The ‘well of hell’ locked for millions of years.

The ‘well of hell’ locked for millions of years.

For the first time in history, members of the Omani Caves Exploration Team examined a well in Yemen that has been a source of magical lore.

The mythical sinkhole known as the ‘Well of Hell’ emerged millions of years ago in the middle of the desert near al-Mahra and is 30m wide.

Travelers and locals alike have avoided the Well of Barhout out of fear of what lurked within its depths.

Many thought the well was a secret prison for wish-granting genies, but after one curious Yemeni smelled a unique odor emerging from the deep, the stories changed from a jail for dissatisfied genies to a jail for disgruntled humans. A more plausible theory regards the ‘well of hell’ as a dormant volcano, albeit one poised to destroy the earth at any time.

Last year, however, a party of explorers took it upon themselves to investigate the 367-foot-deep sinkhole and see what lay beneath, making them the first group of humans to successfully reach the bottom.

Using a skillfully designed pulley system, the crew descended the strangely symmetrical circle entrance. Eight of the ten members of the team were lowered 112 meters to the well floor.

Fortunately, they were met with firm ground at the bottom of the sinkhole. But, with no genie in sight, the squad was met with an overwhelming stink.

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