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Hey, everybody, it's me, Josh. And for this week's SJS Selects The Chosen, our episode on Caving. We had already done an episode on Spill Teleology, which is about animals that live in caves. We kind of touch on that, too. But this is all of the ins and outs, if you'll excuse the unintentional pun, about caving in. You are going to love it. It's just a great Thurrock classic example of stuff you should know.
So check it out starting now.
Welcome to Stuff You Should Know, a production of art radio's howstuffworks. Hey, and welcome to the podcast, I'm Josh Clark. I'm an emcee of sorts, not the cool kind, the boring kind. With me, as always, is M.C. Charles W. Bryant. He's the same kind of emcee that I am. Sucker emcee. No, no, not even OK. We're not even stuck emcees. We're too square for that. Even so said maybe sucker emcees, but certainly not within a yeah, I'm a sucker.
Right. Emcee Yeah. To square to be a sucker. That is a T-shirt. Well I'll bet it is.
Now number two, the square shape, uh, number to the letter B or two squared two with two to the second panel.
Oh two square to be a sucker.
Yeah. That's it. Yep. Yep.
We've reached the point where you say stuff and people make T-shirts of one of these that we're going to hit it rich and we can quit this whole podcasting game, retire on our never fortune, never will be rich old men podcasting still if only uh.
Hey Chuck, are you doing well? Yeah. You know, I think I remember that you actually have done this before what we're about to talk about. I have. And you had a good time, didn't you?
Yeah. I'll be offering my personal insights along the way. I was hoping so. That's what I was getting at. Yeah. Um, hey, so I read this article in Slate.
It's called America's Ancient Cave Art. And back in the late 70s, there were a couple of friends who worked for the U.S. Forestry Service and I think Tennessee. And they were running around the forest and they found a cave and they started to explore it and they went into it and they noticed, like there were all these weird, like scratches on the wall. And when they looked a little closer, like, wait, that's not a scratch. That's a snake with horns.
And that's a bird that, like, is tearing the head off of something else. And one of them luckily realized that these are all images associated with what's called the Southeastern ceremonial complex or more coolly named the Southern Death Cult. Yeah, yeah. Which sprung up around the southeastern United States inexplicably about twelve hundred years ago. There's like this what the author of the article called a religious outbreak, that they have no idea where it came from. But the weird thing about this is that they these these drawings were completely preserved.
Like you could still smear the charcoal.
Oh, wow. They and even though they were anywhere from five hundred and then they found some others that are up to like 6000 years old cheese. And they're all in this enormous elaborate cave system in the southeastern United States, specifically the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. Yeah, but what's most remarkable, aside from their preservation, is that some of these are like a mile into the cave. Wow. So some of the Mississippi and people were running around walking a mile into a cave to, like, leave this art.
And it was perfectly preserved. That's pretty cool. Even though almost every other trace of this religious outbreak, the southern death cult, is just gone. Wow. And that cool. That's awesome.
So I bring that up because that is one of the big reasons that people go caving, which ultimately is entering a cave. Once you walk into a cave, you're caving, right?
Yeah, I think so. One Southern death cult, the original name of the cult, the band. Yes, it was. And they changed it. Yeah. Southern to the cult. So much better. Yeah, it's great. Well, I mean, it's one of the coolest names anyone's ever come up with and it's an archaeological term.
Yeah. So it's got, you know, academic meaning as well. Right. All right. Well aside from the poor name changed. I like the band. Yeah, it's it. Good. Bill, I used to. You don't like them anymore. Well, I mean, it's just that sort of represented like high school to me in early college.
They still hold up. Yeah. It's not like I don't like it. I gotcha. You know. Yeah.
Billy Duffy plays a mean guitar. All right.
So spelunking. Should we go ahead and get this out of the way? That's another word for caving, but isn't there an Atari game named Spelunker?
I think so. But cavers don't really use that term a lot.
They use a derogatorily.
Yeah, I think that is the case. I'm trying to remember because I went gaming, like you said. Right.
Go ahead and set that up for the rest of the show with my former neighbor, who was a fan of the show, former Navy.
Did you guys have a spat? Yeah, we don't talk anymore.
I refuse to acknowledge his presence right now. He moved. Oh, get back the other way that happened. Yeah, he he lived across the street and left a letter, my mailbox one day.
And I was like, hey, dude, I heard you mention it might have been after the biosphere speed biology.
Right. Which we'll touch on again, said, I'm an experienced caver. Me and my buddy would love to take you and you guys to you.
And yeah, yeah, we were invited originally. It was all four of us and ended up being just me. Right.
The day came I was like, let's see, crawl around in the cold and get wet and muddy. I'm going to stay home.
Boy, after I did it, I was like. I'm so glad Emily and you, me and Josh didn't come because you guys wouldn't like that. Yeah, there's a good picture of you on Facebook where you're covered in mud. Yeah, I'll post more pictures when this comes out. OK, but yeah, I'll touch on as we go. But the first thing I want to point out is that a cave can be a.
