In an overgrown wood in northern Germany, deep within the former German Democratic Republic, the government has sealed off the entrance to a creepy-looking building, entombing its secrets beneath a layer of brick and soil. But in 2013 a couple of friends visited the forest and forced their way inside. And, luckily for us, they captured their expedition on camera — and the photographs that emerged hinted at a dark past.
It was these bizarre camouflaged pipes that piqued the interest of the two friends as they visited an otherwise ordinary woodland. Peeking out from among the thickets, the pipes set the guys on an adventure they would never forget.
The journey begins
The eerie images from this incredible journey were later uploaded to Imgur by a user called "hellomynameisthatthingfromthewalls." The poster said, "[My] old friend... told me about these weird periscope-like pipes in the woods. They often played there as kids and knew about the bunkers below, but never were allowed to get near them. Last week, we decided to check them out."
Less than 350 feet away from the funnels was a hidden entrance, half-swallowed up by weeds. The concrete portal was well boarded-up, but with a crowbar to hand the friends managed to force their way in. "It was not very hard to find, circa a hundred meters from the periscopes, and surrounded by coniferous trees," OP said.
Freed from the wooden planks, an iron door swung back to reveal a slimy staircase tumbling down into a secret underground lair. After a cautious descent, the friends found themselves looking into the mouth of a long, curving corridor.
Passage to nowhere
The passageway seemed to stretch on forever, snaking off into the distance with no end in sight. Strange noises bounced off its peeling walls and echoed down into a nightmarish labyrinth of disorientating tunnels and dark subways.
"What you can see here is what we would see for the next few minutes — nothing but endless, hospital-like hallways. The acoustics were, in a word, haunting," said the Imgur user. It probably didn't help that the walls were in terrible condition — only adding to the "haunting" atmosphere.
Discarded personal belongings — old shoes and rubber gloves — lay almost fossilized in mold and mud, as if the bunker had been abandoned in a hurry. The explorers discovered dents in the walls, the concrete punched open by a force they could only guess at.
No way out
The guys had the option to branch off from the main pathway and explore different routes. But they decided to keep going straight ahead, for fear of getting lost. They only made turns when they reached intersections — and even then they discovered that a few of the passages had been bricked up or blockaded off.
Apparently having never even heard of a horror movie, the team persevered, venturing deeper into the rotting bowels of the bunker. And as they got closer and closer to the heart of the labyrinth, one thing became clear: whatever secrets used to live here, they were once very heavily guarded.
Cry for help
“HILFE!!” screamed one graffiti scrawl. This is a German cry for “help.” “At this point, we were both uncertain if we should proceed or get the hell out of there,” the OP admitted. But they didn't do the sensible thing — they just kept on going.
But seemingly everywhere they turned, the explorers were confronted with hulking vault doors. Most of them had been forcibly ripped from their thick frames, but it’s clear they once controlled the entryways of one very high-security compound.
"We had no clue how a single person or even a couple of people would be able to open those since they seemed as heavy as bank vault doors," the Imgur user confessed. Russian inscriptions on one of the gigantic doors began to hint at a possible Cold War connection.
On the walls, too, were Russian exit signs — now a useless reference point in the never-ending network of crumbling corridors. Yet these were not the only signs that humans had once spent time in this abandoned bunker.
"Don't know what these did back in the day. Maybe for ventilation," OP ruminated about these red pipes. The images certainly made viewers of the album curious. "Makes you wonder how much abandoned material and facilities exist from WWII and Cold War eras," said one commenter.
But OP just kept making his way through the bunker. "After passing a lot — and I mean A LOT — of those heavy safe doors, another sign of human life appeared right in front of us. At this point, the rooms seemed more and more wasted, as you can see the decayed walls," he said.
"Here you can get an impression of the number of heavy doors any visitor has to pass, placed directly one after another," the OP explained. "Keep your eyes on your Geiger Counter, OP. 'Tick-tick-tickity' means 'run your [butt] outta there," warned one commenter.
"Proceeding onwards, the graffiti clearly read, 'Hello, Satan, I love you.' Not something you wanna read down there," OP explained. And we have a feeling he might have been underselling the moment. "The smell at this point turned out to be really bad, like rotten organic stuff and old water. Sewer like, if you will," he said.
They took a left and found themselves at the entrance to a heavily armored chamber. The thick walls were reinforced and looked like they were made out of lead. On one side of the room, meanwhile, neat numbers had been carefully inked in red.
"The walls were massive and metal-like. My friend and I suspected it to be lead or something similar. Notice the small red number on the wall: 2211. And the cryptic painting in the background, made of black lines," said OP. He had no explanations, either.
In another severely flooded corridor, a stepladder stretched up toward a hatch in the ceiling, pointing to a possible second level. "When you passed a few corners in the lead wall corridor, you´d set foot in this flooded area, that was set a single step below the prior rooms. We only stuck our heads in," the OP said.
"This is what you saw when you turned left. A bigger room also flooded. Whether it is me or the whole chamber is slightly tilted. But I don't know. Notice another ventilation pipe right next to the door," the Imgur user explained of this eerie image.
Panic sets in
Then came the first moment that the Imgur user started to panic. “Terrified by the silhouette of this pile of rubbish, resembling a crouching or sitting man, I screamed and nearly knocked over my friend,” he recalled. So they turned back and were heading for the exit when they made their most exciting discovery.
No way out
But before they could even consider finding their way out of the maze, the friends bumped into another dead end. "Lefthand we were stopped by another unpassable corridor," the OP said. Of course, they could have waded through the water — but they "didn't want to ruin [their] shoes."
So they eventually came to a huge, windowless chamber — the largest so far. The boys named it the “Great Hall,” and peaking through tiny slits in the walls they were able to catch a glimpse of its rotting insides. They poked the camera through one crevice and took this photograph of the monstrous old contraption within. Huge mold-covered pipes circled the room and fed into the abandoned relic of a machine.
A closer look
Dirty water swirled around the room, but that didn't stop the boys from getting another look. This was a "back view of the machine." "On the wall in the background, right below the ceiling pipes, you can see the narrow gap, from where he took the picture," explained OP.
"Found in one of the tiny gaps to the Great Hall," is all OP could say about these strange-looking things. Yet the comments actually solved the "mystery" of the monster machine the boys found. Turns out, it's just an old-fashioned heating, ventilation, and air conditioning machine.
With their trip coming to an end, along with the battery on their camera, the boys made their way back to the exit. They popped off a few more pictures on the way, though, including this one of... Well, something.
And there was time for one last warning, too. This sign was floating above another flood of dirty water. "According to my friend it says something like 'stay back' or 'keep clear,'" the Imgur user explained. And that's exactly what the two friends did.
Beside the Great Hall was a gigantic tank with circular vault doors. Mysterious stalactite formations were growing from the musty ceiling. It could have been a reservoir — but the boys didn't stick around to find out. And this is where the photos came to an abrupt end.
After their camera battery died, the guys made a hasty exit. The bunker, its exact location, and its history, meanwhile, remain something of a mystery — and one that looks likely to stay buried for many years to come.