Catacombs: Secret Sanctuary of Holy Land USA

Waterbury, Connecticut

The most forbidding spot in Holy Land USA is the entrance to the "Catacombs -- a History of the Church."

A murky ramp descends down into the earth, to depths unknown. In our first visits, we'd forget to bring flashlights. Any foray into these ancient burial chambers would likely end with a slip down a hidden staircase with your forehead impaled on a plank of rusty nails.

Life sign.More level-headed study of the Catacombs has revealed some of its mysteries. It runs about 200 feet, snaking along the old parking lot in a series of corridors connected below the lip of the hill. It appears to be underground from the parking lot vantage point, but is actually all above the surface. Parts of the structure are collapsing. On the far end, a small entrance contains a sign: " The Pictorial Life of Christ -- From the Cradle to the Cross." Another crudely hand-lettered sign lists every Pope, up to 1978.

Entrance to the Life of Christ.
The "back" entrance to the Catacombs reveals former site of "The Pictorial Life of Christ."
The Bloody Masses.
Red paint, or splashes of blood? Some fun facts about Masses.
Big List of Popes.
Every Pope. Memorize these. There will be a quiz in Pius III's tomb.

A few intrepid Smilers have traversed the lower sections of the Catacombs, pushing our knowledge further still.

Down in the catacombs.

"We finally found the entrance to the Catacombs that had eluded us two previous visits, and we just had to check it out in there. It was bizarre.

"There was broken glass and dirt everywhere. It was mostly dark, but some light came in from cracks in the structure. There was one spot labeled as the tomb of some Pope. Also, there was the green room. It was a room that lead off of the main catacomb and had a green skylight. The whole room was awash in an eerie green glow. There was fiberglass insulation hanging from the ceiling everywhere. We found newspaper clippings of miracles encased in glass, and a big stone head. There was also a room that was supposed to be Herod's something or other.

"The whole experience was definitely pretty creepy and I wouldn't recommend it to the weak of heart. It's dirty, dank and extremely unearthly down there." [Chuck Taylor/Ron Bozman, 8/18/97]

Also see: Holy Land USA

Holy Land USA

Address:
Slocum Road, Waterbury, CT
Directions:
Overlooks I-84 and the Brass Mill Center. Heading east, I-84 exit for S. Main St. -- stay straight on McMahon St., turn right on Baldwin St. then left on Pleasant St, which turns left on Emerald, then go right on Ayers St. to end.
Hours:
Private property, not officially open. Ask permission.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

JFK: I'll Be Back in 1964JFK: I'll Be Back in 1964, Waterbury, CT - < 1 mi.
Little People VillageLittle People Village, Waterbury, CT - 3 mi.
Muffler Man - BunyanMuffler Man - Bunyan, Cheshire, CT - 6 mi.
In the region:
Circle Museum: Bijan's Junk Art, Austerlitz, NY - 55 mi.

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July 29, 2016

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