The dangerous work involved in mining is always on the minds of family and friends of miners. We expect them to descend into their work place and emerge after their shift, but sometimes the tales they tell are not about near-collapse, tight spaces, or bad air, they involve the odd things found deep in the earth....
Recently deep inside a Siberian diamond mine, a strange mummified creature was discovered. It left some shaking their heads, others pondering if it was an ancient form of life or perhaps just a creature that is identifiable today that wandered deep inside somehow and proceeded to mummify in the permafrost. That is just one of many odd and creepy, scary, and horrifying things discovered inside of mines.
In 1903 in Van Meter, Ohio, a creature was going to be witnessed and said to be hiding in a mine that would forever attach mystery to the town.
A giant bat-man-like creature was said to emerge from an abandoned mine and terrorize folks in town. It had a horned head, a horrible stench, and shot off a bright blinding light.
Citizens saw this flying by at amazing speeds and even made a plaster cast of the giant three-toed tracks.
One person saw it hopping like a kangaroo. The qualities of the creature were unique and in retrospect sounded a lot like descriptions of the Mothman.
The residents were said to have gone to chase it back to an abandoned mine where horrible sounds came from within.
The mystery has never been solved.
Real Mine Creature
Thousands of feet underground in rock, a creature thrives. It is called a Halicephalabus mephisto. Nematodes seem to handle long periods of dryness and lack of food for long periods where they go into stasis.
Ghosts and mines go hand in hand. Mines have been dug out for thousands of years in search of whatever was precious to the people, from salt to coal, diamonds to gold, silver to copper. Lots of people died in these geological warehouses.
Salt-Cured Mummy Man
Found in 2004 in a mine in Iran, this salt-cured mummy was quite the interesting find. The process happened naturally in a salt mine where it dehydrated by nature's means. It was 1800 years old, but well preserved thanks to the conditions and the properties of salt.
listen at the 7:44 mark
Are mines haunted? Ask the miners. They have lots of superstitions from tommyknockers to red haired people being downright curses inside. There was a tv-series based on this, "Ghost Mine," shown by Syfy Channel. Some of the tales involve miners who had their own encounters with "demons" and apparitions, voices and freaky feelings deep inside the earth.
In the mood for a mine-oriented haunted attraction? Colorado boasts the Haunted Mines. Give it a look and see if you dare!
These 3-billion-year-old spheres were found in mines in South Africa and pondered about for decades. Even though geologists claim they occurred by natural means, they continue to be a thing of controversy. Experts insisting that they are not perfect, and quite individual, not mass produced and can be explained by a process that took a billion years to occur.
Mummified bodies of miners are not terribly unusual a find. Caves have a wonderful way of preserving bodies. This fellow (above) was found four centuries after his death in a Chilean copper mine.
Modern Day Mummification
A company called Summum will give you a mummy burial in a cave. This is actually my #1 choice (since viking funerals are not allowed).
It's pricey, but hey imagine someone taking a gander at your anorectic corpse in another 500 years? I'd be considered a redheaded giant!
Thirty-three miners in Chile were trapped for 69 days. At times, they considered suicide and even cannibalism if one of them were to collapse.
And then, there was the 1970s song "Timothy" about some trapped miners forced to cannibalism. It was one of those "upbeat" 70s songs like "Seasons in the Sun" and "DOA." That was one dark decade!
In the early 1900s, men went into a cave in the now arid desert of Northern Nevada in cave known as Lovelock. It sat at one time 10,000 years or so ago, above the waterline of an enormous lake that extended into California where Pyramid Lake still sits today as the last remnant.
They were mining bat guano, a sought after commodity as a fertilizer/explosive. While digging in the cave, they came across a huge amount of duck decoys and baskets so finely woven they could hold water. They also came across giant-sized skeletons with red hair.
Although they tossed the items outside the cave, "experts" were called to come and look them over. Supposedly the items were taken by some locals and passed around, buried and unaccounted for. For decades, they had at least one skull in the basement of the Humboldt Museum in Nevada, but in recent decades, they claim they never had such an item, even though it was photographed and looked at up close by many.
Mines are scary dark places with unstable support, bad air, absolutely no light. It can crush a person's soul if they are claustrophobic. But, mines have always provided great riches, hard labor, many deaths, and active geology, making them also a place that could acutely trap the spirit realm, birth odd creatures, and mummify dead things for thousands of years.