A network of underground utility tunnels lie beneath the University of South Carolina campus. These service tunnels, commonly referred to as the catacombs, are rumored to house a mutant creature known as the Third Eye Man. Entrances to the tunnels can be found under the Gervais Street Bridge, behind Colonial Life Arena and near the Riverfront Park.
Some of the tunnels date back to the 1800s, and are rumored to have been used during the Civil War, There are many other entrances to the tunnels throughout Columbia and within the University of South Carolina campus.
The first documented sighting of the Third Eye Man was on Nov. 12, 1949. Christopher Nichols, a student at the university, saw a strange man entering a sewer manhole outside Longstreet Theatre.
Nichols, a writer for campus newspaper The Gamecock, reportedly published the details of his encounter in the paper, dubbing the creature as the “Sewer Man.” This statement is not confirmed, as there was no mention of the "Sewer Man" in The Gamecock archives.
Less than a year later, the Third Eye Man was spotted again, this time by a university police officer. The officer saw scattered chicken remains around the loading dock of Longstreet Theatre. He reported a strange looking man hunched over the mutilated chicken remains. According to the officer, the man had a grotesque and distorted features and possessed a third eye located in the center of his forehead. He also had silver skin.
There have been numerous other reported sightings of the Third Eye Man around Columbia. The catacombs became a popular spot for social gatherings in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. During this time, a group of fraternity members took pledge members down to the catacombs, where they encountered a strange man wearing all silver. The man charged at students with a lead pipe. Campus police searched the catacombs for evidence of this man, but to no avail. After this incident, precautionary measures were made to make it difficult for students to enter the catacombs. Most of the tunnel entryways at the university were sealed off, and tunnels were declared closed to any person, faculty or staff at the university.