The Vatican has been the home of the Roman Catholic Church for centuries. Its ancient roots and inherently secretive nature has long inspired the imaginations of passionate conspiracy theorists. But it’s what’s inside the Vatican’s top-secret vaults that catches most of their attention.
The vaults in Vatican City are said to house some of the most dangerous—and potentially scandalous—secrets that the Roman Catholic church possesses. The church stringently restricts access to its vaults, which has only fueled rumors as years have passed. Here are 13 of the strangest rumors about what’s inside…
1. Rumor has it that, deep inside its vaults, the Vatican has proof of something that could send the faithful running. It’s said that the Vatican actually has evidence that Jesus never existed! If this is true, it’s easy to understand why the Church wouldn’t want anyone to know.
However, the Vatican is so notoriously secretive that people aren’t exactly sure what this so-called “proof” could be. In fact, some speculate that the proof hidden in the vaults confirms that Jesus was real. Then again, wouldn’t the Pope be shouting it from the rooftops?
2. Somebody get Mulder and Scully on the line, because the Vatican could be hiding extraterrestrial skulls! That’s right: it turns out aliens have been real this whole time and Rome is trying to keep it quiet… if you believe the whispers.
Apparently, the skulls were found by construction workers during a renovation of the vaults in 1998. Thus, a massive conspiracy that went all the way up to the Pope was hatched to make sure that no one ever found out about their existence.
3. For decades, conspiracy theorists have believed that the Illuminati has worked in tandem with the Roman Catholic Church, right down to being responsible for making all of the Church’s important appointments.
But the rumors go deeper than that. Some believe that the Illuminati actually keep records of future events in the Vatican’s vaults. In addition to controlling both the Pope and Beyoncé (allegedly), the Illuminati can tell the future.
4. Have you ever dreamed of owning a device that helped you see any event in the past—and take pictures of it? Well, you’re in luck, because the Vatican is rumored to have such a device locked away in its top-secret vaults.
This device, called a Chronovisor, would give the church a ridiculously easy way to prove that Jesus existed. Of course, there’s no proof that the Chronovisor actually exists… or so we think.
5. For reasons that totally escape comprehension, the Vatican is also rumored to have the largest collection of pornography hidden in its vaults. Naturally, it was all confiscated—but if that was the case, you’d think the Church would just destroy it rather than keep it.
This would prove problematic for the Church, of course, which has been beleaguered by sexual abuse scandals involving the clergy. So if the rumors of their porn stash were true, it makes sense that they’d work hard to make sure that it was kept secret.
6. There are plenty of conspiracy theories about how Rome responded to the Nazis during World War II. One of the most disturbing is the idea that Pope Pius XII struck a deal with Mussolini agreeing to turn a blind eye to anti-semitism in order to ensure his own protection.
Historian David Kertzer learned that proof of this deal is said to be hidden in the Vatican vaults. When he asked for permission to review documents from that time period, his request was denied. That doesn’t exactly put the rumor to rest, does it?
7. One of the craziest things hidden inside the Vatican’s vaults also happens to be one of the items that the Church actually admits it possesses. When you realize what it is, you might wonder how many of these rumored items could actually be real…
The Church actually keeps a silver hammer in its vaults to help determine whether or not a pope is dead. According to tradition, when a pope expires, he must be tapped on the head with the silver hammer three times before his death can officially be announced.
8. The Vatican is said to own many cloths that show off the imprint of major religious figures. One of these is rumored to be a cloth that Jesus gave to the King of Edessa as a gift. You’d think the son of God could at least afford a bottle of wine or something…
9. Unlike some of the other items on this list, the Vatican’s necropolis is real, and you can visit it when you travel to Rome. This ancient cemetery is located beneath St. Peter’s Basilica, and though it was eventually abandoned, it apparently holds the remains of St. Peter himself!
10. In the 1900s, the Virgin Mary was rumored to have visited three children and told them three critical secrets about the future. The secrets apparently predicted wars and even described what hell looked like. The true nature of these secrets is thought to be locked in the Vatican vaults…
11. If you ever visit Vatican City in Rome, you might want to pay a visit to the Gallery of the Bust. It’s a hilarious name for a place that contains a lot of stunning art. However, you might notice something odd when you’re there: none of the sculptures have eyes!
12. This might not be creepy, but it is a bit of a secret (unless you know where to look): the Vatican has a “zoo” made of up of hyper-realistic carvings of animals made in marble. This menagerie practically looks alive!
13. In 1633, astronomer Galileo Galilei was condemned to live under house arrest for saying that the Earth moved around the sun. The vaults supposedly contain papers from that era by other scientists who agreed with Galileo—scientists whom the Church ignored.
If even two or three things from this list wind up actually being inside of the vaults, it could change the entire course of history as we know it. That is just crazy to think about!