1. Suddenly I realize, there’s someone there. Right in front of me. Inches from my face.
“There’s an abandoned and boarded-up WWII fort in the southern part of Belgium, that we often sneak into with the scouts. Getting in there requires scaling a sheer wall (where we’ve placed anchoring points for ropes and climbing gear) next to a relatively busy road. So you’re being super quiet, making no light and cowering every time a car passes by so he doesn’t spot you in his lights. The atmosphere is set.
The moment you enter it, it’s like diving into water. Sound stops and the entire place is at a constant 14 degrees Celsius, with a slight breeze passing through. The tunnel is barely large enough for me (slightly broader than the average person) to pass without turning my body sideways. The tunnel is just high enough to work up a decent gait while hunched over. If someone ahead of you blocks a passage for a moment, the breeze stops and it feels like the entire tunnel network takes a breath. Because of the way the tunnels are constructed, they echo in such a way that your own footsteps seem to be coming from behind you. They also seem to take one more step than you do when you stop.
Of course, we don’t allow the guys and gals to take any source of light in there, so it’s pretty scary overall.
So I’m in there, posted at a side passage to ensure everyone takes the same path and doesn’t get lost. I go in first, before any of the climbers arrive, so they don’t know there are friendly faces in there to help them. I’m in there for a while, just waiting for the first to come by, when I see a dancing little light coming down the long hallway. I quietly settle back in my nook and wait for whoever was smart enough to hide some matches and take them away.
The light quietly bobs closer when I realize there aren’t any footsteps accompanying it. I poke my head around the corner just in time to see it disappear. I hear no footsteps still.
I settle back and wait some more, when I realize I do hear some scuffling. Very faint. Breathing noises, but still very faint. I become aware of a wet heat coming from right in front of me, with a faint smell of…person, sweat, dirt? Suddenly I realize, there’s someone there. Right in front of me. Inches from my face.
The breathing stops suddenly, whatever it is, is aware of me as well. Whatever or whoever it is, we’re both holding our breath, both acutely aware of each other. It takes ages. I’m sitting there, unable to move, speak or breathe properly.
The wet heat passes and some minutes later I become aware of very faint light coming from my right side, which soon dissipates and leaves.
Sometime later still, I hear the familiar stomping of combat boots coming down the hallway from my left. I stop the person, tell them to keep following the passageway and take the first right they come to. Out of curiosity, I ask who went in first. No one, he went in first…
it was explained much later. the first guy got lost down a dead-end side passage and the second girl passed him by. She got nervous from the footsteps and removed her shoes. She saw me poke my head from around the corner and dropped the match. She passed me very slowly. One of the later checkpoints said she was crying her eyes out.”
2. There are skulls from small animals everywhere in there that shape in a big triangle that points to a very large dog-like skeleton.
“I do electrical work for a living and I’ve been working in old Baltimore lately and most of the buildings in Baltimore are connected by tunnels. So about a few months ago I was working on a building on East Redwood Street putting lights in the tunnels. Well on day on my lunch break I decide to walk around them, so I’m walking for about 20 minutes when I thought I heard my foreman call me down one of the halls, I assume he went to look around as well, so I start to walk down the hall and it started to get deeper and colder, I think about turning around because I don’t want to get lost when I hear it again so I a little deeper. Eventually I hit a room about the size of baseball court with probably 20′ high ceilings, the ground is all sticky and every step I take sounds like I’m undoing a heavy Velcro strap, there are skulls from small animals everywhere in there that shape in a big triangle that points to a very large dog-like skeleton. At this point I’m freezing and really scared, I start to smell a harsh burning smell and hear what sounded like a big dog running on concrete, I can hear it get louder and closer, louder and closer. I start running like I have never ran in my life, finally after what felt like an hour of running at full sprint I run into a staircase with a big heavy metal door at the end of it, I hear the noises now like they are right around the corner. So with all my might and adrenaline-fueled strength I rip the door open and slam it behind me and then hear and feel a hard ‘thud’ against the door. I turn around to see I’m standing under the docks by the Four Seasons and the Marriott Hotel. I call my boss and tell him I got lost in the tunnels and need to get picked up. Since the day I refuse to go in the tunnels under Baltimore or go in to sub basements in Baltimore.”
