Beneath our feet
Posted on Monday, 30 November, 2009 | 3 comments
Columnist: William B Stoecker
On many issues people tend to gravitate to the extremes, becoming either knee-jerk debunkers or mindless true believers. Often the truth lies between the extremes, and what is needed is a balanced, rational skepticism. Many people believe in the hollow Earth myth, or in “Lemurians” living under Mt. Shasta. I have dealt with those two issues in other articles. Others accept unquestioningly the idea that there are underground alien bases on Earth, and a vast tunnel system extending for thousands of miles beneath continents and oceans. On the other extreme, debunkers (themselves not really skeptics but true believers in the status quo and conventional science) tend to deny that there is anything mysterious at all anywhere on Earth…including beneath our feet.
Many believe that tunnels extending all over the world have been made by various governments or secret groups, using machines known as “subterrenes” which melt their way through the rock, coating the tunnels they create with that same rock, and forcing some of it into natural crevices. Indeed, patents were taken out on such machines back in the nineteen seventies, and drawings have been published. These machines allegedly use nuclear or electric energy to heat a stationary drill bit to at least 1300-1700 degrees Fahrenheit. The nuclear version supposedly melts lithium in a reactor and circulates it through the drill bit. But, if this machine works as claimed, why are large tunnels continuing to be excavated using the more conventional TBMs, or tunnel boring machines, with rotating drill bits? A lttle analysis is in order. First of all, when rock melts and then cools and solidifies again, it still takes up about the same volume as before. This is especially true of dense, igneous rocks like granite and basalt. And even if its volume were magically reduced, what would make it stick to the sides and top of the tunnel behind the machine? Ever hear of gravity? If there were a multitude of large cracks, the rock might be disposed of by forcing it into them, but such a situation almost never exists. And what sort of mechanism could locate the cracks as the machine reached them, and then direct the molten rock into them? And, if they extended upward, what would prevent the rock from flowing back down out of them before it solidified? And then there are the high energy requirements for such a machine, and the fact that it would tend to get stuck in the very lava it created. This technology was either a mistake or deliberate disinformation…there is no practical way known to create globe-spanning tunnels.
Of course, if such tunnels could be constructed, the maglev trains that supposedly travel in them could be built. Maglev trains have permanent magnets affixed to their undersides, which are repelled by an electromagnetic coil in the track, levitating them up to ten centimeters. Other coils reverse polarity as the train passes, pulling it from in front and pushing it from behind. Such systems are expensive to build, but are energy efficient. It is even theoretically possible to have them travel in tubes and pump the air out to achieve a partial vacuum, allowing them to travel at speeds of up to ten thousand miles per hour or more. Only a small amount of energy would be needed to overcome the slight friction and maintain speed, and much of the energy used in acceleration could be regained in the deceleration phase. The problem is not with the maglev train idea…it is with the subterrene concept.
But this does not mean that there are no mysteries beneath our feet. There are immense natural cave systems; there are mysterious ancient tunnel systems built by lost civilizations in the remote past; and there are secret underground installations built by modern governments and large corporations.
Mammoth Cave in Kentucky is the world’s largest known cave, with some 365 miles of explored tunnels, of which only a portion is open to the public. It is part of what has come to be known as the Flint Ridge system. Spelunkers found connections between other caves in the system, like Crystal Cave and Unknown Cave. In 1960 they discovered a connection between Colossal Cave and Salts Cave, and in 1961 they connected them with Crystal and Unknown Caves. In 1972 explorers found that this system was connected to Mammoth Cave, which was later found to be connected to several other caves in the area.
Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico is also in a limestone area containing over 116 other caves, like the huge Lechuguilla Cave, which has been explored to a depth of 1,597 feet. Carlsbad itself is open to the public as deep as 750 feet. If Mammoth Cave is connected with others in its vicinity the same may be true of Carlsbad; it may even connect with Lechuguilla, and, if the passageways are not too narrow, cavers may someday discover the connection.
But deeper caves are known. The deepest known cave is Krubera, in the nation of Georgia near the Black Sea. It has been explored to a depth of 6,824 feet and apparently extends deeper still. A problem with exploring deep caves is heat; the temperature rises as the depth increases, although the rate varies somewhat in different locations. For example, South Africa’s East Rand Mine descends 11,762 feet, the deepest human beings have ventured, and, despite expensive air conditioning systems, is uncomfortably hot for the workers. A problem in such deep mines (but not, apparently, in natural caves) is the danger of rock bursts that can kill or injure miners. In volcanic areas the temperature rises faster. In Mexico the Naica mine was found to be connected to a natural cave filled with huge selenite (gypsum) crystals, larger than human beings. But despite the relatively shallow depth, the cave is dangerously hot. It is unlikely that unprotected spelunkers will ever descend more than two miles down due to heat, and it is unlikely that natural caverns even exist much below this depth, as the pressure of the overlying rock layers tends to close them up.
