The story of Mel Waters and his hole is fascinating, far fetched, freaky and one of the most memorable features ever to come out of the airwaves during Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell. Mel apparently looks like Willie Nelson and is often mistaken for him. As a result, he finds himself in the company of truckers happy to give him a lift. The truckers are just as delighted to discover he is Mel of 'Mel's Hole' fame (being something of a folk hero himself).
Mel (if you believe him) has, since 1997, lived a life worth ten Twilight Zone episodes.
The legend touches on almost every aspect of the paranormal:
But it all started with a hole.
Mel owned some land on the Manastash Ridge, Ellensburg, Washington. Before he owned the property, people had come for years and years to dump waste in a hole that some said was bottomless. They would throw refrigerators, wood, earth, and even dead cattle down the hole. But peer into the hole and you would not see the refuse build up. Shine a light and it would not reflect off the bottom, or the sides for that matter...
Drop a metal bucket down the hole and you certainly wouldn't hear a clang. Mel himself enjoyed tossing TV cathode ray tubes down, but instead of hearing an explosion and a smash, only silence.
As far as anyone could tell, the hole had no end.
The hole is nine feet in diameter, with a retaining wall around it. Mel didn't see the sides taper down - it was a straight hole and for years, people using it as an unofficial landfill site had not managed fill the thing up. Mel attached a metal lid to the top for safety.
Mel's Experiments and Discoveries
Did it have water at the bottom? Mel tried an experiment. He began lowering fishing line down the hole. He attached a tube of LifeSavers to the line and winched away, he expected the candy to dissolve upon hitting water. After winding five hundred yards down and back up, the candy remained intact.
So he lowered a one pound lead weight attached to the fishing line and kept connecting more reels. You'd think that after about three thousand feet of dangling fishing line, he'd call it a day.
He did pause for breath at eighty thousand feet - as measured by his digital meter. That's about fifteen miles of fishing line with a lead weight, weighing around eighteen pounds.
In conversation with locals, Mel discovered that one man threw his dead dog down the hole. A few days later, the man saw his dog running as though hunting with another owner.
All this and more came out in Mel's first broadcast interview with Art Bell. Art lapped it up as usual and so did I for that matter. Indeed, this was the most plausible part of the Mel's hole story.
The Next Day...
After the broadcast, the Government forced him off his land. Mel had been away from the property whilst participating in Art's show. The military was everywhere. The uniformed staff threatened him with planting drugs on his land. The official excuse that they gave Mel was that a plane had crashed on his land.
Mel didn't back off and used the publicity from Art's show to draw attention to what the Government was up to. He went back on air to tell listeners what had happened over the last three days since his first interview.
As a result of this, he managed to lease the land to the Government in perpetuity. For a number of years, Mel would receive from the US Government a quarter of a million dollars in his account every month.He made a lot of money and moved to Australia. He lived well, parlayed his money into environmental research and conservation. But just before 2000, everything changed again.
Beyond the Hole
This was the turning point where Mel deviated from the hole itself, to the telling of some very tall tales. Here's a selection from the last few years:
He came back to the USA to sort some things out, when the police (under the pretence that they needed a statement) apparently abducted him. Mel says that he woke up in an alleyway in San Francisco missing his back teeth. All his money had gone.
He met someone who had purchased a belt buckle that he had made with a dime in the centre. He had found the coin near the hole. It bore the face of Roosevelt but the date was 1943. That was impossible... Roosevelt was still alive in 1943 wasn't he?
He was invited to an Indian reservation to examine another similar hole that a local tribe had found. This new hole was different. Its inner wall was metallic as far as they could see. Perhaps this was manufactured.
The Indians had a found a source of heat inside the hole. It was a substance that looked and felt like ice, but it was hot and absorbed all moisture around it. A friend of Mel's put a lump of this hot ice in his wood burner in his log cabin. The cabin later collapsed into the ground because this weird hot ice had sucked all the moisture out of the wood!
With this new hole, Mel would experiment along with the Indians by lowering sheep down. They squealed with fear but fell silent when directly over the hole. They hauled a sheep back up after dangling it down a while - it was dead and it looked normal on the outside. They cut it open and discovered that it was completely cooked inside.
They found the sheep's chest cavity was filled with a gelatinous substance with a big throbbing tumour inside where the internal organs should have been. Mel said that the tumour pulsated like a beating heart as it was pulled out of the sheep.
The tumour was cut open.
Inside was what looked like a foetal/baby Seal with big blue human eyes. It studied the surrounding people. Mel said it looked peaceful and compassionate, not malevolent in any way. Later, the baby seal jumped back into the hole. There is more to this story, but I think you've been freaked out enough.
Mel has never been back to the place that started the legend. Remember, before Mel, the hole was widely known and used by the locals. But since the government took his property over, he suspects that anyone trying to find the land that was once his, will only find the land sectioned off with fencing and official looking 'no trespassing' signs. Nevertheless, a TV crew travelled there to corroborate Mel's story and instead of finding the hole, they did find lots of evidence of an intensive military presence.
Locals and truckers that drive through the area swear that they see a shaft of black light (if there is such a thing) or rather a shadow emanating briefly from the site.
There is a big discussion group and some very active communities that have spent a great deal of time and effort discussing the hole and trekking the Manastash looking for it, to no avail... apparently.
Mel made it quite clear to Art Bell that when he dies, he wants to be cast into the hole.
The Hole Truth and Nothing but the Truth
Before you conclude that Mel is talking out of his hole, consider this...
The TerraServer community managed to add some credibility to Mel's story. TerraServer, if you don't know, is the place you go for ariel satellite images from around the world. Curious Art Bell listeners took an image of the Ellensburg/Manastash region and interestingly enough, the section of the image that shows Mel's land (where the hole supposedly is) is completely wiped out! There is a large white square void that covers the entire property and surrounding land...