Episode 171: Underground Worlds

Howe Cavern

Susan Warzek helps her fellow speleologists return Howe Caverns to its natural splendor. Photo by Amy Kraft.

Baby alligators. Human-sized rats. Mutant sewage monsters. Below our feet is a mysterious world that inspires frightening myths and legends. But as we learn on today's episode of Distillations, what actually lives down there is a network of incredibly beautiful and essential spaces. Taking us on our first stop underground is producer Amy Kraft. She joins a team of amateur speleologists who meet every year to protect the crags and crevices inside Howe Caverns in Schoharie, New York. Then we talk to Adam Levine, whose fascination with Philadelphia's sewer system turned into a career preserving its history—and crawling through its depths.

Show Clock

00:00 Opening Credits
00:39 Introduction
01:24 Howe Caverns' Annual Cleanup
09:30 Interview: Adam Levine
16:02 Closing Credits


Thanks to Amy Kraft, Adam Levine, Mia Lobel, and Jennifer Dionisio for researching this show. 

Correction: Bob Addis was mistakenly described as the president of the National Speleological Society.  He is in fact the president of the Northeastern Cave Conservancy. We apologize for the error.

Our theme music is composed by Andrew Chalfen. Additional music includes "Comfort," by Lee Rosevere, and "Sewer or Later," by Julian Winter courtesy of the Free Music Archive. Also included is "Hubbles Eyes," by Guardian Mind Mix, thanks to Music Alley.

Image courtesy of Amy Kraft.

Posted In: History | Technology

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