The “Sounds of Hell”?

Consider this an Ask an Atheist post (and we might talk about this on the PAP as well). Recently, a facebook friend asked me what I thought of this video:

My response to her is below, linkified for your convenience.  Although, thinking about it, she probably meant this as a joke and knows how embarrassingly fake it is.  All the same…

This is a hoax. I suspected it was a hoax the minute I heard it, and a good tip when anyone shows you something like this would be to ALWAYS assume a natural explanation. It literally took me less than a minute to find the truth behind this lie.

The story has taken a few different forms over the years, but it always takes place in the Siberian region and the audio never changes. The fact is the story isn’t true. It may have been based on the Kola Superdeep Borehole in Russia, which is a scientific drilling project designed to get a better understanding of the rock types present below the earth’s crust, and at one point they put some temperature measuring devices down there and found temperatures of close to 180-degrees. That’s it. No screaming voices. No two-to-three-thousand degree temperatures.

Some hoaxster took this story, changed the facts completely and soon enough the story appeared in tabloids all over the country. Before long it was on TBN and other Christian TV networks. Since Christians generally aren’t very good at fact-checking, it’s still touted out by extremists as “proof” of the literal existence of hell. There are more amusing details of this story, which you can read on SnopesTruth or Fiction, andWikipedia. Snopes is a great website for tracking bogus claims that you might see on youtube or read in those annoying forwarded e-mails. is good as well. They do a great job of checking the facts and they always cite their references.

Dr. Maurice Rawlings IS an actual person, who did write a book about experiences similar to the one described by the text of this video. The problem is, this is a KNOWN phenomenon, called Near Death Experience(or NDE). You can read more about NDEs here. They’ve even been reproduced in experimental conditions. The person making the video doesn’t seem to acknowledge that, does he? NDEs are psychosomatic hallucinations that occur when blood leaves the brain (which happens when a person is about to die). The problem is, these NDE’s aren’t very consistent, and anyone trying to use one person’s NDE to support their particular religion will find that there are plenty more NDEs out there that would support a different religion. Can you guess which people tend to have NDEs wherein they see Allah and Mohammed? That’s right… Muslims. Can you also guess which people have NDEs where they catch a glimpse of their next reincarnation? Yep… it’s Hindus. The truth is, they’re most likely hallucinations. Nothing more. And it’s sad and pathetic to try to see people use another person’s dying hallucinations as “rational” justification for what they believe.

As far as the rest of the “science”… the earth’s molten core, Riftia pachyptila, and so on… one can only come to believe that the bible “predicts” these things through a wild strech of the imagination. A Christian will read something in a science magazine or textbook, look for a bible passage that can be construed (barely) as confirmation for what they read, and then tout it as “evidence” that the bible is serious when it claims that hell is in the center of the earth. The rest of the science goes completely out the window. Examples: how are we supposed to “burn” without physical bodies for flame to act on; how does a core of LIQUID magma and molten rock equate to a “lake of fire”; the list goes on. That’s not how science works. You start with the evidence first. Not with some book of fairy tales that can be interpreted any which way.

I’ve already written about hell in my blog, so you can check out my thoughts on the impossibility of hell if you want to. But in truth, anything I say is pretty much moot to a believer. If someone believes enough in something supernatural, they’ll be willing to use ANYTHING to justify their beliefs, even if that means not checking the facts, making wild assumptions, and stretching what the bible says to a ridiculous degree. Me? I assume natural explanations, and reach conclusions only after the evidence has been examined. Only one of these methods has provided consistent results, time and time again. Guess which one…

4 thoughts on “The “Sounds of Hell”?

  1. I am going to pray right now for you. Why? Because you are sadly mistaken. May be nothing I write will convince you,but there is a hell. The bible said, and I’m paraphrasing: weeping and knashing of teeth,where the worm dieth not,eternal torment! Don’t take my word for it read the bible. John 3-16 For god so loved the world he gave his only beggoten son that whosoever will shall not perish but have everlasting life.Please give your heart to christ before it is to late.E-mail me back my friend,I would like to discuss this further.

