Practice English Speaking&Listening with: The Legend Behind "The Well to Hell"

Difficulty: 0


The inclination to explore is deeply rooted

in human instinct.

Like our ancestors who left their homelands

to explore places beyond the sea,

our species has since traveled under the ocean, into the sky,

and even to the very stars above.

But what if that exploration takes us too far?

Adventurers of the past feared sailing off

the edge of the world.

What if these primordial fears exist for a reason,

springing from a long-forgotten trauma?

What if these fears serve as a warning of the consequences

of going too far, in this particular instance,

drilling so deep into the surface of our planet

that it opens a doorway to an unspeakable evil?

Today on Scream to Screen, we'll be discussing the details

and the stories of otherworldly incidents

surrounding the dark legacy of the Russian "Well to Hell."

Before we do that, make sure you subscribe to Graveyard Shift

and let us know in the comments which true-life horror stories

you'd like us to cover in the future.

Now let's dig deep into this mysterious abyss.

In the 1980s, the so-called Cold War was at a boiling point

with tensions simmering between the Soviet Union and the United

States, and as these tensions heightened,

so did each superpower's need for massive amounts of energy.

Both nations needed near infinite energy supplies

in order to sustain themselves and their societies.

This kicked off a competition for oil reserves and fuel


Soviet Russia, in its search for ever greater power,

decided to tap into unused lands,

hoping to find more natural deposits of oil

that they could bring to the surface.

The Soviets went to extreme lengths

to dig as deep as possible for new reservoirs of crude oil.

In 1989, a Siberian mining team supposedly

managed to drill 14.5 kilometers or nine miles

beneath the Earth's surface, piercing our planet's crust

and breaching some kind of cavity.

In an effort to investigate further,

Soviet scientists lowered testing equipment

into the abyss.

Their equipment reportedly discovered

that the temperature inside the cavity

was an astonishing 1,100 degrees centigrade or about 2,000

degrees Fahrenheit.

The scientists called it an inferno of fire,

but what they were able to record with their instrument's

microphone attachment was an even greater shock.

The microphone was only able to survive the tremendous heat

for about 25 seconds before melting, but in that time,

it managed to capture something that baffled and disturbed

the scientists--

the sound of screaming.


The scientists and engineers on location

reported what sounded like hundreds, maybe

thousands of people yelling in agony.

It seemed impossible, but those who heard the terrible screams

believed that they had drilled all the way

to the subterranean underworld of hell itself.

Many of the staff quit right on the spot, so shaken

by the thought that they had heard

the wailing of suffering sinners and their demonic tormentors.

Those who remained attempted to come up

with a scientific explanation for what they had recorded,

but they were not prepared to explain what happened next.

The following night, as the story goes,

a massive plume of fire and smoke exited the borehole.

When it surfaced, workers claimed

it took the form of a bat or a demon before them

and etched into the sky the words, "I have conquered."

Medical personnel were dispatched

to the site following word of the incident,

treating the shell shocked staff with sedatives, painkillers,

and other medication that is said

to have erased their short-term memory of that horrific night.

Despite the alleged cover-up, stories

of what happened at the drilling site spread,

first through word of mouth to nearby areas like surrounding

villages and towns, but soon, the events that took place

at the drill site were broadcast far and wide

via true believers.

The story was first widely publicized

through the Trinity Broadcasting Network, a Southern California

Christian media group.

In late 1989, the story ran with the headline,

"Scientists Discover Hell," in Trinity newspaper and TV


Other Christian-aligned news outlets picked up the story,

lending it credence and giving it

a foothold on burgeoning internet websites.

Their sources were allegedly routed in a Finnish newspaper

and a Texan minister named RW Schambach,

who claimed to have been sent evidence of the Soviet breach

into the underworld.

The specific incident of the demon emerging

from the borehole came from a translated Norwegian newspaper

sent to the Trinity Broadcasting Network.

The story gained momentum online,

mostly from Christian sites in general, weird stories

to be spread around.

Despite all this supposed evidence,

there were a number of discrepancies

and a lack of concrete sources that prevented anything

from being definitively proven.

Not long after the story was first officially broken

by the Trinity Broadcasting Network,

the story was debunked by other Christian publications.

Christianity Today and Biblical Archaeology Review

both discredited the "Well to Hell"

story based on the lack of verifiable origins, evidence,

and witnesses.

There is also no evidence of the Soviet Union

ever drilling for oil to such an extent in Siberia.

