Imagine you’re going about your daily life, and all of a sudden, you find an ancient treasure dating hundreds of years. Sounds like a movie plot, right? Well, that’s what happened to a man in England, and today we’ll learn about his unbelievable discovery.
#20. When Reality Hits
How likely do you think it is to find a hidden relic, say, right in your very backyard? Yes, that’s right: very unlikely. But despite the odds, this English man discovered something on a farm that beats all expectations. And we’re not just talking about a few gold coins. He discovered something invaluable. And this only happened thanks to a hunch.
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Sometimes, you just gotta follow your heart, even if what you’re about to do sounds kind of crazy. Because let’s face it: going after a legendary cave that you think may hold secrets dated hundreds of years ago sounds like something quite ridiculous. Who could deny that such a plan was a waste of time? Well, this guy got the last laugh.
#19. Michael’s Story
Michael Scott is the man who made this discovery, and no, we’re not talking about the manager from The Office —although that’d make this story even more awesome. Michael is just an ordinary man with an ordinary job. He works as a professional photographer, and he likes to get constantly involved in new projects.
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But one day, he decided to follow his heart and look for a real adventure. He thought he needed to do something different, something new, something he’d never done before. But how did he come up with the cave idea?
#18. Rumor Has It
Michael had heard about a supposed cave located on a farm, which hid mysterious treasures. It was a tale that many locals told and, of course, sounded too good to be true. How could it not? How could anyone not be intrigued by the thought of a cave hidden in the middle of a small town, and never yet discovered?
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Most people would have thought that it was just a silly story and that there was nothing worth checking out, but Michael had a hunch. After all, he was seeking an adventure, and the whole thing just sounded like the perfect opportunity for him to make it big.
#17. Following Your Instincts
Michael decided to investigate this supposed cave, and set out to find it. But there weren’t any precise clues regarding its exact location, which made his quest seem pretty impossible. All he had was the scarce information given by locals; in other words, only rumors.
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Basically, the only thing that Michael knew was that the cave was located in an old English farmhouse in the middle of the countryside. Needless to say that this piece of information was practically helpless. Therefore, Michael felt he had no other choice but to visit Shropshire, the town where the rumors of the cave were coming from. So he left his native city of Birmingham and headed to Shropshire, hoping to find the mysterious cave somewhere near the town.
#16. Shropshire, England
Shropshire is a county in the West Midlands of England, bordering Wales to the west, Cheshire to the north, Staffordshire to the east, and Worcestershire and Herefordshire to the south. Luckily, it’s only 45 miles away from Birmingham, so it wasn’t hard for him to get there.
Photo: Courtesy of Shropshire
As it isn’t very big, Michael started going around and getting in touch with different people, hoping he would get more clues as to where this secret cave really was. For some reason, he was confident that he would find something worth the trip.
#15. Top Secret
According to locals, this cave went deep beneath the earth and was kept secret for centuries. Of course, at this point, it was just a legend. But the tale wasn’t so far from reality. Some locals even told Michael that the cave was so secret that not even the Queen herself knew where it was.
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But not only was the location a mystery: there were no rumors as to what was inside the cave either. What if there were relics from an ancient civilization? Or a burial site from God knows how long ago? The truth was that nobody had an answer to that, so Michael was even more determined to find it. After all, he liked the idea of becoming Indiana Jones for a day. Besides, it would certainly be a major breakthrough for his photographer career!
#14. Tough Road
Then came the time to actually look for this cave. Micahel obviously imagined that it wasn’t gonna be in plain sight right off the road. He was well aware that he would have to walk for quite a long while. After all, the rumors did say that the cave was hidden deep in the English countryside, basically in the middle of nowhere.
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But he did have one clue: according to the rumors, rabbits were known to use the caves as burrows. Therefore, he kept his eyes peeled through his journey, to spot any rabbit holes on the way. He figured that if the cave entrances were used as rabbit holes, that probably meant that they were probably quite small and hard to spot.
