Whether in ancient mythology, modern social media, or drunken conversations late at night, the subject of Hell and where one might enter such a domain has raged throughout history. Here are 10 examples of supposed gateways or portals to Hell, which are probably anything but. That being said, would you still be happy to enter?
10 Stull Cemetery
Stull, Kansas—and especially its cemetery—has gained a notorious reputation for satanic, occult, and paranormal activity. The legend states that the Devil himself appears in this location and that the cemetery is one of the gateways to Hell.
For generations, some of the locals have talked about these stories as though they’re fact rather than urban legend. They seemed to gain momentum in the 1970s, with the origins of the modern legends stemming from a fraternity prank.
However, there has been strange activity in Stull. Buildings have mysteriously caught on fire with no obvious cause. Strange voices have been heard and occasionally picked up on tape recorders, especially the voice of what appears to be an old woman.
There are also legends, particularly among the young people who drank there, that if you threw bottles against the old church, they wouldn’t break. After the church was destroyed amid fears that its aging walls would collapse and harm one of the thrill-seekers, a high fence was erected around the cemetery.
The small town was immortalized even more when Slasher Films released the horror flick Nothing Left To Fear in 2013. The movie was based on the legends of Stull.
9 Satan’s Hollow
Blue Ash, Ohio
In the woods of Blue Ash, Ohio, there is a supposed portal to Hell that has become known as Satan’s Hollow to the locals. Rick Fenbers, a local blogger, described it to wcpo.com:
It’s one of the best-known but least seen urban legends around here. A group of Satanists supposedly used to meet there in some type of altar room and conduct their rituals. [ . . . ] They must have been pretty good because the legend claims they managed to open a doorway to Hell.
According to Fenbers, a “shadow man ” guards the doorway to the portal. “He is some kind of hall monitor from Hell, left here by Satan to guard these tunnels,” Fenbers states on his blog. “The Shadow Man is said to appear in the form of a human, only completely blacked out. Hence his name.”
It is said that screams can be heard coming from the tunnel and that a general feeling of evil is experienced by anyone who enters it.
In 2012, paranormal filmmaker David Scott filmed his own investigative journey into Satan’s Hollow. But his investigation had to be cut short due to “high levels of bad energy.”
Scott has worked on over 150 cases. But he claimed that “this is one of the scariest locations I have ever investigated!”
8 Seven Gates Of Hell
Hellam, Pennsylvania, is said to be home to “The Seven Gates of Hell,” which are located in a wooded area off Trout Run Road. There are several legends about the origin of this gateway.
According to one, an insane asylum once stood on the land. But it burned to the ground and allowed the inmates to escape. However, the asylum was surrounded by seven gates that trapped the inmates in a fiery cage, where they burned to death.
There is no official record of an asylum ever existing on the property. So the story can’t be verified and seems unlikely to be true.
Another legend tells of an eccentric doctor who erected a huge gate at the entrance to the lonely road to his property. Rumors soon spread that there was a series of other gates along the road which would eventually lead to Hell. In reality, the doctor had set up the gates to keep people off his property.
Other stories link the town’s name to Hell. However, “Hellam” is a corruption of “Hallamshire,” a district in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, from which many of the settlers in the area originated.
Although the legends regarding the origin of the gates differ, all of them agree on these points: There are seven gates in the woods of Hellam. Only one is visible in the daylight. If you pass through all seven gates, you will be taken straight to Hell.
7 The Ancient City Of Hierapolis
In 2013, a temple doorway that was spewing out toxic gases was discovered in the ancient city of Hierapolis (now Pamukkale) in southwestern Turkey. As witnessed by a team of archaeologists, any birds that flew too close to the temple would fall dead from the sky.
The layout of the ruins matches those of ancient accounts. There are also inscriptions on the temple columns that are dedicated to the “gods of the underworld.” Known as Pluto’s Gate in mythology, this was an entrance to the underworld—a gateway to Hell.
In the final years BC, the ancient Greek geographer Strabo wrote of the entrance:
It is an opening of sufficient size to admit a man, but there is a descent to a great depth. The space is filled with a cloudy and dark vapor so dense that the bottom can scarcely be discerned. [ . . . ] Animals which enter . . . die instantly. Even bulls, when brought within it, fall down and are taken out dead. We have ourselves thrown in sparrows, which immediately fell down lifeless.
6 Black Prince Distillery
Clifton, New Jersey
The drains behind the Black Prince Distillery in Clifton, New Jersey, look normal enough—until you climb inside. Satanic graffiti and murals adorn the walls, and the drains go on for hundreds of feet beneath the ground.
They are layered several times—just like the circles of Hell. The drains are also home to the remains of bones and rotting corpses from alleged satanic sacrifices.
Legends state that there is a final room deep underground within the winding drain systems. It is blocked by a pair of giant axes. Only those who have the “powers” will be able to move these obstacles. Those who do get inside will see a glowing human skull, which is the last sign before they encounter the Devil himself.
