Posted on: May 18, 2015

It sounds like something out of an old trashy exploitation horror film from the 1970s, perversion, torture and devil-worship at an Italian monastery.  And yet weird events at the Lucedio Abbey, near Trino, in north-west Italy, have dominated the area for hundreds of years, and still leave a mark there now.  Even it’s name causes controversy.  Luce di Dio can mean “light of God”, but can also be seen as similar to Lucifer.  It is regarded as one of Italy’s most haunted places.

The Abbey was built in 1123, when a large area of swampy land was granted to Cistercian monks by Reiner, the Marquis of Montefract.  The monks soon made a success of cultivating rice there.  There seems to be some dissension as to when the monks went over to the dark side.  Some claim the monastery was perfectly harmless for centuries, and the rot only set in in the 17th century.  Others say that the abbey came under the official scrutiny of Pope Callixtus III in 1457, when locals found two young men roaming the village late one night.  The boys were naked, bloodied and battered.  They said they had been sexually abused, and  spoke of blasphemous Black Magic rituals at the abbey.  The Pope launched an official inquiry, and sent a team of investigators out to Lucedio to interview the monks.  For 3 days the monks refused to let them in, and a stand-off ensued.  Eventually they knew the game was up, and were tried and beheaded.

Others claim that in 1648 an evil presence was evoked near a cemetery close to the abbey.  Sorcerers performed a Black Magic ritual which successfully summoned a demon.  This creature entered the minds of the monks, and led them to commit the atrocities for which the monastery would become infamous.  Yet another tale has it that in 1684 young girls in the surrounding villages became corrupted by the Devil and set out to seduce the monks.

The one thing everyone does seem agreed upon is that a demon was raised.  The Pope sent an exorcist to sort it out, and the creature was locked up in the crypt.  The crypt was also where the abbots were buried, and some of them were buried in a circular position.  It is rumoured that this was done to make sure they kept an eye on their demonic prisoner.  Curiously, all the abbots became mummified naturally.

The abbey has a chamber called The Judgement Room, where it is said the monks would put people on trial for various crimes.  These prisoners were usually young men, who were sodomised and tortured.  There is said to be a pillar in the room which runs wet, as if with the prisoners’ tears.  Skeptics have attempted to put down the wet pillar to a leaky roof, but when someone put a bucket there during a televised ghost investigation, the bucket stayed dry.  Villagers reported hearing the screams of the anguished men, and strange chanting at the time of the full moon, which didn’t sound particularly holy.  (The full moon is a time of great significance for devil-worshippers).

These rumours went on for over a 100 years, and finally on 10 September 1784, Pope Pio VI had the abbey closed down.  For years afterwards locals were forbidden from entering the area because, it was said, of fears of lingering evil.  The abbey was to change hands many times after 1784, including once being in the possession of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Naturally, the area became rich in ghost stories.  An eerie mist is said to rise up and engulf the bell tower.  Strange shapes have been seen dancing round the graves.  And (of course) a sinister hooded figure has been seen in the area. During renovation work the corpse of a perfectly preserved man was found incarcerated inside a wall.  Most disturbing of all are the claims that sometimes the demon manifests itself.  When it does it is noticeable by the overpowering stench of rotten eggs (sulphur).  Those who have had the misfortune to experience this have been struck deaf or blind, or driven to commit suicide.

Nowadays the abbey is a rice farm, and the present owners say any ghosts there are very benign ones.  But the arguments regarding the truth about the dark claims concerning Lucedio continuing to rage.  Some say it is all baloney, that the rumours about the monks’ satanic activity are all a myth.  (These days it doesn’t feel quite so “baloney” as one would wish). Even so, for lovers of the paranormal, the abbey still exerts a horribly gothic fascination.



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