Tunnel Bob

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Robert Gruenenwald, better known as Tunnel Bob is a resident of Madison, Wisconsin who allegedly lives in the steam tunnels under the University of Wisconsin–Madison. [1][2][3] He says that he has been exploring the tunnels since the 1970s. He has asked for permission to volunteer to help maintain the tunnels but has been denied. [4] Bob denies sleeping in the tunnels due to danger, stating that "you might wake up dead". [5] He has been cited and fined multiple times for "unauthorized presence".[6]

Tunnel Bob was the inspiration for The Kingkiller Chronicle character Auri. Author Patrick Rothfuss was a resident of Madison, and his father told him stories of Tunnel Bob. According to Rothfuss, Rothfuss' father gave Tunnel Bob permission to work in the tunnels for three hours a week, which was used as part of the persona of Auri: "Well, the first hour I walks around a bit, and the second hour I cleans up some, and the third hour, well, that’s just for me."[7][8]

External links[edit]

A tour of the tunnels with Tunnel Bob


  1. ^ Godfrey, Linda S. (10 November 2017). "Strange Wisconsin: More Badger State Weirdness". Big Earth Publishing – via Google Books.
  2. ^ "Legends say he lurks beneath our feet: exploring UW's underground labyrinth".
  3. ^ Godfrey, Linda S. (10 November 2017). "Haunted Wisconsin: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Badger State". Stackpole Books – via Google Books.
  4. ^ "Secrets of the UW". 5 September 2008.
  5. ^ Dan Simmons, Wisconsin State Journal. "On Campus: Badger Herald goes under with 'Tunnel Bob'".
  6. ^ George Hesselberg, Wisconsin State Journal. "Walking on UW-Madison campus? Look down — you might spot Tunnel Bob".
  7. ^ Galaxy, Geek's Guide to the. "Best-Selling Author Warns 'You Might Not Want to Buy' His Book".
  8. ^ "Interview: Patrick Rothfuss - Lightspeed Magazine". 10 March 2015.