Dead Man’s Hole.
Dead Man’s Hole was discovered in Texas in 1821, a few miles south of Marble Falls, in Burnet County, its other name however is Devil’s Well. The area earned its reputation during the American Civil War, when Confederate gangs used the hole as a dumping ground for those with Unionist sympathies. Measuring about seven feet in diameter and approximately 155 feet deep, the cavernous Dead Man’s Hole was formed by pressure from natural gas inside the earth.
Burnet County voted in opposition of secession by a relatively one-sided count of 248 to 149, which became one factor that led many Union supporters to seek refuge in the Hill Country, a decision most would come to regret. Awaiting them in Burnet County was a radical group known as the “Fire Eaters,” described as “worse than the Indians” when it came to violence. This group held on to Confederate beliefs, and secretly hunted and killed anyone whom they believed held opposing views. Described in many historical accounts as “fanatics”, the Fire Eaters looked upon their violent actions as a heroic stand for the Confederates.
The bones of at least 17 people have been found piled at the bottom of the sinkhole. One particularly creepy feature of the hole is an oak tree growing beside it, with a strong limb stretched directly over the hole. Those destined to die would be hanged from the oak. Then, the rope would be cut and they would plummet to the bottom of the 47-meter (155 ft) drop.
On the off chance that anyone survived both of those things, the hole was full of poisonous gas that would finish the job. It’s because of the gas that the sinkhole wasn’t fully explored until 1951, when breathing equipment became more readily available.
Among those men that sought freedom in Burnet County was judge John R. Scott. New Yorker Scott had four sons serving in the Confederate Army but was nonetheless accused of expressing Union sympathies. Scott was chased down by the Fire Eaters as he attempted to flee to Mexico and is said to be one of the bodies that were found at the bottom of Dead Man’s Hole, along with several Union officials. Another victim was a man named Ben McKeever, who killed a former slave when his horse was bitten by the man’s dog. McKeever was ambushed by his victim’s friends and thrown down the hole.
The opening to Dead Man’s Hole is now closed, and covered with a plaque to commemorate the dead, and the area was named a historical marker in 1998. A year later, the owner of the property deeded Dead Man’s Hole and the acres surrounding it to Burnet County as a park thus opening the landmark to visitors.
Unsurprisingly with its gory past, this has led to stories of people seeing and hearing ghosts in the area.