Later, Marli took us to a local restaurant where a crowd of young people had gathered to hear the local restaurant owner talk about the mysteries of Sao Tome das Letras. He was a large man, in his 50s, who spoke in Portuguese to the 20 or so people gathered in his restaurant. The crowd listened intently as the man spoke and occasionally I asked Marli what he was saying. "He is talking about the tunnel that is at the northern edge of town," said Marli, whispering to me. "He says that the tunnel is open as far as anyone has ever walked through it. At no place is the tunnel blocked. The tunnel is man-made, but no one knows who built it or where it goes." "The Brazilian army went into the tunnel one time to find out where it ends. After travelling for four days through the tunnel the team of Army explorers eventually came to a large room deep underground. This room had four openings to four tunnels, each going in a different direction. They had arrived in the room by one of the tunnels." "They stayed in the room for sometime, using it as their base and attempted to explore each of the other three tunnels, but after following each for some time, turned back to the large room. Eventually they returned to the surface, here at Sao Tome das Letras."
If you would permit me a pause at this moment of the story, I have searched the web for further information relevant to the mention of the Brazilian army entering these tunnels looking for a date or an 'official' record of when this took place, I am yet to find anything but seem to remember finding a website a few years ago that I am sure mentioned 1972 (?) Any further info on this would be greatly appreciated!
This next quote continues to talk about the tale in the restaurant..
The man continued talking about the tunnel. Apparently he gave this lecture every night at his restaurant. "Now he is saying," continued Marli, "that there is a man here in town who claims to know the tunnel and claims that he has been many weeks inside the tunnel. This man claims that the tunnel goes all the way to Peru, to Machu Picchu in the Andes. This man claims that he went completely under South America, across Brazil and to Machu Picchu. Isn’t that amazing!"
I raised an eyebrow and looked at Carl. He nodded to me at the fantastic nature of the story. "Does this restaurant owner say that he has been through the tunnel to Peru?" asked Carl. "No," said Marli, "it is not this man, it is another man. I don’t know who this other man is. But now he is telling another story, this time it is about himself. He says that he was walking early in the morning on the north side of town, near to the tunnel entrance. On this morning, he suddenly met a strange man walking in the area of the tunnel. This man was very tall, about seven feet, and dressed strangely, like the Indians of the Andes in Peru and Bolivia. The man did not talk to him, but walked away. Later, the restaurant owner tried to find this man, but no one knew about him or knew who he was . The restaurant owner thinks that he came from the tunnel!"
Already we have the mention of a 7ft tall man! (to keep all the 'subterranean dweller' people interested!
The next quote is from when Childress and his colleague visited the tunnel first hand...
“The entrance was quite large. It was a wide mouth of a cave with a mound of dirt creating a small hill over the entrance. The cavern entrance faced to the west and immediately began running down hill, into the earth. The tunnel/cavern would have to go downhill, as we were essentially on top of a mountain.”
“With our flashlights in hand, we entered the cavern. Within a few meters, the cavern entrance narrowed into a tunnel which was about three meters (9 feet) high and two meters wide. The tunnel was dug out of dirt, and was not cut out of solid rock, as some tunnels are.”
“The tunnel headed downward at a steady slope, but it was not too steep. At no point was it ever necessary to duck, stoop or crawl in this tunnel. Quite the opposite, it was quite wide and high, even for the tallest man to walk through, even someone who was, say, seven feet tall!”
“I was amazed at this ancient feat of engineering. We were descending down into the earth in a wide, gradually sloping tunnel that was dug into a red, clay-type dirt. It was not the smooth, laser-cut rock walls that Erich von Daniken had claimed to have seen in Ecuador in his book “Gold of the Gods”, but it was just as incredible. The tunnel was not perfectly straight, but wound left and right and occasionally dropped down a few feet and continued on. It was perfectly dry and the air was fresh and breathable.”
