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17 Places That Are Actual Gates of Hell on Earth

Many cultures believe in a frightening underworld that can be accessed from Earth. If these devilish tales are to be believed, then here are 17 places around the world where you can visit the gates of Hell.

The idea of Satan ruling over a fiery inferno has long captured our imaginations. During the Middle Ages, European artists popularized this Christian worldview by painting humans tumbling through Hell’s gateways into a realm of eternal torture. If their art were to be taken at face value, then where are the gates of Hell located, and how many Hell gates are there?

Local legends suggest Satan has several hellholes on Earth, including a blazing gas crater in Turkmenistan and a skull-littered cave in Belize. Some locations, such as the unassuming town of Hellam, Pennsylvania, supposedly contain seven gates of Hell that one must pass through in the correct order to pay the Devil a visit.

As I discuss in my book The Little Book of Satanism: A Guide to Satanic History, Culture, and Wisdom, many non-Christian cultures have conceived of fierce underworld rulers that share similarities with Satan. If you’re brave enough to pass through the doors to Hell in Mexico, China, or Turkey, then this demonic-inspired travel guide is for you.

1 OF 17

Darvaza Gas Crater

WHERE: Derweze, Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan’s Karakum Desert contains what looks like a CGI rendering of a gate to Hell—a 230-foot wide pit glowing red with flames and surrounded by miles of sand. The fiery hole is Darvaza, a gas crater that has been in conflagration since 1971. Researchers remain puzzled by how the deep crater turned into an inferno. Perhaps the site collapsed during oil drilling and was set ablaze to burn off the escaping natural gas? Or maybe Satan drilled a hole in the desert to give us a glimpse of Hell down below?

2 OF 17

Guimen Gate

WHERE: Fengdu, China

Chongqing’s Ming Mountain is haunted by Fengdu Ghost City, a temple site dedicated to tales of the underworld influenced by Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. Visitors can find the entrance to Hell at Guimen Gate, which is also known as the Ghost Torturing Pass. According to Chinese mythology, the newly dead must present themselves here to Yanluo Wang, the King of Hell, for his final judgment. Those deemed evil are banished to one of the many torturous realms of Diyu, or Chinese Hell. Fengdu’s gate to Hell has a suitably ominous appearance: it’s black and red with peaked roofs and flanked by 18 sculptures of demons enacting gruesome punishments (the worst level involves being boiled forever in a wok).

3 OF 17


WHERE: Waipio Valley, Hawaii

If you visited Hawaii’s Waipio Valley, a paradise of waterfalls and black sand beaches surrounded by cliffs, it’s doubtful you would think, “Ah, this must be a gate to Hell.” However, according to ancient Hawaiian folklore, Waipio is the access point to Lua-o-Milu, or the land of the dead. As the story goes, the souls of the deceased leaped from the tall sea cliffs to enter an underworld ruled by the death god Milu. As for the precise location of this Hell-gate, you won’t find it on Google Maps—the portal is now allegedly hidden by black sand. 

4 OF 17


WHERE: Mount Osore, Japan

If Hell were a place on earth, it might be Japan’s Mount Osore, a pilgrimage site that translates to the Mountain of Dread. This active volcano was believed to be a gate to Buddhist Hell for centuries. Osore’s dreadful appearance adds credence to the story: the barren stone landscape looks like an endless graveyard broken up by foul-smelling pits of bubbling yellow sulfur. Tread carefully, as there are also pit-dwelling vipers lurking about.

5 OF 17

Cape Matapan Caves

WHERE: Taenarum, Greece

The ancient Greeks believed the dead descended into a realm below the surface ruled by the god Hades. When Orpheus and Hercules made heroic journeys into Hades’ underworld, they supposedly entered through Cape Matapan Caves. These caverns open into a cliff face at sea level and lead to a deep network of tunnels that have yet to be fully explored. To find the entry point to Cape Matapan Caves, seek out the ruins of a Spartan temple above the Greek gates to Hell.

INSIDER TIPWhile traveling in Europe, you can also hail Satan at these attractions dedicated to the Devil.


6 OF 17

Seven Gates of Hell

WHERE: Hellam Township, Pennsylvania

If you’re wondering where the gates of Hell are, you’ll find seven options in Hellam, Pennsylvania. After nightfall, look for a rusting metal gate in a wooded area of the township. As the urban legend goes, this was once the entrance to an insane asylum, leading to six more gates visible only after dark. Pass through all seven portals to Hell in the right order, and you’ll wind up at the Devil’s doorstep.

7 OF 17

Hekla Volcano

WHERE: Southern Iceland

Hekla is an active Icelandic volcano with an imposing appearance and fiery pools of lava, making it one of the world’s most dramatic portals to Hell. Medieval Christian monks wrote that the volcano was a doorway to the Inferno as well as the “eternal prison of Judas.” Hekla has erupted more than 20 times, and witnesses have claimed to see the souls of the damned flying out along with hot ash and smoke. (It’s more likely that they spotted escaping birds rather than evil spirits.)

8 OF 17

Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave

WHERE: Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve, Belize

The ancient Maya had their own “heavy metal” version of Hell called Xibalba, ruled by twelve Lords of Death. Xibalba is described as a terrifying labyrinth filled with rivers of blood and scorpions, with demonic beings lurking about. The entrance to the Mayan underworld is said to be a cavern in Belize’s Tapir Mountain named Actun Tunichil Muknal, or Cave of the Crystal Sepulchre. Creeping inside feels like a scene from Indiana Jones’ Raiders of the Lost Ark: the dark, tight passages are littered with the skulls and bones of human sacrifices.

