Let's start with the one everyone's heard: beneath the streets of New York City lurks an unusual and carnivorous menace. A population of alligators that terrorizes sewer workers, feasting on the immense rats and the garbage dumped into the labyrinthine sewers every day. Unlike most of the rest of the stories in this entry, this one's got some actual facts behind it. One day in February 1935, a group of boys clearing snow in East Harlem spotted something moving in a storm drain. Upon closer examination, it turned out to be an eight-foot alligator. How it came to be in a storm drain in East Harlem has never been properly explained. Since then, tales of alligators populating the sewers of the Big Apple have been circulating the world. Variations include colonies of blind, albino gators mutating there, sewer inspectors killing gators with .22-caliber rifles, and even alligators finding their way into the subway via flooded sewers. Is there any truth to these legends? Unlikely. New York City is, of course, far from the warm waters alligators usually call home. Cold-blooded reptiles like alligators don't handle cold temperatures well. However, I do have one personal theory on how they might survive. Consolidated Edison runs a large network of steam pipes beneath Manhattan, to supply heat to older buildings. These pipes tend to leak, having been constructed starting in the 1880s. What if a pipe somewhere deep within the guts of the sewer has been leaking for a very long time, producing a constant tropical atmosphere in some remote corner of the system? Could a small population of alligators not survive in such an area, subsisting on vermin and garbage, occasionally venturing out into sight?
|A Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller
And now for the two weirder ones: deep underground military bases (known by the rather disappointing acronym of DUMBs) and the lost city of Death Valley. This is where things start diving further into the conspiracy theory area than I usually go. DUMBs are a pretty simple concept, and not hard to believe: massive subterranean facilities scattered throughout the United States and operated by the military (and occasionally...other groups, I'll get to that shortly), kept hidden from the public and buried deep underground. The idea is hardly unprecedented, during the Cold War a large number of CBRN-hardened sites were constructed around the US, including the Greenbrier, Raven Rock and Mount Weather installations not far from D.C, the NORAD bunker at Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, and the numerous launch silos for Atlas, Titan and Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles, not to mention the (mostly above-ground) Nike missile defence grid and the bunker at CFB North Bay. Plans were even drawn up for larger sites such as the Deep Underground Support Center (over a kilometer down, capable of housing 200 people for a month or more), as well as a machine to build them, the nuclear subterrene.
|A mural at Denver International
|The USS Thresher, underway in 1961
Oh yeah, and one last thing, an update on me: no, I didn't lose my head in Nahanni Valley, or vanish mysteriously into the woods, I've been here same as always but horribly unmotivated. So I decided to polish up this draft a bit and finish it off in an attempt to get back to writing.