Friday, August 8, 2008



I'm just stuck in a thought rut. I am thinking about being underground. I just read an article on CNN.COM about Leavenworth, Kansas, having a huge underground town and nobody knows what the hell it's even doing there. But it is there and it has been revealed and now the race is on to discover what the hell it was. Probably just a way to get out of the Kansas heat in the Summertime. It sure does get hot in Kansas in the Summer. But it would not be hot in an underground shopping area. Probably about 60 degrees on the hottest day. Very comfortable for the ladies to do their shopping in the Summer. And it would be about the same temperature in the Winter also. Cheap for the store to heat.

And that is the way it is underground. Moderate temperature all year round. No winds or tornadoes or hurricanes or ice storms or floods or any of the plagues we experience on the surface. Snug as a bug in a rug.

And Leavenworth is not the only location of an underground city. There is some kind of huge amount of storage under the Vatican. Many, many levels. Some they won't even let you see. They keep the bodies of dead Popes down there. They even bury Popes down there.

New York City has many levels of tunnels under it. A lot of them are not used for anything anymore. There are homeless folks called Mole People who live down there. They know how to get in and get out. They are secretive as hell and mostly don't like to be bothered. There is a book out about them called The MOLE PEOPLE, written by Jennifer Toth. Not much organization among them. It seems they mostly took their problems underground, and they have a lot of problems. Drugs, insanity, inability to work, etc. But, they are there, underground and probably the people most likely to survive a nuclear attack.


Way back in the day, before technology was much developed, men of means built castles for their protection. And you gotta understand that castles were a different class than palaces. Palaces were large, ornate, and very expensive places for the very rich to live. Just like they are today. Castles, on the other hand, were places to defend against attacks.

The main part of a castle was called the Keep. Don't know what prompted it to be called that but it isn't too hard to figure. I think it was a shortened term for Keep You Alive, Keep You Safe, etc. A few years ago I read about a castle in France that had a Keep with walls that were 18' thick at the bottom. The book did not have the heigth of the Keep but it was circular. It did say that the walls tapered to 10' thick at the top. And this was solid stone and mortar. Very substantial even by today's standards of destruction. This castle came under attack from the English and all the people of the area ran for the safety of the Keep. The Keep had been constructed over a spring and had a constant supply of fresh water. Fresh water is so very important.

All the local livestock was herded into the Keep. That was their meat source for the duration of the war. The Keep was circular and it must have been a large circle. The local people and the local livestock had to get in there. And they had to stay healthy while they were there. Maybe they didn't bathe as much as we do these days, but they had to keep some sort of sanitation going or they would shortly be dead of disease.

The Keep was like a cave except it was above the surface of the ground. The bottom wall was impenetrable. No machinery existed that could get through that wall with any speed. And the lack of speed pretty much described the style of warfare as practiced in those days. To attack a castle was to lay siege to it. You marched in with a force of men that the locals could not hope to defeat and you started your siege. If you were powerful and mighty you brought what were called 'engines of war' and you went to work. You had catapults to hurl large stones against the walls of the Keep. You had rams to try and bust through the entrance of the Keep. You had machines that could hurl large arrows toward the building. You had portable roofs to protect men advancing right up to the gate.

The defenders of the Keep had hot oil to pour on the unfortunate folks who got too close with no protection. There were slits in the wall above the battle that were the location of archers who waited for a good shot. And at any time the defenders could send out a small force of men to do a 'hit and run' and maybe burn a siege engine or something else of value to the attackers. Or maybe just kill a bunch of attackers real quick and run back to the shelter of the Keep. All kinds of tricks and strategies were used by both sides.

But basically the battle was one of attrition. Who could hold out the longest? The guy who stood on the battle field at the end of the engagement was the winner. The attackers were trying to starve out the defenders. The defenders were trying to outlast the attackers. And the attackers had their problems also. They had to feed themselves and their animals while they fought the Keep. They had to maintain their engines of war. They had to keep themselves in drinking water. Lots of tasks for the attackers besides just fighting. The Castle I read about in France was in a battle that lasted over a year. But the English finally had to go home and quit the field. That was counted as a victory by the defenders. The defenders went immediately to work getting food and rebuilding their walls. It would not be a first to have the attackers go away and the defenders come out and the attackers double back and start killing them in the fields. You did not trust anyone. And survival came first and foremost.

More on this later. In the meantime, stay alive.



Jeff said...

I haven't read the CNN article, but I remember hearing about some kind of underground storage facility somewhere in Kansas used to warehouse things like cheese. Goes back to the WWII days, as I recall. Big enough to drive semi-trucks in and out.

Just a thought. Not sure if it's anywhere near Leavenworth.

Staying Alive said...

I forgot about the storage facility at Kansas City. It was used for many decades to store surplus cheese and powered eggs and butter and what not. Don't know if they still use it but it was definitely accessable by semi's. Huge joint.