But at shallower depths extensive caverns exist in many parts of the world, including Florida, where many are filled with water and are explored by intrepid cave divers. Similar systems underlie much of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, often accessed by sinkholes called cenotes. The Maya carried out rituals and sacrifices in some of these caves, and believed that they connected with the underworld of the dead. Extensive limestone caves are also found in Puerto Rico, home of the animal-mutilating chupacabra, which later was reported in other parts of Latin America and Texas. If this creature actually exists, either as a physical animal or as some kind of demonic entity, it may dwell in the caves and venture forth mostly at night, but there is no hard proof.
William Michael Mott in Caverns, Cauldrons, and Concealed Creatures mentions reports of cave systems beneath many modern cities, including Oklahoma City, Guthrie, Oklahoma, and Huntsville, Alabama, and I have verified elsewhere that there are many cave systems near Huntsville, and also under San Antonio, Texas, like the Robber Baron Cave. There are also caves in the area around Fyffe, Alabama, where researcher Ted Oliphant investigated numerous UFO reports; this may or may not be significant. Mr. Mott has also pointed out the fact that the chupacabra allegedly feasts on the blood and internal organs of animals, and that these are the parts offered in animal sacrifice to the dark gods of antiquity. He has stated that there is at least some similarity of appearance between the chupacabra, the Jersey Devil, and West Virginia’s Mothman, and West Virginia also has many caves. Again, I stress that this may or may not be significant and that there is no solid proof that these creatures exist.
Mott also mentioned the case of the green children of medieval England, and this story is also told in many other books and articles, both on the internet and in print. The story was originally recorded by the twelfth century English historian, Gervase of Tilbury. Townspeople found two children with green skin in some excavations known as “wolf pits” near the town of Burry St. Edmunds. It is not clear what these pits or trenches were for, or if they connected to any cave system, or what language the children spoke, but somehow the people were able eventually to communicate with them. The children said that they lived in a shadowy cavern realm, and became lost and wandered to the surface. Initially, they would eat only beans, traditionally the food of the dead in European folklore, although the children seemed to be mortal people with physical bodies, and after some time on the surface world the boy sickened and died. The girl began eating a variety of foods, lost her green coloration, and lived for many years. This seems to be rather more than a “tall tale,” and it would be interesting to discover if there are known caves in that area, and, if so, how deeply they have been explored. Traditionally, before ideas of Heaven and Hell evolved, the underworld was the realm of the dead, and not specifically a place of punishment, and some of the fairies or elven folk also were believed to live underground…or perhaps in some spiritual realm or parallel universe which could be accessed through caves, or, in some legends, under bodies of water. Some researchers, like Evans-Wentz, have suggested that the elven folk are, in fact, the spirits of the deceased. UFOs have also been reported going into and emerging from oceans and lakes; I investigated such a case when I was in USAF intelligence.
Prehistoric people apparently considered caves to be sacred, leaving elaborate cave paintings in them, and many ancient ruins, like those in Malta, are partly underground, although no deep tunnel systems have been found in Malta. There is a shallow cave under the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan in Mexico. But in the region of Cappadocia in Turkey over 100 underground towns are known to exist, some of them occupied in modern times. Early Christians also lived in these towns, and some of them date back all the way to the Bronze Age and perhaps earlier. It is not altogether clear what caused people to go to such lengths, or what advantages, other than an even temperature and perhaps some protection from invaders, these excavations offered.
And then there is Giza. On this sloping plateau just outside Cairo is a huge complex of ruins, including the highest pyramid on Earth, and the Sphinx. There have always been legends of secret chambers in the pyramids, of tunnels connecting the Sphinx, the Great Pyramid , and other structures, and a mysterious “hall of records” preserving hidden knowledge from the remote past. The Greek historian Herodotus took these stories seriously, and also claimed to have seen a vast underground complex near the Fayum Oasis, not far from Memphis. The Romans also believed in a tunnel system under Giza, and there have long been rumors that these tunnels connected with an immense natural cavern system…and the plateau is made of limestone, the kind of rock in which caves are most commonly formed. A few researchers even claimed to have entered the tunnels in the nineteen thirties. A number of writers on the subject have long suspected that the Sphinx showed signs of prolonged water erosion and was in fact far older than the pyramids. A modern researcher, John Anthony West, persuaded University of Boston geologist Robert Schoch to investigate the site, and Dr. Schoch concluded that the Sphinx and some other structures showed signs of water erosion not found on the pyramids, and, based upon his observations and what is known of climatic change over the last ten thousand years, concluded that the Sphinx was perhaps at least eight thousand years old.
