Legends

devil’s gate dam – portal to hell

Text:

“So when we were younger would go to this place called the Devil’s Gate Dam where there was a large drain tunnel running through the middle of it and people would go and see how far they could go in before someone would chicken out. Personally none of use ever got to the end because we were all too scared because of the story surrounding it. The tunnel is said to have been created in the mid-20th century and was said to be a gateway to Hell by a group of cultists. There are articles online that say there’s absolutely nothing at the end other than a wall but we still believe there might be something in there because we’ve never made it all the way through. Honestly there probably is nothing but we like to believe in the mystery of it.”

Genre: urban legend

Background: The interviewee, NM is a young American man in his early twenties. He mentioned that this mysterious portal to Hell was common knowledge between all of the younger teens in his area, although no one knew its exact origins or its credibility. NM explained that he and his group of friends growing up had ventured to the dam’s tunnel several times carrying flashlights to light up the way. The flashlights illuminated the walls lined with graffiti which featured odd text, symbols, and creepy images of faces. This made the venture seemingly impossible to complete. The group of teens never made it even halfway. The tunnel is located underneath the 210 Freeway in Hahamongna Park (123 OAK GROVE DR, PASADENA, CA 91011). The dam itself was built in the 1920s and claimed its name because of its “Satan-resembling” rocks that surround it. The tunnel’s name attracted a group of cultists who followed L. Ron Hubbard and Aleister Crowley. The tunnel is said to be a huge paranormal hot spot with countless “reports of missing children in the area and bouts of manic laughter coming from the tunnel” (California Curiosities).

Nationality: Italian and American
Location: Pasadena, CA
Language: English

Interpretation: Immediately after hearing about this urban legend of a “portal to hell” a similar memory shot into my head. Back where I grew up in a neighboring city there was a similar drainage tunnel that individuals would attempt to explore named “Wonderland”. Like the Devil’s Gate Dam tunnel, this tunnel was lined with graffiti of disturbing images and the end was out of sight. This tunnel, however, split up into two different tracks halfway through, one a shorter yet much smaller tunnel, and one longer yet larger. Many locals in my area would put on clown masks and carry baseball bats in the tunnel to try to frighten unsuspecting kids who attempted to explore “Wonderland.” This led to some unfriendly encounters. The tunnel of “Wonderland” has no negative backstories other than mischievous teens, whereas the Devil’s Gate is seen as a portal to Hell that may lead to an encounter with the Devil himself. One of the key differences between this tunnel and the Devil’s Gate tunnel is what lies at the end. After running through the “Wonderland” tunnel you can make it to the other side with light greeting you at the end. All you have to do is shimmy out of a small exist and you are on the other side of the park; whereas with the Devil’s Gate tunnel, there is nothing at the end but a cement wall. This brings me to the question of “why is there a tunnel with nothing at the end?” This possibly could be explained by the fact that it actually was sealing a “Portal to Hell” as some may like to believe, or simply because it was used as an overflow.

“DEVIL’S GATE.” California Curiosities, 10 Jan. 2017, www.californiacuriosities.com/devils-gate/.

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