Man Explores A Super Creepy 70-Year-Old Bomb Shelter

Diply 19 Oct 2018

My house is about 110 years old and full of surprises, both good and bad. But the closest I've got to a real mystery is an old wardrobe in the basement that is so large that I cannot figure out how it got down there. I'm definitely not going to be getting it back out any time soon.

That's not the case with a certain house in Belmont, NC. 

Flickr | Eris Discord

This house has a very obvious addition to the back: a tiny door surrounded by concrete.

You can tell that it wasn't meant to be there by how it blocks one of the windows.

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Up close, a plaque on the door both gives answers and raises a heck of a lot more questions. 

Flickr | Eris Discord

It reads:

THE. ATOMIC. AGE. 1950

1. NO. 1. BOMB. SHELTER.

2. FOR. USE. IN. EMERGENCY.

3. BE. CAREFUL. IN. USING.

4. SAFETY. FIRST. W.F. ABEE.

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Nope. That's not creepy at all.

Make a Meme | Make a Meme

For some reason, "safety first" just makes it more ominous. Maybe I've just watched one too many bunker-based horror films to ever find these things comforting. I can't decide what would be worse, going down there or dying of curiosity if I didn't.

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Thankfully, there are other much braver people around who are willing to take the risk these days.

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Also, they are happy to take lots of pictures and share them on Reddit, which is exactly what user elhooper did.

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He's not the first person to go down there. 

Flickr | Eris Discord

In 2007, Eris Discord descended into the shelter and shared their pics on Flickr. But because social media was still a baby, they didn't go viral in the same way.

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It's through Discord's pics that it's revealed that the bunker actually has two entrances.

Flickr | Eris Discord

In a corner of the old garage is a tiny room with an open hatch in the floor. Nothing says "Come on down!" like a rusty ladder and pulley system!

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But, for whatever reason, elhooper didn't go in the back way. No, he wanted to go through the front door. 

Reddit | elhooper

As a real estate agent, he'd become curious about the door during a showing and the listing agent happened to have the keys.

In the years since Discord's visit, the door had been repainted from light blue to black, which makes it even creepier.

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It seems likely that the current owners closed up the other access point.

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I mean, it was an open hole dropping down into a creepy bunker. I would have done the same.

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So, elhooper enlisted a contractor friend and opened up the hatch. 

Reddit | elhooper

Behind the small door was a narrow, steep set of stairs leading to a small concrete room and another hatch.

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"Oh... you're going down THERE?" said the listing agent, who is a woman after my own heart.

Reddit | elhooper

What followed were a series of ladders descending deeper into red rock, with ancient DIY wiring stringing electric lights along the path. The electricity was turned off, so there was no way to know if the lights still worked.

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The lights they brought with them couldn't reach very far into the tunnels ahead of them. 

Reddit | elhooper

Is that a crusty wooden door with a chain on it? If I hadn't stopped yet, that would have right there.

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Cubbies are carved into some of the walls, and it looks like the builder enjoyed soda pop.

Reddit | elhooper

According to elhooper, "It's cold and misty down here and my Canon is spazzing out and won't let me snap photos here and there. I'm not superstitious but it made my hairs rise. I attributed it to the darkness which I'm sure is the culprit, anyway."

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In one dark corner, they found a very small set of rough steps.  

Reddit | elhooper

It lead to another ladder and hatch that didn't seem to be high enough to lead to ground level.

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If you're claustrophobic and have lasted this long, I'd skip this pic.

Reddit | elhooper

That's elhooper climbing up those stairs to find the new ladder. He's 6'1, but looks massive in the tiny tunnel. How's that for scale?

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Another side tunnel lead to more cubbies and ladders. 

Reddit | elhooper

Alongside some old support beams, there was a fake rose in a terra-cotta pot. Don't touch it! That's how hauntings start.

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I think the ladder at the end leads to the other hatch in the garage. 

Flickr | Eris Discord

Eris Discord's first photo from the bottom of their ladder seems to be the same tunnel from the opposite end.

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Yup. There's that rusty winch and chain. Still creepy.

Reddit | elhooper

At this point, the crumbly tunnel was getting to both of them, especially the contractor, so they decided it was time to go.

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Look how small that tunnel is! GAH.

Reddit | elhooper

I can only assume that the shelter is unfinished. What person could look at this and think it would be safe for their family if a bomb hit?

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Neither elhooper or Discord managed to get a clear pic of the etchings on the walls.

Reddit | elhooper

I choose to believe that they are notes by the builder to himself and not signs of zombie activity.

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There was one section they couldn't check out. 

Reddit | elhooper

Stone had collapsed near the entrance, mostly covering an opening that lead to who knows where. While I'm super curious, I wouldn't risk it either.

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And out he comes, but not before one last, terrifying decision.  

Reddit | elhooper

"Friend leaves first. This leaves me with a moment to turn off all of my lights and experience the full darkness of the tunnel. Only takes a second or two to really, uh, embrace it. Quite overwhelming with the cold misty air touching your face and neck. And the sense of... something being down there with you. Waiting for your lights to turn off."

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Dude, why do you have to say things like that?

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While they were down there, another agent had arrived with a family to show and he found them all waiting up above, desperate to know what was down there.

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After the pics were shared, clever sleuths found an article about the shelter from May 23, 1951.

Gastonia Gazette Newspaper Archives | Gastonia Gazette Newspaper Archives

It's pretty degraded, but that image is definitely the same hatch. The text is hard to read and the rest of the article is behind a paywall, but there's enough to learn about the builder.

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W.F. Abee isn't just weird text on the plaque; it's the name of the builder.

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A marine who read a lot about atomic bombings, Abee and his two sons set about building the shelter to protect their family.Without the rest of the article, it's hard to know the whys or hows, but hopefully, the interest shown in elhooper'sphotos will lead to more information in the future.

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