You discover a hole that seemingly leads deep underground the earth of Deer Trail, Colorado. You have a group of friends, a torch, a camera and some protective gear. You know this is the location of an empty Titan 1 missile complex, but you also know that if you go down there you’ll find no signs to tell you where to go, no safety ropes to protect you and no light to help you along the way. Do you explore? Or do you carry on about your day?
For one particularly bunch of buddies in 2014, the answer was to go exploring. They had their kit, and they had each other, and they had a desire to learn the silo’s secrets. What they found, however, was enough to seriously creep them out.
From the surface, however, the missile silo complex doesn’t exactly chill the bones. Indeed, its “entrance” is, as is to be expected with abandoned structures, marked by a decayed and graffiti-covered grate.
It seems unusual, though, that such a structure should even be here. Deer Trail is, after all, home to only about 600 people, and you’ll have to travel some 55 miles west before you reach the state capital of Denver.
The structure came to be here because at the height of the Cold War the United States Air Force was using its original Intercontinental ballistic missile, which was known as Titan I. The missile was capable of reaching a distance of 5,500 nautical miles.
The missiles were also the initial weapons of their kind to be established underneath the earth. What’s more, the complexes built to hold them were extensive, with room enough to house the 98-foot-long missiles themselves as well as all the necessary equipment and personnel to launch them.
But the Titan Is only had a relatively short career, being used over a period of just four years from 1961 to 1965. This was probably because it required a quarter of an hour to fuel them, even before they could begin their journey to the surface for launch.
In fact, the Titan I was effectively out of date by as early as 1963, when bigger and better missiles came into use. Regardless of this, though, the silos built for the Titan Is had already left their own scars on the landscape of the United States.
Indeed, in Colorado alone there are half a dozen such facilities carved out of the ground. The missiles, of course, are long gone, but the vast labyrinths where people once prepared for nuclear war still remain.
Four of the other facilities, incidentally, are based outside of Aurora, while a fifth is in Elizabeth. This site in Deer Trail, however, is where the group of intrepid friends arrived in 2014, determined to explore a landscape that had been a place of intrigue for members of the town for forty years.
The friends were savvy enough to bring along particulate masks, aware that poisonous asbestos might still have been lurking in the complex. With the masks on, they began their exploration.
They continued along dark and twisted corridors, their way lit only by the beams of their torches. In places, the metal grates they walked upon had corroded or dropped away completely; every step was potentially fraught with peril.
And then they found their first creepy surprise. The walls all around them were littered with graffiti of all kinds, but when one of the team’s torches fell upon a shadowy figure in the dark, it marked the beginning of a sketchy turn of events.
The glowing eyes of the piece of art – for this is what it was – were a sure sign that the adventurers weren’t the first ones with the desire to explore this abandoned silo. But with the reappearance of this figure in several different locations, could it have had a deeper meaning?
The all-black figure actually looked like it belonged to the Cold War era; its form was reminiscent of 1950s sci-fi aliens. Whatever they all were, though, they added a terrifying dimension to this already grim subterranean world.
But the explorers found that worse was still to come. Indeed, after passing over 20-foot-deep water and spotting a punctured and abandoned inflatable boat, they came to the verge of the first silo. There was a further 100-foot drop below them, and here they saw something that really made them stop in their tracks.
Sprayed across the flat surfaces and walls was a suspicious, dark red liquid, like something out of a horror movie. To the friends, it seemed as if they had stumbled on evidence of some gruesome crime.
Fortunately, one of the group was daring enough to investigate further. He touched the stuff and revealed that it felt “oily,” hence believing it to be nothing more than “hydraulic fluid.”
No doubt ready to return to the surface, they soon discovered a hatch with a ladder leading 50 feet up into the air. Climbing steadily, they finally reached the top and came out of an open tunnel in the middle of a field.
With no lid or door – just an empty chasm gaping down toward the silo – it’s incredible that this underground complex has remained so undisturbed. Mind you, perhaps it’s less of a surprise if creepy figures and horror movie scenes are all that await those who enter.