Cave Myths

Discovery Tales


Many caves have a strange story of how it was discovered. If there is no such story, a good cave guide wiill invent one.

Such stories are always very similar. We are not sure why, but we believe it depends on the time of the discovery. Most of those stories date back to the 19th century, the time of romantic love stories and horror tales. Frankenstein was written on this cultural background. On the other hand, this century was the first time many long known holes were explored for the first time. Hundred years before, the people would have been to scared to enter them.

So here are some tales from this time. They are not really humorous, but sometimes a little funny and weird.


ShowcaveLaichingen Vertical Cave:
Johann Georg Mack was working in a sand pit, digging the limestone sand used for cleaning floors and making mortar. He once had a problem: his sand pile was stolen overnight! So he decided to sleep on his new pile the following night. He was really astonished to find his sand disappearing and no thieves around. The idea of a crack into which the sand disappeared, was verified, but the opening of the crack did not bring back the sand, which is lost until today. Instead a huge cavern was found.


ShowcaveLascaux:
Four boys, about ten years old, and their dog, always played in the little forest on the Lascaux hill. One day the dog hunted an animal into a foxhole. The boys thought he would come out after some time, but the dog was lost. So they widened the hole to get in, and soon they discovered a cave behind the foxhole, and a four metre deep pit. The dog fell down the pit and was not able to get out again. But here the first prehistoric painting could be seen, and although it took some time, one of the boys looked at the wall and saw them.


ShowcaveAltamira:
This is a really weird story. A cave known for centuries was visited by the owner of the land and his little daughter. The little girl, being used to the fact shw always had to look up to the adults, did this in the cave too. So she was the first one to see the pictures at the ceiling, after so many people who already visited the cave before. Her first cry was "Toros! Toros!" (bulls!). Nobody knew which bulls she meant and it took some time until the adults were able to see the pictures.
But this is only half of the story. The other weird story connected with the cave happend some time later. When a scintific meetig was held nearby, the land owner went there to tell the scientists about the paintings. But the scientific world was not able to accept this extrordinary finding, as it did not fit into their theories. They even refused to see them personally. It took several decades, the owner had died in between, until the paintigs were accepted as being genuine. And it took more than 100 years, until the dating with the ExplainC14-dating proved, that they were even older than imagined.