Local legends about the Sansevero Chapel of Naples claim that the astonishing works of art it contains are the result of sorcery and black magic. The sculptures appear impossible to create by hand, while a macabre display featuring two actual human bodies is said to be the result of ritual killings. Also, adding to the occult aura surrounding the chapel, it is filled with Masonic symbolism.
At first glance, Capella Sansevero is your typical Italian chapel from the 17th century, tastefully filled with paintings and sculptures of a religious nature. However, a closer look at the various items in the chapel reveals that something is “off” about this place. Some sculptures are so “organic-looking” that they lead many to believe they were the result of a supernatural process. Furthermore, the enigmatic symbolism found around the chapel heavily hints to an allegorical esoteric message.
And, when visitors climb down a few stairs, they see this:
The chapel has on display two actual human remains with their entire nervous system on display. Creepily dubbed “Adam and Eve” – and even more creepily referred to as “anatomical machines” – this bizarre display has been the subject of all kinds of occult rumors.
To fully understand what is going on with the chapel, one must understand its creator: Raimondo di Sangro, the Prince of Sansevero. While he was considered a brilliant inventor and philosopher by many, others believed that he was a cruel black magician who killed people to conduct bizarre experiments.
A visit to his Sansevero Chapel gives credence to both points of view as it puts on display all of di Sangro’s alchemical genius … and madness. Before looking at the bizarre works of art on display at the chapel, let’s first look at the man behind it all.