Throughout History, People Have Been Convinced That Hell Is Accessible At These Places 0 80

Lyra Radford

 Religious teachings may vary, but a common concept embraced by many is that the souls of those who committed terrible acts in life will be forced to suffer in the afterlife. Hell, Hades, Guinee—the names are different but they all describe an underworld that many believe can be accessed from Earth through gateways across the globe.

The Masaya Volcano

Verses.comWhile the native people of Masaya believed the volcano contained a sorceress and was quite possible a god, Spanish explorers came over and deduced that the volcano was in fact, a gateway to hell.

It was believed so strongly to have demonic connections that in 1529, a friar by the name of Francisco de Bobadilla decided an exorcism of the fire-breathing mountain was in order. He hiked up to its “hell mouth” with a large cross to rid it of all evil.

Fengdu, China: The Ghost City

China Photos/Getty Images News/Getty ImagesFengdu China is known as The City of Ghosts because it is rich with souls on their way to Naraka, which is the underworld in Chinese mythology. The streets are adorned with elaborate statues of ghosts, demons, and mythical beings that reside in the underworld, waiting to torture the wicked. There are life-sized dioramas depicting hellish torment.

According to legend, the recently dead must cross the Bridges of Helplessness to accept judgment. Then they must confront the Mirror of Retribution before being reincarnated or begin the journey of torture necessary to make their souls fit for the Wheel of Rebirth.

St. Patrick’s Purgatory, Lough Derg, Ireland

mapio.comSt. Patrick’s Purgatory is a monastery on Station Island that was founded in the 15th century. It’s said that when St. Patrick visited the island, he was sent visions from Jesus of hellish torments during his time on the island. He was led to a cave, containing a pit to purgatory. St. Patrick was bombarded by visions of the punishment of souls prior to being allowed entry into heaven, as well as visions of those carried off to hell for eternal torment.

Since the 12th century, Station Island has attracted Catholic pilgrims that would pray and fast for days before subjecting themselves to a full day shut inside of the cave. The justices of Ireland had the cave closed in 1632, but this didn’t stop these devoted Catholics from praying near the site. Today, three-day pilgrimages are permitted on the island.

The Mayan Cenotes

Patryk Kosmider/iStock/Getty ImagesThese breathtaking underground waterways flowing throughout Central America and Mexico are believed to be portals to the ancient Maya underworld, called Xibalba. Caves were often thought to be portals for many cultures because they literally transition from the bright, outside world of the living to a deep, dark abyss.

Vast chambers with temples, scattered pottery, and even human remains have been found throughout these caves. It is believed anyone suspected of witchcraft was tossed into this hell-gate, as were those with physical ailments.

One of the most famous skeletons recovered from this site is the Crystal Maiden. These remains belong to a girl about 18 years old, believed to have been a ritual sacrifice to please the gods of death and the underworld. Her bones have calcified over the last thousand years, creating a shimmering effect, hence the name Crystal Maiden.

The Acheron, Greece

Make My Trip.comThe Acheron, prominently depicted in classical mythology, is an actual river that flows through northwest Greece and is known as the River of Woe. The ancient Greeks believed there were several entrances into hades, one of which was at the Necromanteion of Ephyra on the Acheron.

In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus must travel to the underworld, locating the point when Acheron meets with the Pyriphlegethon. In Dante’s Inferno, the river serves as an eternal waiting room of sorts. Those who were indecisive, remaining neutral between good and evil during their lifetime, were left to sit on the banks of the Acheron.

Iceland’s Mount Hekla

Halldor Kolbeins/AFP/Getty ImagesHekla sits in Iceland’s southern mountains and has been believed to be a gateway to hell since the 12th century. In 1341, claims of large birds flying in and around Hekla’s fiery pits were published in the manuscript “Flatey Book Annal.” These birds were thought to be the souls of the damned. The monk Benedict penned a poem about the 1120 voyage of Saint Brendan, and in it, he described Hekla as the “eternal prison of Judas” after his betrayal of Jesus.

The Cave of Sibyl

Wikimedia CommonsOne of the oldest known alleged gateways to the underworld is the cave of Sibyl. Two thousand years ago the Romans began writing about this diabolical doorway. In Virgil’s classic work “The Aeneid,” he tells of the cave where Aeneas encounters the 700-year old oracle and priestess, Sibyl who serves as his guide, her voice endlessly echoing off the caverns, as he descends into hell.

The Hell Pond of Beppu City, Japan

Louis Rodriguez, Ritebook.comBuddhist texts dating back to 700 A.D. have mentioned the nine hot springs within the Beppu City. One of these naturally occurring bodies of water is strikingly red, gurgles mud, and is named Chinoike Jigoku, or the Bloody Hell Pond. The 78-degree pond was believed to be a bubbling portal to hell and was used to torture prisoners. Now, the pond is surrounded by a spa and its hell slime is bottled and sold as a skin cream.