The closest verifiable match to the story

came from the Kola Peninsula in northwestern Russia,

the site where the Kola Superdeep Borehole was dug.

This particular borehole is about the same drill

depth as the alleged Siberian site

but never had any incident of supernatural origin.

And in an August 1989 edition of Science Magazine,

there was an article titled "European Deep Drilling Leaves

Americans Behind" that described Soviet Union borehole attempts.

This could be the origin of the "Well to Hell" story

with the fantastical twist of discovering

an underground portal to hell itself.

There's also the matter of the recording

of the screams of tormented souls and their demon


If the temperatures claimed in the story were remotely

accurate, there would be no way of documenting it like that.

No recording equipment at that time

could have possibly withstood those absurd temperatures,

even for several seconds.

On top of that, the actual recording

of the alleged screaming wasn't found until years later.

For a while, the lack of concrete evidence

relegated the "Well to Hell" story

to rumor and the occasional appearance

in tabloid magazines.

But in 2002, Coast to Coast AM, a conspiracy-themed radio talk

show hosted by Art Bell, gave the story

new life when a caller claimed to have found

and saved the actual audio recording from the Siberian


He emailed it to the show with this message explaining

how he had acquired it.

Quote, "I just recently began listening to your radio show

and could not believe it when you

talked about the sounds from hell tonight.

My uncle had told me this story a couple of years ago,

and I didn't believe him.

Like one of your listeners who discounted the story as nothing

more than just a religious newspaper's fabricated account,

the story about the digging, the hearing

of the sounds from hell, is very real.

It did occur in Siberia.

My uncle collected videos on the paranormal and supernatural.

He passed away fairly recently.

He let me listen to one of the audio tapes

that he had on the sounds from hell in Siberia,

and I copied it.

He received his copy from a friend who worked at the BBC.

Attached is that sound from my uncle's tapes," unquote.

After Art Bell played the found recording on his show,

the "Well to Hell" story spread like wildfire

across the internet all over again.

Like so many urban legends, all it took

was a retelling to find an entire new generation

of listeners to give it life.

This evidence, like so many pieces of the tale,

was put into doubt, though.

Skeptics didn't think the recording Bell had played

could be authentic.

Some sleuths researching the audio

believed that the screaming and tormented cries

might have been lifted from the 1972 Italian horror movie

Baron Blood, directed by Mario Bava, a gothic horror film

with satanic themes, fittingly enough.

A few YouTube videos compare the found audio to the movie

to give the theory some more credence.

Baron Blood-- he earned his name through torture--


--and death.


The story had a particular life cycle

in the satirical tabloid magazine, the Weekly World


This news network is known for particularly

bizarre and comical stories such as Bigfoot, UFO abductions,

and their pseudo mascot, Bat Boy.

A few years after the original "Well to Hell"

story broke on TBN, the Weekly World News

ran an updated version of the story on April 7, 1992.

This version moves things closer to home and ups the excitement.

The story claims that it was an Alaskan drill site that

dug too deep, and the ensuing opening to hell

killed 13 workers in an explosion of fire, brimstone,

and demons.

An updated version of the story was

used in an October 2, 2008, story for timely effect.

It told of a similar incident in Alaska

and employed bogus quotes by then Alaska Governor Sarah

Palin and vice presidential candidate Joe Biden in order

to add a satirical political element.

Aside from the Weekly World News,

the story has continued to live online through word

of mouth and memes.

Though the miraculous "Well to Hell" might be a hoax,

the actual borehole drill site in the Kola Peninsula

did manage to make all manner of scientific discoveries.

Drillers managed to drill 7.5 miles deep into the earth,

and to this day, it's the deepest man-made hole

on the planet.

The scientific team also discovered numerous fossils

dating back billions of years that somehow managed

to be well preserved despite existing in temperatures

up to 356 degrees Fahrenheit.

The team also discovered water at the seven-mile mark,

and in the process, numerous advances in drilling technology

were discovered.

While it's most likely that the "Well to Hell"

story is just a story, it's certainly an entertaining one.

Its longevity is a testament to how urban legends can

take root, persist, evolve, and stick with us

over the course of decades.

Who knows when another similar headline will

hit the news or social media and breathe new life into the story

of Russia's "Well to Hell"?

So what do you think?

Did the quest for oil lead the Soviets to drill a well

to the gates of hell?

Let us know in the comments below, if you have the courage.

And don't forget-- like, share, and subscribe.

The Description of The Legend Behind "The Well to Hell"