Thing that you picture when you picture a cave, which is like you're walking along and there's a big, huge entrance that you're looking at and you walk in, or in this case, it can be a little hole in the ground. Yeah. Which is when I walked by, I was like that.
That's where we're going. And he was like, yeah, I was like, really? It's like a two foot little hole in the ground. Yeah.
It looked like maybe a place where foxes live. Yeah. He's like, that's how you get in there. I was like, OK, you're like that's how you get in there pal.
But it ended up being aside from the most physically challenging thing I've ever done. One of the coolest things I've done. Yeah. It was very difficult.
But I mean, you nailed it on the head. A cave is basically any opening from the surface below ground. Yeah. Into the earth. Right. And for the most part, when we think of a cave, it's part of something called a cast landscape, which is characterized by like sinkholes, underground aquifers. Yeah.
Subterranean drainage caves, a cave system. That's part it's it's technically called a cast landscape. Yeah.
And well, once you read that, you kind of take it for granted. But if you never really thought about it, I had never thought about it. I was like, well, why are these caves even here?
Right. You know, someone didn't come in here and carved these out.
No, but some natural processes did. That's right. There's actually four main ways that caves are created, right? Yeah.
Most caves are limestone caves. And you get those when rainwater seeps down through the soil, picks up some CO2 along the way, and that forms carbonic acid, which is kind of weak. It is.
But if you if you have carbon, carbonic acid present in the same area for eons, yeah. It's going to eventually eat away at even stone. Yeah.
Like limestone. And that's basically what happens. It either collects there for a long time or is rushed in there by rain. Yeah. And corrosion. Yeah. Is what happens.
It's erosion through abrasion through abrasion. Just basically rainwater running over something long enough it's going to erode it. And that is how you get a cave one way. Yeah. That's, that's the main way. I think you've got extremophiles which is kind of cool.
We're still we're starting to realize, you know, I think we talked about them in the Are we all Martians episode.
Yeah, we have an article on extremophiles that have earmarked for us.
OK, that's pretty good. They are basically bacteria that live and thrive in toxic environments.
Yeah. Like places where nothing else lives.
High sulfur content and really high temperatures are really, really low temperatures or just. Yeah, they're the only things that live there and they are starting to realize that they have a pretty big impact on cave formation. For example, there's some that like to eat oil underground. I never knew this. And they eat and eat and then they shoot ducks of sulfide gas.
Right. And the sulfide gas goes up and up and up as gas we want to do. Yeah. And it travels through the through groundwater. It picks up oxygen and becomes sulfuric acid. And that really starts to eat away at caves.
Yeah. That's probably more so I think than Chronixx. Yeah.
Which is you probably want to look out for the sulfuric acid like in a cave system if you're ever caving. I would say so, yeah. So that's number two. Um, sea caves. You'll see a lot if you ever do sea kayaking and stuff from the island. Yeah. You might venture into a sea cave. It's pretty cool. Um, they are basically just water pounding away at the seaside cliffs to the point where they form caves.
Yeah, pretty easy. Yeah. Did you ever see the orphanage, the Guillermo Del Toro movie? No, dude, you've not seen that.
I almost watched it last week. That is one of the best ghost movies ever made.
Yeah, I was by myself and I wanted to watch something scary because it was. How old were you? That's it. And I searched around on the Internet for like, what's a really good scary movie?
Not some crappy scary movie. Yeah. And that was on the list. And I ended up searching and researching for so long I didn't watch anything.
I went to sleep.
You should have asked me or go on to the social media is like, yeah, once I was there some scary movies and got into a conversation with Joey and also and like a couple other people, and ended up with this list of like great horror movies.
And all of them panned out awesomely. Yeah.
Have you seen that now, dude, that was another one recommended by the Del Toro to do it is is like the Spanish Civil War era or Orphan Day. No, no, no. That's um.
Oh, that one called. I know the one you're talking about.
Devil's Backbone. Yes, I saw that one. That's OK. Compared to the orphanage, it might as well have been like Pee wee's Playhouse. Hey, I like Pee Wee. No, I mean as far as light fare goes.
Uh, yeah. Okay. All right. It's just so much better. I'm watching it. Yeah.
This watch has the devil too. It's pretty good. I think you'll like that a lot.
Yeah. I don't. I like good scary. I don't like all that crap. I saw, like, stuff, you know, like shocking torture porn crap. I like the first couple songs. Yeah. All right. So that's the third way that came.
Well, that was a good one.
The fourth is lava tubes. You know, when lava comes up through a volcano and it shoots up, if the conditions are right, the outer part will cool more quickly than the creamy, gooey middle. Yeah.
And when that happens, our shell will come together and form this coherent crust and the stuff in the middle might fall back down.
Right. You get yourself a tube, you have a tube of love.
And now if at the top of this that that top caves in or crumbles, all of a sudden you have an entrance and the lava tube is now a cave because again, cave is any entry from the above ground to hell.
