The Most Hellish Places on Earth


1. Gomantong Caves, Malaysia

© Reality Pod
Welcome to Batman's worst nightmare: this terrifying series of caves is home to around 2 million bats and small birds, who go crazy for the extreme humidity and lack of sunlight on offer. Naturally with so many of these small creatures in the one space there is a lot of mess, which has resulted in layers of waste and dead bat/bird remains literally metres thick. But before you can even reach this foul, horrific pile, you must first get through another, more mobile layer: millions and millions of Malaysian cockroaches also inhabit the caverns, as well as hordes of rats, white cave crabs, and thousands of gigantic Scutigera centipedes, all feeding on the mountains of waste and- when they get particularly peckish- each other. If you could send one person to these caves to spend a night, who would it be? Answers at the bottom!
© Hinzie

2. Madidi National Park, Bolivia

© Blogspot
Tranquil, beautiful, zen-like Madidi National Park. That's the story the picture above tells. But the reality is just slightly more terrifying, according to accounts from those lucky enough to survive the park's horrors. Wildlife photographer Joe Sartore, who spent a month in the park in 1999 trying to capture some images of the wild pigs in the area, shared a particularly distressing story... On his first night in the park, Sartore remembers witnessing a woman pull a large fly larvae from the flesh of her calf, before shrugging it off like it was not big deal (later Sartore experienced the exact same infestation in his hand, after a botfly bored a hole in his flesh to plant eggs). One week in, Sartore had a burning rash across his face and hands after coming into contact with a strange moth-like creature. His experienced guides were full of even more gruesome stories, telling one in particular about the wild pigs Sartore wanted to photograph. A pack of the pigs chased the guide and a friend through the forest, and though the guide successfully managed to climb a tree to escape, his friend was snatched and torn to pieces by the pigs. Escaping the park with his life, Sartore was subsequently diagnosed with the flesh eating parasite leishmaniasis. Next backpacking holiday destination anyone?

3. The Afar Depression, Eritrea/Djibouti/Ethiopia

The Afar Depression in eastern Africa is a perpetually dangerous, constantly moving portion of a mid-ocean ridge, one of only two spots in the world where a mid-ocean ridge is visible above land. For those who don't know, a ridge such as this is where tectonic plates meet each other, and the land at the Afar Triangle therefore is constantly reshaping and often collapsing. To give a clearer idea, in a two month period between Setpember and October 2005,geologists recorded 165 earthquakes over a 3.9 magnitude (with smaller earthquakes happening almost all the time). Add to that the fact that the Afar Depression is home to Erta Ale, one of the largest lava lakes in the world, and we could have found the closest thing to hell on earth.
© Spazzid Avventura

4. Hodge Close Quarry, UK

© Walking Forum
This abandoned slate quarry in Northwest England has been the site of numerous climber deaths over the years, with its allure as a diving spot inviting many to explore the surrounding underwater passages and network of caves, never to resurface. Couple that with the fact that the below photo, taken by Peter Bardsley, looks uncannily like a horizontal skull, and this place is a definite no no for any prospective advunterers.
© Daily Mail

5. Blue Lake, Russia

© Backgrounds
This impossibly blue lake in Russia is the next entry on our list. A karst lake (which means that there's no visible stream bringing fresh water in or out), Blue Lake is instead fed by a number of subterranean caverns and passages. Supposedly that is, because no one has actually been able to find them. And the fluorescent blue colour? It's created by the huge levels of hydrogen sulfide evident in the lake water. If none of this sounds particularly scary or unnerving so far, how about this for a kicker: the lake is insanely deep, to the point that no one can agree on the exact depth of its bottom (many have died trying to properly chart the lake). Furthermore, because the underwater streams that feed Blue Lake has yet to be discovered, many scientists have been led to believe there is an insanely big, pitch black cavern below the lake which could be bigger in space than the lake itself. And inside this pitch black cavern? God knows what lurks...
© Daily Mail

6. The Door to Hell, Turkmenistan

© Remote Lands
A small village in northern Turkmenistan called Derweze, with a population of only 350 people, is home to a potential door to hell. Who'd have thunk it? The door itself is a 70 metre wide hole in the earth (pictured) which has been burning bright for *gulp* 45 years. The fire began in 1971 when a geologist team unwittingly broke through the surface of the ground into a gigantic subterranean cavern. The geologists were concerned that dangerous gases could have been released as a result of the newly revealed cavern, and started a fire to burn the gases off. The team turned out to be correct, and the crater was set ablaze. And 45 years later it's still burning...
© IStartedSomething