Now you have to remember that this is a 'first person' record of a visit in to the actual tunnel (and the only one I have found yet) we have to give it some credit as Childress does seem credible, however I have not been able to find any pictures of this tunnel as of yet and as such I have emailed Childress to ask him if he has any pictures in his book?
Childress makes a valid point as his tale continues...
It wouldn’t have taken some space-age device to make this tunnel, just simple tools; yet, it was clearly a colossal undertaking. Why would anyone build such a tunnel? Was it an ancient mine that went deep into the earth, searching for an elusive vein of gold or merely red clay for the long gone ceramic kilns? Was it an elaborate escape tunnel used in the horrific wars that were said to have been fought in South America-and around the world-in the distant past? Or was it some bizarre subterranean road that linked up with other tunnels in the Andes and ultimately could be used to journey safely to such places as Machu Picchu, Cuzco or the Atacama Desert?
Continued in post 2 (run out of characters!..lol)edit on 16-2-2012 by optimus fett because: trying to get the quotes sorted in to the proper boxes
Marli, Carl and I continued walking through the tunnel for a kilometer or so. Other visitors to Sao Tome das Letras followed us into the subterranean system. The tunnel was not perfectly straight, but wound left and right and occasionally dropped down a few feet and continued on. It was perfectly dry and the air was fresh and quite breathable. Eventually, after an hour or so, we came to a spot in the tunnel where it suddenly dropped down about a meter and a half. It was not a great obstacle and we could see the tunnel continuing downward, but it was a convenient place to stop.
We had a candy bar and a drink from our daypacks and rested at this spot and then decided to go back to the surface. We had no intention of continuing for several days to the fabled room of four doors deep beneath Brazil. We simply weren’t prepared for such an expedition.
Back on the surface, we had lunch in one of the restaurants and prepared to get a bus back to Sao Paulo. We talked about the bizarre tunnel. It was real, there was no doubt about that. It was man-made as well, as the tunnel was perfectly uniform and contained no fissures or faults of any kind. Did it really go to Machu Picchu and the Andes? It seemed incredible, but we could not discount this story. Not yet anyway. Perhaps in the future we would return to Sao Tome das Letras, and find the secret of the room with four doors.
Some believe that São Thomé das Letras is one of the seven energy points of the Earth, which is a main attration for mystics, spiritualists, scientific and alternative societies. All those elements give to the town the title of " Mystic". The town most famous legend regards a mystical character named Chico Taquara, that the locales believe to have control on animals and that vanished inside the Carimbado cave long ago. It's not unusual to hear about UFO sightings, many people most of them tourists usually go to the top of the hill nearby the "Casa da Piramide" looking for UFO's signs or any phenomenons in the sky.
Worthy of mention is the Carimbado cave, surrounded by many historic fantasies. The most famous legend says that there is a tunnel joining São Thomé and the Incan city of Machu Picchu,in Peru, hundreds of kilometers away. Contributing to this belief is the fact that no one has ever reached the end. The path is very straight and at some points dirtying yourself on the clay walls is inevitable, hence the name Carimbado (stamped/imprinted).
Originally posted by optimus fett
Great to hear from a fellow subterranean explorer!
I like the idea of a pocket bike but sadly the fumes would be a major problem!
From the brief account I have found, the oxygen levels seem good in the tunnel, and I doubt that the army could have trekked so far inwards if there were problems; however, we always take a gas/oxygen tester in to unexplored mines/tunnels with us...It's the strangest thing but low oxygen is awful..I can only describe it as 'drowning in air'...your muscles cramp, you get a banging headache and no matter how deeper breaths you take you feel like you cannot breathe...you also want to keep stopping to lie down...(obviously you don't!!)...The problem is..you can be breathing fine..walk in to a pocket of 'Bad Air' and just drop down unconscious...brrrrr....not nice!
I,m going to outline a list of all the factors relevant to a trip in to the tunnels shortly...it will be nice to get peoples ideas and suggestions