I imagine the lava tube caves are pretty interesting to explore. Yeah, but I'm a limestone guy. Well, I mean, you don't spend much time in Hawaii if you did. But you'd be allowed to go to. You're probably right. All right. So once you're in the cave, you're going to notice a couple of things straight away. Stalactites and stalagmites, OK, which is Wichman.
I feel like we have a golden opportunity here to explain this to thousands and thousands and hundreds of thousands of people.
It's very easy. There's a lot of little ways you can remember maybe millions of people still act. And that is what the see are the ones that hang down. And you can remember that by maybe hold on tight.
Stalactite, they got a hold on tight. Yeah, because it's not still tight and still tight or still leg might and stalagmite, it's still tight.
Yeah. With the C and in stalagmite with a G in and out. So that helps too, because you have C for ceiling or G for ground.
Great. They just did it or T for top if that helps you.
We give you three ways to remember this. I don't think that weird. I don't, I think I messed it up. This is so simple for a second and then I. I'm sorry everyone.
So stalactites hang down. Stalagmites come up from the bottom. Yeah, they are Stelio Therms, which is a K formation. Yeah. And this happens when carbonic acid eats away at this limestone and starts dripping the calcite mineral. Yes. From rainwater.
Yeah. It's just kind of trickling in and it is for centuries. Yeah. And as it is it's depositing that calcite. Right. Yeah.
So it drips down from the top so it forms and then it will you know, not drip up but collect and form up from the bottom. Sometimes they'll meet and form a column which is really cool. Yeah it is. But these things grow at a rate of a quarter inch to an inch per century.
Wow. So you can't sit around and watch a stalactite form. That is basically the rule of thumb.
So the rainwater comes down in, drips down and whatever deposits are at the top going down is a stalactite. That's right. And it drips down under the ground and builds a formation that goes up towards the top. Yes, that's a stalagmite and that's why you usually find them together.
And still, last scene is actually the Greek derivative. And it means to drip.
Really. So there you have it. That's great. And they did mention I looked these up because I'd never seen them other specially a therms like fried eggs and bacon. Did you look these up? No, it's pretty neat.
It looks like a fried egg. It's the speaker information. Yeah.
Looks like a you know, it's large and round and has a center that's very round as well. Yeah. And then the bacon stuff, it looks like bacon strips. It's like, you know, these little strip like formations that have different colored patterns that look like, you know, the fatty part of the bacon or the meaty part.
Right. And it looks like fried eggs and bacon.
So I feel like I saw the fried egg one before. Yeah, you probably have one. I saw it. I was like, oh, that's what that is.
No fried eggs and bacon. I to see it because the the name wasn't descriptive enough. Yeah.
And that's just this just proves that speech. Geologists are fun loving people.
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Nowadays, everything, just like now it's feeling like one day on a Saturday night. Make it up as we go only on the podcast network in association with audio of media created by Scarlett Burke and Jared Goosestep. So while you're in the cave, you're probably going to run into certain kinds of animals and as physiologists love to do, they've classified these things into categories, right?
Yeah, we talked about these in biosphere ideology. Right. The creepy cave dwelling things. Yeah.
If you haven't heard that episode, go check it out. It's all about caves in the stuff living in caves. Yeah, it's really cool. But the trouble is, Zeins, those are temporary visitors, like a bear maybe hibernating in a cave. It's they live most of their life outside of the cave and come in for shelter, food or shit like that.
Yeah. And there's a trove of files that means they love the Trog. They do. They spend most of their life there. Right. But they will come out some for food. Yeah. But they spend most of their lives in the cave, right. Yeah. Salamander's crickets.
They aren't like that here Daddy. Long legs and other spiders love them.
And then there's the chocolate bites. Yeah. Those are ones who live their entire lives within the dark zone of the cave. And usually they don't have eyes and apparently without exception, they're all blind. Yeah, like the Promethea Salamander.
Yeah, I remember that thing. The Ozark Blind Salamander, the tooth cave spider, which isn't as creepy looking as it sounds. No, I expected to see, like, you know, some something out of A like B movie, but it was just like a little skinny spider.
OK, but if you name something the tooth cave spider, you expect some, like, really scary looking thing.
Yeah. Or something with glasses and huge buckteeth. Yeah. Same with the tooth cave beetle. And they're also blind fish and shrimp and all manner of little white creepy creatures.
Yeah. The black pigment because they don't need it. Yeah. Like screw pigment. What do we need that for.
And then I just kind of stuck out to me the idea that it's always the average annual temperature of the surface above a cave within the cave. Yeah. So if it's the average temperature over the course of an entire year, in the spot above a cave is sixty five degrees. It's always sixty five degrees in the cave.
Not true. Oh, that's not you know, so the the temperatures in the cave are very, very stable.
But, you know, depending on how how deep it is, the closer you get to the center of the earth, the warmer it gets. So that has an effect. And just like above ground, with the sun warming, the surface differently causes whether different amounts of heat in inside a cave cause what we wouldn't recognize is weather, but actual weather itself.
