Diggers of the Underground Planet
June 13, 2002 8:09 AM   Subscribe

Diggers of the Underground Planet We've had similar links posted before, but this one about the subterranean geography of Moscow really caught my attention. Discoveries include a 3,000 seat bunker under a cathedral, deserted chemical warfare labs, ancient stashes of the skulls, a second ring of metro stations that were never used and possibly a mass grave from the Stalin era.
posted by Irontom (18 comments total)
I found a couple of other articles on these guys (1), (2), (3) but none of them more recent than Nov 2000 (the original article that caught my eye was dated June of 97).

Does anyone have anything else on these guys?
posted by Irontom at 8:12 AM on June 13, 2002

Sorry looks like links 1 and 2 above are the same except for the intro paragraph. Damn my hasty enthusiasm!
posted by Irontom at 8:24 AM on June 13, 2002

This is a fascinating piece; I especially like the bits about stumbling upon furtive, shadowlit religious ceremonies and mysterious camo-clad men. Good ole' Neil got the meme going, I think.

Reminds me a bit of the Bloody Mary stories from the streets of Miami, though that might just be the Neverwhere connection.
posted by Marquis at 8:24 AM on June 13, 2002

> but none of them more recent than Nov 2000

Maybe they were eaten by a GRU.
posted by pracowity at 8:28 AM on June 13, 2002

other things you might find underneath: a subterranean river of filth and human waste!
posted by kliuless at 8:38 AM on June 13, 2002

I suspect that some of the Diggers' stories are embellished for atmospheric effect. For instance, the people in the robes around the altar who "scattered" when the Diggers approached. Why would they run? And what did the Diggers find left behind? I suspect that episode was pulled out of the standard "spooky-ooky" tool box. Also dubious is the tale of the battalion of men in camouflage uniforms. If what they were doing was so secret, why were they wearing clothing sure to make them stand out in a modern urban environment. Right out of James Bond. Not that the whole thing isn't fascinating, however.
posted by Faze at 8:45 AM on June 13, 2002

Pictures! I want pictures!
Fascinating and crazy stuff. I especially liked the old room with the hasmat suits hanging up and "crystals" (???) on the floor.
posted by aacheson at 8:50 AM on June 13, 2002

> a subterranean river of filth and human waste!

But it's Canadian filth and human waste. Probably not so bad, really. A nicer subterranean river of filth and human waste.

[Though maybe beavers, too. Big stinky toque-wearing Anne Murray-singing mutant beavers apologizing for something or other and going away nicely.]
posted by pracowity at 9:00 AM on June 13, 2002

"The pet name he prefers pays homage to the tiny, shredded strands of toilet paper that line the walls of the tunnel (under Minneapolis)... "The Silk Road," he says."
posted by MJoachim at 9:54 AM on June 13, 2002

great link.

i've been attracted to the charms of urban adventuring as of late myself.
posted by fishfucker at 10:01 AM on June 13, 2002

I always loved "urban adventuring" when I was a kid, hmmm, oh yeah.... Goonies...

However I very quickly realized that in Western Canada, there's not that much "hidden" away, other than the natural underground... We just don't have the long-term history of build, build-over... Been spelunking a few times in the Cadomin (sp) system, but unfortunately never found anything in urbania. (climbed buildings for awhile to explore rooftops, that was neat)

However, I've read online about folks who have achieved access to underground bunkers near the Edmonton forces base. And I've heard Vancouver has about 8-10 hidden/interesting underground places... (hidden tunnels in Gastown, a very deep shaft at UBC, thinks it's research-related, supposedly some underground chambers near Van Dusen Gardens), I think there's a series of books, "Secrets of the City: CityXYZ"...
posted by jkaczor at 10:18 AM on June 13, 2002

Faze, Moscow is not like a Western city. For instance, the uniformed guys under the bank could have been part of the bank's security service. In Russia, that means uniforms, masks, night-vision devices, and high-powered guns. No wonder the police stay away. And the secrecy of Christianity under communism also meant that cults could flourish, and the post-Soviet freedom meant all sorts of people pouring in. The idea that the city administration and police have control over what goes on is laughable. Bribery is endemic, the mafia control what they want, and police aren't willing to risk their lives for people who don't pay protection money taxes. The construction methods also don't seem to very much parallel the Western technique of digging a big empty hole and refilling it as you see fit -- there's a lot more pre-20th-century build-on-what's-there.
posted by dhartung at 10:30 AM on June 13, 2002

Just wait until they find the river of pink glowing ectoplasmic goo that feeds on negative human energy and can only be defeated by a quirky gang of four middle aged men in jumpsuits (and Sigourney Weaver) armed with Proton Packs. THEN it will all make sense.

On a side note, links like these are why I like MeFi.
posted by gsteff at 10:32 AM on June 13, 2002

While The Greenbrier Resort is open, it's got one of those cool relics of the Cold War that are now public knowledge. The bunker was built during a 1960 expansion. I don't think CSX, the resort's owning corporation, got to make the bunker a casino since gambling is not on the activities list.
posted by onhazier at 10:55 AM on June 13, 2002

dhartung, Thanks for the update. I haven't been to Moscow since 1969, when it was quite the model of order.
posted by Faze at 11:46 AM on June 13, 2002

http://www.caveclan.org/sydney is us. Exploring Sydney Australia. We just had our Annual Golden Torch Awards last weekend.
posted by Burgatron at 11:52 AM on June 13, 2002

I blogged this on my site a few days ago and turned a few additional links, including those guys own Russian site.
posted by NortonDC at 6:05 AM on June 14, 2002

just saw this on drudge: Exploring Las Vegas' drainage canals

"It turned out that Ron and John had lived in the drain for 15 months. They worked odd jobs during the day and returned to the tunnels at night. They cooked meat in the fire pit. They pissed in Double Big Gulp cups, which they emptied outside occasionally. They swept and cleaned the channel as if they lived in a Green Valley suburban tract home."
posted by kliuless at 4:16 PM on June 27, 2002

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