Monday, January 22, 2007

"Les cataphiles" of Paris...

Who doesn't love hearing about a secret society? The mere mention of those two words sparks the imagination in a way that few human endeavors can. They control the world after all. Whether they are up to good or no good, matters less than the fact that they are out there somewhere doing something off the charts. Of course, actually belonging to one of these underground groups would be a serious commitment. And once the secret is gone, all you are left with is the agenda, the big egos, the embarrassing rituals, and some moth-eaten robes. At the end of the day, it's probably a lot more fun to imagine what it's like to be in the Skull and Bones than to have actually been a member.

The Guardian reports that, in 2004, a fully-equipped cinema and restaurant was discovered in one of the forbidden sectors of the catacombs (with their famous ossuary) that sit beneath much of Paris. There are few clues as to who was using this cavern clubhouse, save some racist graffiti on the ceiling, a pressure cooker behind the bar ("for making cous cous" says the article), and a cache of films and video tapes dating back to the 1950s. The entrance was found off of an uncharted section of the catacombs located across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. It was marked as a closed building site and was wired with audio tapes of barking dogs and closed-circuit tv's to record any unwanted faces.

"There exist, however, several secretive bands of so-called cataphiles, who gain access to the tunnels mainly after dark, through drains and ventilation shafts, and hold what in the popular imagination have become drunken orgies but are, by all accounts, innocent underground picnics."

I'm sure...

(photo of boneyard in Paris catacombs by Vlastimil Juricek)


Post a Comment

<< Home