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he mythology presented by the Roman Empire is vast, and at that point in time, mythology was something that everyone believed in, even if there was no clear proof. In some cases, people did not even dare to analyze what they considered “paranormal activity” as this would anger the Gods, whilst others took advantage of the fear brought by these mythologies.

Death from Hell

One of these well-known mythological concepts is the “Roman Gate to hell” where any soul placed inside would die in a matter of minutes. The cave, although hidden and enclosed, was discovered by archaeologists from Salento University a few years ago. Based on their analyses the cave seems to be only about 2,200 years old. The cave is located in Hierapolis city in Turkey.

Based on Roman historical records, the cave was mainly used to sacrifice animals for the Gods during holy days. Some really believed the mythology behind the cave as there was smoke that would wrap around the animal and slowly but surely kill it. Priests presented this smoke as a dark mist coming straight from hell to take the animal’s soul, as written in the records of Greek historian Strato.

This mist was so powerful that even birds that would fly by would drop dead from the sky. The cave was rarely used on traitors or dangerous criminals that seemed to not have any fear. They would be thrown in the cave and left there, as their death was imminent.

The logical reason

You may ask yourself, is this legend actually true and it is actually 100% real because there is actually logic behind it. The cave had been sealed many centuries ago for a specific reason. The evil mist that is spoken of in historical records is actually a high dose of carbon dioxide, when inhaled any soul would start suffocating.

The “Gate to Hell” in present times (Source: Italian Archaeological mission in Hierapolis)

The cause for this high dose of carbon dioxide was explained by Hardy Pfanz from Duisburg-Essen University in Germany. Seismic activity from beneath the ground created cracks within the deposits of carbon dioxide which explains the high dose of carbon dioxide. These pockets of carbon dioxide can be huge and would take decades if not thousands of years to deplete. You can see the same sort of thing in this article about the Darvaza gas crater in Turkmenistan burning since 1971.

The researchers that first discovered this cave found out that the carbon dioxide pressure was so high that it actually formed a 40-centimeter lake outside the cave. It is also noted that the location where the cave is found was quite a tourist attraction back when the Roman Empire conquered those lands. Historical records say that bulls were brought to the cave by priests who would sacrifice them.

It was interesting to see that the records state the priests were not being affected by the carbon dioxide, but most probably they knew that the mist was carbon dioxide so they just held their breath whilst doing their ritual.

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