Boone County, Arkansas

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American Unsolved Mysteries & Tales of the Unexplained by Troy Taylor

The History, Mystery & Unexplained of the Prairie State 

The History, Mystery & Unexplained of the Bluegrass State by B.M. Nunnelly 

In the northern part of the state is Boone County and somewhere within the county is said to be a small village called "Self', although I can't seem to find it on any map. There is reportedly a mysterious location here that has proven to be both elusive and fascinating.

Near the village is the Devil's Hole Cave, a strange and unexplored cavern. One day, an indeterminate number of years ago, the owner of the land where the cave is located decided to check out the place. He climbed down a rope about 200 feet to a ledge where the shaft narrows to a point that can only be crawled through. He suddenly heard a vicious hissing from the darkness, perhaps like a large lizard would do, and he made a hasty retreat.

Some time later, he and some men from town dropped a flatiron tied to a rope to the same place in the cave. They heard a hissing sound and the rope was pulled hard. When they pulled it back up, they found the flatiron had been badly bent and scored with scratches and teeth marks. They next tried a stone and the rope was pulled taut again. They pulled it back up and the stone was gone.

No one wanted to dare and climb down to see what was in the cave. Occasionally, local stories apparently come from the cave, but the "gow-row" as the natives supposedly call it, seems to prefer staying down in the darkness. The story dates back to around 1900 and many believe the monster may be some sort of giant lizard.... but nobody knows for sure.

The story closely resembles another pit of this type that is said to be located near Hannibal, Missouri. I can not find any existing records of this hole either, although I have heard a number of stories about it. The tale of the land owner checking out the cave is also said to have occurred here also, but with a bizarre twist. This time, the land owner was discovered by some friends shortly after his adventure in the cave....his hair had turned completely white and he was wildly insane. Whatever he had encountered down in the cave had broken his sanity.

A website visitor named Ted Roberts recently provided new information on the location of Self, Arkansas and about the Devil's Hole Cave. Ted writes: I can tell you that the small town of Self does indeed exist. If you look on a map and find Harrison, Arkansas, you will see State Highway 7. About eight miles east of Harrison on Highway 7 is a place where the railroad tracks intersect the highway. The town of Bergman is about 1/4 mile east of this intersection. These tracks go northwest through Wooden Hills, Myrtle and Self. The town of Self is about 15 miles up these tracks to the northwest.

You can drive to Self by going up Highway 65 north of Harrison about 12-15 miles or about 3 miles past the town of Prosperity (this town is very small like Self). There will be a small dirt or gravel road called Dubuque Road and you can follow it to Self.

Ted also adds that: There are spelunking clubs in Arkansas that go to Devil's Hole and I haven't heard of any of them coming back dead or insane. 

Copyright 1998 / 2001 by Troy Taylor. All Rights Reserved.

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