Kostel svatého Jiří: the medieval church haunted by the ghosts!
Kostel svatého Jiří (St. George’s Church) in Luková, Czech Republic, has been neglected for more than 40 years. Believing it to be haunted, the congregation refused to set foot into the church, which slowly fell into decay. Until it was saved by ghosts! It’s true: in fact still today, thirty creepy ghosts now inhabit this 14th-century church.
The church, was consecrated in 1352, was victim to an unusual number of fires over its long years, and was partly rebuilt and restored many times. The last creepy event happened in 1968 and caused the congregation to flee. During a funeral, part of the roof collapsed into the church. From that event the congregation, who always suspected as much, was convinced that the church was haunted and refused to enter. They held mass under the open sky, rather than set foot inside the haunted building, that of course became a theater of mysteries and popular legends.
While Czechoslovakia was under Communist rule this was not considered a problem, as the government wasn’t a friend of the religion, in the years that followed have not been kind to the little church. More than the increasing decay, everything that was possible to move was stolen, like paintings, religious items, statues, the clock in the tower, and also the bell. The rest became victim to vandalism.
Not too long ago, some people decided that the church, a cultural monument of Czechia, was worth saving. Unfortunately, nobody had enough money to restore it. As long as a sculpture student at the University of West Bohemia, Jakub Hadrava, had an idea: he sculpted ghosts to inhabit the abandoned church. He used the other students as models, wrapping them in plastic and raincoats. And at the end 30 ghosts came to live in the Kostel svatého Jiří, creating a creepy atmosphera in the decaying place. The ghosts are still today sitting between the benches, making them look like real faithful in the act of listening to the mass.
Jakub Hadrava also wanted to create a monument for the difficult history of the zone. Luková, once called Lukowa and part of the Austria-Hungarian empire, became part of Czechoslovakia after World War I. In 1938, the Nazis annexed this area to Germany and declared every German-speaking inhabitant German, which led to the expulsion of all German-speaking citizens from Czechoslovakia after the Second World War. Jakub Hadrava’s ghosts resemble the ghosts of the German-speaking people who once lived here and built this church.
His plan worked, and the new about the “Ghost Church” got out, until conquer a place into the international press. Ever since, people have come to see the haunted church of Luková. Many visitors have left donations to save the church, making it possible to restore the roof and secure the stability of the structure. Of course, the people of Luková have appreciated their new haunted church, and the congregation does not celebrate mass under the sky anymore, but happily comes into the church, where they sit between their friendly ghosts.