More realistic stories about the drains, although no less grim, are that many adventurers and explorers have simply become lost in the extensive systems, eventually drowning to death. There are also accounts of the drains as a meeting place for various dark groups, including the local KKK and Devil worshipers.
5 Demon House
In 2014, Ghost Adventures host Zak Bagans purchased a house in Indiana that was rumored to be home to a flurry of paranormal activity. It was also believed to be a portal to Hell.
The property was the site of alleged demonic possession. In 2012, it was thrust into the national spotlight when a mother and her two children were subject to frightening activity at the house. The woman claimed to have witnessed her 12-year-old daughter levitating above her bed and her nine-year-old son walking on the ceiling.
There are official reports from Indiana’s Child Protective Services that partially back up the family’s claims. Unable to cope with the onslaught of unusual and dark activity, the family moved out of the property. Bagans offered to purchase it from them so that he could live there and record what happened.
In February 2016, Bagans had the house destroyed to “close the portal.” He claimed that he’d had an encounter with dark energy and that the demons in the house were indeed real.
The property was bulldozed, and the house was reduced to rubble. Not satisfied that this would do the job, Bagans had the rubble collected and locked away in a storage facility, stating that the house should never be inhabited again.
4 St. Patrick’s Purgatory
Lough Derg, Ireland
St. Patrick’s Purgatory, a monastery on Station Island (aka Lough Derg), sits on a portal to Hell in the middle of a small lake in Ireland.
According to the story, Jesus showed St. Patrick a cave on the island in which he could see visions of the punishments administered in the dark underworld of Hell. Jesus told St. Patrick that this would allow him to offer proof of a Christian afterlife to any of his wavering followers.
The monastery was built in the 15th century, although there is no definitive proof that St. Patrick actually set foot on the island. It is more likely that his name became associated with it after the fact.
The public is generally not allowed on the holy island, which prevents those with an interest in Devil worship from trying to find the supposed gateway. Once a year, however, there is a pilgrimage for devout Christian worshipers, who embark on a three-day sojourn of contemplation in bare feet. The Lough Derg website claims that the pilgrimage is “the toughest in all of Europe, perhaps even in the whole Christian world.”
3 Acheron River
The real Acheron River flows in the Epirus region of northwest Greece. However, the river also features prominently in Greek mythology, particularly in finding your way to the underworld.
For example, in Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus is trying to locate the underworld. Circe tells him that he will find the entrance where the Acheron River meets the Pyriphlegethon and the Styx.
Virgil’s epic poem The Aeneid also mentions the Acheron, saying that it is the river from which the Styx and Cocytus Rivers flow. Charon, the ferryman, was said to have used the river to transport the souls of the recently deceased to the afterlife.
In Dante’s Inferno, the souls of the “uncommitted” will find their eternal home on the banks of the Acheron River. Neither in Heaven nor in Hell, these tormented souls must remain there as eternal punishment for their indecisiveness.
2 Cape Matapan Caves
The Cape Matapan caves are located on the southernmost tip of Greece on the Mani Peninsula. As with the Acheron River, this real location was featured prominently in Greek mythology. This portal served as a “backdoor” to the underworld for those who wanted to avoid Charon, the ferryman.
In Book X of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Orpheus is attempting to reach his recently deceased wife. He arrives in the underworld via the gate of Taenarus, which is located in the caves of Cape Matapan.
Orpheus is allowed to take his wife back to the land of the living on one condition: He must not look at her during the journey. Unfortunately, Orpheus breaks his vow. When his gaze meets his wife’s, she vanishes.
A temple dedicated to the Greek god Poseidon still stands over the caves today. According to Greek mythology, Poseidon was the brother of Hades, the god of the underworld.
1 Houska Castle
Houska Castle stands nearly 80 kilometers (50 mi) north of Prague in the Czech Republic. It’s a Gothic castle that was built between 1253 and 1278 during the reign of Ottokar II of Bohemia. It is rumored to stand over a huge bottomless pit—a portal to Hell.
Local legend says that Houska Castle was built to keep the evil within its walls. From the outside, the castle appears to have many windows. But upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that most of these windows are fake. Only the walls of the castle can be seen behind the panes of glass.
There is a chapel inside Houska Castle that is built directly over the alleged gateway to Hell, presumably to keep it closed. When construction of the castle began, local prisoners who had been sentenced to death were invited to the site. They were offered a reprieve in exchange for being lowered into the hole and reporting their findings.
According to legend, the first man lowered into the pit let out a bloodcurdling scream almost immediately. By the time he was pulled to the surface, his hair had turned completely white and he appeared to have aged 30 years.
When the Nazis used the castle as a headquarters, it was rumored that they were trying to open the portal. In 2009, TV’s Ghost Hunters International investigated Houska Castle. Their findings confirmed that the castle was haunted—at the very least.
Marcus Lowth is a writer at Me Time For The Mind. You can also visit him at Me Time For The Mind on Facebook.