I bolted upright in my bed and screamed. I’d had a nightmare. I suspect this had something to do with the fact that earlier in the day I´d seen 25,000 dead people.
I was visiting Lima´s Church of San Francisco. Underneath the church is a graveyard of catacombs. As you can see, it looks like the killing fields of Cambodia. Deep "wells" contains thousands of skulls and femurs (most of the other bones and flesh have dissolved in the lime that was added to prevent disease.) I snuck away from the tour group and found another well in which the skulls had been hung on the wall in a spiral of death. Apparently archaeologists in the 1950s arranged the bones, the bodies were originally tossed in more or less randomly.
During parts of the tour you could reach out and touch the bones (I did not). I am not religious but opening the graveyard in this way seems to me to be at the very least disrespectful and perhaps sacrilegious. I can hear my friend Bryan Caplan laughing at me, "but they are dead!" But even if I were to accept this argument I am shocked that the Franciscans allow this sort of thing.
By the way, ex-President Alberto Fujimori is rumored to have escaped through these catacombs which originally extended beneath all the main buildings surrounding the central plaza of Lima (not all have been uncovered and some have been blocked off for reasons of security).