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Explorers are the first to reach the bottom of the mysterious “hell pit”

After making what is believed to be the first descent to the bottom of the ‘Hell Pit’, the intrepid explorers spoke about what prompted them to venture to the bottom and what they found when they got there.

A team of cave divers from Oman are believed to have been the first to reach the bottom of Yemen’s famous Barhout well, also known as the ‘hell well’.

A gaping hole in the Earth that has been shrouded in mystery for centuries has finally been explored. The natural wonder, popularly known as “Well of Hell”, has remained an enigma for years in the desert of Al-Mahra province in Yemen. The shaft is 100 feet wide and reaches about 360 feet down.

Until recently, no one had ever been to the bottom; however, there has been much speculation as to what might be lurking down there.

Those who live near the hole, officially called the Barhout Well, have long believed that anything approaching the pit would be sucked in with no hope of escape. Yemeni oral traditionpassed down for centuries, it calls the well “a prison of dark spirits sheltered by the unbearable odors that emanate from its bowels.”

A caver from Oman prepares to descend into the depths of the hitherto unexplored ‘hell pit’ in the Yemeni desert. (AFP)

As recently as this summer, Yemeni officials admitted they didn’t know what might be down there. Stories of demons and other supernatural figures known as your or geniuses that live in the well have circulated among the locals over the centuries. Many nearby neighbors don’t even like to talk about the hole, let alone visit it, for fear of bad luck.

Despite the terrifying tradition that has kept explorers away, a team of speleologists from Oman, the Oman Cave Exploration Team (OCET), made what is believed to be the first descent into the bottom of the legendary “Hell Pit” on September 2021. Mohammed al-Kindi, a professor of geology at the German University of Technology in Oman, told AFP that cavers were intensely attracted to explore the well.

In a historic mission, the explorers abseiled to the bottom of the hole, and in doing so got to the bottom of what’s really down there, something Kindi discussed in interviews after the expedition.

A photo of the open hole seen from above. (AFP)

“Passion drove us to do this and we felt that this is something that will reveal a new wonder and part of Yemen’s history,” said Kindi, who also owns a mining and oil consulting firm .

As for the stench allegedly emanating from the gaping hole, Kindi said he did not smell anything like what has been passed down in folklore. “There were dead birds, which creates bad smells,” he told AFP“but there was no overpowering bad smell.”


The weather in this part of Yemen is usually very hot and dry during the summer, but there can be storms in the nearby mountains on rare occasions. Although September is one of the rainiest months of the year there, in general, the region does not receive much rain. Normal highs range from 90F to 100F in the summer to 70F to 80F in the winter.

Weather during the crew’s mission to get to the bottom of the “Well of Hell” seemed to be rather calm, if not entirely cooperative.

Kindi was one of eight adventurous cave explorers who abseiled down the hole last week, while two colleagues remained on the surface. They spent about six hours in the cave. After centuries of terrifying legends that inspired fear across generations, the images they captured show an incredibly beautiful and peaceful scene.

The video shows a waterfall raining down the well, which opens up into a fairly large area at the bottom. The cave is surrounded by impressive rock sweeps decorated with colorful stalagmites. The team also found and photographed strangely beautiful bright green formations known as cave pearls that are created by dripping water.

A speleologist with OCET is at the bottom of the Pou de Barhout. (AFP)

“Cave pearls are concentric deposits of calcium carbonate that form around cores under falling water. These rings are softened by the movement of falling water over thousands of years until they form beautiful shapes of pearls.” Kindi told The National News.

Pearls from the cave were found at the bottom of the “well”. (AFP)

So what about the imprisoned evil genes or other supernatural spirits that legend has placed at the bottom of the hole?

No sign of them or previous human exploration, Kindi revealed. “There were snakes, but they won’t bother you unless you bother them,” he said in an interview with AFP.

And the terrain below was largely untouched in terms of being untouched by humans.

“There were no footprints or other signs of disturbance,” Kindi told The National News. “None of the previous missions there have been documented, so it’s unclear if anyone actually went there, although it’s hard to be 100 percent sure.”

The speleologists collected samples from the birds, as well as water, rocks and soil, with the intention of analyzing everything and reporting their findings to the public.

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