Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Lost World Caverns: Going to The Land of The Lost

wacky tacky isn't always manmade; nature often reveals proof of a wacky tacky power of infinitely superior skill and imagination than even Sid & Marty Krofft!

Would you believe that this rustic mill setting held the secrets to
 thousands of years of the Earth's most fascinating creations?

I probably would not have believed it had I not followed this sign.
A full-and-complete stop and then right to LOST WORLD CAVERNS!

The modern story of The Lost World Caverns in Lewisburg, West Virginia begins on a farm in the early 20th Century.  Surveying his land, a local farmer found a hole in the ground; while this appears to be a less-than-Salk-worthy discovery, it proved a valuable commodity to a man who had little resources when it came to waste disposal.  Examining the hole, he realized that it was the perfect size for eliminating farm refuse - including bovine carcasses.  Where did it all go once down the hole?  The farmer didn't care; he just knew that it took a long time for anything to hit the bottom and that his trash troubles were over.  For years this practice continued until other caves and underground water supplies were being discovered in the surrounding area.  In 1942, two college students were lowered on ropes into the mysterious darkness of the hole and what they saw (once they finished removing the filth of 1,000 rotting cows from their shoes) was another world - The Lost World!

The startling discoveries did not end there.  The Lost World Caverns was
revealed to be the official home of that darling of the Weekly World News,
Intent on making some discoveries of my own, I too braved the abyss.

Lucky for me, the entrance to the caverns was well lit and
 accessible by railed staircase rather than harness and rope. 

Armed with naught but a trusty flashlight and a laminated guide,
I made my way into the depths of the Lost World.

Coming into the main room of the caverns was incredible!
A large group of people had just exited upon my arrival (purely coincidental I assure you)
 so I had the whole thing entirely to myself; it was like being Indiana Jones, if only for a minute.

You can bet a lot of yodeling/echoing took place...
until I realized that I might be attracting a Sleestak!!

The real discovery in this adventure is that my resolute dispassion for the study of geology was abandoned for a genuine excitement over rock formations.  I hope that it carries over into the reading of this post because there are plenty of geological wonders ahead!

This particular area of West Virginia is conspicuous for its
lack of above ground water sources; it seems almost everywhere
 one goes in West Virginia that there is a creek, a river, a waterfall
but in Lewisburg, it is all underground, thus creating the magic
 of The Lost World.

Doesn't it kind of look like a forest of Art Nouveau trees?

Stalactite?  Stalagmite?  This cave is always happy to see you.

This makes the sad, seaside, drip castles of my youth look positively pathetic.

It was at this precise moment when I realized that I was
 spelunking.  I'm a spelunker!!!

It's like gazing into the past...and maybe the future.

One of the largest rock formations of its type on record, the "Snowy Chandelier" weighs roughly thirty tons!

Definitely one of the best parts of the cavern expedition was the threat of an ancient cave bear...

and a curious cave bug??? 

From thirteen stories below, one can see the original hole in the ground
from which the farmer fashioned a primitive garbage disposal.

I can't be the only one who sees the giant tiki head, right?

The photos just don't do justice to nature's mineral rainbow - coral, aqua, and robin's egg blue.

According to Lost World Cavern history, the "War Club" stalagmite helped win
 a Guinness World Record for a dedicated stalagmite sitter.  Although, I wonder how
much competition there is for the title of "World's Longest Stalagmite Sitter?"

Under most circumstances, an invitation to trek down into a dank, musty hole in the ground would have me in a light jog toward the nearest Cinnabon.  For some reason, however, The Lost World Caverns made me feel like I had finally come home...

I guess I no longer have to wonder about my genealogy...

If you love nature and weird roadside attractions, then the Lost World Caverns might just be right up your alley...or down your hole.

"The Land of The Lost"

Lost World Caverns
Lewisburg, WV



Mr. Tiny


  1. What an amazing place to visit. I am always stunned anew by what nature is capable to do. Just beautiful.

    1. Isn't it spectacular?! It is even better in real life. To think that just underneath that building these crazy caves exist is mind boggling. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos!

  2. Ha ha ha ! I remember when french "journalists" have retailed this bat boy story !!!
    thanks for sharing :)

    1. Bat Boy is world famous??? and to think that his humble beginnings were a cave in rural West Virginia.... He's a star!!

  3. Super cool!!! Relieved you did not actually encounter any sleestaks though it looks like they would have been right at home there :-)

    1. It really was the stuff of "Indiana Jones" and "Land of the Lost." It was a crazy feeling to be in there all alone!

  4. Very cool! I've only ever been to one underground cave in my life. It was Cave Minnetonka in Idaho. It was amazing how nature can make such wonderful and beautiful things. I also got to see how truly dark dark can be. The guide turned off the lights in the cave. It was both scary and awe-inspiring.

    1. Thanks Mariela!!! I was glad that it was so well-lit. I think the only other cave I've been into is Injun Joe's cave on Disneyland's Tom Sawyer's Island; my night vision is so bad that I promptly walked into a fake, rocky outcropping and knocked myself out. We had one pitch-black experience on this trip that I'll share in a future post!

  5. oh how neat! did you bring home any bat boy souvenirs? i don't know if i would have been able to resist! such a cool place!

    1. I didn't manage to bring home any Bat Boy souvenirs; a certain three-year-old was having an atomic meltdown when I exited the cave. It definitely put a cramp in my souvenir shopping! If I ever get back to WV, it is worth a return visit.

  6. BAT BOY!!!

    Okay, on a more serious note, I love this post. The photos bring back memories of my spelunking adventures in Ireland a few years ago.

    1. Thanks Lily! Are there pictures of your feats of Irish spelunking? I would love to do a cave comparison...I'm ready to go on more subterranean adventures!!!

  7. So cool you were able to experience this! Minus the bug on the rock, ick! LOL!

    1. Thanks Mia!!! It was really cool! I'm kind of inclined to look for caves in my area to explore!