So is this wrong? Yes, the way it's stated, it's always the average annual temperature. Yeah, but generally it is. Yeah, it's usually very stable and it's very close to that. But we're finding now that there is actual weather that happens in a cave, just like we found other seasons on the bottom of the sea floor, like it seems like the same thing to us. But there's actually like seasons and changes that we don't we didn't recognize because that's what we don't think of it that way.
Yeah, caves sometimes can be dry and dusty. I guess it all depends on where you are in the country. Um, the one I went to and like many caves are wet and muddy and I was not expecting that.
I was not expecting a lot of what I encountered, actually.
Really. You weren't were you prepared for a wet money? Oh yeah. I mean, they told me what to wear and we'll get into all that stuff. But I just I don't know. I thought I was going to be walking into a thing and then walking around sort of like the kid caves that you can take the whole family do. Right. But, yeah, it wasn't like that at all that was being dropped into a muddy, wet, cold hell.
Yeah. And you looked like it to me afterward. Yeah. I was like, you were really glad to be topside again. It was weird coming out.
I'll say that.
So why did you go. Why would anybody go?
What's the allure of caving the unknown and the thrill of discovery? Oh, yes. Well, it's true, though.
That's what the article says. But I don't mean to be glib. It is very cool and way different down there. Like, you get a sense that it is it is not the same topside as it is in the bowels of the earth. Very different place and very cool to experience. Yeah. Firsthand.
And as we mentioned, there's a lot of good opportunity for cave archaeology because the climate and temperature in a cave is so stable. Things are things left in caves are really, really well preserved.
Yeah. And you know, the caves were a good place for ancient rituals and things. And they mentioned the cave art in France. Yeah. And Lesco. Have you seen the stuff.
Yeah. Holy cow. It's like it looks like artwork painted on canvas. Some of it does. It's not like, you know, just scratchie cave drawings like this stuff is really beautiful. Yeah.
And they found this in 1940.
They discovered this in France from the Paleolithic era. 17 to 20 thousand years old and over 2000 figures drawn, and it's like from what I understand, like the granddaddy of all cave drawing scores. Yeah, I was here in France. Yeah, here in France. They're in France.
Well, there's also another one called Chauvet Cave in France. And that's what Werner Herzog, Cave of Forgotten Dreams is.
I never saw that. Oh, you didn't watch anything that he's in there.
Yeah, ordinary. Yes, he does. So is narrating. He's a bad guy. And is it the new bond now? Is that right now he's a bad guy in some movie coming up. And I was like, oh, that's brilliant. Yeah. Like, no one sounds more diabolical than Werner Herzog. Yeah, it's perfect.
But yeah, that's a good one, too. I think they shot it in 3D as well. It's supposed to be like, really good. Oh yeah. Check that one out. It's it's very interesting because they figure out that, um, they're like, why why would these idiots draw bison with eight legs? Was there an eight legged bison back then?
And then somebody figured out that if you look at it by by torchlight, not electric torch, but real fire torch.
Does it move? It moves. Oh, my God. That is so cool. Yeah. Wow, that's awesome. Uh, yeah. I highly recommend you guys go and Google image these lasu see a U X France and it's all over the place. And what was the other one.
Shelvey C.H. Yvette. Yeah, very cool stuff. And see Cave of Forgotten Dreams if you're into that.
I mean it's a lot of cattle drawings, granite, but you know it's better than you would think. Right, considering they're doing this on a cave twenty thousand years ago. Exactly. All right.
There's also bio speed geology, which we talked about at length. And we don't need to really get into here. It goes into the bio speed geology episode. But that's another reason people go through caves. But ultimately, I think, like the first sentence was the right one. It's like the thrill of discovery and the unknown. Yeah. There's so few people doing any actual carving enough caves out there. Yeah. They're like, you got a pretty good chance of finding something that no one else has seen for ten thousand years or maybe ever.
Yeah. You know, it's pretty cool.
And caves to part of being a cave or a special geologist is being into conservation and preservation. And that's one thing I learned from my buddy Eric and his friend.
They were like casual spelunkers that were in there, clearly didn't know what they were doing, weren't dressed for it, didn't have the proper equipment. And of course, these guys are just like these are the people that get us in trouble or that get in trouble that we need to come help. Right. Get out of trouble. Uh, but I think serious cavers are uniformly way into the preserving the cave. Sure. Like, they don't just go and cave and like, yeah, that was cool.
Like, they're all into the meetings and the preservation. A lot of them do the volunteer for search and rescue and stuff like that, like they really get into it. Yeah. It's not a casual affair.
No. And that that that idea actually extends to urban spelunking or urban exploration.
Yeah. Yeah. Where you you enter something like a sewer system or an abandoned building or something like that. But you're one of the big rules is like you can't break in it or you can enter. Somebody else has already cut a hole in the chain link fence. You go through that hole, you can't cut that hole yourself and you don't take anything right.
You preserve the place exactly the way it was. And we actually have, I think, with a new article on the site. That is awesome. Ten top ten cities for urban exploration. Oh, yeah. It's like got all these attractions of like where to go in the city and what to explore. It's very cool.