Pluto’s Gate Denizli Province, Turkey

Wikimedia CommonsPluto’s Gate was believed to be another entranceway into the underworld by the ancient Greeks and Romans. The reason this small cave near Apollo’s Temple was so widely feared is because the tunnels below it contained toxic fumes. These fumes would seep out through the cave and cause hallucinations in anyone who inhaled them. These vapors also killed birds and other small animals nearby, which completely freaked people out because they didn’t understand what was happening so the land developed a reputation for being demonic in origin.

The Houska Castle

Mostly Ghostly.comNorth of Prague in the Czech Republic is the Houska Castle, which is said to be built over a pit that leads to hell. According to legend, in the 13th century King Ottokar II was so curious about what was within its depths that he was willing to pardon any prisoner who agreed to be lowered into it and tell him what was down there.

Apparently within seconds of lowering the first volunteer, screams of panic erupted through the pit and they quickly pulled him back up. The man’s hair had turned white from fear and they could barely understand the gibberish pouring out of his mouth. Eventually, they gathered that vile, winged, somewhat humanoid creatures were the pits inhabitants.

After this discovery, the castle was built over it; a castle without a kitchen, or a source of water, or any real resources for defense against outside intruders. This is because the castle isn’t meant for humans to inhabit, it’s meant to contain the demons beneath it. The current owners have decided to capitalize on the castle’s dark history and have turned it into a haunted attraction for tourists.

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The Most Extreme Body Modifications Throughout History 0 83

Lyra Radford

 From foot binding to neck stretching, from skull elongating to teeth sharpening, various cultures have endured long and painful processes in order to mold themselves into the shapes they believe appeases their gods and cultural standards.

Kayan Neck Stretching

Wikimedia CommonsThe practice of neck stretching begins at the young age of five for the female population of this northern Thai tribe. They start the process with four-pound coils around their necks, which is gradually increased up to 25 coils. The idea is to stretch the neck out and that’s what the coils appear to do, however, the weight of the coils is actually pushing the collarbone and shoulders down.

The Kayan women say it feels as though the coils are just another part of their body. The possible reasons for this practice vary. One reason is that women with longer and slimmer necks are more desirable in this culture. Another is that it makes the women appear more dragon-like and these mythical creatures are very important throughout Kayan folklore.

Teeth Sharpening

Farandulaya.comVarious cultures take part in the tooth sharpening practice. Mayans would sharpen and carve designs in their teeth, distinguishing them as members of the higher class. The Mentawai people, who live in Indonesia, believe sharpened teeth are a standard of beauty. The sharper and more narrow the teeth, the more desirable the woman is.

It is not mandatory in their culture, but many Mentawai teenage girls go through the painful process of having their teeth chiseled to attract the opposite sex. It’s considered a rite of passage.

Scarification

WikiMedia CommonsThough many cultures are embarrassed by scarring and go through procedures to reduce their appearance, some cultures actually scar themselves on purpose and consider them something to wear proudly. Many African tribes participate in scarification as a rite of passage.

The Dinka tribe of South Sudan practice facial scarring, etching patterns into girls for beauty and three lines across the faces of boys to represent manhood. The Sepik River Tribes in Papua New Guinea spend weeks performing scarification rituals. The elders slice the pattern of alligator scales into the backs of young men. They believe the alligator devours boyhood, leaving behind only a man capable of protecting his tribe.

Ear Stretching

PinterestEar stretching is an old custom still practiced in modern day all across the globe as a statement. Tribal cultures have used ear stretching not only as a symbol of beauty and a rite of passage, it also has religious meaning, and was believed to ward off witchcraft and various forms of evil.

Mursi Lip Plating

Wikimedia CommonsLip plating or lip stretching is one of the oldest body modification practices. It can be traced back to 8700 B.C. It’s been practiced throughout various parts of the world, like Africa, South America, and Europe, but it’s the people of the Mursi tribe in Ethiopia that still practice it today.

Prior to marriage, as young as 13 years old, the females of the tribe get a lip piercing and fill the hole with a small stick. Then they spend anywhere from six months to a full year adding clay plates in the hole. Each time the plate gets bigger and heavier, stretching the lip out as far as it will go.

Nose Plugs

Wikimedia CommonsThe original goal of nose plugs for the women of the Apatani tribe in India was to become unattractive. They did this as a form of protection, believing if they were undesired by the men of other tribes, they wouldn’t be kidnapped or sexually assaulted.

Feet Binding

The Sun.co.ukFor almost a thousand years, the little girls of China would have their feet tightly wrapped in bandages in hopes of stopping the foot’s growth. This caused their toes to curl and the feet to shrivel in on themselves and creating the illusion of petite and more attractive feet, when they were actually just causing deformities and crippling themselves and their children.