Meanwhile, Dr. Zahi Hawass, Chief of Antiquities for Giza, announced that there were tunnels inside the Sphinx, but offered no explanation nor any invitation to outside researchers to investigate them. At times Dr. Hawass has acted as though he is hiding something from the public, and at other times he has been quite open and has aided some unconventional researchers. A colleague of Schoch’s, Thomas Dobecki, used sound to “x ray” the area beneath the Sphinx, and located a large chamber beneath and between its front paws. Other researchers since then have used both sound and ground penetrating radar to find, incredibly, a huge maze of tunnels and chambers under Giza, and unknown chambers in the Great Pyramid. People have even penetrated into the system at a few points, and even Dr. Hawass has done so, and publicly, finding colonnaded rooms and sarcophagi. A good deal of the system, unfortunately, is flooded by ground water. Much of this complex probably dates to the known period of dynastic Egypt, but some of the tunnels (like the Sphinx) are probably far older. Similar systems have been found elsewhere in Egypt, in places like Luxor and Saqqara. If these legends, scoffed at for so long by debunkers, have been proven true, what else is true? What other legends and rumors will turn out to be fact? Could there in fact be a hall of records containing priceless knowledge? Or, even if it once existed, has it been destroyed, perhaps by the flooding, or have the records already been removed by powerful people? At this point, almost anything seems possible.
There have also long been legends of a tunnel system under the Inca (or pre-Inca) ruin of Sacsayhuaman, located on a ridge system near the town of Cuzco, which was once the capital of the Inca Empire. Supposedly, one branch of the system connects with the Koricancha temple several miles away in Cuzco, a structure now converted into a Catholic church, and other branches connect with other ancient sites; some modern versions of the story suggest a network of tunnels underlying the entire South American continent. Garcilaso de la Vega, a half Inca/half Spanish chronicler of the sixteenth century, wrote of this maze of tunnels, and said people entered them, became lost, and died, or, in a few cases, emerged with their sanity gone. There is also a story of a 1923 Lima University team who entered the tunnels from Cuzco, and supposedly only one man emerged, half starved, saying that the others died, whereupon the police dynamited that particular entrance (not the one in the Coricancha, which supposedly was padlocked in the nineteenth century). A 1972 earthquake in Peru collapsed and revealed parts of the system in Cuzco, but left no access to the rest of the system. Author and researcher David Hatcher Childress has written of tunnel systems he has explored near other ruins in South America, and Anselm Pi Rambla, a Spanish archaeologist, used ground penetrating radar and said he traced the tunnel from Sacsayhuaman to the Koricancha, and found other tunnels leading to other sacred sites in the region. I visited the area several years ago, including the Koricancha, which was only a few blocks from my hotel, and the ruin of Sacsayhuaman, which is truly beyond description. I had no opportunity to see the tunnel entrance, which my guide said had been locked shut with a steel gate after a teenage couple wandered in and never came out. As with Giza, there is something very strange about all of this. Why has the Peruvian government not gone all out to explore the system and make public their findings? Treasure…both gold and knowledge…may be found, and it could serve to boost tourism. It almost seems as if the governments of the world are hiding something, both in Peru and in Egypt.
And then there are the modern underground systems. Of course, most large cities have extensive “underworlds” of subways, water and sewer systems, and power lines. But then there are systems built by governments and their military establishments. Some of these, like NORAD’s huge Cheyenne Mountain complex in Colorado, have never been a secret. But others are, or were for a long time, classified. Beneath the Greebrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia is an extensive series of tunnels and chambers designed as a fallout shelter for members of Congress, whose lives are considered far more valuable than ours. Built in the nineteen fifties as “Project Greek Island,” it is now deactivated and used for records storage, and much of it is open to the public. Along with Raven Rock in Maryland (a shelter for the military leaders), and the Mount Weather, Virginia underground FEMA center, the Greenbrier is part of the Federal Relocation Arc.
Inevitably the existence of such shelters gives rise to rumors of other, more secret underground installations, under the canyons near Sedona, Arizona, or near California’s Tehachapi Mountains. But the most persistent stories come from the Archuleta Mesa near the town of Dulce (Spanish for “sweet”) on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation. The area has been the location of suspicious animal deaths, or cattle mutilations, and one of the chief victims was rancher Manuel Gomez, whose losses were investigated by Gabe Valdez of the New Mexico State Police in 1976-1978. As for the alleged underground facility itself, researcher Paul Bennewitz believed it was a joint human/alien base, but Bennewitz, we now know, had been fed disinformation by AFOSI (Air Force Office of Special Investigations) from Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, New Mexico, driving him to the brink of a nervous breakdown. A team from Texas led by Tom Adams investigated the cattle deaths and Archuleta Mesa, but were unable to find definitive proof of anything. Several people over the years have claimed to have been abducted and taken there, or even worked there, and in 1979 one Thomas Costello even produced photographs and documents he claimed to have smuggled out of the complex. There are stories of grays and reptoids and of horrifying biological experiments, some using human subjects, in an area dubbed “Nightmare Hall.” But solid proof never materializes.
So, in the end, we are left with enduring mysteries. The stories about Dulce are so widespread and persistent that it seems likely that they have some basis in fact…but we don’t know. The governments of Peru and Egypt do seem to be hiding something that is beneath their soil, but what? And why? All that we can do at this point is to continue investigating…and enjoy the mysteries.
William B StoeckerArticle Copyright© William B Stoecker - reproduced with permission.