Well, France has the catacombs and we're really popular. Yeah. And I did a little bit of that in Florida in Fort Pickens and Pensacola. Oh, the Fort Pickens catechisms.
Well, the Fort Pickens battery, it was like, you know, civil war battery. Oh, yeah. Yeah. And I think it's all blocked off now. But at the time, like, the metal bars were bent enough where you could get through and me and my brother and my brother in law, like, made torches and like went all through the all stuff.
Did you find, you know, stuff written on the walls, like from the Civil War and then stuff written on the walls, clearly more modern in nature.
Right. But just graffiti and stuff and beer cans. But it was just neat walking around.
It's cool. Um, what else, Chuck? How to get started? Yeah, I guess if this podcast tickles your fancy, then you may want to know how to get into this.
Yeah, a lot of people might be into the very easy guided. You walk in and you walk around type of experience. Right. Take the kids. There's nothing wrong with it. You can still learn a lot. You know, it's not a cop out like Carlsbad Caverns and like the real touristy ones. They're great. Yeah.
Have you ever been there? I haven't been there. Have been to Ruby Falls. You mean I went.
Yeah. Ruby Falls is nice. Yeah. Well yeah.
And there were plenty of people running around. It was very well lit. Yeah. Safe. Yeah. And but it was so awesome getting to the falls. Yeah. Yeah. I mean like it was great. I was a total I think part of the reason I appreciated it so much because I took it for what it was, it was like this is tourism, you know. Yeah. But it's also very cool. Yeah. I mean you're walking underneath a fault line in the earth.
It's really kind of you can tell T-shirts afterward, but it's still very cool to be in there. Exactly. Um, so you can do that, you can go to these like really big touristy ones and still get a nice experience or you can get a guided tour for, you know, a little more intense experience.
Have you been in Carlsbad Caverns.
Yeah. Okay. Yeah. It's nice isn't it. Lovely. It's like red carpet everywhere. Yes. Couches, everything. Chairs.
Um, but they do mention in this article that kids are great to take in the caves.
They love that kind of stuff. Obviously you want to keep an eye on them because it's pretty easy to get lost in there. Yeah, but at these these big major attractions, they they take care of you, you know. Right. Don't let your kid go off and live with the Salamander's. Yeah.
And you've got a guide for the guided tour. Yeah. But even self guided tours, it's usually like paved or a clearly marked trail. Like you're you're going to have a lot of trouble getting lost if you get off of this trail.
Yeah. Or if you stay on the trail I should say.
Yeah. I went to a concert in a cave one time. Really. Yeah. In Tennessee they man what's the name of it.
I can't remember now, but it was the silver Jews played their last show ever in this cave. Oh yeah.
And they have regular shows. They're like usually it's like bluegrass and stuff. But it's also like you, you know, you park in this big field and then it's one of these where you walk into a huge opening and there's big paths. But, you know, you walk like probably half a mile down in there and then it opens up to this huge open.
Room and there's a stage and there's lights and everything that's really cool experience. I don't what the green room is like there. I don't know.
It's probably brown, right, to sit on that rock. We'll bring you some shrimp.
Yeah, it was really very cool. Show that I might post pictures of that, too. OK, well, it's going to be a picture bonanza.
Then there's cave diving. Yes.
Probably the most dangerous thing a person can do.
Yeah, we can't overstate that enough. Like even these cave dudes that I was with that are hardcore. They're like, those people are crazy. Yeah.
And if you're a hardcore scuba diver, even a wreck diver, that doesn't mean you're a cave diver. No cave diver is its own thing. Yeah.
And like, it's very easy to dive in 2012. Seven people already died in a cave diving in 2012 now.
Wow. Three of them in three different days. Three consecutive days in Florida in three different incidents. Yeah. In March. Yeah, it's scary.
And I asked Erik, I was like, oh, you know, what's the big deal? And he was like, dude, you're just you've got to be crazy to do it. And he's like, you are underground. Underwater, right. And it's very easy to get lost and turned around and you've only got so much air.
They say that to never like to try and exit with half a tank of air still. Yeah. Or whatever it is not air. What is it. It's compressed air.
Compressed air. There's like an air mix, but it's generally air. Yeah.
But they're like, you don't want to go below half a tank ever. Yeah. It's just scary I'm sure. And he took me after we went Gabin he took me to the entry point for the cave diving nearby. And it's this little probably, you know, 10 foot by 10 foot hole, you know, a little pool. But it's like infinitely deep. Right.
And it's like, wow. So you can jump in and just sort of waddle around or there's below that there is the tube right where you enter. And it just seemed like the scariest thing ever.
Right, was a tank of air on your back that could be punctured by anything. Yeah, because it's not like there's not stalactites hanging down.
Yeah, it's utterly frightening to me.
That said, if you're in a cave diving, you go through the certification and you like are into that kind of thing. There's some awesome cave diving, like cenotes. And he said, yeah, yeah. And there's a place in that I missed when we were talking about the Abandoned Mines podcast, there's a place called Bonder Mine in Missouri, and it's an old red mine that was in production for like one hundred years. And then they closed it down in 1960 and they didn't remove anything.
