The world is full of valuable objects, objects their owners want to squirrel away and hide from the world lest they be stolen by ninjas, handsome men in suits, of handsome ninjas in suits. In addition to gold, jewels, and old SNES games, there are some surprising things hidden away deep underground in cartoonishly massive vaults. Things like…
10. Every LEGO set ever
Hidden below the living Bob Ross painting that is Denmark is a large vault containing the granted wishes of every 12-year-old who wanted a LEGO Death Star and got a box of Mega Bloks instead. Simply put, the underground facility contains, according to one article, about five copies of every LEGO set ever made from the company’s inception until today.
Along with all the LEGO sets from your childhood, the vault contains copies of rare promotional material and even copies of unique LEGO sets produced for individual clients, and copies of exceptionally rare pieces that are no longer made.
Due to the fact that every single piece of LEGO ever made in the company’s history still fits together, theoretically a person with access to the vault could combine every single set to create a singular, super-creation incorporating every facet of pop-culture from the last five decades.
9. Paint made from mummies
Tucked away in the bowels of the Harvard Art Museum is an unusual collection known as the Forbes Pigment Collection. Containing color swatches made from everything from ground up mummies to extinct species of flower, the Forbes Pigment Collection is likely the most expansive collection of colors ever created.
Along with serving as a reference for artists, the pigment collection serves a secondary function as a historical repository for unique shades of paint that can be used to authenticate art.
Sadly, the rarity of many of the paints housed in the museum means that using them is out of the question, which is a shame because it effectively kills our dream of drawing a huge dong using paint created from the crushed up remains of an ancient and powerful pharaoh.
8. Napoleon’s cologne
If you’ve ever found yourself wondering what Napoleon’s armpits smelled like after he doused them in pre-industrial revolution era cologne, then wonder no more because the Osmothèque has you covered.
The Osmothèque, or scent archive as it’s sometimes known, is essentially a repository of every fragrance ever created, or close to it. Along with containing samples of virtually every modern perfume and cologne (largely because the Osmothèque can ask for a sample of any fragrance produced in France, regardless of whether or not its formula is supposed to be a secret), it also has historical whiffs, too.
While perusing the Osmothèque’s vault you can smell samples of perfumes worn by historical figures like Napoleon and Marie Antoinette and even fragrances created from now extinct or illegal ingredients. Illegal in this sense meaning ingredients that have since been found to cause allergic reactions and whatnot. So yes, you can know what Napoleon smelled like after he took a particularly large poop and wanted to mask the smell if you really want to.
7. Parmesan cheese
For a lot of people, Parmesan cheese and garlic bread are life. Unfortunately, only one of them is considered so valuable they have to store it in a massive vault – and no, it’s not the garlic bread. It’s the cheese.
In short, in Italy there’s a special tier of Parmesan cheese called Parmigianino Reggiano that is considered to be so valuable that there’s a bank that makes a fortune exclusively giving out loans against it. Basically, during the curing process for the cheese, which can take upwards of three years, the bank will hold it in a special, air-conditioned vault and the owner can take out a loan against it to pay their staff or whatever. When the loan is paid off, the owner gets the cheese back and can sell it for a premium.
The cheese contained in the Parmesan vault is valued in excess of $100 million and the bank is hardened against everything from cyber-security attacks to Ocean’s 11 style break-ins. This said, the bank has been robbed three times in the past, forcing a sheepish executive to admit that some bad men had broken in and stolen a bunch of their cheese.
6. Enough Prince music to last until the next century
Prince was an artist so prolific and talented that he frequently wrote hit songs for other artists when he was bored. The artist famously hoarded away much of the music he wrote in a secret, temperature controlled vault filled to the brim with riffs, lyrics, entire songs and even movies starring himself that he felt the world wasn’t ready to handle just yet. According to those privy to such information, the music contained in Prince’s sex-vault was amongst the best the artist ever recorded, which begs the question: will we ever hear any of it?
In short, nobody really knows because it’s not clear what the Purple One’s instructions were to his lawyers in regards to the vault’s contents. Which is a shame, because it apparently contains enough music to give us a new Prince album every year for the next century. Meaning Prince could potentially enjoy a longer career as a ghost than he did while alive.
