Perhaps it's the absence of natural light, or the presence of beetles, worms, and subway rats, that creeps us out a little (okay, a lot) about going underground. In movies and books, nothing good ever comes from venturing into a tunnel, abandoned basement, sewer pipe, or underground cave, unless you're searching for Batman. But delving into the lower realms of the world can turn out to be scary in real life, too, whether it's beneath a home, vacant building, street, or plain old ground.
People on Reddit with a penchant for subterranean exploration or tunnels, or workers whose jobs take them underground, shared their scariest stories about wandering around below. Some of them never went down again, but all obviously survived and made it back aboveground to share their creepy tales.
From a former Redditor:
I do electrical work for a living... 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... putting lights in the tunnels.
Well, one day on my lunch break I decide to walk around them, so I'm walking for about 20 minutes when I think I hear 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 starts 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 go a little deeper.
Eventually I hit a room about the size of baseball court with probably 20-foot-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 sounds like a big dog running on concrete. I can hear it get louder and closer, louder and closer. I start running...
Finally, after what feels 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, 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 [that] day I refuse to go in the tunnels under Baltimore or go into sub-basements in Baltimore.
From Redditor /u/Secretly_psycho:
[I] was playing in the woods and tripped over something solid... [I]t was a cement circle, and... an underground door. The next day I came back with a crowbar (to open [it], and like hell I was going in unarmed). [I] pulled it up, and it was a... personal... shelter... that failed?
There was a giant crack in the roof; the floor was covered in slime. But what was worse is the walls were covered in writings: "This is the end"... "Everyone is gone"... Till I found the back wall, and a giant red scrawl, "GET THE F*CK OUT OF MY HOME."
That's it... I was f*cking out. I sprinted up [to] the door, and closed it. I didn't want to know what the hell that was. But I came back the next day... it was burned out. I didn't set a fire intentionally, and I didn't smell smoke leaving.
From Redditor /u/brokengoose:
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 were looking around, we found a stairway down. So, down we went to another floor that seemed to hold supports for the giant machines above, plus some large storage areas for coal. As we were looking around, we found what looked like a large tool shed standing in the middle of the floor. We didn't want to damage anything, but were intensely curious. So, we managed to very carefully pry away a nailed-down board to see the top of a spiral staircase going down.
At this point, we were five stories underground, and by design, nobody else knew that we were there... We slipped through the hole in the wall and started to climb down a rickety, old, metal stairway. I was in the back, but my friend in the lead immediately and calmly said, "Back up. Now."
In the shed, he explained that the bottom of the stairs seemed to be completely rusted away, there was a hallway filled with water, and it wasn't clear how deep the water in the hallway was - it could have been a few inches or a few feet.
I wanted to take a look, so I went down the stairs. Sure enough, it was as he describes, with two additional details:
An old "Bell System" hard hat floated 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 the tunnel would remain unexplored.
From Redditor /u/digitalis303:
As a teen I was into urban exploration. There was an old ice plant near my house that had burned (I know - ironic) around 25 to 30 years prior. Anyway, it wasn't really underground, but was so overgrown that it felt more or less like it.
I went climbing around, over, and under mangled concrete, rebar, and graffiti for a while, and finally decided I was done. [A] couple of days later I heard about how the police pulled a corpse out of there. Pretty sure I walked right by it and didn't even notice...