There isn’t much in the world more interesting, at least to me, than subversion and secret societies. I’m not sure if it’s because I grew up in the waning years of the Cold War or that my love of history just took a random tangential turn somewhere when I was around thirteen, but the mysterious little things people do for reasons known only to themselves (world domination, free internet, kittens & porn…) fascinates me incredibly.
I’m sure I’ll end up writing several postings about the hows and whats of me becoming obsessed with the Illuminati and the Discordian Society, but this one is even more tangential.
I high school (when my obsession du jour was cyberpunk) I read a novel by Jonathan Littell called Bad Voltage. It had some pretty interesting concepts presented in it, but what really stuck with me was the presentation of the cataphiles who explore and organize mischief/mayhem/productivity in the catacombs underneath Paris.
Bad Voltage) made it even more enticing by putting a couple of maps of the catacombs in the front of the book and then proceeded to explain how it was illegal to go into the catacombs. How do you get a teenager excited about doing something? Tell him it’s verboten.
Most recently a gentleman who I am mildly acquainted with by the name of Sean Michaels spent some amount of time doing research on the catacombs and a seemingly clandestine secret society known as Urban eXperiences. Sean put his research and experiences into an incredible read for the literary journal BRICK.
What Sean uncovered is stuff you can’t make up. It was like reading a shortened version of Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum. It’s got mystery it’s got intrigue, it’s got secret(ish) societies and a wildly interesting mystery man/men.
After you’ve read the article, email it to a friend. Hell, email it to your entire address book. The Atlantic originally commissioned a shorter version of this article, but killed it. They are utter morons.
Now I just need an acetylene lamp and a ticket to Paris.