In Penteli, 40 km (25 miles) to the north of Athens, lies a cave filled with mysteries. There are stories about Davelis Cave that say that water flows uphill, that electronics seem to shut down inside it and that many explorers of the cave have never returned. These strange occurrences and many others have given the cave a reputation as a place of danger and dread.
The Cave Through History
Davelis cave was first discovered by accident in the 5th century BC. Greek workers were mining the local marble near the cave to use in the building of the Acropolis, when they stumbled across the entrance. The cave is located on the side of the Penteli Mountain, a conveniently close source of marble for the construction.
But the cave was not called “Davelis” back in the 5th century BC, this came later. In the 19th century, a bandit named Davelis chose this cave as his hideout, and it is rumored he hid a great treasure deep within it.
Such a use for the cave was not unusual, and it had often been used as a shelter. At certain times the cave was also considered as a place of worship, particularly for the followers of Pan. The cave itself consists of a vast series of tunnels running deep within the mountain. These tunnels lead to a pool of water right at the center of the cave.
Archaeologists have carried out several excavations in the cave system, finding pottery depicting Pan and his nymphs. Such ancient treasures are now safely preserved in museums, where they speak to the importance of the site.
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In the Middle Ages, orthodox Christian hermits used the cave as a holy site. They built a small church at the cave entrance with a double dedication, devoted to Saint Nicholas on one side and Saint Spyridon on the other.
Strange Occurrences At The Cave
There are endless tales of paranormal occurrences that have taken place at Davelis cave. There are stories about strange electromagnetic phenomena experienced within the caves, with water seeming to flow in different directions at different times, even uphill.
While many people report weird sightings or experienced unusual happenings in the cave, there has never been evidence to confirm these experiences, and many choose to hike to the cave and experience them for themselves. It is a popular hiking spot and many come there simply to enjoy the walks around the local area, and the views across the countryside. However, many are not prepared to risk exploring the cave itself.
The Government Steps In
In the 1980s the Greek government, looking at the mysterious happenings around the cave, closed the site to the general public. The government offered the explanation that they were preparing tunnels within the complex to make the caves safer. But it seems their actual intention was to prevent the mysterious disappearances and other dangers within the Davelis Cave.
Who made this decision within the government, and the alterations made to the caves, are still hidden from the public. Heavy pieces of machinery and the use of explosives were observed, digging tunnels further into the heart of the mountain.
But irrespective of the reasons behind these construction works at Davelis cave, all work in them stopped suddenly. The new tunnels now lead to dead-ends, and some older ones have been sealed entirely.
All that is left behind is abandoned digging equipment and, weirdly, a small batch of anti-cancer drugs. One theory for the activities is that they relate to several experiments carried out by the government and military around the Davelis cave, to implement a radar system. But the reasons for the tunnelling, and why they suddenly stopped, remain a mystery.
In 2015, Dimitrios Makridopoulos, an enthusiastic amateur with an interest in the occult, decided to carry out his own research into the Davelis cave. He decided to visit the cave, taking a “spirit box” along with him. The spirit box is a device of his own invention, that supposedly promotes communication with the spirits using radio waves. Makridopoulos also used an infrared camera in the cave to record everything unusual that happened.
Makridopoulos reported that the moment he and his friends walked into that cave, he lost control over his five senses. The spirit box activated and apparently captured noises like that of angelic children, chanting in an ancient Greek language. Makridopoulos identified this chanting as the language of the Pixies.
He also claimed that the infrared camera he used recorded some ghostly images when they reached the center of that cave. The recorded image showed a pitch-black background, with a tiny creature hovering around the entrance to the central tunnel. This finally seemed to be evidence of the supernatural in the cave system.
But there are still many skeptics at the claims and proof offering by the paranormal investigator. There are certainly scientific explanations for the electromagnetic phenomenon experienced within the cave which soundly debunk all evidence of the paranormal. But still some observers believe the caves may possibly contain something outside the realm of rational explanation.
Not Somewhere To Visit Lightly
If you intend to travel to the Davelis cave and explore its mysteries for yourself, you will need to arrange your own transportation. No public transportation goes past the Neo-Penteli village on the lower slopes of the mountain. You should be respectful of the dangers in the cave and do no damage to it when inside. Remember, as there are no gates or guards to look after visitors, once inside you will be all on your own with whatever else is in there.
By Bipin Dimri
Top Image: The Davelis Cave. Source: Violeta Meleti / CC BY-SA 4.0)
Athens’ bizarre underground phenomenon. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/20190228-athens-bizarre-underground-phenomenon
Davelis Cave on Pendeli Mountain. Available at: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/davelis-cave-on-pendeli-mountain
The mystery that surrounds Davelis Cave. Available at: https://steemit.com/mystery/@eliakon/the-mystery-that-surrounds-davelis-cave
Davelis cave. Available at: http://exploringtheobscure.com/where-weve-been/season-three/church-cave/