Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Mole People of Las Vegas

Here's an interesting story I cam across.  Have you heard about the mole people of Las Vegas? It sounds like a race of sci-fi mutants, the result of some nuclear experiment gone horribly wrong, but it actually refers to an underground community -- literally.

You see, underneath the city of Las Vegas lies an extensive system of storm tunnels designed to keep the city from flooding during monsoons.  Apparently, there's an underground community of people that have made this subterranean structure their home.  They stack furniture on crates to create a living space that withstands most common rainstorms, building their own little apartments in the tunnels beneath the city.

It's believed most of the people living down there are transients and the homeless, or perhaps addicts who have found these tunnels a good place to get high without being bothered by police.  But it's also known that some of the residents in this underground community actually work at the casinos.  For them, it's a way of living rent-free in an areas close to their place of employment -- perhaps the only way they can afford to live.  Furthermore, it's believed there are most likely some children living down there as well, maybe even entire families that have been displaced in the recent financial crisis.

The total population of this community of mole people is estimated to be around 1,500, or about the same number of residents as you might find in a small mid-west town.  They are spread throughout the City of Light's 400 miles of storm tunnels.

Of course, such a lifestyle is not without its risks. Occasiionally a drowned body will wash out one of the many outlets, a victim of torrential rains that proved to be just a little too much.  Yet despite the safety concerns, police don't consider it feasible nor a productive use of their time to go searching 400miles of tunnel by flashlight to root out its occupants. Even if they did so, the community would likely return as soon as they were done.

As someone who grew up watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cartoons.  I must say I find this story rather fascinating.  I remember as a kid wandering the neighborhood with friends and scoping out sewer tunnels, hoping against all odds that each dark passage might be the gateway that opened up into an underground world both mysterious and alluring -- the type of cavern befitting of a comic book hero. Though I'm sure if you ask the mole people, it's probably not as glamorous as it seems.

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