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Mysterious Tunnels

Strange tales of subterranean civilizations, cities and ancient technology

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There is something fundamentally and primally mysterious about caves and tunnels. Maybe it's their darkness or the fact that they open into the very body of the Earth. They are invariably the subjects of adolescent adventure stories, such as the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew mysteries, and R.L. Stine's books. And they serve as backgrounds in exciting stories directed at older audiences as well, such as Jules Verne's A Journey to the Center of the Earth and the Indiana Jones films. Tunnels represent the unknown and touch the fears that reside deep in the primitive human subconscious.

I've come across several sites on the Web that tell what some believe are true stories of vast underground networks of tunnels. And they are no less mysterious and fantastic than those used as settings in the fictional tales mentioned above. It's not that the tunnels merely exist and are unknown to most people, it's what they contain, who built them, and why - and that takes us into the deepest recesses of the unknown.

People who claim to have first- or second-hand knowledge or experience with these tunnels make many astonishing claims: that they contain long-lost cities; that they are inhabited by advanced civilizations - perhaps the descendents of Atlantis; that they are bases for extraterrestrials and their flying saucers; that they are bases for secret government installations. The government no doubt has top-secret military installations deep within mountains and perhaps underground, but this, of course, is the least fantastic of the stories.

Here are highlights of some of the more extraordinary claims. Since these stories come without photos or any other kind of verification, consider them skeptically. In any case, they are fascinating.

Grand Canyon Mystery

The April 5, 1909 edition of The Phoenix Gazette carried a story entitled "Explorations in Grand Canyon." According to the article, a man named G.E. Kinkaid made an astonishing discovery while on an expedition, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute, in the Grand Canyon. Among his findings:

  • A mammoth chamber about 1,480 feet underground from which radiates dozens of passageways "like the spokes of a wheel."
  • Several hundred rooms, some of which contain artifacts such as weapons and copper instruments of a kind that have never been known to be native to the Americas.
  • A crypt containing mummies - all adult males - wrapped in a bark fabric.
  • A shrine containing a Buddha-like idol sitting cross-legged with a lotus flower in each hand.
  • Stone tablets on which are carved mysterious Egyptian-like hieroglyphics.

The article also mentions a legend of the Hopi Indians that says their ancestors once lived in an underworld in the Grand Canyon.

Crumf Burial Cave

In 1892, Frank Burns of the U.S. Geological Survey reported that he found strange coffins in the Crunf Cave along the southern branch of the Warrior River in Murphy's Valley, Alabama. The wooden coffins appeared to be hollowed out by fire, then chiseled with stone or copper tools. Each coffin was 7.5 feet long, 14 to 18 inches wide, and 6 to 7 inches deep. The lids were open on each empty coffin. The specimens were sent to the Smithsonian, which suggested the coffins might actually be troughs. In any case, the museum lost the artifacts.

Next page > Tunnels under California and around the world

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