Seven Gates of Hell
The world Hell can be a scary thing. The road to Hell can be a bumpy one, with the Devil coming in many forms. These places thought to be entrances to hell are rooted in the following areas: folklore, mythology, history, and religion. Some tales are told just to be told. Once that happens, people get freaked out and a superstition forms.
Although differences exist, there are some consistency. The “gates” are said to be natural places on earth, such as caves, rivers, and volcanoes. Other “gates” are man-made. This just means that anything goes and can be seen as sinister. The real mystery is where these entrances are, if they exist, that are suppose to take us to a place people fear the most: the Underworld, the Devil, Hell, Hades, and Satan.
Regardless, let's go ahead and take a look at the list. These places are all over the world, so you might be living closer to one than you think.
The first three on the list are pretty obvious as to why they are listed. See what you think about the rest.
Hell's Gate-British Columbia, Canada:
This Hell's Gate is 110 foot narrow of British Columbia's Fraser River. It's located downstream from Boston Bar in the southern Fraser Canyon.
The first record of this area can be found in a journal written in 1808 by Simon Fraser. He describes this extremely narrow passage as an “awesome gorge”. He also made the comment “Surely this is the Gate to Hell”. Since Fraser was the first to write on this area and made the statements he did, the name Hell's Gate on the Fraser River was born.
Gates to Hell, Ethiopia, Africa:
Images taken by NASA have revealed that volcanoes are splitting Africa in two. The talk is now that this is the Gateways to Hell! The belief is that three tectonic plates are slowing separating, causing holes and exposing large rows of magma. The most notable crack is next to the Etna Ale. The locals in the area call this “Gateway To Hell”. The entire site is part of Dankill Depression in Ethiopia, sitting 6.13 meters above sea level.
Seven Gates of Hell, Pennsylvania:
As with the previous two, the name gives this one away. If you were to see this location first hand, you would say it looks extremely eerie. Because of the appearance, many people consider this an entrance to the underworld. This site is located in York County, Pennsylvania and has two legends that claim seven gates of hell are located here. Both legends agree on this one point: the seven gates of hell are in a wooded area and should anyone pass through all seven, that person goes straight down to meet Hades himself.
The gates are in a wooded area of Hellum Township – founded in 1793. The legend states an old insane asylum burnt down here and the crazy people escaped. Some were trapped inside the gates, never to be seen again. These people are said to haunt the gates to this day. This story also states no one has ever made it past the fifth gate and returned to tell about it. Little creepy if you ask me, especially for anyone living in the surrounding area.
Lake Avernus, Italy:
The Romans occupied this area at one time and were the first to consider this lake an entrance to Hell. Located in the Campania region of southern Italy, the lake is a circular volcanic crater near Naples. The name Avernus was synonymous to Roman writers with the Underworld. The lake was used in literary works such as Fabulae, Aeneid, The Odessey, and Dante's Inferno. In all of these books the lake was referred to as the portal to the Underworld. Also called the Devil's Lair, Avernus was named as such for its literal meaning - “without birds”. The belief here is with the smell of brimstone coming from the lake was so bad and poisonous that no bird would fly over it. A cave is said to sit underneath the lake that is suppose to be the real entrance to the Underworld. Today the area is home to lake dwellers and in 2010 was raided during a search for the Italian Mafia. Just too much going on here.
Mount Osore, Japan:
Mount Osore is a caldera volcano which sits in the center of the remote Shimokita Peninsula, part of the Japanese island of Honshu. The last time the volcano erupted was in 1787 but those living in the area still call it the “Burning Mountain”. The locals will tell you they believe this place to be an entrance to Hell. Mount Osore literally translates to “Mount Fear”. There is a small brook that runs along the Sanzu River which marks the entrance to the Underworld. The Buddhist belief feels the river is the boundary between the realms of the living and the dead. Another belief here is depending on how a person lives their life will determine the soul's journey across this boundary. The journey could be as simple as crossing a bridge to wading through waters infested with snakes. With the charred landscape, bubbling pits, and sulfur fumes that surround Mount Osore, it's easy to see why there's an image of this being an entrance to Hell.
The Ploutonian, Turkey:
Due to mythology, geology, and numerous volcanoes, the Mediterranean claims to have many places that are thought to be portals to Hell. A tourists hot spot called Pamukkale in Turkey holds an ancient Greco-Roman temple called the Ploutonian. This temple was built over a cave and underground thermal area. Above ground, the landscape and scenery are great, with the hot springs and waterfalls. At one time this place was thought to be much more threatening. Ancient Greek geographer Strabo expressed his take on this cave below the temple: “The opening is sufficient in size to admit a man, but there is a descent to a great depth”. He also stated the “space” is filled with a cloudy and dark vapor that is so dense that one can barely see the bottom. Animals enter – die instantly. Bulls will fall down and are taken out dead. Sparrows were thrown in and immediately fell down – lifeless.