3. A music box was playing in an underground tunnel.
“Went exploring with a bunch of friends at the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. While this is not underground in its entirety, portions of it are. The buildings were left with hospital equipment, beds, books, patient files… literally everything. It’s eerie as if a zombie apocalypse occurred and everyone left. It operated from 1864 to 1994. The facility was self-sustaining, (i.e. the ‘patients’ farmed the land, and had all resources on campus. The years this was open a lot of horror stories came out of this place, this wasn’t the modern day psychiatric ward. More like a prison, where families paid a lot of money to hide their mentally ill, or the state put undesirables. There’s an underground network, that was heavily blocked off with chains. However, the main buildings were easily accessible. But, the access ways to the underground were blocked off inside as well. Every time we got near one of the underground tunnel systems we could hear faint music playing, sounded like a music box playing. We found a bent wired gate and attempted to file in, the music got louder and we were all pretty freaked out. We were all promptly arrested before attempting to go into the tunnels. There’s a lot of speculation about the tunnels still to this day. The new owner said he was afraid of asbestos, and was fearing for our safety. He was very grim, he agreed to drop charges if we never went back. We obliged happily. Still, I sometimes think of my interactions there, all of the remnants left behind and get severely creeped out.”
4. We stayed quiet and started hearing the laughter getting louder and more intense.
“There’s a sewer system under my old neighborhood and I would go in there to smoke weed with my buddies. we started to notice ‘messages’ left on the walls in red paint, like ‘we’re watching you’ ‘smoke the reefer meet the reaper.’ one day while we were down there we heard a couple of voices laughing and were getting closer and closer. We panicked and lifted a manhole right above that opened up to a busy road street. we never went back down again.
We discovered the opening (tunnel) to the sewer system this one summer in middle school and me and my friends started to go in there to smoke and relax away from the public. there was this one spot we liked that was dry and full of graffiti so that was our spot but it was pretty deep in there. One day we noticed the messages on the wall and we knew it was fresh since we’ve never seen it before. we went back again and again without any further incident…one day, me and 2 others decided to skip school and go there to smoke n chill there. we were there for like half an hour. and we had just finished smoking a blunt when we started hearing a faint voice burst into laughter followed by other voices bursting into laughter. we couldn’t tell if it was coming from the entrance or from the deeper part of the tunnel. we stayed quiet and started hearing the laughter getting louder and more intense. One of my friends quickly went to the nearest manhole cover and started pushing up. My other friend went over to help and they were able to open it, we crawled out of there onto a busy road and ran for our lives to the nearest apartment complex.”
5. I find the back wall, and there’s a giant red scrawl that says, ‘GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY HOME.’
“Was playing in the woods and tripped over something solid. Found it was a cement circle, and realized it was an underground door. The next day I come back with a crowbar (to open, and like hell I’m going in unarmed). Pull it up, and it’s a cold war era personal bomb shelter…that failed? There was a giant crack in the roof, the floor was covered in slime. But what was worse is the walls are covered in writings. ‘this is the end’ ‘we must die’ ‘everyone is gone’… Till I find the back wall, and there’s a giant red scrawl that says, ‘GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY HOME.’ That’s it, fuck this. I’m fucking out. I sprint up the door, and close it. I don’t want to know what the hell that was. But I come back the next day… it’s burned out. I didn’t set a fire intentionally, and I didn’t smell smoke leaving.”
6. I walked into a fully naked man bathing under a leaking hot water pipe.
“I work for the MTA in NYC. The underground train system is the perfect place for homeless people to escape the elements. I walked into a fully naked man bathing under a leaking hot water pipe. That was pretty terrifying.”
7. It’d feel and sound like there was someone standing just behind me to my left and whispering in my ear.
“Many years ago, I worked as a technical assistant at a coal mining company. this was basically doing the grunt work for those with degrees, taking samples of things, doing data entry, driving the surveyors around etc., etc.
One of my duties was to go into the underground mines and take coal, dirt, and air samples on a regular basis. often this’d be a little away from other workers.
One place I’d hate going because every time it’d feel and sound like there was someone standing just behind me to my left and whispering in my ear, even when the nearest other person was 30 yards away or so.
Probably just weird acoustics but fuck I hated those days.”
8. He says with his headlamp there’s something big up ahead. Looks like an honest-to-God body. Human maybe.
“My buddy and me spent many years crawling through sewer pipes. One day we were out in the woods. Me him and another friend. We were deep in the woods. We found some pipe sticking out of a hillside and agreed to explore it.
Well we crawl down this thing a good 600 feet or so, on our hands and knees. At times it gets smaller and we are on our stomachs. Finally it comes to one of those big manhole rooms, and we get the impression were under a house.
Of course we also know that in some places manholes will exist in the middle of nowhere for future developments. Anyways the room has 3 other super small pipes heading off into different directions. Like slither on your stomach size. We choose one and make our friend Z go first.
