My mother always told me that if someone invited me to see their mystery hole, I was to promptly run in the opposite direction whilst blowing a distress whistle! If that person was dressed as a clown, all bets were off - ditch the whistle and starting screaming holy hell!!!
Nobody believed that this sign was salvaged from
the circus-themed office of a local proctologist.
It is a fact that it has one of the most unfortunate names in the history of weird, roadside attractions but, mother's warnings aside, there was no way I was going all the way to West Virginia without uncovering the mystery of The Mystery Hole for myself.
|What's it all about?|
|I had a feeling that the big ape knew...but he wasn't talking.|
I was more than slightly disappointed when I pulled off the highway, eagerly anticipating the answers to the secrets of the universe, only to learn that I had just missed the most recent tour group. That turned out to be only a set up for the real blow; tours were not regularly scheduled. The next descent into the Mystery Hole was dependent on more poor suckers like me showing up; "It could be ten minutes or it could be an hour," was the only indication I got from the nice lady at the front counter of when I might expect to. I had to find solace in the gift shop which, for me, was really easy; I do love a good gift shop!
|If you look, you can see some the Mystery Hole gift shop|
finds amongst the rest of my West Virginian treasures.
When they bought the Mystery Hole fifteen years ago, the current owners got all of the gift shop's inventory in the deal. Every item in the history of the Mystery Hole that hadn't yet sold was still on the shelves for sale. While most people would go for a shot glass or keychain, I went for the pennants and vintage postcards and bric-a-brac that were still hanging around. As happy as I was with my loot, I was there to do much more than shop. The real mystery seemed to be if I would ever see the Mystery Hole.
|Was it going to take a major car-tastrophe to get inside the Mystery Hole?|
Anxious with anticipation, I was contemplating the realities of digging my own mystery hole when all at once a few cars joined mine in the dirt parking lot. Piling out of their dust-covered automobiles, road weary travelers seemed to perk up at the chance to participate in what would otherwise be a foolhardy activity - following a stranger into a dark, underground room where cell phones are banned and escape routes are limited.
|A pretty clear indication that this could be dangerous...|
Needless to say, I made it in and out of the Mystery Hole quite alive...but not necessarily unchanged.
|I might have gone in in relatively-stable health but the fact is that what I|
saw in the Mystery Hole can never be unseen and the effects are lasting!
If nothing else, I am a man of conditional principles. Under the right circumstances and for the right price, I would rat out even my closest family members and spill my guts on any classified information with which I had been entrusted. Among visitors to the Mystery Hole, however, there is an unspoken code to never reveal the wild and wonderful mysteries that lie within; to the brotherhood of the Mystery Hole I must be true.
|Of course, there are plenty of online sources to discover the|
Mystery Hole's mysteries but, call me a "rule follower" if you
must, I'll never tell!
|As they say, "Dead men tell no tales," and I don't want to test the theory!|
If you're ever in Ansted, WV and you're feeling like Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys, be sure to take the case, "The Mystery of The Mystery Hole." Hopefully, they'll still have a few of the good souvenirs left in the gift shop!
The Mystery Hole