Even though 700 of these mysterious subterranean vaults have been discovered in Bavaria and another 500 in Austria, nobody knows how they originated or why they were built. The locals refer to them as "Schrazelloch" (goblin holes) or "Alraunenhöhle" (mandrake caves) and claim they were built by elves and inhabited by gnomes.
It all began one day in 2011 when a cow was swallowed up by a crater that wasn't there before. Upon further investigation, it was revealed that there was a labyrinth of tunnels underneath the property.
While some of the tunnel entrances are found in common places, it is still unsure what its purpose was as this excerpt explains: "Many galleries are connected to the sites of former settlements. The tunnel entrances are sometimes located in the kitchens of old farmhouses, near churches and cemeteries or in the middle of a forest. The atmosphere inside is dark and oppressive, much as it would be inside an animal den."
It is said the tunnels are very difficult for a grown man to traverse because of their narrowness. Despite that, Vinzenz Wösner who owns an inn in Münzkirchen, Austria offers tours in the form of "guided crawls as this excerpt explains: "The tour begins in the taproom and proceeds down a stone stairway into the cider cellar, where there is a trap door that opens into a gaping hole. "We don't let people with heart conditions do the tour," Wösner says in his thick Austrian accent. He keeps a large sling on hand for emergencies, so that if anyone faints he can pull them out of the narrow tunnel.."
A priest by the name of Lambert Karner (1841 to 1909 who explored up to 400 vaults by candlelight claims to have crawled through long winding passages like a worm due to the tightness of the space. Even then, it has been found that these tunnels appear to be swept clean by unknown hands which is baffling given the difficulty for a person to navigate them.
It has led some to call it "spaces of nonbeing."