We go down about 300 feet and he shouts back that there’s something in the way. He thinks it’s a dead animal. But since we are using weak headlamps he can’t tell. We coerce him to climb over it. Then comes me. He’s freaking out saying shit is all over his clothes and he didn’t know what it was. I climb over this dark lump of refuse. Feels like a body but not human. Not even animal. Just alien. Smells bad. Smells horrible. I slide over this nasty shit almost puking. My buddy behind me comes next. Same story.
We keep going. Asking ourselves why we even do this shit in the first place. Exploration. Etc. Into the unknown. The forbidden.
We crawl another few hundred feet. Z starts complaining about a horrible godawful stench ahead. We can’t for the life of him get him to continue. He ends up throwing up. We start throwing the idea around of gas of some sort. He says with his headlamp there’s something big up ahead. Looks like an honest-to-God body. Human maybe. We slide backwards quickly until we get to the manhole room. We crawl out quickly.
We get into the daylight and investigate the shit stuck to our clothes from the thing we slid over. It’s dark. Bloody dark. Refuse dark. Looks like fur. We agree that it was probably a trapped animal.
Never go back ever again.”
9. You inch along in complete darkness without being able to see your hand in front of your face.
“My grandpa got lost in Mammoth Cave after he got back from WWII. Apparently before he was drafted it was not a National Park and the rules around exploring it were very loose, the property it was on was privately owned and locals were known to trespass to explore the cave. (or that’s what my grandpa used to tell me, he and his friends very well may have been the only people trespassing.) While my Grandpa was serving in the Pacific Theater the cave became a National Park. After arriving home my grandpa and his friends that survived the war went back to explore for old time’s sake. They were wandering around with flashlights when they heard a tour group, considering they weren’t in their ‘legally’ and had bypassed many federal trespassing signs, they cut the lights and slowly but surely tried to walk unnoticed back to the entrance. Unfortunately, they went deeper and spent 17 hours in there before getting out. He didn’t have many stories because apparently you inch along in complete darkness without being able to see your hand in front of your face. But he said one of his friends kept saying ‘we didn’t survive that shit to die in here.’”
10. The creepy old TV deep in the quarry.
“Me and a few friends explored this abandoned quarry once. There was one main tunnel going back into a mountain with tons of straight offshoot tunnels and clearings intersecting it. We came to one of the cleared-out areas far back into the mine (the entrance to the tunnel was out of sight with no light other than our spotlights).
Laying on some rocks at the bottom of the flooded, partially caved in clearing was one of those old TVs that sit like a cabinet on the floor. At first we thought it was some kind of chest or crate but when we put a spotlight on it and realized it was an old T.V. It was definitely unsettling. The whole quarry had a creepy vibe to it but the T.V. was just really out of place. I guess some of the miners had it running off a generator or something back in the day. Creepy nonetheless.
Here is a pic for anyone interested. And no, the creepy silhouette in the top corner is not a monster, it’s just my friend’s spotlight.
It was pretty far in. The main tunnel was almost a straight line. I don’t know how far exactly but we walked down the main tunnel and explored the side tunnels a bit for well over an hour. We eventually lost sight of the exit when the main tunnel dipped down slightly. At that point, it looked almost like a flashlight in the distance so it had to be pretty far.
The T.V. wasn’t all that far from where the entrance went out of sight. A little past the T.V. the main tunnel had caved in basically creating a hill of rocks we would have had to climb to progress. We figured that was our stopping point since the risk of rocks falling from the ceiling was pretty high.
Another thing that added to the creepiness of it all where these glow in the dark exit signs pointing towards the main entrance. If you looked closely you could barely see them glowing off in the distance from ambient light produced by our flashlights I assume.
We were literally in the heart of a mountain so I highly doubt T.V. service would have reached it. They might have used a VHS player but it’s still strange since there was nothing else around it that showed signs of humans being there. You’d think they would have left something behind since the T.V. was abandoned but that area was empty from what we could tell. That mine was just a strange place.”
11. The void beneath the cemetery.
“I found a gigantic cement vault under the Arlington National Cemetery. It was super spooky and not on any map.
I crawled several storm drain pipes in Arlington National Cemetery for my job.
I cannot disclose what pipe at what manhole so I will be vague.
Upon entry into the pipe I saw an inlet at 12:00, long in the distance downstream that wasn’t on any of the maps I was provided.
I was lowered 25 feet deep and crawled 40 feet upstream until I found the vertical connection.
It was a standard 24″ service connection and terminated straight into a vault with no features at least 8′ in size on all walls. It was massive considering the native earth around it.
