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1948: AMAZING STORIES: Burley, Idaho Underground Revisited

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The next letter appeared later on pages 164-165 of the January, 1948 issue of AMAZING STORIES:

   Sirs: If you file your correspondence, you will find a letter there from this writer which was written in the early part of this year, advising you of reading my first AMAZING STORIES magazine and of my interest in the mystery of the caves, especially the articles by Mr. Shaver. I haven’t missed a copy of A. S. since then and interest in the mystery of the caves has grown until you may class me as an unofficial member of the CHMBS (“Cave Hunters Mutual Benefit Society” – Branton). In fact, the purpose of this letter is to inform you of a recent expedition to one of the caves for an investigation.

   For you and those interested in the “air shaft” near Burley, Idaho, reported by Mr. George Haycock, 

whose letter was published in the October issue of AMAZING STORIES, this is to verify the truth of this cave.  

   M/Sgt. Brentlinger (a Shaver fan), stationed at Hill Field, Utah, and myself made a trip to Burley over the weekend of the 17th of August to ascertain the authenticity of both Mr. Haycock and the cave. We had no trouble locating this gentleman and after explaining the purpose of our mission he quite readily agreed to show us the cave and to guide us through, providing it was still possible to enter. The entrance had been blasted since he was last in the cave, he explained.

   We drove about six miles west of town, then turned off the highway onto a little road leading off into the desert sagebrush. Oddly enough, this road was well worn and seemed to be much used although there was no apparent reason for so much traffic. We failed to see any other cars either on the way in or out.

   Even though he had been in the cave many times and to the entrance as recently as three days prior to this trip, Mr. Haycock, strangely, had difficulty in locating the spot and we stopped twice to look before we finally found it about a mile from the highway.

   The entrance was located in the center of a shallow circular depression. The surrounding terrain was nothing but sand and sagebrush but jammed in about the opening were several large boulders. We found there was still a small hole running down through the boulders and Mr. Haycock thought it was possible for us to make entrance. With some violent maneuvering we did manage to  squeeze through and we followed Mr. Haycock to the floor of the cavern. Then, crawling, kneeling and sometimes walking, we were led back through the cave for approximately one-quarter of a mile.

   The cavern is cut through what appears to be lava rock. Walls and ceilings are badly fallen-in in many places but there is enough intact yet to give the general appearance that the cave was at one time square. In certain spots the walls and ceiling are perfectly flat. Then, too, we noticed one small chamber to one side of the main passage that is square-cut except for one end which is cupped out.

   There are numerous small passages leading off to the side of the main path, which Mr. Haycock said led to dead-ends, in the ones he had explored.

   After seeing enough to convince us of the truth of Mr. Haycock’s story, it was decided to turn back and not to continue inward to the impassable obstruction Mr. Haycock mentioned in his letter. To have gone that far more equipment would have been required. We had nothing but two flashlights, both being used continuously.

   Where we turned back is approximately half-way to the obstruction.

   We failed to hear or feel the icy wind that is said to blow from the shaft most of the time. However, Mr. Haycock explained that it did become quiet occasionally, as we found it that day.

   At present another trip is planned to the cave. This time there will be seven or eight of us and we plan to take the proper equipment and enough provisions to do some serious work at clearing away the obstruction. It is desired by all to learn what, if anything, might lie further on beyond this obstruction. But, if there is nothing but more cave it will at least be enjoyed and remembered by all!

   Now for the information of two other caves this writer knows of which might merit investigation. 

The first is in the Smoky mountains of North Carolina in the Nantahalie (?) Gorge. It is called “The Blowing Springs” and is easily reached from the highway. The cave has an icy blast of air and a cold stream flowing from it continuously, from which it got its name. It is not known by the writer whether anyone has ever entered this cave or if this is possible, but there are many who have been to the entrance to look in.

   The second is called “The Devil‘s Well”, and is located in the “Hole-In-Ground” near Pine City, Washington. The cave is very round and approximately five feet in diameter. People are known to be afraid to enter this cave due to the rumor that it is a rattlesnake den. It would be interesting to learn if there is any truth to the rattlesnakes and why it is named “The Devil’s Well,” and by whom! — Frank W. Haigler., Box 18, Apr F-22., Sahara Valley, Utah  [map id=”224″]