Mysterious Mel And The Hole To Hell

“There are no facts, only interpretations.” —Friedrich Nietzsche

In A Nutshell

The tale of a Devil’s Hole, of a gateway into another dimension, a mysterious, bottomless pit that could resurrect the dead . . . it sounds like a tale out of Celtic mythology, right? In 1993, a Washington State man named Mel Waters came forward with tales of a mysterious well on his property. Not surprisingly, he refused to divulge the location, instead limiting himself to telling story after story about the phenomenon surrounding the bottomless well. The story got a boost in popularity when a Native American medicine man claimed to have visited the hole when he was a child.

The Whole Bushel

Supposedly, people keep stumbling across a mysterious, seemingly bottomless well in the wilderness of Manatash Ridge, Washington. Everyone who claims to have seen it also speaks of mysterious and eerie feelings, and of a universal bad vibe around the place. It’s said that no matter what is thrown into the hole, it’s never heard to hit bottom. Said to have been used as a dumping ground by many, it’s also said that if a dead animal is thrown into the well, it will return—alive.

It seems as though it’s a story that’s been passed down from generation to generation, but the story was given a huge boost in popularity in 2008. A Native American medicine man Red Elk claimed to have visited the hole in 1961 . . . but he, of course, can’t remember where it is. He’s pretty sure, though, that it’s actual purpose is to connect us with the quasi-reptilian creatures that live in the center of the Earth.

For a demon hole that is supposed to have such a long history, many of its most detailed stories are surprisingly recent. In 1993, the property that supposedly contains the hole was bought by a man named Mel Waters—giving it the name of Mel’s Hole. Waters says he became obsessed with the hole, whose location he still refuses to divulge. He claims to have used thousands and thousands of feet of marine fishing line to try to determine how deep the hole is, but he could never find the bottom.

He says that the only thing he had been able to determine for sure was that the hole was more than 24 kilometers (14 mi) deep. And that it could resurrect the dead.

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One of the stories Waters told was about a hunter who threw the body of his dead hunting dog into the hole. The dog returned, not long after, according to the hunter.

In 1997, Waters went on a national radio show with Art Bell, during which time he discussed many of the stories and his own observances about the hole. There was such an overwhelming response from the public that he returned to the show three days later to answer more questions.

Going public wasn’t without its price, according to Waters. Within months of taking his story to the public eye, Waters says that he was accosted by government agents and presented with offers to buy the land, on the condition that he also leave the country.

Waters says that he accepted, using the money to rescue wombats in Australia. Upon returning to Washington, however, he was presented with divorce papers and a cancer diagnosis. So he decided that there was nothing left for it but to go on a search for other devil’s holes.

And he supposedly found them.

Whether or not the hole really exists . . . skeptics say, obviously not. In fact, local papers have published stories saying that they haven’t even been able to prove the existence of a man named Mel Waters. But what can’t be denied is that the story—and the man—captivated more than 10 million radio listeners and spawned a host of search parties trying to find the mysterious hole. People still go out and search for the hole, suggesting that there are people out there who are still searching for the unknown . . . and know the value of a good story.

Show Me The Proof

Atlas Obscura: Mel’s Hole
KPLU: Mel’s Hole investigated again; mystery remains unsolved
Search For ‘Mel’s Hole’ In Washington Continues
Mel Waters and the Devil’s Holes