  2. Well to Hell hoax

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    The “Well to Hell” is a putative borehole in Russia which was purportedly drilled so deep that it broke through to hell. This urban legend has been circulating on the Internet since at least 1997. It is first attested in English as a 1989 broadcast by Trinity Broadcasting Network, which had picked up the story from Finnish newspaper reports.Contents [hide]
    1 The legend and its basis
    2 Propagation
    2.1 TBN involvement
    3 Alternate versions
    4 See also
    5 References
    6 External links

    The legend and its basis

    The legend holds that in 1989, some Russian scientists of Siberia (Russia) had drilled a hole that was nine miles (14.5 km) deep before breaking through to a cavity. Intrigued by this unexpected discovery, they lowered an extremely heat tolerant microphone, along with other sensory equipment, into the well. The temperature deep within was 2,000 °F (1,100 °C) — heat from a chamber of fire from which (purportedly) the tormented screams of the damned could be heard. The recording, however, was later revealed to have been a cleverly remixed portion of the soundtrack of the 1972 movie Baron Blood, with various effects added.

    The Soviet Union had, in fact, drilled a hole nearly eight miles deep, the Kola Superdeep Borehole, located not in Siberia but on the Kola Peninsula, which shares borders with Norway and Finland. Upon completing the borehole in 1989, the Soviets found some interesting geological anomalies, although they reported no supernatural encounters.[1] Temperatures reached 180 °C (360 °F), making deeper drilling prohibitively expensive.

    United States tabloids soon ran the story, and sound files—recordings of those alleged supplications from the damned—began appearing on various sites across the Internet. The supermarket tabloid Weekly World News may have made the first American report on the so-called Well to Hell.
    TBN involvement

    The story eventually made its way to the American Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), which broadcast it on the network, claiming it to be “proof” of the literal existence of Hell as taught in the Bible.

    Åge Rendalen, a Norwegian teacher, heard the story on TBN while visiting the United States. Disgusted with what he perceived to be mass gullibility, Rendalen decided to augment the tale at TBN’s expense.[2]

    Rendalen wrote to the network, originally claiming that he disbelieved the tale but, upon his return to Norway, supposedly read a “factual account” of the story.[1] According to Rendalen, the “story” claimed not only that the cursed well was real, but that a bat-like apparition had risen out of it before blazing a trail across the Russian sky.[2] Rendalen deliberately mistranslated a trivial Norwegian article about a local building inspector and submitted both the original story and the “translation” to TBN, along with a letter which included his real name, phone number, and address, as well as those of a pastor friend who knew about the hoax and had agreed to expose it to anyone who called seeking verification.[2]

    However, TBN did nothing to verify Rendalen’s claims and aired the story as “proof” of the validity of the original story.[1]
    Alternate versions

    Since its publicity, many alternate versions of the story of the Well to Hell have been published. In 1992, US tabloids published an alternative version of the story, which was set in Alaska where 13 miners were killed after Satan came roaring out of Hell. Other alternative stories included an alleged story where Jacques Cousteau quit diving after hearing “screams of people in pain” underwater.[citation needed] Additionally, another story told of one of Cousteau’s men fainting in terror after hearing screaming voices in a trench in the Bermuda Triangle.

  3. no one is saying that there is no hell … but an unbeliever is disposed to not believe in one, especially when a proven hoax is presented as ‘truth’

    the ‘hell’ spoken of in the Bible is much worse than that promoted by the ‘sounds of hell’ hoax … especially for those pseudo-‘christians’ who preach publically and sin in secret … they especially cannot repent since they are not truly born again

    how do you like those apples? or these apples? …

    Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out demons? and in your name done many wonderful works?And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
    Matthew 7:22,23

    Only the true gospel of Jesus Christ saves, not ‘sounds from hell’ hoaxes. But if you think you are saved, then …

    2 Corinthians 13:5 … … Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not
    your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

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