I'm so glad to see this thread alive and bubbling with interest after all these years. This hobby we share fuelled my adolescent and then teenage imagination in a world I found bland, uninspiring, and without mystery. It is responsible for my continued sense of curiosity to this day and has shaped my appetite for adventure as I continue my adult life.
I've written the following post in appreciation for this thread and for all of you, based on aspects of information from these many pages combined with my personal research and experiences. Enjoy! and stay curious!
Ask anyone in Victoria and they will tell you that they have heard about the tunnels. Mention them at a party and more than one person will launch into a tale of hidden passages and dark events. You will hear about tunnels built for opium and people smuggling. Under the streets of Victoria, British Columbia lies a network of secret tunnels. Though their existence is officially denied, the tunnels are connected ostensibly to British Imperialism, free trade, opium wars, illegal immigrants and indentured labour, secret societies, satanic cults, pagan ritual, and human sacrifice. The tunnels are also where Victoria’s homeless coagulate.
There are plenty of urban myths floating around Victoria. With each new story the pulse quickens and the mind salivates with the anticipation of finding these passages. Each story is accompanied by a heartfelt warning that bad things will happen to those who pursue these tunnels. It is said that others before have vanished for being to curious. To some these warnings may do little to deter the urge to penetrate the dark underbelly of Victoria, but the fact that not a single storyteller knows the exact location of these tunnels is a much more successful deterrent.
Research and investigations into the rumors lead to the debunking of many “tunnels” as simple storm drains which are very interesting and yield beautiful aesthetics, but clearly do not live up to their descriptions in the urban legends. The debunking of local myths is a time consuming, but rewarding. In order to uncover clues pertaining to Victoria’s underground, hours must be spent in the city archives pouring over maps and schematics. Casual personal interviews yield a lot of information that must be sorted through in order to find the odd splinter of truth. These have been conducted with everybody from local shop owners to city officials and even local historians.
There are a few local businesses which use the legends of tunnels to entice customers. Bicycle-cab workers tell their customers stories of tunnels under the downtown streets. They tell passengers tails of Satanic cults utilizing the tunnels for terrifying purposes. Even local historical tour guides speak rumors of the tunnels to patrons. These tunnels play an important part in Victoria’s tourism economy. The tunnels benefit local tourism companies while simultaneously providing many homeless with safe places to sleep. Opposite to the businesses that benefit from the urban legends pertaining to these tunnels, is the homeless community. To them, these places are home, and for the price of a sandwich and a soda they will indulge an investigator with stories they have heard and even some specific directions to some tunnels. The homeless community provides individuals who can offer some of the most concrete information on the existence of tunnels in Victoria.
Many of the myths that surround Victoria’s tunnels are similar in that they reference a tunnel deeply rooted with a rich history and the with the capability of absorbing flesh and rendering it a part of it’s own legend. The first real clues that became evident tied into the reoccurring theme of Satanism. One source of many of the Satanic tales that surround Victoria is the book “Michelle Remembers” The author, Michelle Proby is daughter of Jack and Virginia Proby was born on September 27, 1949. She has two sisters, Tertia and Charyl who along with their father, have discredited Michelle’s accounts. From 1976 to 1977 Michelle began recounting tales of ritual abuse to her psychiatrist Dr Lawrence Pazder. Pazder was the first to use the term “ritual abuse”. Michelle recalls events that happened to her in 1954 when she was only 5 years old. According to Michelle she was offered up to a local Satanic cult by her parents. The cult performed all sorts of horrifying rituals on her to prepare her to be sacrificed to Satan for the Feast of the Beast, and important Satanic ritual. Most of her torture took place in a private residence where Satanists would meet. The rest of the abuse took place in supposed tunnels underneath Ross Bay Cemetery. She recalled how she was kept in a dirt cage and tortured by being fed dead and being beaten. Incidentally, there are old tunnels beneath Ross Bay Cemetery.
In 1977 the book “Michelle Remembers” was published by Proby and Pazder. In her book she goes by her married name, Michelle Smith. After recalling these events but before the book was written she married her psychiatrist, and is now Michelle Pazder. Denna Allen and Janet Midwinter interviewed Michelle’s father for their 1990 article entitled “The Debunking of a Myth”. Jack Proby, now deceased, stated “It was the worst pack of lies a little girl could ever make up. The book took me four months to read, and I cried all the time”. The book is classified as fiction, the author is widely discredited. Her claims are viewed as is false. The book is out of print. The Greater Victoria Public Library a copy or two, and there are dozens of “holds” placed on the title. The waiting list stretches over years. One library patron has said that the holds are artificial, intended to keep the story from the public, that the claims are true and that city officials have smeared the author
Although Michelle’s story is not entirely believable, If you are searching for mystery this may make it easier to imagine a slight a speck of truth. There are Satanists. Satanism is an official religion that exists across the world. There are many references that state Victoria, BC has one of the highest number of Satanists of anywhere in the world. This is hard to verify, Satanists most likely don’t really like to be counted, but at least some do reside here in Victoria.
