This article was published on January 28, in the very next issue of The
Other Paper. I didn't meet John Ruch for this article, we just corresponded via
email and he read my posts in the Infiltration mailing list. I was surprised
that this was published so soon afterword, considering the amount of time it
took the first article to get published. I expected this article to be published
in the one after this (February 4).
Ohio State has tunnel guy's web site killed
By John Ruch
Last week we told you about the Web site called "Under OSU."
Posted by a student calling himself the Mad Bomber, the site describes his
explorations of OSU's secret underground utility-tunnel system. The tunnels
house OSU's heating, water, power and fiber-optic lines.
Dave Sweet, spokesman for OSU's Physical Facilities department, check out
the site last Thursday and didn't like what he saw. Before the end of the day,
he called the Bomber's internet server and got "Under OSU" killed.
People who post sites on the server, named Angelfire, agree not to post
"The site was down within 20 minutes of my call," he said.
The Bomber fought back. By last Friday afternoon, he had re-posted "Under
OSU" at a different Angelfire address "just for spite." It remains at
www.angelfire.com/oh2/underosu - for the next couple hours, anyway.
The Bomber also put out an Internet plea for space on someone's private
server that OSU couldn't touch. By last Sunday, he'd found one.
The site is now posted at www.infiltration.org/underosu. The Canadian server
is also the home base of the 'zine Infiltration, the bible of a growing
international subculture called "urban exploration."
Aficionados explore quasi-public places such as hotels, city halls,
abandoned factories, drain systems and utility tunnels, then post their stories
on the Internet.
On the Infiltration mailing list, the Bomber put out news of "Under
OSU"s new home under the headline, "Under OSU 1, OSU 0."
"It's not a free-speech issue, it's a safety issue," said OSU's Sweet. "We
respect his right to put up whatever he wants, but when it's encouraging people
to do illegal activity that could result in them getting hurt or killed, that's
where we have to step in."
The Mad Bomber - who says one reason he posted the site was to get more
explorers to join him - dismisses safety concerns and even suggests OSU open the
tunnels to the public. "Then absolutely no one would want to go down there for
fun," he said.
"They could easily make them walkways for students in the winter. They lead
to practically every building."
But OSU Police Chief Ron Michalec says he's working to make the tunnel
system a "hard target," improving security to keep curious students and homeless
people out. He said anyone caught in the tunnels will be prosecuted for
And students have been arrested in the tunnels before, especially during the
1980s craze over the game Dungeons & Dragons, which involved themes
of cave exploration. The most recent arrest was two years ago, Michalec said.
But there's no manhunt for the Mad Bomber. Michalec said he wouldn't mind
knowing the students true identity, but is more interested in just keeping him
Meanwhile, the unrepentant Bomber is broadening his interests.
"I'm currently in the process of making a list for my own purposes of
abandoned places in/around Columbus," he recently wrote of Infiltration's
"Houses, factories, hotels, high schools..."