Video: Mysterious 19th Century Tunnel Discovered Under Illinois Farmer's Home

By Tim Binnall

A farmer in Illinois was left scratching his head when he discovered a mysterious tunnel on his property that historians say likely dates back to the 19th century. According to a local media report, Gary Machens stumbled upon the puzzling passage when he noticed that the sidewalk outside his home in the city of Alton was inexplicably sloping and set about trying to fix the problem. As he was excavating the area and adjusting the rock wall which sat beneath the sunken pavement, the bewildered farmer spotted an opening that led to a rather lengthy brick tunnel. After checking with historians in the city, Machens was told that the passage was likely constructed around 1840, though its purpose is anyone's guess.

Among the possibilities put forward by experts is that the tunnel, which measures nine feet tall and nine feet wide, could have been used to store ice, acted as a root cellar, or even been a part of the Underground Railroad. The passage runs approximately 60 feet before stopping at a huge mound of dirt which blocks the end of the shaft. Showcasing the well-crafted brick tunnel for a local TV station, Machens marveled that "whatever they built this for, it took a lot of men and a lot of hours. You know, one guy didn't do this." Do you have a theory for who built the passage and why? Share your best guess with us at the Coast to Coast AM Facebook page.

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