October 27, 2021

The Catholic Transcript

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Foto: (Emilio Morenatti/AP)

Cave scientists find snakes, not demons, in Yemen’s ‘well of hell’ | environment

A team of speleologists from Oman tried to unravel the secrets of the mythical Yemeni Bir Barhout, known as the “Well of Hell”, a natural wonder that frightens the residents, who believe that it is a prison for demons.

In the desert of Al-Mahra Governorate in the east of the country, there is a dark circular pit 30 meters wide, the entrance to a cave about 112 meters high.

Inside, a team from Oman found snakes, dead animals, and gray and green stones formed from water droplets.

But they didn’t find any traces of supernatural beings or distinct odors other than dead birds, according to the head of the team of eight cave specialists.

“There were snakes, but they don’t do anything to you if you don’t bother them,” Mohammed al-Kindi, a professor of geology at the German University of Technology in Amman, told AFP.

“It seemed to us that this project would reveal new wonders and a part of Yemen’s history,” said the young man, who also owns a consulting company in mining and oil exploration.

“We collected samples of water, rocks, soil and some dead animals that still need analysis” before publishing the report, he explained.

“We entered the well. We reached a depth of more than 50-60 meters and we felt strange things inside it,” explained Salah Babhir, director general of the local authority responsible for geological studies and mineral resources.

“It’s very vague,” he insisted.

For centuries, legends have been passed down from generation to generation about the evil spirits known as “jinn” who live in the “well of hell”.

Most of the inhabitants avoid approaching the hole and even talking about it, fearing that it will bring bad luck.

They already have enough misfortunes. The country has plunged into a civil war since 2014, between the government and the Houthi rebels, which has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions, according to international organizations.

According to the United Nations, Yemen suffers from the worst humanitarian crisis in the world: 30 million people are on the brink of hunger and 80% of the population depends on international aid.