Most people like to think of themselves as “regular” folks. What most people mean by that is that they are “normal” people who live “normal” lives.
That entire statement sounds hypocritical, right? There is no such thing as a normal life. A normal life would mean to have a life that is common to everyone else’s which, in the same sense, would imply that everybody lives the same way, and that is just not true. In every high school, college, or workplace you go to in America, or the entire world for that matter, you find people who might go to the same places and have the same friends, but live completely different lives. Still, while we maintain this position that there is no such thing as a normal person who lives a normal life, there are things that are common in our society.
Going to school, grocery shopping, playing sports, going out with your friends—all of these are things that we assume everyone in the world does because it is something that our society views as “normal.”
However, as much as people would love to deny this fact, there are individuals who live on the fringes of society, and whose existence is a mystery to a lot of us. There are underground dwellers, living in the sewers or underground tunnels that spread like mazes under the biggest cities in America. There are people who are part of underground societies who believe in things that the mainstream society would not condone nor accept. So, to show you a little bit about this underground world, we would like to present 15 American places you’ll never believe have underground societies.
15 Florida – Kashi Ashram
These days, a lot of people like to say that in order to be someone in life, you have to study, go to college, and get a real job. That was not what a high school dropout by the name of Joyce Green believed in the mid to late ‘70s.
A Florida native, this high school dropout started calling herself Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati. Let us just say that the name is not the oddest part of this story.
Joyce believed that she was an enlightened being, a conduit to both the figure of Jesus Christ as well as some Hindu deities. With those beliefs, she gathered followers and formed a society in Florida. On the surface, they seemed like a peace-loving, nature-driven people. However, some people who managed to get away from this underground Floridian society accused its members of brainwashing folks and committing crimes like pedophilia, extortion, and even child abuse.
14 New York – Mole People
Mole People are almost urban legends in today’s society. These are folks who have just given up on living above ground with the rest of society. They have retired themselves to living underground, below the major cities in America. It is a given then that New York City would be on top of that list. With its massive sewers and underground subway structures, it is almost unavoidable for people to think that there could be Mole People living underground in New York.
The urban legends consist mostly of people talking about individuals whose eyes have adapted to living underground and not seeing the light for long periods of time. They talk about people who eat rats and even commit heinous acts of cannibalism. But the truth might be very different from that. Most articles you can find concerning New York’s Mole People talk about folks who simply find it easier to live underground than to face the challenges posed by living on the streets. As one of New York’s “Mole People” said, “No taxes, no rent, no nothing. There’s no hassle compared to the streets, you know what I’m saying?”
13 Minnesota – Eckankar
A lot of the underground societies that the general public does not have much knowledge about consist of religious groups that live by their own set of rules. One peculiar aspect when these “underground” religions are concerned is that because they are religious sects, they are treated as nonprofit organizations, and don’t really have to give the government much explanation nor pay any taxes for that matter.
One religion that tried spreading to many places but ended up finding a home in Minneapolis was Eckankar. Like a lot of the new religions, Eckankar is surrounded by a mysticism and mystery when it comes to its dogmas. The one thing we know for certain is that while there is a lot of mystery about this one-of-a-kind religion, they are more than happy to sell you some of their founder’s stuff. And of course, if you want to get a hand on these “legendary” items, you will have to unload quite the hefty amount of cash.
12 Tennessee – Twelve Tribes
If you want an interesting religion, leave it to Tennessee. While it was created in the South, the Twelve Tribes movement has gotten quite the international recognition and has spread to many places. Still, they are a cult that not many people might know about. How it all started is also very interesting. Sorry, we meant to say hilarious. This religious group broke off from the Presbyterian Church because a church service was canceled because people wanted to watch the Super Bowl instead of attending. Being super religious, the people who would go on to found this new religion did not accept and instead, decided to make a prayer group of their own.
In terms of their religion, they go back to old-school Christianity, claiming that the Jews were responsible for Christ’s death, and their goal is to establish 12 tribes around the globe as an omen to the end of days. But they are not all about religion, as these people have been accused of committing crimes that include tax evasion (which would be an interesting topic to talk about since they are a religion). But more than anything, using their children as slave labor.
11 Illinois – The Brethren
If there were still Vikings around and living in America, we have a vague idea that they would undoubtedly want to join this underground society if they had to choose one. The Brethren not only have the most awesome underground society name we found while writing this article, but they are also one of the most interesting groups you will hear about. Think about the Amish renouncing worldly possessions and stuff like that. But then, multiply that by 1000 and add a little apocalyptic spice into the mix. Those are the Brethren.
Who knows? Maybe your grandpa will like a few of the tenants of this group. We say that because these people have renounced worldly pleasures like laughing and dancing until Jesus Christ returns to the Earth. Yeah, apparently, these guys don’t laugh or dance and won’t do any of those until Jesus is back. They are more connected to society than other similar groups, but their vote of simplicity still carries a few actions that mainstream society would consider odd, like sometimes eating trash or not showering that much.
10 The South – Snake Handlers
By now, you should be familiarizing yourself with the idea that most of the underground societies we have in America today are either Mole People who literally live underground or religious cults of people who live on the fringes or away from society as a whole. One of the most peculiar groups is the Church of God With Signs Following, a.k.a. The Snake Handlers.
Now, Snake Handlers is a name that is emblematic by itself. But without any underlying circumstances, the people who follow this religious group have received this nickname because they literally handle snakes during their worship services. Yes, people from this particular church that has chapters all over the South are notorious for handling snakes during services and even drinking their poison.
You might think that these people have a lot of experience doing stuff like this and never get bit because they are pros at what they do. However, when you are dealing with animals, there is not much you can do to avoid injuries altogether. Add that to the fact that the people from this group don’t usually accept receiving medical treatment; there have been several deaths caused by snake poisoning.
9 All Around - Raelism
Since it was founded in Geneva, Switzerland, Raelism has spread all throughout the world, and the United States is no exception. Take a deep breath because this is quite the unusual group. Raelists believe that humans were not an accident of creation or an act of God, but instead, they believe we were scientifically engineered by an extraterrestrial species. Hell yeah, I’m telling you that these guys believe that a UFO came down way back when and dropped some humans to take over this dirtball.
Unlike a lot of the other underground societies we have talked about, these guys are looking to spread all over the world. For example, they have asked the governments of Israel and Lebanon for territory in order to establish Earth embassies for extraterrestrials. Another peculiarity of this group is that they proudly display the swastika in their symbol, as for them, it is a symbol of peace.
8 Portland – Mole People
When we talk about Mole People, folks instantly think of the “mainstream” big cities in the U.S., like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and so on. But apparently, there are people living underground in big cities that go as far north as Portland, Oregon. Like many of the other large cities in America, Portland has a large territory inhabited mostly by Asian Americans that unavoidably became known as a Chinatown. Portland’s peculiarity, however, is that below their Chinatown there is a massive maze of tunnels and structures that are known as the Shanghai Tunnels.
It is believed that back in the day when they were constructed, these tunnels were mostly used to kidnap people and take them to work in China (seriously, this was a thing). But since the business of kidnapping people and taking them to China doesn’t seem to be working at full steam anymore, many people believe that the tunnels are now inhabited by Mole People. And the tunnels are large enough that it would be possible for a community of underground dwellers to evade being seen by people who venture down in the tunnels.
7 Utah – FLDS Church
You will seldom find a person in the world who has not heard of the Church of Latter Day Saints, a.k.a. The Mormon Church. Born in North America, this is one of the most recognizable religious groups in the world. But, we are here to talk about a branch that broke off from the Mormon Church. That branch is mostly known as the FLDS Church or the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Why this particular branch broke off from the Mormon church is quite easy to pinpoint. These are the faithful who did not agree when the Mormon Church outlawed polygamy almost a century ago. Unlike the mainstream Mormons who practice a lawful and respectable religion, the members of FLDS have been found to commit several crimes within their dominions. They have committed anything from child abuse and abandonment to things like incest and racism. Just so you have an idea, the head of this church was sent to prison a few years ago.
6 Saskatchewan – Mole People
We didn’t technically say the United States in the title of this article, so since America is a continent and Canada is part of America, we feel comfortable with adding Saskatchewan to the mix of places where Mole People might reside. More specifically, we would like to talk about a little town called Moose Jaw. The town is home to a little more than 33,000 people, but it has quite the unique infrastructure that makes it a perfect place for Mole People to thrive.