According to Michelle Pazder Satanists tend to gather at a member’s house to celebrate holidays and participate in rituals. They gather secretly because they can’t exactly have a normal visible church of their own out of fear of being harassed. Urban legend states that there must be such a house in the city. And rumors point to an old house that supposedly had been used for years as a gathering spot for Satanists. This old Victorian style house made of stone blocks and protected by the Victoria Heritage Society is plastered with “No Trespassing”, “Keep Out”, and “Beware Of Dog” signs. The front gate possesses two devilish looking gargoyle faces on cement pillars. It is very easy to be convinced that this house is the house which Michelle refers to in her book. The living room that Michelle describes in her book exactly matches the living room of this residence. The room has no corners, with a large white marble fireplace, and old wooden floors.
Another source of Satanism stories comes from an event that happened on the twenty fourth of March 1991. A young boy was playing in a playground across the street from his parents. They looked away momentarily and when they looked back he had vanished. No trace of him was ever found. At the time the tabloids were alive with ludicrous conspiracy theories of a Satanic connection, but there are a couple more concrete connections that the tabloids didn’t discover. The most important is that the Feast of the Beast for which Michelle was to be sacrificed occurs once every 25 years on March 24th. And in 1991 was the twenty-fifth year of the Age of Satan (which started with the founding of the Church of Satan in 1966) Which is quite the coincidence for even the staunchest disbeliever to dismiss. The boy and Michelle Pazder share similar first names. Also the name of the missing boy was also the name arc angel who threw Satan out of heaven. The fact that he was abducted on Feast of the Beast is the most curious coincidence indeed. Michelle claims to have been given up in preparation for the very same ritual. The chance of this correlation happening due to chance is 1 in 365.
The final and most disturbing connection involves a possibility so unthinkable that the just thinking about it can send a chills down a spine. The playground where they boy disappeared from is just a half block away from the rumored Satanist house in which Michelle Pazder survived her ordeal. The spot the boy was abducted from is spitting distance from the entrance to the ever-illusive tunnels. It is entirely possible that the kidnappers used the tunnel as an escape route to disappear with the boy undetected by the authorities. To this day the case remains a top priority to local police. “Sixteen years after he went missing, police are still chasing leads into the disappearance of Michael Dunahee. Dunahee remains one the most high-profile missing children in Canadian history, his case still spawning more than 1,000 tips from across the world.”
Research looking into Victoria’s creepy underworld provides many spooky stories and a creepy house, but no tunnels. The city archives have many things written about Victoria’s tunnels. Many people have claimed that the tunnels exist, using no proof other than a heart-felt belief. Just as common are the frequent denials of their existence using an equal lack of evidence. Hard facts are very rare in the pursuit of truth. The closest thing real evidence of tunnels is an outdated map of a large, abandoned, very old brick storm drain tunnel that travels for miles under the city. Accessing this conduit proves to be unexpectedly difficult. Most of the entrances that are on the map did not endure the ravages of city planning over the years. One entrance is in an impound lot protected by razor wire and security cameras. Another is in the middle of the busiest street in the city. One is under a busy 24 hour drive through. And one is even in a Department of National Defense compound, and frequently has an army vehicle parked on top of it.
The investigation of a safe access point provided two concrete stories about tunnels in Victoria. The first was a man who claimed that many years ago he had walked into the emergency outflow of a tunnel at low tide. He followed it underneath Victoria. His description of the tunnel, and the location of the entrance, exactly matched with my findings. But he said that after walking a mile or so up the tunnel, he had encountered a crazy-looking man that had threatened him with a gun, and he had fled for his life. A far-fetched story, but he swore it happened to him, and he said it with fear in his eyes. The furious interrogation of every person with knowledge about the tunnels ensued. This provided the second story from a store clerk in Chinatown. He was once told by his boss about a tunnel that ran beneath the streets of the city. After pinpointing the whereabouts he went alone one night and pried open the entrance. He jumped in and landed in an ancient brick tunnel with no ladder on the side to climb back out. His flashlight hit the tunnel floor and was extinguished. Hurt from the fall, wearing running shoes, and without a light, he stumbled through the dark for hours searching for a way out. Scrambling up waterfalls in the pitch black and bracing himself against the raging torrent of ground water in the bottom of the tunnel, he eventually found another exit. He crawled out and collapsed exhausted in the middle of the street.
His description of the location of this event was a little bit vague but still matched with the archive map depicting the abandoned brick conduit. Plans were soon made to brave the tunnel the very next night. To avoid prying eyes, the rendezvous was at midnight, and at the spot which would hopefully provide entry to this particularly obscured tunnel. The location that all of the leads had revolved around after much diligent searching. It was the full moon in October, an occasion that many pagans refer to as the Blood Moon. It was also not far from where fourteen years earlier, a small boy had disappeared forever.
Victoria’s tunnels, or at least the rumored existence of them, play a unique and important role in not only the city’s livelihood but also in its history. Although much of the tunnels’ satanic connections may be far-fetched, the theories outlined above require further investigation in order to distinguish fact from fiction.
Special thanks to the following individuals for their outstanding contributions (I've surely missed some):
A.Lien, TacDical, Reduxzero, Yoshkow, Forgotten BC, Kowalski, Matthias, Artemis, Tanuki, Team Leader, and of course KublaKhan…for being the original boat rocker.
[last edit 9/8/2020 5:04 PM by J Peterman - edited 4 times]