Paranormal, Shocking

There’s Something in Devil’s Hole! | DIVERS REACT TO DEVIL’S HOLE DEATHS (a story by MrBallen)

This hole stretches 2,000 miles underneath the ground via an underwater ocean channel that’s connected to Mexico. That’s absolutely insane. Those two guys getting sucked into that tiny hole is one of the most horrifying stories I’ve ever heard.


There’s Something in Devil’s Hole!

It was 1969. Brushing his mattted brown hair out of his eyes, Charles Manson looked up at the sun beating down on his Family from above Death Valley, Nevada. Perhaps he thought he was destined to be the 20th Century Moses – he was leading his followers through the desert towards a safe haven in which they could live. He had wandered for days through the desolate wastelands, and he now believed that he had finally found his Promised Land. He was now in the Amargosa Desert – one of the hottest areas in the Western Hemisphere, and only separated from the ominous stretches of Death Valley by the Funeral Mountains. He was looking at Devil’s Hole – a fissure in the ground that led straight down into a labyrinth of flooded caves. However, Manson was certain that he wasn’t just looking at the entrance to caves occupied only by water – instead, he was staring at the gateway to a lost underground city, and to the ‘Bottomless Pit‘ mentioned in the Biblical Book of Revelation (9:1-12). The US Government was covering this up. All he had to do was drain the floodwater from the caverns to reveal what would surely be a haven for his flourishing cult in which they could escape the coming Helter Skelter Apocalypse. Legend has it that he would spend three days inside the observation area above the hole, meditating and trying to figure out a way to drain the caves of water.

Devils Both Natural and Supernatural

Death Valley was declared to be an American National Monument in 1933 before finally being officially recognised as a National Park in 1994. There is a detached unit of this same National Park in what is called the Ash Meadows Complex, and this specific unit is called Devil’s Hole – a geothermal pool situated within a limestone cavern. Its waters have a near constant temperature of 33°C, and a salinity which is just as consistent. It is at leas 500ft deep, but the bottom of the pool has never been mapped. As far as anyone knows, it might as well go down forever. There is an opening at the surface of the pool which is approximately 6x18ft wide, and leads down into caverns which are at least a further 300ft deep. Geologists JM Landwehr and IJ Winograd have stated that the pool formed over 500,000 years ago. Tectonic activity from earthquakes as far away as Indonesia, Chile and Japan has been recorded in the pool – which makes itself known in the form of small-scale tsunamis within its cavernous depths. Water has been observed to splash up to heights of up to two meters onto the walls of the hole.

The hole is also home to a confusing biological enigma known as the Devil’s Hole Pupfish. The pupfish is unique to the hot, oxygen-poor water within the mysterious chasm – and has been described as the world’s rarest fish. There are naturally usually no more than 500 of these fish, meaning that they were one of the first species to be officially protected by the Endangered Species Act in America as of 1966. Local landowners do not have the right to draw water from the hole due to the laws surrounding the protection of the rare fish. They have been found at depths of up to 66ft in the hole, but normally forage on the algae and diatoms growing on a shallow rock shelf near the surface. The population of these exceptionally rare fish has been decreasing from 200 in 2005 to only 75 in 2013. This decline is as of yet unexplained. The mysterious element of this information, which might otherwise be uninteresting from a Fortean perspective, is that it seems as if the fish appeared in the hole as soon as the hole opened up. According to University of California researchers Ismael Saglam and Michael Miller, it seems as if the collapse of the cavern’s roof and the near-instant colonisation of the pool by this unique species of fish may have been caused by an ‘unidentified geologic event‘. So there we have it – teleporting fish!

Into the Abyss

Of course, the Endangered Species Act and other conservation acts by the US Government now protect the hole from any unwanted visitors – but such was evidently not the case in 1965, and this fact would cost two children their lives. Three young adventurers took the plunge into Devil’s Hole in the darkness of nighttime on June 20th of 1965. They were going skin-diving that fateful Sunday night, and were presumably simply eager to make memories among their friend group. There were actually four of them originally, but one apparently had decided that it wasn’t a good idea, and had stayed on dry land. The one diiver that survived the experience would forever be left with memories of a very different kind. Among the original three were brothers-in-law David Rose (aged 20) and Paul Giancontieri (aged 19) – and they would be the unfortunate two would never be seen again after getting into the water that night. 20-year-old Paula Rose, who had been married to David for two months at the time, was waiting outside the hole for her husband to emerge – and so was Giancontieri’s mother – and both were horrified when only one diver clambered out of the water.

A photograph of Jim Houtz in Devi’s Hole

The search effort began soon after this horrifying double-disappearance. Fourty-five rangers and volunteer divers patrolled the cave for days, splitting into teams of four or five men each and diving to depths of 315ft with the aid of air tanks strapped to their backs. One of these divers was a man named Jim Houtz, and reporter Chris Dixon for the surfing magazine The Inertia spoke to him about his experiences with diving down into Devil’s Hole in 2011. Just before the search commenced, he was giving a presentation on diving at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club to about sixty or seventy people. He suddenly got a call from the Federal Government asking him if there were any air pockets down in the hole – to which he replied in the affirmative. He quickly went up to Los Alamos accompanied by a small crew, whereupon he was met by a seaplane – a Grumman Albatross – on the runway with its engines running. He and his men boarded the plane, and they promptly took off, leaving the hatch open in their haste. They tried to land in the Ash Meadows Complex, but after three or four attempts they decided that this would be impossible. Instead, they landed at Nellis Air Force Base at dawn. The state police were out there, along with the military and the media. Houtz set up his first team of two men, including Harry Wham – who had accompanied Mel Fisher on a failed treasure-hunting dive in 1957 and would later be murdered by family members in 1981. They descended into the hole in increments, with divers at two different junctions to combat any issues that might’ve been posed by decompression. When Houtz got down to the lower chamber of the endless pit, he found a snorkel mask and a diving fin. A dimly-lit flashlight was discovered tied to a rock, and a decompression chart was later found as well. Houtz made a point of saying that once someone gets that deep, they will start to suffer from nitrogen narcosis, which induces a drunken state and makes it far more likely that they’ll do something stupid. He had been training to overcome this.