Michael didn’t find anything unusual during the first hours of his trek. But as the hours kept passing by, he naturally began to get frustrated. What if it was only a rumor after all? But just when he thought all hope was lost, he saw a few small rabbit holes around a hill on a farm and decided to take a look.
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Michael was even lucky to have spotted the entrance. As he said in an interview, the entrance was so small that “If you didn’t know it was there you would just walk right past it”. At that point, he felt like the young girl in Alice in Wonderland. Trying to get into a rabbit hole that supposedly led to a magical cave sounded absurd. But as silly as it sounded, it ended up being true: Michael couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw what was inside.
#12. Going Deep
The entrance wasn’t as small as an ordinary rabbit hole, but it was still pretty small. Thus, Michael had to crouch and crawl on his knees into the dark hole, hoping he’d find something other than a very angry rabbit whose home was being invaded. But as he crawled, he realized it went deeper and deeper. He pointed his flashlight towards the end of the tunnel, and saw what looked like some kind of room, though at a distance he couldn’t really tell what it was.
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As he came closer to the end of the tunnel, he discovered what looked like an ancient sanctuary. Beautiful arches covered the cave walls, and as he kept going deeper, he saw more and more tunnels. So it wasn’t merely a cave, but a series of undergrown caverns with different rooms. But what were they? And how old were they? What did people do there hundreds of years ago? Though many questions still remained unanswered, it looked like a sacred place, perhaps some kind of temple.
#11. Very Tight
The among all the millions of questions that Michael had, his biggest doubt was the following: how on earth had humans managed to get in there? The entrance was incredibly small, but once inside things got even harsher: the tunnel was so small that you had to crouch and crawl all the way through. So whoever built the passageways must have been incredibly tiny!
Photo: Courtesy of Telegraph
But if people had ever lived or spent time inside these caves, what could they have done? There really wasn’t much room for anything. So with these pressing questions, Michael decided to go even deeper, and see what other secrets this extremely mysterious place was holding. The thought of being the only person walking —well, crawling through— those tunnels in centuries gave Michael chills as nothing did before. But he was even more shocked with what came next.
#10. The Real Deal
As he went deeper into the caverns, he saw that the tunnels opened up into many larger chambers. Suddenly, the thought of non-human creatures hiding inside felt very silly, but he still couldn’t figure out what could’ve gone down in those chambers.
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Although the rooms were larger, they were still rather small. A 6-foot person would already be too big to stand inside and would have to bend down or just crouch his way down the tunnels. This could have been due to the fact that people were rather shorter centuries ago. But why live deep inside a cave under such harsh conditions?
#9. Why So Small?
Many skeletons and records have shown that hundreds of years ago, people were smaller and shorter than they are today. It is believed that this was because people back then didn’t get the same vitamins, minerals and proteins as we do now. In other words, hundreds of years ago people didn’t have enough nutrients to grow tall.
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This could explain the size of the rooms, but such reasoning wasn’t enough to explain the ridiculous size of the entrance. The unbelievable construction was a beautiful enigma. Michael guessed that they had made the entrance that small in order to hide something deep inside. But was this so?
Judging by the architecture, the place looked like some sort of ancient temple. This coincided with rumors Michael had heard from the locals. The caverns were believed to be ancient secret temples from the Middle Ags, and maybe they were right. At least, that’s what they looked like.
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But what shocked Michael the most was how everything seemed to be untouched for a long, long time. It was extremely likely that he was the first man to set foot into that place for at least 100 years. Although everyone knew about the legend, nobody had dared to go down the rabbit hole to see if it was true!
#7. Into The Darkness
The caves were dark and damp, but most of all, extremely silent. “I had to crouch down and once I was in it was completely silent. There were a few spiders in there but that was it”, Michael reported. Although they didn’t sound inviting at all, he wasn’t turned off by them.
