Masaya Volcano

(c) 2014, Robyn LaRue

(c) 2014, Robyn LaRue

The Masaya Volcano, south of Managuna, Nucaragua, is caldera shaped volcano.  The classification of caldera means that the volcano is shaped like a “cooking pot” in the ground.  By today’s standards the Masaya Volcano seems to be just your typical active volcano.  However, in the times of the late 1400’s – 1700’s, this volcano was believed to be the “Mouth of Hell”.  It began when early locals, around the 1500’s, greedily viewed the lava as a source of gold and silver.  Many would fail in their attempts of trying to retrieve the supposed riches, their bodies were thought to be lost to the devil that tempted them.  Aboriginal people would recite tales of the  Gods that resided within the volcano.  In order to appease the Gods, the aboriginal people would give human sacrifices by throwing into the lava-filled crater children and maidens.

At one time, it was thought that an evil sorceress lived in the volcano and worked hand-in-hand with the devil.  In 1592, Mercedarian Fray Francisco de Bobadilla erected a large cross on the volcano in order to exorcise the daemon or evil that dwelled within.

In later years, Carmelite Fray Antonio Vazquez, who visited Nicaragua in the 1600’s, claimed that the eruptions from the volcano were the fires from the bowels of Hell and that the volcano itself was merely a vent for Hell’s fire to escape.

The reason why this specific volcano has been dubbed the “Mouth to Hell” is due to the continual volcanic activity.  Friar Toribio Benavente said “that the fire of the volcano of Nicaragua [Masaya] without fuel… must be the mouth to Hell and its fire must be supernatural and hellish, and the place from which the condemned are thrown by demons.”  Because the fires within the volcano continually burn and erupt, then Masaya Volcano must be a direct gateway into Hell.

As for the supernatural aspect, over the centuries there are stories from sailors and travelers who wandered through the forest that surround the Masaya Volcano.  Many of these wanderers gave accounts of seeing daemons dancing in the moonlight and hearing sounds of condemned voices screaming through the trees.

This may not be the creepiest place in the world to visit, but if you believe Hell to be a physical location within the Earth, the Masaya Volcano is probably the hottest doorway into the underworld.

 

Steam straight from the bowels of Hell.  It has that wonderful sulfury, rotten egg scent.  (c) Brian Jonson and Dane Kantner https://www.flickr.com/photos/danebrian/

Steam straight from the bowels of Hell. It has that wonderful and sulfury rotten egg smell. (c) Brian Johnson and Dane Kantner https://www.flickr.com/photos/danebrian/

A replica of the cross

A replica of the cross erected by Mercedarian Fray Francisco de Bobadilla (c) Brian Johnson and Dane Kantner https://www.flickr.com/photos/danebrian/

The Seven Gates of Hell

(c) 2014, Robyn LaRue

(c) 2014, Robyn LaRue

This week’s “Before I die…” locations has me giddy with terror!  Today’s post is kicking off the “Gateways to Hell” series.

From now until Halloween, each Monday’s “Before I die…” post will focus on a location that is thought to be a physical gateway to Hell.  Around the world there are several locations where local lore identifies a location to be a direct descent into the bowels of the Earth, into a lair filled with the most dreaded horrors.  Enter if you dare…

A physical gateway to Hell is said to be born when an act of terrible injustice or horrendous suffering occurs in one spot upon the Earth.  A colossal tragedy, like a mass death, is said to be the common occurrence that opens the portal to the underworld.  Several religions and mythologies attribute the opening of this portal due to the amount of hate, pain, and anger that is expelled into the spiritual realm from the horrific event.

The Seven Gates of Hell — Hellam Township, PA

Within the realm of Hellam Township, outside of York, Pennsylvania, local legend tells of a physical gateway to hell.

The gateway’s location is said to be located on Trout Run Road.  In the 1800s, a mental institution was erected in this remote location.  It is said that a fire broke out within the institution, and due facility’s distance from civilization, it burnt to the ground — the fire killing most patients who resided inside.  The remoteness of the institute was specially selected as this specific facility housed those patients who were deemed too insane for the regular state mental wards.  It was said that the patients who managed to escape the raging fire did not make it far off the grounds.  The locals who arrived to the burning facility would not allow the patients to escape.  The “deranged and dangerous” patients were soon captured and beaten to death by the townsfolk.

Now, the actual gates’ role in the story of “The Seven Gates of Hell” are in dispute.  One such story is that an eccentric doctor who resided on the institution’s property installed seven gates along a walking path that lead from the facility into the forest.  A second story was that the townsfolk erected the gates to assist in capturing the escaped patients.  In either case, one portion of each story is in agreement:  only one of the gates can be physically seen during the day, the other six can only be visible at night.  No one has ever made it past the fifth gate, but it is said that if all seven gates are passed, the person would transcend directly into hell.

A warning to those who are brave enough to go in search of these hellish gates, though the exact location of the gates remain a mystery legend has it that the gates do reside on private property.  So if you happen across the actual location of the gates, you should probably obtain permission to access — or you may be dealing with an angry devil of the human kind.

Sadly, I was unable to find any pictures of the Seven Gates to Hell that are not copyrighted.  If you would like to see some pictures of the gate (along with some super cool headstone photos), check out Sherrie’s photos on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/starycat/5604000280/in/photostream/