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