Darvaza Crater, Turkmenistan:
This place has been called by numerous names, such as the Darvaza Crater, the Crater of Fire, the Gate to Hell, and the Door to Hell. Regardless as to the name, this is a natural gas crater. It has been burning since 1971, and at the time was a natural gas field that then collapsed. Scientists intentionally set it on fire to prevent the methane gas from spreading, figuring it would burn out within a week. The problem? It has been burning for 46 years. Sitting in the middle of the Karakum Desert, this crater is a huge field of fire, boiling mud, and orange flames that span 230 feet. Thousands of tourists come each year, one of which remarked - “It takes your breath away. You immediately think of your sins and feel like praying”. Definitely has earned being called the creepiest place on planet Earth.
Houska Castle, Czech Republic:
This castle is located north of the Czech capital of Prague and some say was built over a suspected entrance to Hell. Built in the 13thcentury on a limestone cliff, along side the swamps and dense forest. Here's an interesting note – this castle was fortified on the inside, like the people at the time were trying to keep something in – not out. Maybe this is because a strange hole sits at the top of the cliff – locals claim a half-animal, half-human creature flies out of this hole at night. This hole is what the castle was built over. The locals tried to fill the hole with stones but it never worked – seemed like this is truly a bottomless pit.
Numerous legends/rumors exist about this castle. Some of these are: a Swedish commander, black magician, and alchemist practiced here in 1639; Nazis held secret occult studies here – they were stationed in Houska Castle during World War II for some unknown reason. One belief is the castle was built for time travel and transportation. Really weird fact: the chapel was dedicated to the Archangel Michael who will lead God's forces against the demons of Hell.
The Mayan Cenotes, Mexico:
Beneath the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico there is a network of underground rivers, caves, roads, and temples. A Mexican archaeologist feels this might be the place that the Maya tried to depict as the entrance to Hell. Maya belief is that the journey to the underworld - they called Xibalba – includes rivers of blood and chambers of sharp knives, bats, and jaguars. Maya regard caves as sacred. There are six sinkhole caves in particular – called cenotes – that were used for worship and as burial grounds for sacrificed humans.
St. Patrick's Purgatory, Ireland:
In Ireland, there's a small island in the middle of a lake called Lough Derg. On this island is said to be a gateway to Hell. Above this portal is a monastery called St. Patrick's Purgatory. Now, here's the legend: Jesus had shown St. Patrick a cave. In this cave Jesus had seen visions of Hell, that proved the Christian afterlife to the Irish pagans. The pagans had refused to convert without proof of a place called Hell.
The monastery was built in the 5th century but the island is not open for tourists. There is, however, an annual pilgrimage that occurs here, lasting three days. During this three-day temporary stay, people fast, are sleep deprived, and pray 280 times – this is done at nine different sites, standing barefoot on sharp rocks in freezing temperatures. Thousands of Christians go to this place every year. This appears to be communal suffering at its best. The story here also states that St. Patrick witnessed first hand the tortures of eternal damnation. No one is sure if people today find God or the Devil here. Maybe its worth a trip to find out for yourself.
Fengdu Ghost City, China:
This city, Fengdu Ghost City, sits on the Yangtze River, south of the city of Chongqing. The city rests on Ming Mountain and is loaded with buildings, statues, Chinese mythology, and Buddhist inspiration that represents the Underworld. Folklore says souls must pass three tests before they move onto the next life. Here in Ghost City is where tourists from all over the world come to learn about the afterlife and ghost culture. The Chinese actually believe the Devil lives in Fengdu. They also believe the souls of the evil will come to Fengdu to pass into the afterlife.
The Chinese belief of Hell is similar to that of the western world. Ghost City is 2,000 years old and much of the city is under water since the Three Gorges Dam was built. The only things remaining in the area are a hill and dozens of temples. Included in this is the Door to Hell.
This section today is reachable by boat. If you visit, you can walk the bridges and face some demons guarding the entrance into the Underworld. One can also view scenic representation of Hell along with the largest statue ever carved into a rock – the statue of the Ghost King.
The Gates of Guinee, Louisiana:
Louisiana is kind of an eerie place, especially New Orleans and the above ground cemeteries. Personally, I was not aware of the fact that the Gates of Guinee existed here. Voodoo claims the souls of the dead live in an Underworld here called Guinee. The Seven Gates that are suppose to take you to this place are located in various New Orleans cemeteries in the famous French Quarter of the city. The legend states Voodoo witches open the Gates of Guinee to claim the souls of the dead. The gates are opened in a certain order and it's important that they are as well as the exact locations staying a secret. If you inquire about the locations or try to search for them, doom will follow. Tour guides won't discuss the subject, acting like they don't know what you are talking about. Maybe these guides don't want to tempt fate.
