From ancient times, certain locations of our material world have been viewed with fear and awe. Legend suggests these places will lead any foolhardy adventurer straight to Hell. Let’s explore some of these places from the safety of our own home.
1. Hellam Township and the Seven Gates of Hell
With a name like Hellam, it’s no surprise this little township in York County Pennsylvania is rife with urban legend.
According to local folklore, there is a road in the woodland surrounding Hellam, which features seven gates, and entering all of them will lead you straight to Hell. Only some of these gates can be seen in daylight, but when night falls, they all appear. Additionally, it’s said that whatever horrors await, has stopped any explorer from progressing further than the fifth gate.
There are two popular myths around the original creation of the gates – one story being that they were erected by an eccentric physician, and one that they were set up by firefighters in an attempt to detain “escaping patients” attempting to flee a burning “psychiatric asylum, located deep in the woods”.
Luckily, neither of these stories make any sense, but that hasn’t stopped thrill seekers trying to find all seven gates.
The fact behind the legend tells that the road in question – delightfully names Toad Road – was destroyed in 1972 after a hurricane, leaving behind the remains of a few gates.
A doctor did once live along Toad Road, and he may have been a little eccentric, as he was know to have put up various trespassing warnings, to ward off nosey teens. These signs were said to have – delightfully – contained numerous toad related puns.
If you go to Hellam Township today, you’ll be disappointed to know that Toad Road is private property, so I insist you refrain from disturbing the privacy of the locals. Perhaps that’s why no one has conquered all seven gates – they’ve been toad-ally dissuaded by police.
2. Darvaza Gas Crater, Turkmenistan
Hell may conjure images of fiery pits and molten rocks, and you’d be quite right in thinking the Darvaza Gas Crater first the bill rather splendidly.
This 230 foot hole in the ground sits in the middle of the Karakum Desert and exactly how the crater formed is debated – some think it collapsed inn the 60’s and others think the Soviets drilled it for oil in the 70’s, causing it to collapse days later.
Either way, the crater sits one a natural gas field, causing toxic methane gas to erupt from the hole, so geologist did the only logical thing they could to prevent these emissions – they set fore to it.
As of today, it’s still burning, however the Turkmenistan government are currently investigating ways to extinguish the crater.
3. Stull Cemetery, Kansas
The legend of Stull Cemetery states that it is one of the “seven gates to Hell”, and that the Devil likes it so much, he appears there twice a year – once on Halloween (or the autumn equinox) and once on the spring equinox.
Sometimes including the nearby, abandoned Church, legend states that strange occurrences are afoot in and around the cemetery, but the first documentation of such events was a University of Kansas newspaper published in 1941.
Unfortunately, the people of Still don’t take kindly to visitors, and trespassers found in and around the cemetery risk a $1000 fine, or six months in jail.
4. Fengdu Ghost City, China
Fengdu Ghost City was founded almost 2000 years ago and built to resemble the Hell of Chinese and Buddhist lore. It is made up of shrines and, temples as well as dioramas and statues of Chinese mythological figurers.
It is thought that the ghost city replicates the trials the dead must face, including, The Bridge of Helplessness, Ghost-Torturinng Pass and the Tianzi Palace.
Although part of the Ghost City was flooded, it is still open daily for visits and tours.
5. Houska Castle, Czech Republic
In the village of Blatce sits an early Gothic castle that’s rich in folklore. Originally built in the 13th century, the castle’s chapel was built over a hole that was considered the “gateway to Hell”.
The castle is home to all manner of ghosts and ghouls, including humanoid animals and headless horses. In fact, legend states that the castles was only built to cover to trap the demons trying to flee the hell gate.
Further to its frightful reputation, the castle was occupied by Nazi forces in the 1940s, where they were said to conduct research into the occult.
6. Pluto’s Gate, Hierapolis, Modern day Turkey
Pluto’s Gate, or Ploutonion, as it was known, was a Greco-Roman temple to the god Pluto, ruler of the Underworld. As such, it was considered an entrance to the underworld as well as a place of worship. It the early history of Hierapolis, it was was also connected to the cult of Cybele.
The Ploutonion itself was a cave with carved steps leading into the underworld. Sacrificed animals were sent into the cave, attached to ropes. Afterwards, the animal would be pulled out of the cave, dead – proof that the sacrifice was successful and had been taken by Pluto himself.
In actuality, the caves emitted toxic fumes, which ensured the animal’s demise. It’s thought that the priests of the temple were aware of this, and thus could descend into the cave and remerge unharmed by hiding in places with breathable air.
7. Acheron River, Greece
This river, located in northwestern Greece was once a prominent feature in Greek mythology. It was known as the “river of woe” and was one of the five rivers that lead to the underworld.
One of the most famous legends associated with the river Acheron is that of Odysseus, as this is the river he traversed to access Hades and summon the dead.
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