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"Show us these temples or we will dynamite the entire hillside”, threatened Italy’s state prosecutor when police had failed to locate a rumoured network of mysterious chambers buried 30 metres in the foothills of the Alps.

They had been dug by hand in complete secrecy in the 1970s under the direction of Oberto Airaudi, a philospher and artist who claimed to have had visions of ancient temples at age 10 from a previous life. The Temples of Humankind, a massive five-level complex of murals, mosaics, labyrinths and hidden doors is still only considered to be only 10% complete. When authorities finally discovered it in 1992, the architectural inspector for the Italian Heritage Ministry, said: “Nothing like this exists outside of the films of Indiana Jones.”

Excavation began in 1978 by just fifteen followers of the Federation of Damanhur, a peaceful, spiritual commune founded as a social experiment a few years earlier, 30 miles north of the city of Turin.

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