Thursday, January 17, 2008

Mammoth Cave - So Interesting Some Never Leave

Mammoth Cave, the longest cave system in the world, consists of 367 miles of passage ways with more being discovered all the time. The cave system is actually many cave systems that connect at some point underground. Among the attractions of these cave system are limestones riddled with crinoid, blastoid, gastropod, and shark teeth, and other Mississippian fossils. Satan spar gypsum, calcite, mirabilite, aragonite, nitratine, and other mineral deposits lie within the labyrinth of tunnels. A myriad life forms roam in and around the caves. The most mysterious of the features of the Mammoth cave systems are the ghosts that roam the sinuous passages and caverns. Some parts of the caves have been used for burial by cultures that inhabited the area up to 12,000 years ago. The bodies of many early explorers have also been found within the depths of the cave systems. Modern history of the cave extends from the late 1700 s to the present. It is a history of dangerous exploration, mining, war, and tourism. It is also a history of strange and haunted events. While some reports of strange noises, footsteps, weird lights, and apparitions can be explained as natural effects of the dark corridors and caverns, some defy such explanations. Guides have reported happenings such as seeing figures lingering away from others in tours, sometimes in the dress of era s past. These apparitions vanish, sometimes right before spectators eyes. Others report feeling others touch or push them when no one is near enough to have done so. Not all ghosts roaming the caves are unrecognized. One haunting that has been reported repeatedly is thought to be the ghost of a woman who had vengefully played a trick on the man she loved by leading him into the cave, which she was familiar with, and leaving him there. When the gentleman failed to return to the surface again her guilt drove her back into the cave in search of him. She never found him and continues to this day to search for the man. Many guides and visitors to the cave have claimed to hear her in her search. Another haunting has been recognizable as famous explorer Floyd Collins who died in Sand Cave in 1925. He was exploring the cave to find the linking passage to Mammoth cave when he was pinned by a falling rock. After weeks of a well publicized attempt to save him, a further collapse sealed him off. When workers were able to dig through Collins had already perished. Rather than being buried, his body was put on display in a glass topped coffin in Crystal Caves from which the body was stolen. He was recovered not far from the caves but was missing a leg. Finally his ordeal was over and he received a normal burial in a local cemetery. It seems that the explorer was not ready to leave his beloved cave systems, however. Many guides, tourists, and explorers have heard and seen his ghosts roaming the corridors and calling out from the darkness. If you visit Mammoth caves you will find much of interest to nature lovers of all sorts. If you stop to talk to someone who seems to be hanging back away from the group, however, and they disappear before your eyes, don t be too surprised. Hauntings have become just one more interesting phenomena of the Mammoth Cave systems. © 2007 Sally Taylor You don t have to be Indiana Jones to find gemstones and fossils or prospect for gold and artifacts. Come on over to and learn how easy it is to turn those dull weekends into adventure.

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