Photo: Courtesy of Birmingham Mail
Michael noticed the archways were carved out of sandstone, which was more proof that they had probably been constructed around the Middle Ages. If those rumors were true, then perhaps the rest of them were true as well. He heard that the caves had been used as secret meeting points for sorcerers, which made the caves all the more spooky.
#6. The Knights Templar
The most prevalent rumor was that the caves had been crafted by the Knights Templar. The Templars were a Catholic military order recognized in 1139 by the papal bull Omne datum optimum. The order was founded in 1119 to guard pilgrims on their way along the dangerous roads that led to Jerusalem.
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Its members were armed monk-like knights whose status was backed by the Church. Most of these knights were among the most powerful and wealthiest men of the time. But if their role was to protect Christians on their way to Jerusalem and to convert the city to Christianity, how was it that they ended up in these secret caves?
#5. The End Of The Knights
Well, it turns out that the order was active for many years until it was perpetually suppressed. When Jerusalem was lost, the support for the order faded. This was the perfect opportunity for King Phillip IV of France to get rid of the order. Besides, the King was in debt, so getting rid of the Knights Templar actually served him well.
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Many members were arrested, tortured, and even killed, but some managed to survive. Because they were shut down, they started meeting in secret – or at least, that’s what the legend says. The surviving members needed a place where they could gather safely and keep the order alive. Apparently, these events led them to the secret caves, where they probably continued their practices until the group finally dissolved.
#4. The Legend
Despite the mentioned theories, the truth is that it was never proved whether the society actually survived. In spite of this, it became a legend through the ages. But as soon as Michael discovered these caves, speculations rose again. Maybe the legend was true after all, and these caves were proof of this ancient secret order.
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The members could’ve used the caverns for several purposes. First, it is believed that they used the bigger rooms for initiation ceremonies, to welcome new members into the order. In addition, they probably used the caves to carry out meetings, make decisions, and most importantly, hide to protect their lives.
Many experts, however, have a different explanation for these mysterious caves.
#3. Other Theories
The caves’ original purpose is shrouded in mystery, but Historic England, which describes the caves as a “grotto”, believes they were probably built in the late 18th or early 19th Century – hundreds of years after the Templar order was dissolved. One suggestion is that they were the result of quarrying during the mid-19th century and were then turned by the landowners, the Legge family, into a grotto or underground folly.
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This version is widely supported by historians such as Dan Jones, who considers that there is no evidence linking the caves to the Templars, other than rumors and word of mouth. To further support this belief, Historic England added that what is observed inside the caves is neo-Norman decoration. The caverns comprise an irregular series of neo-Romanesque chambers hollowed out of sandstone, with carved archways, pillars and symbols, apparently for candles. But what does this mean in plain English?
#2. Evidence Does Not Lie
Neo-Norman architecture, also known as French-Norman architecture, is a late-19th-century/early-20th-century Revival architecture style inspired by vernacular houses in the Normandy region of France. This means that it would have been impossible for these caves to have been build in the 17th Century.
Photo: Courtesy of RVI
Upon further investigation, it was discovered that, although the legend of the Knights Templar is probably untrue, the caves have in fact been used over the years. And it was this unwanted use that prompted the owners of the land to seal the caves and hide them from the world. So what really went down in the caves?
#1. The Real Story
The caves were reportedly sealed by the owners of the land in 2012 to deter vandals and practitioners of “black magic”. Since the 1980s, many used them for informal secret ceremonies and rituals. But the last drop was the fact that the caves were vandalized in 2012, which is why the owners decided to close them off.
Photo: Courtesy of BBC
The owners kept quiet about the caves, and they quickly went back to being just a legend. This probably explains why the Knights Templar legend resurfaced. But somehow, Michael Scott managed to find them, access them, and uncover the truth about the caves once and for all. Even though the caves’ past still is somewhat of a mystery, one thing is for sure: Michael had the adventure that he was longing for.