There's no need to search or wonder any further when it comes to the afterlife. Italian archeologists have discovered an ancient gateway to Hell in Turkey — seriously.
The modern day city of Pamukkale, Turkey, is a natural site known for its bountiful hot springs. Adjacent to it are the ancient ruins of the fallen Greco-Roman city Hierapolis. Known for its landmarks such as the theater and temple dedicated to Apollo, Hierapolis also harbored a dark side, written and spoken of in many ancient texts. The Greek historian Strabo once wrote of of the hell-cursed area, "This space is full of a vapour so misty and dense that one can scarcely see the ground. Any animal that passes inside meets instant death." He also mentioned throwing birds into Hierapolis’ temple complex only to have them die immediately.
Inside of the cave, the archeologists also found inscriptions dedicated to Pluto and Kore (also known as Hades and Persephone), mythological gods of the afterlife. People used to drag animals to die into the portal’s opening as means for sacrifice to their deities.
This so-called Hell portal is not the first of its kind. It is a natural phenomenon with other similar portals that can be found across the world. The Door to Hell is another fear-striking site to behold.
The archeological team, led by University of Salento classical archaeology Professor Francesco D'Andria, explained to Discovery News how he and his team were able to re-discover Pluto’s Gate — also known as the Plutonium in Latin. "We found the Plutonium by reconstructing the route of a thermal spring. Indeed, Pamukkale's springs, which produce the famous white travertine terraces originate from this cave," he said.
D’Andria also noted that "visions" seen by both visitors and priests at the time from a gathering place nearby were more than likely hallucinations from the fumes permeating the air from the Plutonium.
Oddly enough, ancient priests and oracles getting high is nothing new.