The Knights Templar, sometimes referred to as the Order of Solomon's Temple, were a Catholic military organization which fought many battles in the Crusades, protected pilgrims, and served as a form of financial institution throughout the Holy Roman Empire. Many mysteries and conspiracy theories exist surrounding the Templars, and they are often described as a secret society or tied to Freemasonry and Illuminati theories.

Knights Templar: proving war is a racket since 1139.

After watching YouTube video about Knights Templar legends including hidden bases throughout the U.K., (full of ominous music, no doubt), Birmingham resident and photographer Michael Scott set out on a quest to locate the legendary hiding places in nearby Shropshire county. What he discovered in dense woodlands was a 700-year old system of sandstone caverns, tunnels, and hiding places that are believed to have been a hidden Knights Templar sanctuary. The tunnels’ exterior entrances were scarcely big enough for a man to fit through and were thought to be rabbit holes.

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An entrance to the tunnels.

Historians believe the original purpose of the secret tunnels was to protect pilgrims from thieves and roadside bandits on their way to Jerusalem. The tunnels are full of sanctuaries and were likely also used as places of worship. Local rumors suggest that the tunnels have also been used in more recent centuries by druids and for pagan rituals on solstices and Halloween.

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Looks like a fine place for some dark magic if you ask me.

The Knights Templar fell out of the graces of King Philip IV of France in the early fourteenth century and were eventually disbanded by Pope Clement V in 1312. Nevertheless, many conspiracy theories and pop culture tropes keep the memory and legacy of the Knights Templar alive. In 2014, a massive crop circle-like formation appeared outside the Knights’ 12th-century headquarters in nearby Coventry, sparking speculation that the Knights might be planning a comeback. Is the discovery of these tunnels another sign that the Knights Templar are going to be reactivated to restore some iron-fisted order to whatever weird reality we seem to have slipped into over the past year? Let’s hope so. I don't think Superman's coming to save us this time.

Brett Tingley

Brett Tingley is a writer and musician living in the ancient Appalachian mountains.

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