First Known Full Descent Into Sinkhole Called 'Well of Hell' Leads to Strange Discoveries

A group of Omani cavers recently made the first known full descent into the "Well of Hell"—a sinkhole in Yemen thought to house evil spirits. Though the cavers didn't find any signs of the supernatural, they did make a few strange discoveries.

The Well of Hell—officially called the Well of Barhout—is located in Yemen's eastern province of Al-Mahra, Phys.org reported. The well is 100-feet wide and approximately 367-feet deep. Recently, the Oman Cave Exploration Team (OCET) fully descended into its depths to see what they could find.

According to local myth, the well was made to imprison demonic spirits, said AFP. Some also say that jinn inhabit the well.

"Jinn are shape-shifting spirits made of fire and air with origins in pre-Islamic Arabia," Vice reported in 2018. Their roots date back to pre-Islamic Arabia and actually served as the inspiration for Aladdin's Genie.

Some believe they can and do communicate with people, though they are also thought to live separate lives in another realm, Vice said. According to the publication, they are neither inherently good nor are they inherently bad.

But the members of OCET didn't find evil spirits or genies.

"There were snakes, but they won't bother you unless you bother them," said Mohammed al-Kindi, a geology professor at the German University of Technology in Oman, according to Phys.org.

The scientists also found cave pearls and dead animals.

"Cave pearls are concentric calcium carbonate deposits that form around nuclei under falling water. These rings are smoothed by the movement of water falling for thousands of years until they form beautiful pearl shapes," Kindi told AFP.

Until now, no one is known to have reached the bottom of the well. In June, a Yemeni official told AFP that only partial descents had been made.

"It's very deep—we've never reached the bottom of this well, as there's little oxygen and no ventilation," Salah Babhair, director-general of Mahra's geological survey and mineral resources authority said.

"We have gone to visit the area and entered the well, reaching more than 50-60 meters [164-196 feet] down into it," he continued. "We noticed strange things inside. We also smelt something strange...It's a mysterious situation."

ScreenRant reported that the strange odor emanating from the well—which was thought to be a sign of spirits—likely comes from the dead animals found below.

Though the team doesn't know for certain if they are the first to explore the well's floor, Kindi told AFP that they didn't find any footprints or "other signs of disturbances."

He also told the media that the team collected samples from the cave, but have yet to have them analyzed. A full report of the team's findings will be made available to the public soon.

well of hell
A group of Omani cavers recently made the first known full descent into the “Well of Hell”—a sinkhole in Yemen thought to house evil spirits. The well is 100-feet wide and approximately 367-feet deep. - / Contributor/Getty