5. Every wrestling match ever
In 2013 the WWE quietly published an article discussing the fact that the company owns hundreds of thousands of tapes containing footage of nearly every professional wrestling match ever staged. Along with footage from their own archives, the WWE also owns tapes from rival companies they’ve bought out like WCW, tapes stored in dusty old boxes they fittingly hadn’t even bothered opening after leaving them inside their giant mountain vault. Because, oh yeah – we forgot to mention, the tapes are stored inside of a mountain.
You see, most of the tapes are in the process of being digitally transcribed and are stored inside of a giant bomb-proof vault inside of a mountain in the Catskills. This vault is nuclear-hardened, meaning in the unlikely event the world is erased in a ball of nuclear fire like that dream sequence in Terminator 2, we’ll still be able to watch Steve Austin suplex people through flaming tables.
4. Every piece of Scientology-related media ever
According to Scientologists, the human body is merely a vessel for an immortal alien spirit condemned to an eternity of floating through the cosmos thanks in part to the actions of Lord Xenu, our galactic tormentor. In keeping with the idea that our spirits can live forever, Scientologists have taken to preserving their knowledge in the New Mexico desert inside of a vault (the aerial view of which is pictured above) hardened against world-ending threats like nuclear bombs or a meteor strike.
In short, Scientologists have begun creating literal hard copies of all recorded Scientologist literature by etching it onto large, stainless steel plates. These plates are in turn stored inside of titanium capsules that are designed to outlive humanity and ensure that if everyone on Earth was killed by super-gonorrhea or something, the aliens that pick apart the wreckage of our world will be able to learn all about Scientology.
3. Michael Jackson music up the wazoo
Like Prince, Michael Jackson left behind an impressive amount of music that is stored inside of a big ol’ vault nobody was allowed to access when the singer was alive. And like with the Purple One, there’s enough music in MJ’s vault to ensure people could enjoy new music well into the 22nd century and nobody is really quite sure what’s going to happen to it.
The vault is apparently filled with both high-quality recordings of live concerts as well as “endless” amounts of unreleased album material, in addition to snippets of content like lyrics, riffs, and sick dance beats. In other words, there’s a very good chance that right now there’s more unreleased Michael Jackson material swimming around out there than there is stuff you can buy or stream on Spotify.
2. Enough seeds to start over, if we needed to
Money, as they say, makes the world go around, but if Fallout has taught us anything, it’s that money isn’t worth all that much in a Mad Max-esque uber-apocalypse. To this end, the nations of the world have pooled their resources to create a so-called doomsday vault that contains not money or gold, but seeds. Specifically, the seeds of crops and staple foods so that we have a lasting record of the food used to feed the masses. The idea is that, if the worst should happen and a strange future-plague wipes out all the corn, we’ll have an untouched example of the seeds used to grow it to start fresh.
Located just a stone’s throw away from the North Pole on an island in Norway, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is amongst the most secure places on Earth and could survive everything from a point-blank atomic blast to a backhand from Godzilla. Even if the facility was utterly cut off from the outside world, the vault’s location would mean the seeds would remain frozen for centuries, allowing it serve, as one operator puts it, as “the ultimate insurance policy for the world’s food supply.”
1. A perfect sphere
Located in a vault just outside of Paris is a hunk of metal intrinsically tied to the world of physics. A ball of polished platinum and iridium that, for over a century, has served as the international standard for the kilogram. The problem is that the weight of ball and the 40 or so copies that exist keep changing by an almost infinitesimal amount, which isn’t good for reality – which could disintegrate if the value changes too much. We assume.
To fix this, eggheads have created the closest thing to a perfect sphere humanity is aware of to serve as the new standard. Created from a single crystal of silicon-28, the ball is so impossibly smooth that if it were scaled to the size of the Earth, it’s highest mountain would be 9-feet tall. Unlike the previous standard, the new, hyper-smooth ball has a set weight due to the fact the atoms of silicon-28 are easily calculated. However, scientists aren’t really sure whether the ball is a perfect kilogram so they’re not sure if the ball should become the new standard. Meaning somewhere out there is a vault housing a near-perfect, glistening sphere of silicon surrounded by scientific equipment.
We don’t know about you, but we think the sphere should be hidden away with everything else on this list so that if the world does end, future generations find a mysterious orb surrounded by millions of hours of footage of large sweaty men suplexing each other while being serenaded by Prince and Michael Jackson.