There's like magazines, all this stuff is still sitting around and they flooded it with like a billion gallons of crystal clear water, really. And you can go scuba dive, you can cave dive this abandoned mine now. Wow. And see, there's like an old movie theater down there. Really, there's minecart. It's a kind of theater.
Yeah, it's pretty cool. That's awesome. Yeah. But it's like the visibility is just limitless. Wow. Yeah. I wonder if that's slightly safer.
I think it's pretty heavily guided. Tours go. So if you're going to start somewhere that would probably be a good place.
Okay. Yeah, yeah. I saw a couple of dudes come out of the hole and all the cavers know each other, it seems like because they knew the guys. Yeah. And they were like, oh yes. You know, these guys are real nice. And then they turned around. They're like, they're nuts.
These guys are crazy. Yeah. Oh, so all the cavers know each other because they're all members of grottos, right? Yeah, it definitely seems like a close knit community, right. Like, they're all on each have each other's contact info because, you know, when someone gets lost, they send out, you know, like who can come and help basically.
Right. Who's free tomorrow. Right. To come and find these idiots tomorrow. They're in trouble if it's tomorrow. Yeah, that's true. But well, it grottos a caving club. Right. And any legitimate caving club is sanctioned by the National Speechley Illogical Society. And there's about 200 caving clubs or grottos in the U.S.. Nice.
So if you're a member of a grotto, if you're a caver, what are some of the things that you're going to need? You're already into this year, like, come on, let's go. What are we going to do? What do I need to take with me?
Well, you want to take three forms of light and plenty of backup batteries and take glowsticks, take the headlamps, take lighters, even though those will get wet.
You know, you can bag him in the dry bag, but take as many forms of light as you feel comfortable with, that's not less than three. And not only I took like four or five. That's smart. Yeah.
And I knew I was going to be fine, but I was just like, you know what? I'm going into the depths of the earth. I want to have lots of light at my disposal.
Right. And you want to also have lots of batteries and extra bulbs for those lights? Yeah, sure.
Just because the light your light is the number one most important thing when you're caving. That's the number one most important piece of equipment.
Yeah. And my buddy Eric had a carbide lamp, which, you know, back in the day when, like, even car headlights and lights on the front of houses wasn't always a gas lamp. Sometimes it was carbide.
And old school cavers use these things and it's basically a chemical reaction. It burns acetylene gas and it's created from a reaction of calcium carbide with water. So he had this, uh, this pod that he carried on his belt that had carbide pellets in it, and it would drip water down and create the gas and it fed it up through a tube connected to the, you know, the gas lamp that he's wearing on his head. And it was really cool.
The other guy didn't have one, but Eric was used it. And the light that it gives is just really very illuminating.
It's not like a you know, how incandescent light is just so specific, even if it's like a broad range. It's not like having a flame. Right. So this thing really, like warms up the cave and it does actually warm it slightly. But just generally with light, warmth. Right. It's just like the cave was illuminated, not like a flashlight shining on something very cool, nice and very durable. Like if you take care of these things, they're a little finicky.
But if you take care of them, you can have them like your whole life. It sounds kind of new fangled.
Uh, no, it's very old school. Well, old fangled. Yeah, it's old Bengel. Yeah. And you just look cool.
Eric look like a cool guy with this to run out of his head and flicking a little lighter switch and he looked cooler than I did. Right with my pencil dick. Yeah. With my ballistic um.
So you need light. You need light, you need a helmet and you want your helmet to be certified by the Union Internationale, the associations that would please me.
Yes, Jerry, just. Laughter You want a helmet you want like and this is if you if you want to do it right, like in safely we saw moron's in tank tops and shorts walking around and crawling around and you know, these guys are just rolling.
Their eyes are like those are the people that get hurt and get lost.
Right. We had knee pads and elbow pads, helmets. As far as safety gear, that was pretty much it. And they had like rope and stuff just in case.
Um, and you want to dress appropriately. Mm hmm. And lawyers avoid cotton.
Well, if you are wearing cotton, you want to wear under layers of synthetics. Yes. Snag less easily. They dry more quickly. Yeah. Yeah. I would imagine you want to avoid cotton altogether if possible.
Yeah. Or one of those like synthetic wicking shirts, you know.
Yeah. The workout shirts. Yeah.
Um but you do you want to dress in layers because it's cold in there. Yeah. But you know you, you may raise your heart rate here or there and you may get a little warm. I definitely makes my heart ache. Yeah.
You're going to get wet. Most likely you can be in a dry dusty cave, but chances are you're going to get wet.
Uh, there were times where we were up to our chest in a crevice about two feet wide up to our chest in water. And it's intimidating. It's like I'm far away from anybody. And like, what if this water rises? I mean, it didn't. But, you know, what if it started raining? These things can happen pretty fast down there.
