September 08, 2004

Going underground

"You guys have no idea what's down there."

And therein lies the intrigue. According to the Guardian, police found, in a large, previously unknown part of the catacombs under Paris, a room decked out like a movie theater, complete with screen and a projector, a wet bar, and other assorted amenities. Underground. In a section of the catacombs that is closed to the public.

Members of the force's sports squad, responsible - among other tasks - for policing the 170 miles of tunnels, caves, galleries and catacombs that underlie large parts of Paris, stumbled on the complex while on a training exercise beneath the Palais de Chaillot, across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower.

After entering the network through a drain next to the Trocadero, the officers came across a tarpaulin marked: Building site, No access.

Behind that, a tunnel held a desk and a closed-circuit TV camera set to automatically record images of anyone passing. The mechanism also triggered a tape of dogs barking, "clearly designed to frighten people off," the spokesman said.

Further along, the tunnel opened into a vast 400 sq metre cave some 18m underground, "like an underground amphitheatre, with terraces cut into the rock and chairs".

Who is it down there? Who knows? Rosicrucians? Templars? Nazis, neo or paleo?

"We have no idea whatsoever," a police spokesman said.

"There were two swastikas painted on the ceiling, but also celtic crosses and several stars of David, so we don't think it's extremists. Some sect or secret society, maybe. There are any number of possibilities."

And finding out who they are will be difficult.

Three days later, when the police returned accompanied by experts from the French electricity board to see where the power was coming from, the phone and electricity lines had been cut and a note was lying in the middle of the floor: "Do not," it said, "try to find us."

Hm. Perhaps this is the secret hiding place of the notorious band of Parisian criminals that Louis Feuillade warned us about...

Les Vampires.jpg

Posted by Ideofact at September 8, 2004 11:39 PM

One good thing about building your capital in a swamp like DC - little room for conspiracy-inspiring networks of dank tunnels and creepy catacombs.

No wonder the French are so prone to bizarre religious/political conspiracy-mongering, with that mess under their capital.

Posted by: Mitch H. at September 9, 2004 02:24 PM

Actually, there's a bit of it in DC too -- I'm thinking of the tunnel the CIA built under the Soviet Embassy ... and who knows where else...

But this one takes the cake, all right, that is one of the weirdest news items I've seen in a while. Thanks, Bill!

Posted by: Thomas Nephew at September 12, 2004 12:46 PM

Paging Dan Brown!

Posted by: Anonymous at September 12, 2004 02:03 PM

We have some tunnels under Oslo in Norway too... The nazis built them, allegedly, as escape routes during the war.

People have told stories of how they've found tunnels and explore them, then end up in another part of the city. Noone has a complete map :)

Posted by: Sigmund at September 19, 2004 03:33 PM