INSIDER TIPRead more about the adventurous experience of visiting Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave.


9 OF 17

St. Patrick’s Purgatory

WHERE: Station Island, Ireland

Pilgrims to St. Patrick’s Purgatory, a small 15th-century monastery on Station Island, risk getting stuck in limbo—possibly a fate worse than Hell. According to old Irish tales, St. Patrick visited the island, and Jesus appeared to him. The Lord showed him horrifying visions of Satan’s lair and pin-dropped a location to a cave that served as the entrance to purgatory. Soon after, a monastery was built to plug the narrow descending hole into Hell.

10 OF 17

Stull Cemetery

WHERE: Stull, Kansas

One of Earth’s many gateways to Hell purportedly lies in the tiny Kansas town of Stull. Since the 1970s, rumors have swirled that the local cemetery is one of the world’s seven gates to Hell. Witnesses insist that every year on Halloween, Satan opens a portal among the tombstones. Some swear that they have seen an endless staircase leading down into a pit of flames. In 2002, the adjacent stone church was mysteriously knocked down, resulting in more gossip of the Devil’s doings in Stull.

11 OF 17

Hell’s Gate National Park

WHERE: Rift Valley Province, Kenya

A national park near Nairobi proudly calls itself Hell’s Gate after the nickname given to a break in the cliffs by British explorers in 1880. Fittingly for Satan’s lair, the park is a hotbed of geothermic activity. Volcanoes belch out plumes of steam, and the grounds are marked by ash and sulfuric hot springs. Vultures and buzzards whizz around the towering red cliffs and Hell’s Gate gap, adding to the park’s Satanic atmosphere.

12 OF 17

Lactus Curtius

WHERE: Rome, Italy

The Roman Forum is one of the Italian capital’s most popular attractions, yet the majority of sightseers have no clue that they are treading near a gate to Hell. Look for a pit called Lacus Curtius: a tablet surrounded by rubble surreptitiously marks this entrance to the netherworld. The ancient historian Livy wrote that an oracle foretold Rome’s doom unless citizens sacrificed what was dearest to the city. A chasm to Hell opened up, and soldier Marcus Curtius charged in because he realized the Roman legion was of greatest value to the city. Curtius’ sacrifice saved the people, and a carved stone of his armored figure now sits at the mouth to Hell.

13 OF 17

Cave of the Sibyl

WHERE: Cumae, Naples

Naples, Italy, also has a gateway to Hell called the Cave of the Sibyl, which was described by Virgil over 2000 years ago in The Aeneid: “The gates of Hell are open night and day. Smooth the descent, and easy is the way…” According to the poet, the Trojan hero Aeneas met the oracle Sibyl here, and she guided him through the cave into Hell. In 1932, after centuries of searching, explorers finally uncovered this entrance to the netherworld. Today, visitors to Cumae Archaeological Site can go inside Sibyl’s cave and walk through her coffin-shaped rock-cut passageways.

14 OF 17


WHERE: Mitla, Mexico

For the Aztecs, Mictlan is the “place of the dead” that consists of nine levels ruled by two skull-faced death gods. You can get a glimpse of the Aztec underworld at Mitla, an archaeological ruin formerly called Mictlan and located near Oaxaca, a city known for its vivacious Day of the Dead celebrations. With bright red painted walls and dozens of tombs beneath the rubble, Mitla certainly looks like a gateway to Hell.

15 OF 17

Houska Castle

WHERE: Blatce, Czech Republic

Located north of Prague, Houska Castle is a 13th-century Gothic masterpiece that purportedly sits atop Hell’s Gate. According to local lore, the castle’s chapel was built to cover an enormous hole in the ground that served as a Satanic threshold. The defensive walls also prevented demons and other ghastly creatures from crawling out of the hellhole. Houska Castle is still considered haunted, and tourists have reported seeing headless horses and demonic winged beasts lurking in the halls.

16 OF 17

Gates of Guinee

WHERE: New Orleans, Louisiana

Voodoo mythology says that the dead are sent to a purgatory called Guinee before continuing to travel to the “deep waters” of their ancestors. Some believe that powerful voodoo masters can open the seven gates to the spirit world and reclaim the souls of the dead or turn them into zombie-like creatures for nefarious purposes. The Gates of Guinee is said to be found in the graveyards of New Orleans, perhaps at the tomb of voodoo queen Marie Laveau in the St. Louis Cemetery. Those making the journey to Guinee must open all seven gates in sequence and appease the loa or spirit guarding each one.

17 OF 17

Pluto’s Gate

WHERE: Denizli Province, Turkey

According to storytellers, Turkey has an opening to Greco-Roman Hell called Pluto’s Gate. Toxic mists waft out from the pit, sending priests into hallucinations and causing some to die. Pluto’s Gate was written off as a fable until it was unexpectedly discovered in 2013. Archaeologists uncovered a carved arch opening in the Temple of Pluto, with fumes spewing from the thermal springs deep below. These carbon dioxide vapors can kill birds and other small animals that get too close to this “Satanic temple,” making it one of the scariest gates of Hell on Earth.