closely associated with the rite than the late Father Gabriele Amorth. The exorcism expert firmly believed that demons are in the world, even in the holiest of places.
"The Devil resides in the Vatican and you can see the consequences," he said. Amorth claims that Satan can shapeshift, speak in many languages, or "even appear to be sympathetic."
This chilling clip was captured by a person waiting to enter St. Peter's Basilica. Everything seemed to be normal - but then a shadowy figure appeared in the footage, standing in a bell tower. Some viewers thought it might be the restless spirit of someone who committed suicide, as the figure appears poised to jump.
No explanation for the creepy apparition has been provided by the Vatican.
According to some sources, St. Peter's Basilica stands upon cursed soil. It was erected on top of a pagan necropolis, or burial ground. The old spirits and gods didn't take kindly to the intrusion, and strange activity filled the 16th century construction site. Workers began dropping dead, and the Pope himself became ill.
Worse still, apparitions in the form of crows lingered around the area until the Pope ordered an exorcism.
Odd stories began circulating when Pope Benedict XVI stepped down in 2013. Immediately following Benedict's resignation announcement, Vatican City was struck by a bolt of lightning.
Not long after, an American Roman Catholic man was viewing the Vatican's webcam page featuring the tomb of Pope John Paul II. Suddenly, the screen showed a bright light overwhelming the entire room where the tomb is located. The light then formed a human figure that stood before the tomb. It moved a bit, then vanished.
The stunned viewer thought the light was the spirit of Pope John Paul II.