And, uh, so, I mean, we were literally soaked to the bone. It's like getting a swimming pool. And then you get out and you're covered in mud and you're supposed to climb things. That's like climbing a greased wall of stone.
I'm like, am I supposed to really do this? Right? And they were like pushing me bye bye. But it was sort of embarrassing, like pulling me. It felt like a stuck pig at times.
The only thing that made it better was the warm glow of the car by lamp.
And then they had the pancakes, you know, where it's like, you know, is I'm surprised my body fit in this thing. And you had to go like thirty feet across this pancake. What is it? Well, it's it's where there's a top rock and a bottom rock.
Uh, so basically you just oh, God. There's like a foot of space to crawl through and you can even crawl. You're like inching, you know, using your shoulder blades. I would have lost my mind.
You would not have like this pancake. And that's when I remembered thinking, boy, Josh would not have liked this part.
No, it was uncomfortable for me. And I don't even have issues with, like, you know, closed in spaces.
But you feel like. What if the earth shifted in this thing just smashed me? Yeah, of course, the earth didn't shift like that, but I don't know, it could. I'm down there. I'm freaking out. Yeah. And you made it, though. Yeah. I don't want to spoil it. Yeah. You survived.
Uh, what else you need food and water. You sure you want enough to last your whole trip and then some just in case you, uh, like uh.
You want gloves. You want a first aid kit.
Yeah. And here's my favorite part. So we were talking about how, um, like you do you just preserve the environment exactly as it was found. This also means that you're not allowed to poop there. You can poop there, but you're going to poop into like a plastic container. Yeah.
That you can carry out with you because you take your urine in your feces out of the cave with you. So you want a plastic bottle to pee into and a like a good crush proof container to poop into. I did not poop. I wouldn't have poop there.
Just be like, well I guess I'm not pooping today.
Yeah. And, you know, I was only down there a few hours. So if you if you can't hold your poop a few hours, you shouldn't be shaving that day, man.
Just put it off, you know, imagine getting sick down there. Well, like vomiting you, no. I'm not sure what you mean, the other kind. Oh, like puppies. Yeah, and that would be awful. Yeah.
Um, if you have a cave map, which you should have, um, bring a few copies, put them in Ziplocs, hand them out to your friends that you're with, make sure everyone knows what's going on. Right.
And you also want to probably leave one at home with an X marks the spot of your route. Sure. And well at least it's the cave safety, doesn't it.
Yeah, there's a lot of precautions you should be taking before you set out. Yeah. Know what you're doing.
Do not take it lightly. It's not like a hike that you can go on. So it's definitely different. You should go with someone that knows what they're doing. At the very least, a couple of people would be even better. And they say not to go in really large groups because you don't want it. Like you could leave someone behind easier. Yeah, like four to six people. Right. Is a good number.
And you want to put the slowest person at the front of the group. That would have been me. So everybody's kind of pushing them from behind me sometimes, literally. Yeah. And the reason why is because, you know, that person doesn't get left behind. It makes the whole group stick together. Yeah. And if you're into passive aggressive peer pressure, that's great. That's a great situation for everybody. Yeah.
You know, uh, no, you're fine. I know that's what they kept saying to like, oh, you're doing great, buddy.
And I was like, no, I'm not. I know I'm that guy. Um, you also never, ever want to go camping alone. I don't think there's a better sentence that's ever been spoken by anybody.
Never go camping alone. It's a good idea if you do get lost, they say, to stay put and that it's better to stay put instead of moving around because at least you're where you last were, right? You are where you last were.
Well, you're where you said you were going to be. Yeah, at least roughly. If your light goes out and you're alone, start screaming at the top of your lungs until someone comes and get you.
That's probably not a bad idea, but they say not to freak out. But yeah, I would definitely try and make a little noise.
Although you also don't want to attract the descent. The hillbillies. Yeah. Whatever those were, they were they were mountain folk. You know, that was a lot like a Lovecraft story.
I wasn't I can't remember the name of it, but it's there's a whole thing that takes place in the Alleghenies, maybe Adirondacks, one somewhere up there.
Where is this family? There was like kind of mountain folk, uh, came to inbreed and eventually moved underground. It's one of his best ones.
And he was we should do a podcast on him. OK, what a twisted mind. Yeah, well, we did the Necronomicon, remember. Yeah, but let's just do it on his life, OK? What made him tick.
Let's do it. Um. Oh while we're at it real quick. Yeah.
Dude, I found a real legitimate physics paper or written by a legitimate physicist that explains how certain events in Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu uh can be explained away by quantum physics. Really. Yeah. It's specifically a gravitational lending.
Yeah. To explain what Kotula is or no.
Like what happened to this guy who went mad and described this crazy place that he went in and stumbled upon in the South Pacific and then came back and wrote about it. They're like, well actually wait a minute. What he's talking about is a quantum bubble.
Wow. Yeah, it's pretty awesome. Like it gets in like he works out math and formulas for explaining all this. Yeah, but the rest of it is really interesting. Wow. Yeah. I can't remember what it's called, but probably look at the physics of the Kalkadoon and I'm sure it'll bring it up.
