Haunted Caves & Caverns
by Ally Shields
Haunted houses, step aside! Let's talk about something really creepy. What could be scarier than dark, damp holes in the rocky earth? Imagine yourself deep underground. The passage is narrow. Sometimes you have to crawl on your belly. There's absolute inky blackness all around you, and you hear something . . .a scurrying, a distant scream. A vague light appears shaped like . . . what?
You've just entered one of the thousands of haunted caves all over the world. While actual numbers are elusive, every country, every region lays claim to at least one of these spooky places.
Natural cave formations come in all sizes and types, from small rocky erosions to miles of interlocking rooms, such as Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, with 117 documented caves formed by an ancient inland sea. Carlsbad's deepest point is 1,567 feet. Can you doubt there are things in there besides the thousands of bats? Local residents will bend your ear about the voices, the pieces of discarded bone, the movements seen out of the corner of your eye.
Such stories are not unique to Carlsbad. Paranormal investigators have begun to visit the multitude of caves worldwide whose owners and explorers claim such spooky inhabitants. Perhaps they go there in hopes of debunking the stories or maybe they just like being scared.
Here's a very small sampling of what you can find in the US.
- The Haunted Caves in St. Paul, Minnesota, claim to have lots of ghost activity, including screams of the dead coming from deep in the caverns.
- Bell Witch Haunted Cave is in Adams, Tennessee, where residents say the spirit of Kate Batts hides when she's not terrorizing the neighbors.
- The Haunted Cave in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where "Eddie' may scare the life out of you.
- The Lockport Haunted Cave, Lockport, NY, is situated near the Erie Canal where legends have been immortalized in a mystery tour and a Halloween visitation from the Salem Witches.
- The Haunted Cave in Lewisburg, Ohio, is a commercialized Halloween event at an old cavern mine 80 feet below the surface and claiming 30,000 bats! Yikes!
Or maybe you'd be happier with only visiting such dark places curled up on a sofa with a glass of wine or a cup of hot chocolate. Then you might want to try my urban fantasy series, set in Riverdale, a cliff city on the Mississippi River. Under the city are the Vampire Caverns. Can you imagine what lives in there? You just may find out on October 18...