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Down a Rabbit Hole in England, Mysterious Caves Await

Take me there.


This particular find gives Alice a run for her money: the underground caverns are rumored to have been used by the medieval Knights Templar, and were sealed up to keep out practitioners of “Black Magic.” O RLY?

The sandstone caves in Shropshire, England weren’t exactly a secret—they’re listed on Historic England under the sexy heading of “GROTTO AT SJ 7756 0290″—but they seem to have been mostly forgotten until Birmingham photographer Michael Scott took some incredible pictures, upon which the caves became front-page news. Why, besides the badassery of hidden history?


(image credit: Michael Scott / Caters)

Well, local legend (and many reporters) rumor the caves to have been associated with the Knights Templar. The Knights Templar, as those of us who love weird tales know well, were a 12th-century religious order shrouded in intrigue, tragedy, and ongoing conspiracy theories. They pioneered early banking and as such grew to vast wealth and influence, until they were mostly wiped out by King Philip IV of France in 1307.

According to who you ask, they’re also the keepers of the Holy Grail and the Ark of the Covenant, or perhaps entrusted with the secret of Christ’s descendants. You’ve seen them pop up in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Assasin’s Creed. 


(image: Paramount)

Alas, as the BBC reports, in all likelihood the caves were hollowed out in the 18th or 19th centuries, hundreds of years after the Templars were crusading around. So it’s more probable they would have been used for an illicit Regency rendezvous rather than by warrior monk-knights.

It’s our own era that lent the caves further mystical association. The BBC says GROTTO AT SJ 7756 0290 appears to have been used by more recent visitors to conduct “black magic rites.”  So is it the site of the hidden Grail, the altar of modern-day Merlins, or just a really sweet project dreamed up by someone who loves secret places?

No matter how they came to be, I think we can agree that the caves are undeniably awesome.


(image credit: Michael Scott / Caters)


(image credit: Michael Scott / Caters)

Travel underground in this YouTube video and explore the caves. But if you see any white rabbits…

(via BBC, featured image via Michael Scott / Caters)

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Kaila is a lifelong New Yorker. She's written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.