It was a big room of nothing underneath the resting places of many people.
So far as I know the pipe was lined and completed. That means that strange concrete box in the storm drain underneath the dead will have been sealed off for the future.
Strange it will be. Sealed for the future. The void beneath the dead with no purpose.”
12. Eventually we got spit out into a bayou from a tunnel we had never even explored.
“Houston is crisscrossed with bayous because it a swamp that needs to be drained a lot. There are these gigantic tunnels that lead to the bayous and collect water from the storm drains. When we were kids, these were great to explore. We’d make maps about how to get from one area to another using these tunnels.
Well, we set aside one Saturday to try to make all the way to a mall a couple miles away from the starting point. Our hand drawn map was about halfway done. We got lost. And then, as it is wont to do in Houston in the summer, it started pouring down rain. This happened before but we were usually close to an exit. Not this time. It kept raining. The water got high enough that the current knocked us over. Eventually we got spit out into a bayou from a tunnel we had never even explored.
After finally getting out of the bayou and getting back to safety we realized we were almost a mile from where we started.”
13. I was in this sewer and there was a massive gust of wind.
“So I’ve done a lot of things like this and there is usually an explanation for anything that seems untoward. Disused mental hospitals, train tunnels, sewers, abandoned stations, utility tunnels, military installations, the lot—it’s usually just your mind if you think something is weird. One story that springs to mind was being in a storm drain in London. The storm drains are generally dry but there might be water elsewhere—the tunnels can stretch for miles at a time. We would always listen out for moving water and any changes in air pressure or temperature, just to know whether there was going to be any change in water level or something dumped into the tunnel further up the line. I was in this sewer and there was a massive gust of wind. No idea what caused it but the chap I was with looked at me and we both just said ‘we’re leaving, right now’. We stomped up the tunnel and made our way out into a dry night. Something in that change of air pressure and temperature told us something and I’m not sure what it was, but we both knew that leaving there and then was the right thing to do.”
14. After a few seconds, a wake in the water was heading toward me.
“A friend and I used to work at a university in a building that was large and located in a city. The street-level floor was actually labeled as the fourth floor. The floors below that had light from interior courtyards.
The elevators and stairs all stopped at 1, but there was clearly a level below that could be seen from one of the interior courtyards. One day, we slipped through the window into the basement. As we suspected, none of the equipment seemed to be in use any more, but it was cool old stuff.
As we’re looking around, we find a stairway down. So, down we go to another floor that seems to hold supports for the giant machines above, plus some large storage areas for coal. As we’re looking around, we find what looks like a large toolshed standing in the middle of the floor. We don’t want to damage anything, but we’re intensely curious. So, we manage to very carefully pry away a nailed down board to see the top of a spiral staircase going down.
At this point, we’re 5 stories underground, and by design, nobody else knows that we’re here. So, we carry on. We slip through the hole in the wall and star to climb down a rickety, old, metal stairway. I’m in the back, but my friend in the lead immediately and calmly says, ‘Back up. Now.’
In the shed, he explains that the bottom of the stairs seems to be completely rusted away, there’s a hallway filled with water, and it’s not clear how deep the water in the hallway is—it could be a few inches or a few feet.
I wanted to take a look, so I went down the stairs. Sure enough, it’s as he describes, with two additional details:
An old ‘Bell System’ hardhat floating upside down in the water below the staircase.
After a few seconds, a wake in the water was heading toward me.
At that point, it was ‘Up! Now!’ The wake could have been a wave caused by us moving around, or a rat swimming in the water, but it wasn’t exactly a time when we wanted to discover the local wildlife.
We waited at the top of the stairs for a few minutes just to see if anything appeared, but it all went silent. We decided that the tunnel would remain unexplored.”
15. I had this horrible vibe about being where I was.
“This sketchy ass tunnel I found when I was working for a fire inspection company the past few summers. We inspect all the schools in our district.
I discovered during an inspection at my old public school (one of the oldest in Canada) in the basement, a tunnel. A tunnel that went on for at least 100 meters, and it very well may have gone on longer but I had this horrible vibe about being where I was, I couldn’t bring myself to walk further.
Finally turned back to where I came from and it was at least 75 meters away, I immediately booked it the fuck back. Never to return again.”