Houtz returned to the surface and notified everyone about what had happened, and then said that he would go back down to recover the last of the discarded gear. He made it down to a depth of 325ft, which was marked by a little ledge after which the vast underwater pit opens up like a colossal inverted funnel. The water apparently gets slightly warmer as it goes deeper. Lt. Walter Butt of the Clarke County Sheriff’s Department said that they would’ve continued the search if there was ‘any indication that the bodies could be discovered‘. The search for the missing boys was called off just before midnight on June 22nd 1965 – and their bodies have never been found.

Out of the Abyss?

It was Spring of 1892, and the unincorporated community of Daggett in San Bernadino County, California was about to be seized by monster fever. One Mr. George May reported to The San Francisco Examiner that sightings of a colossal reptile had been taking place around the community, and that a party was being organised to pursue the creature. According to May, EW Spear was seemingly the first to see the monster after having followed a strange trail he had found. He described the entity as being ‘thirty feet long and thoroughly unpossessing‘. Spear promptly retreated from the scene and would later tell his story to the local community, only to be laughed at. Henry Brown became the next witness, seeing the same creature and beating just as much of a hasty retreat from the beast’s territory.

An oil painting of an Iguanodon by Zdeněk Burian

Oscar W. Clark now becomes our central figure. He was a geologist working with the Royal Academy of Sciences, and had been staying in Daggett to research the geological features of the coast there. He was on his way through the Death Valley desert to get some rest in the resort city of Coronado when he caught sight of the colossal critter. He was approximately 30 miles away from Daggett by 6pm when he stopped to rest, having already made some exciting additions to his fossil collection. He stole a glance to the Southwest through the desert haze, whereupon he saw a strange entity moving along roughly one mile away from his position. He approached it – and was ‘both elated and horrified‘ to see something completely unlike anything else he knew to exist in our modern era. He described the immense creature as being 30ft long and as partially walking on its hind feet and partially ‘dragging itself through the sand‘. It left strange tracks, showing three-toed feet and ‘a peculiar scratchy configuration‘ in the sand beneath it whenever it changed from walking to dragging itself. Its forelimbs were very short, but it sometimes used them to grasp at scraggly pieces of foliage to eat. There was a ‘strong, conical spine‘ on the thumb of the forefoot. When the animal was stood upright it was said to be 14ft tall. Its head was the size of a large cask and was shaped like that of a horse. The body was as large as an elephant’s, and its tail reminded Clark of that of an alligator. The whole thing was liver-coloured with bronze spots, and its eyes were described as being the size of saucers and as projecting out from its head – gleaming with fire. Steam-like vapour was exhaled from its mouth, and apparently smelled of ‘something awful‘.

He claimed that the monster was on the edge of a ‘great sinkhole of alkaline water‘ which his guides had previously informed him was bottomless, and he speculated to be a remnant of Death Valley’s days as an ‘inland sea‘ (Lake Manly in the mid-Pleistocene era). Clark crept up on the beast, waiting in the sand approximately 100 yards away from it – from which vantage point he was able to watch the creature for half an hour. After this time had elapsed, the beast let out a ‘blood-curdling‘ bellow – bringing itself to the edge of the hole before lashing its tail and falling into a dormant state. Clark took this as his cue to leave the scene – taking the opportunity to attempt to obtain the assistance of his guides in capturing the sleeping monster. However, they were apparently terrified and refused to help him.

According to the newspaper report, he would eventually send a description of his experience to the Smithsonian Institution so that they might consider organising a scientific party to capture the reptilian fiend. He said that he was ‘rather anticipated‘ by the testimonies of Spear and Brown, and claimed that the monster he had seen was ‘living proof of the exact authenticity of the researches made by savants into the field of paleontological study‘. He was apparently certain that what he had seen was a specimen of ‘Iguanodon Bennissantensis of the European Jurassic‘ – satisfied that his deductions were 100% correct based on his knowledge of the geological features of the Pacific slope, specifically of the Death Valley area. The species ‘Bennissantensis’ does not actually exist, but the species ‘Bernissartensis‘ does, and so I am satisfied that this is not a slip-up which renders the story an obvious hoax. Of course, it seems likely that this incident was just one of the many such happenings fabricated by bored journalists in the days of yellow journalism. Researcher John LeMay analysed the report and proved to be unable to match the people mentioned in the article to any real people, unfortunately.


LeMay, however, also pointed out that the bottomless pit mentioned by Clark in this report was likely Devil’s Hole, and then went on to talk about Loren Coleman’s observation that places with the word ‘devil’ in the name are often rife with reported paranormal activity. If the reports that I’ve presented in this article are anything to go by, then it is clear that Devil’s Hole is no different to any of the examples cited by Coleman.


Devil’s Hole‘ on Wikipedia

Information Provided by the National Park Service

In A Hole‘ for The Economist

We Know Where the World’s Loneliest Species Came From‘ for BBC Earth

Devil’s Hole‘ on

Haunted Hikes‘ by Andrea Lankford

The Tuscaloosa News on June 23rd, 1965

A Conversation with the King of Abalonia‘ for The Inertia

Devil’s Hole‘ on

Cowboys and Saurians‘ by John LeMay

%d bloggers like this: