The Putim Ossuary, located in the town of Putim, in Czechia, is cloaked in folktale.
The ossuary, a small, unassuming building of a clay-brown hue, was first erected in 1741. Tucked in a cemetery behind the town’s medieval St. Lawrence Church, it contains the skeletons of what are believed to be the remains of fallen soldiers from the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48). Later, in 1829, a minister named Ondřej Zloch carefully laid out the collection of bones and skulls that you can still visit today.
Look inside, and you’ll see a wooden cross surrounded by piles upon piles of human bones. According to folks in the nearby town of Pisek, the mystery of the ossuary is centered around a certain three-cornered army hat adorned with a feather. Legend has it that for a long time, this tricorn hat was placed on one of the skulls; however, whenever it was removed and placed elsewhere, the hat always reappeared back on the same head.
According to local witnesses, this tricorn hat did indeed exist in the ossuary, and it can be seen in a photo dating to 1915.
The Putim Ossuary was featured in a poem by Czech poety Antonín Klášterský, titled “In the Putim Ossuary.” In the poem, Klášterský contemplates the skulls of fallen French soldiers.
Know Before You Go
In a small building behind the church, against the back wall of the cemetery.