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
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 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,
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--
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,
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
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.
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