For the local people of Yemen, the famous “Well of Hell,” which is an enormous sinkhole, is a prison for evil spirits like genies and consists of a direct gateway to the underworld itself. Well, while those interested in its possibly dark origins were waiting for some solid evidence of anything supernatural existing in the depths of the sinkhole, cave explorers from Oman have instead found that in place of genies it is snakes that roam the surface of the pit.
Live Science has reported that a small team of ten cave explorers from the Omani Caves Exploration Team (OCET) recently reached Yemen to attempt something which has never been achieved before i.e., scale the depths of the “Well of Hell,” officially known as Well of Barhout. Located in al-Mahra province in Eastern Yemen, the sinkhole has an entrance that is roughly 100 feet (30 meters) in diameter and is 367-foot (112 meters) deep, which explains why past attempts to reach its bottom were never successful. As the depths of the sinkhole have remained an inaccessible mystery till now, it is majorly known for the various myths that surround it, with the most prominent story being that it is a prison infested with evil genies being punished for their deeds. But when these cave explorers from Oman descended to the bottom of the sinkhole, what they found was a bunch of snakes.
The team used a pulley system to lower eight out of the ten team members into the depths of the sinkhole while two remained on top to supervise the situation. While they descended with the intention to seek out these mystical genies that the locals are so afraid of and the terrifying door to Hell itself, they instead found a bunch of snakes and many other dead animals on the surface of the sinkhole. Apart from this, they also discovered cave pearls, stalagmites, and waterfalls in the well. So much for the gateway to the underworld theories, whew!
Mohammed al-Kindi, a Geology professor at the German University of Technology in Oman, shared with AFP that it was their passion to discover an unexplored wonder like the Well of Barhout, which is a part of Yemeni history and most likely millions of years old, that drove the team of 10 explorers to brave the bottomless depths of the sinkhole.
This discovery of snakes effectively shoots down many of the local myths that have been circulating around about the sinkhole for decades. As mentioned above, the sinkhole is considered to be a prison for jinn or genies and this, in turn, makes it the harbinger of bad luck. Then there are the gateway to Hell theories where people have debated at length about the foul smell coming from the hole, which has earned the sinkhole its more famous moniker i.e., Well of Hell. As reported by AFP, one of the local stories also claims that the sinkhole is actually a supervolcano that possesses the ability to annihilate Earth. There is also the belief that the sinkhole has some kind of scary gravitational force at its centers and if someone gets too close, they will be pulled inside. But judging by this recent discovery of snakes, cave pearls, stalagmites, etc, at its bottom, the famous “Well of Hell” simply appears to be a big sinkhole with natural wonders in its previously unexplored depths.