Area 51 has been a hotbed for conspiracy theories since the secretive military base came into existence, and even more so since the government wouldn’t acknowledge it until 2013.
It’s been back in the spotlight again, thanks to that whole “Storm Area 51” uproar, which got me thinking about some other mysterious places.
While I wouldn’t suggest trying to “Naruto run” into any of these facilities, it is fun to theorize what some of these top-secret locations are for. Check out these 5 bizarre and secretive locations.
Raven Rock Mountain Complex, Maryland
It might sound like science fiction, but the Raven Rock Mountain Complex is basically a massive bunker built inside of a mountain for maximum security.
It was built during the Cold War, between 1951 and 1953, and is basically like an “alternative seat of government” where the Department of Defense planned to go if the Pentagon was ever destroyed.
Most recently, it’s where Dick Cheney was evacuated to on 9/11. You can drive up to the barbed wire, but that’s as close as you’ll ever get to seeing it.
Svalbard Global Seed Vault
Speaking of facilities built inside of mountains, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is built deep inside of a mountain on a remote island halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. It is basically a doomsday backup of seed samples from the world’s crop collections, kind of like the ultimate insurance policy for the world’s food supply.
You can take photos from the outside, but they’re definitely not going to let you inside, even after you traveled all the way up to one of the northernmost points in the world. This is probably the only location on this list that has a virtual tour online, though.
This top-secret town is sometimes referred to as Russia’s Area 51. It is a “closed town,” meaning that it is a secret military settlement that doesn’t officially “exist.” Closed towns aren’t marked on maps, and people that live in them aren’t allowed to tell anyone where their place of residence is.
This particular closed town was founded in 1979, but it wasn’t given a name or even considered a town until 1995.
It’s a complete mystery when it comes to what goes on there, but there are rumors that its home to nuclear missiles, or that there is a massive underground base not unlike Raven Rock Mountain Complex.
Project Greek Island
Out in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, there is a really fancy hotel called the Greenbrier Resort. I’m talking about a resort on 11,000 wooded acres, featuring a stunning spa, beautiful golf courses, a casino, and an entire mall’s worth of shopping. But that’s not the real secret here.
Underneath the resort is an emergency Cold War-era fallout shelter that was a top-secret relocation facility for Congress, should the members of Congress ever need to keep living and working in the wake of something unimaginable.
It stayed a secret for three decades, with more than a thousand beds that were assigned to specific people, a kitchen, a hospital, a broadcast center, and several auditoriums.
After the Washington Post exposed it in a 1992 publication, you can now tour the bunker, making it the only destination on this list you can visit in its entirety.
The Catacombs of Paris, France
There is no doubt in my mind that you’ve heard of the infamous catacombs in Paris, which hold the remains of over six million people. The underground tunnels were originally limestone quarries that had existed since the 13th century, which helped build Paris into the thriving city that it became (and still is!).
But the growth of Paris as a major European hub left its cemeteries overflowing, and it became a health concern when corpses weren’t staying buried. Starting in 1786, the city spent 12 years moving bones from the cemeteries into the former quarries. And during the French Revolution, dead were buried directly in the catacombs.
Today, you can visit the catacombs, sort of. There’s about a mile that is open for visitors to explore. But in reality, there are actually around 150 miles worth of tunnels filled with human remains that you’ll never be allowed to visit.