Feet measuring no longer than three inches and crescent in shape were the most desired. In addition to being a symbol of beauty, smaller feet reflected a higher social status and wealth. After all, women who didn’t need their feet to work must have wealthy families. Foot binding was banned from China in the 20th century but there are still elderly women alive today, suffering withdisabilities because of this painful, old custom.

Victorian Corsets And Tight Lacing

PinterestThe most well-known body modification tool is the corset. The Victorian-era corset was basically the same concept as foot binding, just on a larger part of the body. Women would tightly bind their entire torso, just to squeeze their waists and create an hourglass figure. This practice altered the shape of the rib cage, it constricted airflow and put women at risk for liver displacement and heart and lung damage. Tight lacing techniques and corsets still exist in modern society, they just aren’t as widely used as they once were.

Breast Ironing in Cameroon

Veronique De Viguerie/Getty Images News/Getty ImagesBreast ironing is a mortifying technique used to stop a young woman’s breasts from growing. Women in Cameroon will use hot spatulas and pestles on their daughters’ chest in hopes of melting the fat and flattening the breasts.

Prior to puberty, around the age of eight or nine, girls are tightly bandaged, keeping their chests flat. Anything that grows later in life gets treated. This is to make women more undesirable to men and so they can focus on school. Not only does this technique not stop breast growth, it actually causes severe physiological damage and can lead to health issues like cysts, breast cancer, and trouble breastfeeding.

Skull Elongation

Wikimedia CommonsThe act of skull elongation can be traced back as far as 45,000 years ago and was practiced by several ancient cultures. Skulls have been excavated from Iraq, Egypt, and Peru and evidence suggests they started in infancy when the skull is still soft and not fully formed. They would wrap cloth and sometimes use boards for support to direct the head up and backwards into an elongated shape.

It’s believed to be a sign of higher ranking in social status and is directly tied the images of their gods. These findings have led to numerous theories centered on the possibility of ancient alien contact.

The Namibian Desert Has Swallowed Up This Amazing German Ghost Town 0 36

Lyra Radford

 Kolmanskop was once a small but thriving town, founded by German miners and their families in the early 1900s. Now it’s a ghost town, attracting countless tourists and photographers from all over the world who want to see its surreal landscapes first hand.

They Struck Diamonds

The Higher LearningIn 1908, a man named Zacharias Lewala, stumbled across a diamond while working and brought it to the railway inspector August Stauch to confirm what it was. Not only was it authentic, but the area was full of them. Word got out and suddenly miners and their families had settled in and lined the streets with German architecture. Quaint home, hospitals, a theater, as well as the first tram in Africa and the first x-ray station in the Southern Hemisphere were erected here.

The Town’s Decline

The Higher LearningThe people were thriving and the town flourishing, rich with diamonds until after the World War that is. The price of diamonds began to drop and another location further south had a significant amount of much larger diamonds than the people of Kolmanskop were unearthing. By 1954, everyone had packed up and left the little village behind.

What Remains

The higher LearningBeautifully crafted, brightly colored homes were left empty and opened to the elements. While the rough desert winds have taken a toll on the paint, its dry heat works to preserve the remaining wood within the structures.

In Comes The Sand

The Higher LearningOver time, the wind brought in more and more sand. Slowly the desert has been filling nooks and crannies throughout the little village. The wind gusts will cover then uncover various parts of Kolmanskop throughout the span of a single day, making for unique scenery each time it’s looked upon.

Indoor Mountains

Romain Veillon, De Zeen MagazineThe desert has taken the town for its own, weaving its way through buildings, spilling through houses, and consuming entire rooms like a surreal painting come to life; haunting and beautiful.

A Resurgence Of Sorts

Forbes.comKolmanskop may no longer be inhabited or producing diamonds, but it is a rare gem in its own right and still has a spotlight on it. It’s unique, visually stunning, and travelers and photographers alike can’t seem to get enough of this place.

A Hit With Hollywood

Visionary Wild.comWith such a dreamy look and feel about it, it’s no wonder filmmakers began seeking permits to shoot their upcoming projects there. Kolmanskop has been used as the location for various films and television shows including “The King is Alive,” “Dust Devil,” and “The Mantis Project.”

Preserving History

Martin Bailey PhotographyDe Beers Mining Company performed minor restoration work and established a museum in Kolmanskop back in 1980. Their efforts have helped preserve this piece of diamond mining history while opening an eerie collection of architecture up to the public.

Ghostly Residents

The Higher LearningMany share the belief that the town wasn’t completely abandoned in 1954. Some say the spirits of those who died when the town was at its peak are still there. Paranormal investigators, including SyFy Channel’s, Josh Gates of “Destination Truth,” have set out to capture paranormal activity on those sandy slopes.

Visiting Dream Land

Romain Veillon, De Zeen MagazineWhile Kolmanskop is open to the public, it is still located in a restricted area. Tourists need to be cleared before entering, but once they’ve received a permit they are free to join a guided tour that allows them to go off and explore solo.

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