When you are hiking or climbing (two things that I don't do very often) you might come across some holes in the ground. Their darkness may lead you to believe that if you fell into them you would die, and that is almost certainly accurate. Now you see why I don't climb and/or hike very often.
Movies often feature bottomless pits and dangerous ways to fall to your death. I saw 127 Hours and that pretty much ended any chance of me doing anything overly adventurous. Phenomenal story though, and Aron Ralston (the real life adventurist played by James Franco) was about forty times braver than I could ever imagine being.
Anyway, I digress. The point is, these are some natural death traps out there with truly horrifying stories attached to them. And here they are!
1. Devil's Hole, Death Valley National Park, California
When I hear the words 'Devil' and 'Death' in the same sentence, I typically avoid whatever is being described. I highly doubt you'll find me anywhere near this hole, but for those of you who are much more bold than I am, this is a cool place you can check out that isn't too far from some major metropolitan areas in California.
There's a narrow chasm in the limestone of Death Valley. There have been many legends of people disappearing down there. The hole is filled with water, estimated to be about 1,000 feet deep. In 1965, several kids jumped in (for fun, I guess?) and two never came out. Their bodies were never found. People think it may be part of an underground system of rivers, which is creepy in its own right.
2. Devil's Sinkhole, State Natural Area, Texas
Yet another 'Devil' mention here might be responsible here for me, once again, avoiding this legendary Texas sinkhole. It's a 400 ft hole in the limsteone ground. As you can see, this photo's taken from inside by a brave, brave soul.
There's actually solid amounts of vegetation down there, and it doubles as a batcave which is yet another reason to fear this location. 3 million Mexican free-tailed bats live in there. 3 MILLION. Yikes!
3. Hrad Houska, Czech Republic
Yeah, I know, I know, this isn't really a picture of the hole, but please believe that this weird castle was built over a hole that is said to open up into a terrifying netherworld. There are apparently winged, half-animal creatures that would often fly out and and cause a mess, you know, apparently.
The castle was built, not as a home, but rather as a device to keep the demons within the hole from coming out. A tale states that a pardon would be granted to a prisoner who volunteered to enter the hole. One man did, and began screaming after a few minutes passed. He was then hauled out and when they saw him, he had allegedly aged 30 years. Eek!
4. The Darvasa gas crater, or Doorway to Hell, Turkmenistan
Yes, that is fire, yes it smells like sulfur, and yes it's been on fire since 1971. So, yeah, if there is any place that is literally "Hell on Earth" this could be it. It's part of a natural gas field in Turkmenistan. This burning pit was actually man made. While drilling for natural gas, Soviet engineers found more than they were thinking they would find and began to store it.
A sinkhole opened up, which exposed the dangerous gas to the air. They figured they would burn it off, assuming that it would be depleted in that area in a few weeks. There was way more than they anticipated, obviously, and now it has been burning for the past 40+ years.
5. Devil's Hole, Manastash Ridge, Washington
Here we go with the Devil thing again. I think that any hole that goes pretty deep has potential to be Hell-like, but this specific one is especially creepy for sure. It's a legendary creepy hole that a dead dog was dropped in... only to return later. That, of course, is legend... but is scary regardless.
Some people say it's a secret underground government facility. Others say it's a bottomless hole. Nobody really knows much about it. And that fact alone is scary enough for me to avoid it at all costs.