The Story Of A Secret Underground Parisian Society

Deep in the heart of Paris, a series of underground tunnels snakes across the city. They cross into unkept public spaces from centuries ago that have since vanished from collective memory – abandoned basements, catacombs, and subways hundreds of miles apart.

Only a few groups still traverse these subterranean streets. One that came into public view a few years ago, Les UX (Urban eXperiment), has since claimed several refurbished developments, including restoring the long neglected Pantheon clock and building an underground cinema, complete with a bar and restaurant.

While the streets of Paris are tame during the day, at night is when Les UX really comes alive. A typical night might involve hiding in the shadows away from potential authorities roaming the streets, descending into the tunnels through a grate in the road, and carrying materials to an agreed upon drop off location. Other nights might involve wedging and climbing over pipes and ladders, following the routes into the basements of buildings left unguarded.
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Fail Of The Week: Spinning The Pripyat Ferris Wheel

This multifaceted fail comes to us straight from the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, where a group of friends apparently decided that a fun weekend project would be trying to turn over the iconic ferris wheel in the Pripyat Amusement Park. The [Kreosan] crew documented their admittedly very creative attempt at suicide in the video after the break, but we can save you some time by telling you right up front that the decades-old ferris wheel never actually rotates more than a few degrees. Though that’s hardly the key failure of this endeavour.

Even if you don’t understand anything they’re saying (we certainly don’t), it’s not too hard to follow along with this harebrained scheme.

Under cover of darkness, the troupe gains access to the mechanisms below the towering Soviet-era ride, and removes the brake unit mounted next to the motor. With the wheel now free spinning, the team is elated to see the mechanical advantage is such that spinning the shaft by hand is enough to cause a very slight rotation of the pulley and cables attached to the wheel.

Realizing they need more speed, the group then spends the rest of the night and apparently a good deal of the following day attempting to spin the mechanism using the rear wheel of one of their electric bicycles. But a rubber wheel held by hand against a rusty shaft, rather unsurprisingly, turns out to be a fairly poor mechanical linkage. They get a couple partial rotations on the pulleys, but still no serious movement.

One of the guys was working on the next phase of the inexplicably misguided plan, removing some heavy counterweights hanging under the ferris wheel, when a young woman shows up with a dosimeter and starts taking some measurements. Eventually, one of these moonlighting ferris wheel engineers uses the meter to observe the elevated radiation levels of the dirt and rust accumulated on his bare hands. This swiftly brings the operation to a close, and they all ride off on their bikes.

This was, without question, a monumentally stupid thing to do. Even if this was just a run-of-the-mill ferris wheel that had been abandoned and exposed to the elements for over thirty years, climbing on the thing and trying to get it to spin would be dangerous. But when you combine that with the fact it’s common knowledge to those who explore the Exclusion Zone that there are parts of the ferris wheel still emitting radiation at hundreds of times the normal background dose, this misadventure is a strong contender for the 2019 Darwin Award.

We’re lucky the remnants of Chernobyl’s number four reactor are locked away inside the Chernobyl New Safe Confinement, or else some up-and-coming Internet celebrity might try to get in there and spin up the turbines for a laugh. We’ve seen some pretty crazy stunts from [Kreosan], and we’d like to see more. So please, stay safe(r) guys!

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