Top 10 Mind-Blowing Secret Passages That Actually Exist

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Top 10 Mind-Blowing Secret Passages That Actually Exist

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher
Imagine stumbling upon of these epic historical secrets? For this list, we'll be looking at instances of secret tunnels and passageways throughout history. Our countdown includes El Chapo's Escape Route, H. H. Holmes' Passages, Nottingham Castle's Secret Entrance, and more!
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Top 10 Craziest Secret Passages


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Craziest Secret Passages.

For this list, we’ll be looking at instances of secret tunnels and passageways throughout history.

Had you heard of all these tunnels? Let us know in the comments!

#10: El Chapo’s Escape Route


Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman' is one of the world’s most infamous drug kingpins and in order to evade the law he used a number of secret passageways over the years. In 2014, tunnels were discovered that led from Chapo’s home to the sewage system. They were accessed by a secret hatch underneath a bathtub. They led to a safe house a couple of miles away. This isn’t the only time tunnels have been used in the illegal drug trade: in 2006 a 2,360-foot tunnel was discovered that went from Mexico to the United States that was being used to move large amounts of cannabis.


#9: Monastery of Mont Sainte-Odile Library Passage


In the early aughts, between 2000 and 2002, over a thousand antiquarian books disappeared from the monastery of Mont Sainte-Odile in France. It turns out they were stolen by Stanislas Gosse, who collected ancient books, and who has discovered an old map that detailed a secret passageway that led to the monastery's library. The route he had to take involved scaling the exterior walls of the monastery and ultimately using a hidden hatch behind the library’s cupboards. Eventually, the thief was caught based on footage from CCTV cameras.


#8: Hawkhurst Gang Smuggling Passage


The Hawkhurst Gang operated in the southeast of England in the 1730s and ‘40s, and was considered one of the most fearsome criminal groups in history. There was a secret passageway connecting two inns in the area, The Olde Bell and The Mermaid Inn, which the gang members used to smuggle their goods. Because evidence of the tunnels no longer remains, it's hard to know whether tales of these passageways are based on reality or have been embellished for folk tales since the 18th century. Some believe they simply used secret cellars and barns for storage of their illegal wares.


#7: The Regal Knickerbocker’s Secret Exit


It’s now known as the Millennium Knickerbocker, but back in the Prohibition era, The Regal Knickerbocker was a grand 350-room establishment in Chicago. It was built during the 1920s, but when it was being remodeled in the ‘80s some construction workers came across what appeared to be a secret door in one of the ballrooms on the penthouse floor. The door led to a stairway, which was directly connected to the street level. It is suspected that this was used to evade the law while illegally drinking and gambling when neither were permitted.

#6: White Tiger Unit’s Escape Route


While so many stories of secret passageways involve triumphant escapes, this story, unfortunately, doesn’t have a happy ending. The Byakkotai (or White Tiger Unit) was a group of several hundred teenage samurai who took part in the Boshin War. A group of 20 or so fighters escaped from Imperial troops during a raid using a secret passageway and when they came out they saw what they believed to be their castle on fire, making them think they had lost the battle. In fact, it wasn’t actually the castle that was aflame but the group of boys committed mass suicide rather than live with the loss of their lord and families in the fire.


#5: Versailles’ Various Passageways


Although Versailles is one of the world’s best-known palaces, it hides a number of secrets. King Louis XV had his mistress, Madame Du Barry, stay in a room in the palace that had a hidden door and stairway that led to his own chambers. She was not allowed to enter the king’s room, so he would traverse the passage to visit her. During the French Revolution, when the royal family was under siege by protestors, Marie Antoinette escaped from the palace using a secret passageway but was apprehended just a day later.

#4: H. H. Holmes’ Passages


This secret passage story is not for the faint of heart. One of history’s most notorious serial killers, H. H. Holmes, built a building that became known as “The Murder Castle” during the time of the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. The building was alleged to be used as a hotel, but it was filled with trick doors, secret passageways, soundproof rooms, and chutes leading to the basement, all of which Holmes used to torture and kill his victims, ultimately disposing of their bodies in his homemade crematorium. Yikes...


#3: Nottingham Castle’s Secret Entrance


In 1330, King Edward II of England was captured and imprisoned by nobleman Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March. Edward eventually died while in captivity. Edward’s son, Edward III as well as a band of supporters, however, stormed Mortimer’s defenses using a secret passageway in Nottingham Castle. Despite the fact that Mortimer had hundreds of men stationed to keep intruders out, Edward’s supporters used secret tunnels to arrest Mortimer who was ultimately executed for treason to the crown and the murder of the king, Edward II.


#2: The Passetto di Borgo


The Passetto di Borgo is a 2,600 foot long passageway that spans the distance from Vatican City with the Castel Sant'Angelo. It dates back to at least 1277, and over the centuries has been used by the Vatican’s popes while they were at risk or under persecution. In 1494, when the King of France Charles VIII invaded Rome, Pope Alexander VI used the passageway to evade danger. The following century, it was used by Pope Clement VII during the Sack of Rome. At that time, almost the entire Swiss Guard was murdered by Emperor Charles V’s soldiers, but the Passetto allowed the pope to escape.

#1: The Great Pyramid’s Mysterious Secret Chamber


There have long been suspicions that the builders of Egypt’s pyramids used secret passageways and even booby traps to deter potential grave robbers. Of course, it’s impossible to verify these hypotheses one hundred percent, but one new discovery has scientists excited to solve a new mystery about the Ancient Egyptians. A secret chamber was discovered in the Great Pyramid using cosmic-ray technology that detected a space that had been previously unknown to experts. There are many theories about what the space may have been used for, but because it would be destructive to actually access it, we may never know its true purpose.
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