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Thirty miles from the home of the Shroud of Turin, the tiny, sleepy Italian village of Baldissero Canavese was able to keep secret for 15 years the underground location of the commune of Damanhur. At the foothills of the Alps underneath an innocent-looking suburban home in Northern Italy, hundreds of hippies are living in a paradise under the earth.
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They used only hand tools -- hammers and picks. Beginning in 1978 and working around the clock, for the next 15 years these laymen carved out an underground complex with no architectural plan, except for the sketches made by Falco. It now descends five stories into the earth in a giant series of chambers connected by hundreds of yards of tunnels. One room is a four-sided pyramid covered in mirrors with a glass dome. The ceiling of a room called, "The Hall of Spheres" is covered entirely in gold leaf. Other ceilings, walls and floors are done in intricate mosaic murals.
Very early on, the collective of Damanhur also was involved in other new age projects. They believe that plants can sing, and they developed equipment to allow humans to hear the melody. One probe is attached to a leaf. Another probe is inserted in the soil between the roots. Electric conductivity is measured and a converter assigns musical notes to the electrical impulses.
The underground Temples became public knowledge when a former member sued to regain his possessions from the group. Italian police and the public prosecutor came knocking at the front door in 1993, demanding to be shown the subterranean temples -- which were constructed without a single building permit. "Otherwise," they warned, "we will dynamite your hillside." Falco replied, "Your threats are unnecessary," and he led authorities through the secret door to the complex. The officals were dumbstruck by expansive vaults 25 feet in height. Worldwide headlines helped the Damanhur Federation to turn their commune into a tourist attraction. The government declared the sanctuary to be The 8th Wonder of the Modern World.
The cult revealed that in 1997 they unlocked the secret of time travel. "Time Project" leader, Gnomo Orzo, says it is safer to travel deep into history than it is to travel to the recent past, which might adversely change current events. Orzo confirms the device is a machine. Its purpose is to channel and magnify a person's own psychic energy.
The current population of the neo-hippy commune is between seven and eight hundred souls. They have their own schools. They issue their own currency, the Credito, equal to the value of the Euro. They invented their own sacred language. But they no longer hide anything. They welcome visitors, and they welcome new citizens.
There are different classes of citizenship at Damanhur. The "Class C" citizen is not required to live on site. Class B citizens contribute money and must live there at least three days a week. Class A citizens share all personal property with the commune and live on site full-time. Only the Class A citizens are eligible to make use of the time machine.
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