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FORT BRAGG — The military community of Fort Bragg was surprised to learn that for decades, a dozens-strong tribe of hermits has been living inside the artillery impact area on the installation, sources confirmed Thursday.

While conducting target insertion and maintenance on Wednesday, Range Control personnel accidentally fell into a hidden series of tunnels and underground rooms, furnished with old barracks furniture and calendars dating back to the Truman administration.

When military police searched the tunnels, they discovered the Hanson family of Pineview, N.C., previously thought to have all perished in a large flood in the spring of 1947. Custus Hanson, or as the rest of the family call him, “Old Grandpap,” refused to evacuate his family from the bombing area, although he did agree to an exclusive interview with Duffel Blog reporters in his throne room.

“We are the people of the deep,” said Hanson, the head of the patriarchal cult tribe, shaking a talisman made from human bones and pieces of frag. “We pray to the Thunder God for sustenance, and he gives it to us. We have provenance from the bounty of the land, we get water from the spring in the Wending Room, and he blesses us with many loud Thunderings. May Thunder God bang his blessings down upon you.”

“And bang you as well,” echoed the other Hanson family members, whose skin and eyes are almost white from a lifetime spent underground, emerging only at night to harvest berries and hunt game for food.

Shocked officials at Bragg have confirmed that four generations of Hansons are now living in the tunnels. To prevent inbreeding, male members of the family would raid the cantonment area for captives.

Military investigators now estimate that over the years, as many as 30 female dependents have been kidnapped and become Hanson wives. Previously those cases were dismissed as flighty Army wives leaving their husbands and disappearing, but now many will be reexamined. Most of the women, however, have claimed that they do not want to leave, preferring to continue their tribal tunnel existence.

“So I got kidnapped from my PTSD-riddled, alcoholic infantry asshole husband,” said one, the former Sylvia Montrose, taken in 2008, who now goes by Lightfeather Hanson. “I was brought here, where tons of muscled-up, women-worshipping mountain men cater to my every whim, bring me food and clothes, and all I have to do is sweep the cave every once in awhile.”

“Yeah, you’re right, oh help, please save me,” she added, rolling her eyes.

It was not yet clear what authorities at the base intend to do with the Hansons, who refuse to leave.

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