Scary Caves: Pick One of These for your Next Adventure!

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Beware: You should never explore wild caves alone or without proper gear. Consider getting in touch with a Grotto of the National Speleological Society at or a qualified cave club. These groups are skilled and will train you. Without sufficient knowledge, preparation, and equipment, cave exploring can lead to serious injury or death.

What’s scarier than venturing into a haunted house, alone? Try a dark cave with an equally dark and chilling history. Caves have been a source of mystery and terror for as long as humans can remember.

They’re foreboding because of the mystery that surrounds them, especially with wild caves. Along with unrelenting darkness and often a dank, cool climate, dangerous animals sometimes dwell at some of these sites.

You know by now that intricate caverns can run for miles underground. Best of all, perhaps, there are many entire caves which haven’t even been discovered yet. The kind of creatures or terror that may be lurking inside is anyone’s guess.

No one enjoys being confined underground, mainly because of the lack of visibility. But if you’re brave and willing to stay safe about it, we will help you find a cave that will surely spook you. In this list we will be covering some of the most frightening caves people have visited.

Keep your wits about you, however. Even relatively safe caves can quickly become dangerous, as we’ve explored more in this article. Adding water to the formula takes the risk of serious injury or death to greater heights. We urge any individuals considering a riskier adventure to please not travel alone. Be as prepared as possible, and bring sufficient equipment before embarking into the depths of any wild cave.

With that said, let’s start with the Hellfire Caves in the UK.

The Hellfire Caves (England)

Located in England, the Hellfire Caves are a complex of underground passageways made of chalk and flint that stretch for about a quarter of a mile. In the middle of the 1700s, Francis Dashwood conducted excavations of the caves, and Dashwood was also rumored to be a co-founder of the cave-dwelling secret organization Hellfire Club.

The massive doorway and entrance to the scary Hellfire Caves, pictured here, where a secret organization once met until 1766.

All of the members were significant figures in 18th-century society and politics. The band has earned a bad rap, with people suggesting involvement in satanic rituals and drunken demon worship.

Even though the Hellfire Club was officially disbanded by 1766, its members’ spirits are said to be still active today. Although the caverns were opened to the public in 1951, rumors have circulated for decades that they are haunted.

Eyewitnesses have reported seeing scary ghostly figures emerge from these caves and then disappear again. Ghost Adventures (Travel Channel) and Ghost Hunters (Syfy) visited to conduct paranormal research, due to the abundance of reports.

The Moaning Cavern (California, USA)

The name of the cave near Vallecito, California, Moaning Cavern, comes from the eerie moaning sound the air creates inside the cave. Several people have reported hearing a melancholy lament and what might be a hammer reverberating off of nearby rocks.

An old picture of the Moaning Caverns, where a scary moaning sound is often heard inside.

Some have taken this to mean that leprechaun-like mythical creatures, known as Tommyknockers, call the Moaning Cavern their home. The knocking sounds coming from caves are supposed warnings of impending cave-ins. Others see them as benign, though still scary, antics by the souls of those who perished in these caves.

Some say prehistoric humans haunt them instead. Bones found at the cave’s bottom created all sorts of theories. There are also the ghosts of three gold miners who perished after falling into a cave.

Witnesses claim to have seen the apparition of an ancient saber-tooth tiger, which fell through the cave’s entrance. It appears that one of its massive fangs was chipped in the fall. Henceforth, this tiger is now known as “Chip.”

Bell Witch Cave (Tennessee, USA)

Farmer John Bell and his family supposedly settled on a farm near the Red River in northern Robertson County in 1804. A cave on the estate became known as “The Bell Witch Cave,” where the ghost of a witch named Kate Batts was said to linger because she felt the Bells had cheated her out of the fair price for the property.

In the summer of 1817, people started reporting seeing strange animals. The family often heard unexplainable sounds late at night, including banging on the door and footsteps outside.

An image of the gloomy Bell Witch Cave from inside.

The chewing, choking, and dragging sounds eventually made it inside the house. Betsy, the youngest Bell sister, was the victim of several acts of violence, including scratches, hair pulling, and physical beatings, all at the hands of an unknown assailant.

John suffered from choking attacks and many ailments till his death in 1820. The witch presumably believed her angry task was done after John died. Betsy broke off her engagement and returned to the cave where she had lived for many years.

In 1828, she supposedly revisited the house, telling John Bell Jr. she would be back in 107 years. Paranormal activity has been observed frequently near the witch cave and town-wide since her departure, leading many to speculate that she never departed.

With all of the scary culture surrounding witches, it’s easy to see how caves like the Bell Witch Cave generate such fascinating conversations.

Read about more Tennessee caves here.

Chislehurst Caves (England)

Chislehurst Caves, located in England, are artificial caverns that may or may not be home to spirits.

Over many generations, the Druids, Romans, and Saxons received credit for creating the 22-mile-long cave system first documented in 1250. Tours often focus on putative Druid altars and scary but unproven stories of ritual sacrifices and savage murders in the caves.

