Friday, April 4, 2014

Zak Bagans Explores 'Netherworld' Of Paris...As Did Aaron Sagers

In case you missed it, Zak Bagans is going on an adventure all of his own. Tomorrow, April 5, at 9 p.m. ET, join Zak in "Netherworld," a special on the Travel Channel which features the lead investigator from "Ghost Adventures" delving into the Paris Catacombs.

Described as a "terrifying descent into the dark side of the City of Lights," the special has Bagans "exploring the deepest mysteries" and "unseen secrets" of the underground tunnels where the remains of nearly seven million people are arranged.

I had the opportunity in 2009 to visit and explore the catacombs with only one other person, and at times on my own. The overwhelming feeling down there cannot be ignored, from the moment you descend a spiral staircase deep underground to when you emerge back on the surface blocks away. You feel exposed yet claustrophobic. And around every corner, you feel as if you just missed someone walking by. It is a necropolis, a city of the dead. They are awe-inspiring, beautiful, beautifully macabre and creepy as hell.

The ossuaries were established in the lates 1700s due to cemetery overcrowding and disease, and remains were relocated to the former mines and tunnels systems under Paris streets. In addition to millions of skeletons arranged in decorative fashion (as well as simply stacked on another), the tunnels contain monuments, inscriptions bearing warnings and poems ("Crazy that you are, why, /Do you promise yourself to live A long time, you who cannot / count on a single day"), skeletal deformities -- and a lot of legends.

Only a portion of the incredibly labyrinth (possibly 200 miles in length) is open to the public, and additional security was added in 2009, however there are tales of secret societies existing in them. It is a fact that the Nazis had a bunker in the catacombs during World War II, and in 2004 a fully operational (and clandestine) movie cinema with a screen, restaurant and bar was discovered in an uncharted area; the cinema was "guarded" by security measures such as cameras and recordings of barking dogs, and was powered by electric lines.

Zak's curiosity will definitely lead to him investigating these things in "Netherworld." Who knows, he may even turn up some cool tales of French vampire hives down there (which I've heard about). But you'll have to tune in tomorrow to find out for sure. This is not one to be missed.

-Aaron Sagers

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