Sure, it must be unbearably cold to live there during the winter, but the maze of tunnels below the town make us believe that there could be people living down there. Apparently, decades ago, those tunnels were home to the business of bootleggers and Chinese smugglers, and even Al Capone himself supposedly made an appearance or two in those tunnels. They might not be used for smuggling anymore, but who is to say that there are not people living below Moose Jaw?
5 Texas – House Of Yahweh
If there is one thing that could be incredibly profitable these days, it would be to start your own religion. Now, this could spark a whole debate that we are demeaning other people’s religious beliefs and yadda yadda yadda, but if you actually bother to read the entire thing, you’ll see that this is basically a bunch of facts tied together.
Not too long ago, a guy by the name of Bill Hawkins traveled to Israel and stayed there for seven years. When he returned to his small town in Texas, Bill changed his name to Yisrayl and founded the House of Yahweh. We considered this an underground society because you might not see them, but his followers are out there.
Basically, the House of Yahweh is an end-of-the-world religion, and our buddy, Bill, has been claiming for years that our planet would be destroyed by a nuclear war and then it would stop raining on Earth for 1,000 years. The only problem was that he said it would all start by 2001. Not only was Bill wrong on that one, but he also had issues like followers getting already arrested for terrible crimes.
4 New York – Congregation Of Light
Have you ever heard the term “hiding in plain sight?” Well, if you are a member of the Congregation of Light, you know exactly what that means. A lot of the other cults and new religions or underground dwellings we talked about consist of people who live together in a specific place and live differently from how they would’ve if they were a part of the general society. What makes the Congregation of Light an odd and borderline terrifying group is that they don’t have any need of living together in a single compound.
Much on the contrary, these guys have chapters in major cities across the U.S., with particular note to their charter in New York. We should clarify to you why we said this is borderline terrifying. It is frightening because the cornerstone of this group is that they believe they are descendants from a master Aryan race that comes from Atlantis. Yeah, the city underwater, you didn’t hear that wrong. Oh, they also believe that humans once lived on the moon.
3 Las Vegas – Mole People
And now, we are back to the Mole People. This time we are here to talk about another American metropolis that you wouldn’t believe has people living underground. When people think Las Vegas, they think casinos, bright lights, gigantic hotels, and the Las Vegas Strip. However, what you don’t think of is what happens below the Strip. Very far from what the public eye gets to see, there are hundreds and hundreds of miles of flood tunnels spread below the city of Las Vegas. Inside those tunnels live entire communities of people. Some even claim that more than 1,000 residents are living below the Las Vegas strip.
Now, while the total numbers might be overplayed, the reality is still there. From people who have hit rough patches in life and need money to war veterans trying to survive one day at a time, you can find all kinds of stories of people living in underground Vegas.
2 San Diego – The Storm Drain Dweller
Big cities like Vegas and New York are not the only ones where people take to the underground in order to avoid the harsh reality they might face having to live on the streets. This story was pulled from an article in the Beaver County Times from April 17, 1986.
In that very day, a story made the newspaper in which San Diego city officials had evicted a man who had been living inside a downtown storm drain for about nine months. Yes, the man named Richard Thompson was a 54-year-old guy who thought it was better to live inside the storm drain than to try his luck on the streets or being taken to one of the city’s shelters or mental health centers.
According to that article, Richard’s story was not that uncommon at the time, as by their calculations, there were almost 5,000 homeless people in San Diego and their shelters only had 400 beds. So, just imagine how many more people could be living inside storm drains across America.
1 Kansas – Mole People
There were a lot of interesting places where Mole People could live that we have already mentioned, but we decided to save the best for last. The town of Leavenworth, Kansas might not be the most famous place in the world. It is a small town that doesn’t have the bright lights of Las Vegas nor the skyscrapers of New York. However, Leavenworth is home to one of the most mysterious urban discoveries of the past decade. It was almost 10 years ago that an entire underground town was discovered below this Kansas municipality.
Yeah, we are not kidding. They found an entire underground town. There were hallways, storefronts, and even places some people said could have been torture dungeons. While it looks mostly abandoned, the underground city is vast enough for a community of Mole People to be living there. Most people think that the tunnels and stores were used by bootleggers and smugglers. But, maybe today they are home to different communities.