Mount Hekla, Iceland:
Mount Hekla, located in Iceland, is one of the most active volcanoes in the country. The volcano first erupted in 1104. Since that time travelers and locals both feel this place looked like the earth had opened up and Hell was here. Because of this, the area has earned the nickname “Gateway to Hell”. Many believe the birds flying nearby were souls swarming the “gateway”. Even today there are those that travel to or live in the area – the superstitious ones – that claim witches come here to meet the Devil. During the Middle Ages, the bishops and priests around Europe used the mountain peak fable as proof to their followers that Satan did, in fact, live beneath their feet.
Chinoike Jigoku, Japan:
The name Chinoike Jigoku translates in English to “Bloody Hell Pond”. This place is just one of nine natural hot springs in Beppu, a city on Nagasaki Island. This spring is 1,300 years old with boiling water rich in iron oxide which turns the water a deep red color. Steam rises continously as the water temperature is 172.4 degrees. Probably a good reason why its called what it is.
Since 700 C.E., numerous sources mention this pond. The Buddhist believe this looks like a “nightmare-like underworld”. Here's a disturbing fact: Chinoike Jigoku was used at one time to torture people and boil them to death.
More crazy facts: one of the biggest tourists attractions in the area; can buy skin products made from the mud from around the pond.
Masaya Volcano, Nicaragua:
This volcano was given the name “Gate to Hell” in the 16th century. The name came about from the indigenous people and Spanish invaders who feared it. To this day the volcano bears their mark – a great cross atop the volcano, placed there by the Spaniards. The Spaniards “baptized” this volcano and “exorcised” it of the Devil by putting up the cross which they called La Cruz de Bobadilla. The volcano was given this name by them as well: La Boca del Infierno – meaning “The Mouth of Hell”.
But things got worse, and here's why. Anastasio Somoza Garcia – self-elected dictator – would toss prisoners and political enemies from helicopters into this fiery pit of the volcano. This made it a literal Hell on Earth for these poor souls, along with the volcano being a possible portal to the real thing.
Acheron River, Greece:
This particular river is located in northwest Greece. The river is best known as one of five rivers of the Greek Underworld. Found many times throughout Greek mythology, it was also mentioned in the book by Dante called Inferno. Acheron is the fifth river – along side Cocytus, Phlegethon, Lethe, and Styx – in the Underworld. Acheron has also been called the “River of Woes” and “River of Pain”. During ancient times, people believed that since the river flowed through dark gorges and in several places went underground that it led straight to Hades.
Cape Matapan, Greece:
Cape Matapan are caves located on the southernmost tip of Greek's mainland. This particular area has several spots that are suppose to be entrances to Hell. They are said to open at sea-level into a cliff face. These caves are included in stories involving Hades in Greek mythology. A geographer named Pausanias made this statement about the caves: “Cerberus was brought up from Hades by Herakles”. This was documented in Description of Greece from the 2ndcentury, A.D.
Today the caves are accessible by boat only. This goes with the legend that one can only enter Hades by boat as well. At the tip of the Cape sits Diros Cave – believed to be the actual front door to Hades' abode. The Spartans considered this spot a place of worship as well as human sacrifice to the sea god Poseidon. Poseidon's realm merges with the entrance to Hades.
Candelaria Caves, Guatemala: Caves seem to be the most popular way to enter Hell. Actually makes quite a bit of sense considering caves go deep into the earth, thus being closer than anything else to what many consider the Underworld.
The Candelaria Caves are located in Guatemala. They stretch 18 miles and consist of caverns and tunnels. Underground rivers stalactites and stalagmites are found within these caves. The Mayan history of the Underworlds are attached to these caves like it is with the Mayan Cenotes in Mexico. The Popol Vuh of the Kiche people believe the Candelaria Caves are direct paths to Hell.
Additional note – More caves believed by the Mayans to be doorways to Hell are as follows: Grutas de Languin, Naj Tunich, Semic Champney, and Actun Tunichil Muktan. All of these caves are in Mexico and Central America.
The Catacombs, France: Underneath the city of Paris, France, sits 200 miles of catacombs. This section sits next to the Seine River, which many people believe is the entrance to Hell itself.
Creepy Photo of Paris Catacomb
The French started to bury people in these abandon mines and tunnels for these reasons: overcrowded cemeteries and the deceased were causing the living to suffer by rotting the water and attracting disease. Six million bodies were exhumed over decades of time and systematically stacked underground in these dark passageways. This has been a tourist attraction for 200 years and a creepy one at that!
Be careful should you decide to explore these catacombs. Many a person has gone missing when they have wandered off (you get charged an $83 fine upon being found). Only one man was lost in this dark crypt forever and that happened in 1793. Eleven years after his disappearance his body was found.
The Paris people, to this day, are still finding new entrances to the main maze of catacombs in their basements. Being that illegal mining was prevalent in the past, this is no surprise. These entrances in one's home are scary surprises but tourists and local youth alike still seem to find these places irresistible. If you were to see the catacombs for yourself, you could see why people today think it may be a gate to something more than just a burial ground.
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