16. We dragged a small mattress out of the trash, shoved it down the manhole, and then lit it on fire.
“When I was 11 I moved from a small town (app. 15K) to a largish city (metro area 3+ million). We lived in an apartment complex near a major highway, and next to the highway was a large drainage area, like a small shallow concrete lake, and there were storm sewer tunnels all over the area. My friends and I explored them and to this day I could probably draw you a partially accurate map of those tunnels 33 years ago. We learned which ones went under the laundromat and got real hot, which ones got narrower as you went down them, etc. Some of these tunnels we went in had to go at least a half mile, and if you included the little open interchange areas underneath manholes, you could go from the creek at a nearby park to the far side of the highway nearly a mile away.
This terrified my mother, but she eventually said she realized she couldn’t keep me out of the tunnels so she made sure I had flashlights and told her whenever I was going in the tunnels.
Scary part—my best friend had slowly dared each other to go farther down the tunnels without flashlights until we were comfortable traversing the entire system in near total darkness. One of our other friends wanted to go in the tunnels, we didn’t like him very much so we took him with us, and about halfway through one of the longest tunnels we turned off the flashlights and ran (or rather, scurried) away, leaving him crying in the dark for us to come help him. We didn’t, but eventually he found his way out and I got in some trouble over that.
Another time, my friend said he heard some ‘big kids’ (probably teenagers in hindsight) in OUR tunnel system, and we felt very territorial about it. They had gone down one of the tunnels that gets narrower as you travel down it, it got too small for even us little kids before it got anywhere. There was a dumpster near the manhole access that led to this tunnel, and we dragged a small mattress out of the trash, shoved it down the manhole, and then lit it on fire. We thought it was hilarious when we could hear the ‘big kids’ screaming and cursing. We ran away so we wouldn’t get our butts kicked and I don’t know how they got out but I never heard of kids dying in the storm sewer tunnels, so I’m sure they got out OK.”
17. It was quite startling to be walking through a pitch-black tunnel, come around a bend and see the light from the other side…with the figure of a person walking toward you.
“I used to do a lot of exploring in my younger days, mainly when my friends and I would skip school and decide our time was better spent finding new places to explore than actually learning in a structured environment ;).
I should mention I am an Australian, just in case anyone wanted to do any type of research on any of these places.
One of our favorite places to explore was a place called White Bay Power station which was a coal powered station that closed its doors on Christmas day 1983, we were exploring between the years of 1997 and 2000 so the decay had well and truly set in by this time. (On a side note films such as The Matrix Reloaded and Mission Impossible had parts filmed here).
Anyway, this place was absolutely huge! It has all of the usual “abandoned adornments” such as graffiti and satanic signs and messages scrawled over the walls, there was also a time we went and found a freshly dead pigeon which had a noose around its neck.
It was also multi-leveled, the exact number of levels were hard to determine because it would all depend on which flight of stairs you took, which part of the power station you entered from and which actual part of the power station you were in. On some flights of stairs, you could be 8 floors up and be able to see through the metal staircase you were standing on due to it decaying from rust. The most dangerous thing about this place was the way some levels would just ‘drop off,’ there would be a big concrete platform then nothing, no railings or anything to stop you falling off. There was also a door which we opened that took us on to the roof, a roof I nearly fell off because I got dizzy from the sheer height of the roof.
Though the scariest part of the whole power plant were the big chutes they used to store the coal in. This is hard to explain but I will try my best. Imagine having 2 thin metal catwalks on either side of huge metallic ‘voids.’ You couldn’t see more than 4 feet in front of you on the catwalks because of the sheer darkness and the inside of the ‘voids’ that the coal was stored in were the blackest darkness you can imagine. So basically standing on these catwalks were much like walking the plank, except you can’t see anything in front of you and if the floor below you gave way you were done for.
We also used to frequent old train tunnels in Sydney, it was quite startling to be walking through a pitch-black tunnel, come around a bend and see the light from the other side…with the figure of a person walking toward you. This used to happen pretty often as the homeless and drug users would take refuge in the tunnels to either get out of the elements or to take drugs. Funnily enough, some of the best tunnels were put back in to use for the 2000 Sydney Olympic tram services, now they are all cleaned up and well lit.
Another type of place we used to explore a lot were underground canals and drainage tunnels, we got so good at mapping them out that we knew which tunnels to take to get us as close as possible to fast food outlets for lunch. We found one weird tunnel one day, we were walking along and noticed an offshoot which made us drop to our knees and crawl, at the end of this tunnel there was what I could best describe as a small water reservoir, the water in it was only about an inch lower than the pipe we are in and had a newish looking ladder about five feet away on the left side of the pipe we are currently crouched in and a metal grate above it. We had to maneuver ourselves on an angle right on the lip of the pipe and jump and grab the ladder and climb out of the grate…we found out pretty quickly that the whole thing looked so new because we were now standing in someone’s backyard, ha-ha!”