A wall in Chislehurst caves of England, showing some scary looking carvings among other things found there.

From the depths of the labyrinth, one can hear shouts, murmurs, children’s laughter, and the patter of feet. It’s not only ghosts from long ago. More than 5,000 Londoners spent the night in the caves during the Blitz of WWII. Modern-day villagers naturally claim that the caves are haunted by the spirits of those who perished there.

The Cave of Sibyl, as documented in ancient cultural literature to be "the gates to Hades", is a notably eerie site for exploration in Italy.

5.  The Cave Of Sibyl (Italy)

Natural features have long been seen as potential entrances to the underworld by people of many cultures.

Cumae, an ancient Greek city in Naples, is home to one of the earliest documented “gates to Hades.” The Cave of Sibyl is so dangerous that even birds avoid it.

Virgil, the author of The Aeneid, spoke of a many-mouthed gateway to the underworld: “A spacious cave, within its farmost part, Was hew’d and fashion’d by laborious art Thro’ the hill’s hollow sides: before the place, A hundred doors a hundred entries grace; As many voices issue, and the sound Of Sybil’s words as many times rebound.”

The ancient priestess Sibyl, whose oracle serves as a guide for those who go through this portal, is said to stand watch above the entrance to Hades.

6.  The Wabasha Street Caves (Minnesota, USA)

This odd little building conceals a network of artificial caves. The Wabasha Street Caves are an attraction in Saint Paul, Minnesota, carved out of sandstone caverns next to the Mississippi River. After serving as a site for silica mining, the caves saw several uses, including as a speakeasy and a mafia hideout.

In the early 1930s, three mobsters were gunned down in these caves, yet their ghosts are said to prowl the area still. The rumors of ghostly apparitions in the caves have spread to the adjacent cafe, where employees and customers have reported seeing a woman and a guy in a Panama hat.

The haunted bar area is considered the most scary spot in the Wabasha Street Caves, so be sure to check out that spot in particular.

Read about other Minnesota Caves here.

7.  Robber’s Cave (Nebraska, USA)

Lincoln, Nebraska’s Robber’s Cave, formerly known as Pahuk Bluff, is a sacred Pawnee Indian gathering place. The Pawnee passed down knowledge of healing, animal spirits, and the magical and medicinal properties of plants and roots in the cave below the bluff.

Some area residents have heard drumming and eerie chanting, as though the dead still perform the rites. Visitors report screams and moans coming from the caves as well.

After years of being inaccessible to the public, visitors can finally explore the complex cave system. Perhaps you can share some of your findings when you get a chance to visit this cave yourself.

We’ve covered Robber’s Cave in more detail here.

8.  Mammoth Cave (Kentucky, USA): Perhaps the Most Scary Caves of All

Author of horror works like “The Beast in the Cave,” “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” and “The Crawling Chaos,” H.P. Lovecraft, visited this infamously eerie cave system in Kentucky for inspiration. The size of Mammoth Cave quickly shows how much it lives up to its name.

A picture of the mythical creature cthulhu, created by H.P. Lovecraft, who was inspired by visiting the scary Mammoth Cave often.
H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu.

It’s possible, with its 400 miles of investigated territory, that Mammoth Cave wins the title of the largest haunted cave in the country. Although we can see quite a ways inside the cave, there is still much of it that we can’t see.

If you’re a fan of H.P. Lovecraft, this location is a must-see. Lovecraft’s creations have gripped the imaginations of readers for decades, and rightfully so. Seeing the caves which helped foster his own scary imagination will be a delight.

Evidence suggests that the cave was mined and used for burials by prehistoric humans as early as 4000 years ago. For about two thousand years, this continued, before they suddenly left the cave.

It is unclear what drove them to leave, but the proliferation of paranormal activity in the area in recent years may have something to do with their decision.

Enslaved individuals were sent to labor (and perish) in the caves after the War of 1812 when they were sold off to dig saltpeter. Slaves who have passed on are said to appear to their descendants.

Needless to say, this is one of the creepiest sites you can venture inside today.

Which Scary Caves Do You Plan to Visit?

By placing viewers in an underground, claustrophobic setting and introducing them to a species of unknown carnivorous creatures, these caves evoke deep, primitive anxiety in almost any caver.

While much of this fear is unfounded, it’s easy to understand why the dark and mysterious are often quick to make our pulses quicken and our thoughts run wild. You may not believe in ghosts, but there have been plenty stories of strange occurrences in and around some of these locations. Who is to say the cursed depths of popular underground tourist spots aren’t still inhabited by the ghosts of doomed cave explorers who never made it out to the surface again?

Who can fathom what lurks in the dark depths of the world’s terrifying underground mazes? Could it be otherworldly spirits, like ghosts, ghouls, or specters?

Several caverns are said to be highly active in the paranormal world. We hope you get a chance to make your own conclusions about these scary caves. Be sure to let us know if you return safe and sound!

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