A North Carolina realtor went on an underground voyage after discovering an atomic bomb shelter in the garden of a house that was on the market.
Zachary Hooper, 27, was showing a property near Charlotte last month when he spotted the shelter which, according to the sign on the front, was constructed back in 1950.
The entrance to the shelter (Zachary Hooper/PA)
Zachary wrote in an Imgur post: “It was locked but the listing agent said that if I wanted to look in there that she would open it up for me tomorrow."
So he went back the following day with a contractor friend who “has been down a few bunkers before", with the aim of descending into the tunnels which, according to the listing agent, the owners of the house had not set foot inside in over 10 years of living there.
When Zachary got to the bottom of the first ladder, he found a second ladder going even further down (Zachary Hooper/PA)
The shelter was constructed by a former marine called W.F. Abee, according to Zachary, who described him as “a very pro-active doomsday prepper".
Zachary descended into the shelter through the hatch to a depth he estimated to be around 30 feet, down two sets of ladders in narrow shafts.
The tunnel at the foot of the entrance shaft was cloaked in 'overwhelming blackness' (Zachary Hooper/PA)
“Crumbling earth, cold mustiness, utter darkness," was Zachary's description of the set-up.
Having intended to video his descent, he soon abandoned the idea because the darkness made it impossible to film, instead switching to flash photography.
This spiral staircase led to another hatch (Zachary Hooper/PA)
“As soon as that flash ends, it's back into the overwhelming blackness," he said. “Our lightbars could barely illuminate a 3 to 4ft diameter around us and the flashlights were almost entirely useless."
Zachary and his friend stumbled across a couple more hatches: one at the very end of the corridor accessed by a ladder and another off to one side served by a sort of spiral staircase.
This crumbling section of the cave could have led to a chamber (Zachary Hooper/PA)
They did not attempt to open them because of the state of the rock.
“We tried to touch as little as possible since the cave was just crumbling around us," he said.
A soda bottle (Zachary Hooper/PA)
What the pair did find, though, were some very old soda bottles, a tank presumably for water and, somewhat disconcertingly, a fake rose in a terracotta pot.
Zachary was greeted by the incongruous sight of a fake rose in a terracotta pot (Zachary Hooper/PA)
“Not sure if (it's) comforting or disturbing," he said.
On his way out, when his friend had already exited the chamber, Zachary took a moment to switch off his light and “experience the full darkness".
Zachary leaves the chamber (Zachary Hooper/PA)
“Only takes a second or two to really, uh, embrace it," he said. “Quite overwhelming with the cold misty air touching your face and neck.
“And the sense of … something being down there with you. Waiting for your lights to turn off."
After that, it was time to leave.
“We had an audience waiting for us when we got out," Zachary said. “Apparently another agent came to show the property to a family and everyone stayed to hear about it.
“Overall, 10/10, f***ing awesome. Definitely sketchy.
“But I would probably rather die in an atomic blast than be stuck down there for longer than a half hour."
A version of this article originally appeared on Press Association.