Yeah. That's a good one. That's awesome. So what are some of the big problems you're going to run into, Chuck, aside from getting lost or running out of light hypothermia.
Right. Always a concern when you're cold and wet.
Um, like I said earlier, flooding of passages, which I was worried about the whole time.
Yeah. Um, slipping. Falling. I was slipping all over the place.
It's going to happen in these muddy caves.
And, you know, you just I just sort of slid and tried not pick my face up off the rock. Right. But I definitely got bumps and bruises. Oh, but and I was really saw the next day. It was like mountain climbing except underground. And the mountain was slick and muddy. Yeah. That's basically kind of what felt like like rock climbing. Yeah. It was not what I thought it was going to be. Once again, I can't stress that enough.
It's not a stroll. Hey, my baloney sequence by ten.
Yeah. Yeah it was pretty bad.
Um but super fine. And like I said, when you come out man that's so weird. Once you've been underground for that long, when you come out to the real world, everything is just like hyper colorful and bright and just weird, huh. And it's like, man, there's a whole different world down there that most people in. Nice, I highly encourage it. Just be careful. Yeah, I think that's good advice. Is there anything else in here?
Um, always make sure that several people above ground know where you went, know where you're going, when you expect to be back. Yeah.
And if somebody does get hurt, you never leave that person alone. Right. Couple of people have to stay with them. A couple of people have to go topside. The people who go topside need to leave some of their supplies and light and stuff and water back with the people who are hanging out with the injured person. Yeah, they need to know exactly where the injured person is so they can tell other people who can come get them out. Right.
And they also need to remember to take the car keys with them.
So it's really kind of important. You don't want to get all the way out there and be like, oh, can you imagine left the keys in there.
Yeah, yeah, that would suck. And then, like you said, if you ever get lost, you don't want to panic. You want to stay put. You want to rely on your plan, your backup plan, which was letting a bunch of people know that you were supposed to have been home two hours ago and you weren't.
That's right. And there are thousands of caves in the U.S., many of which are very explorer will just do your research beforehand, go with someone that knows what they're doing.
There are more extreme caves around the world that are very cool to look at ones that you actually can skydive into or not skydive, but base jumping into.
Yeah, boy, that I can't imagine sky diving in one.
I think I've seen I've seen a video of people base jumping into this. So Toño de la Skogland Rios. Yeah, I think planet Earth, the discovery show had that OK.
Yeah that's where I thought it was. It's way cool. Yeah. And then like you talked about the snow nowadays those are very cool to. Just be careful. We said that enough, I don't know.
I don't think you can, because, like I said, once you get there, you realize they're just a bunch of dummies, no matter what, that are ill prepared locals that are like you.
I've been down here before. Well, if you want to learn more about keeping, you can type in spelunking in the search bar at HowStuffWorks. Dot com s p e l. You and I n g. And we'll bring up this article. And I said spelunking, which means, of course, it's time for listener mail and we call this Pakistani pizza.
We did a pizza podcast and we got lots and lots and lots of feedback on that. I knew that was going to be one of those very ubiquitous food that people love to talk about. And this is from and I'm probably going to put your name sorry, buddy nebe ha siete. And he said that he listened to the pizza cast and but he would drop some four one one on pizza in Pakistan. He's originally from Orlando but currently lives in Karachi for university.
And he said here, when you order a pizza, you don't really order toppings, but you order a specific flavor. Although if you're at a pizza place, you can order specific toppings and build your own pizza.
Is Pizza Hut calls it, though they are a little less cooperative when you order for delivery, apparently in Pakistan.
So he said your pizza will most likely have some form of chicken on it. And then, of course, there is no ham because it's a Muslim country. Yeah. Pizza Hut alone serves chicken tikka, chicken curry, chicken fajita, Ahari, chicken fried chicken tikka and the spicier fajita Sicilian as well, as well as well as the veggie shawarma, pepperoni and a couple of other different beef flavors.
Opeth is so good I bet it can compete in Pakistan. Yeah, here's the kicker for me guys. Not only do they offer their usual stuffed crust with the robot cheese, they also serve beefy sike kebab stuffed crust. Yes. Wow. Papa John's. Oh wait.
I want to make sure everyone understands what you just said. He said that they offer a slice of pizza with a crust stuffed with kebab, with beef kebab. That sounds delightful. It's Papa John's or offers a more traditional American pizza menu with their various pseudo Italian names, including Chicken Florentine. Domino's flavors in Pakistan are a little more mainstream American while they do serve chicken tikka as well as something called Golden Feast or something to that effect, which as far as I know involves corn, pineapple and probably chicken.
Along with the corporate giants, there are plenty of local chains of generic sounding names, including pizza place, pizza point pizza, California Pizza, and the list goes on and on. Eat pizza.
It's a type of, uh, unfortunately, my university and dorm are located on the outskirts of town. Not the ideal neighborhood to these places. Usually don't deliver, but I suppose that's fine. I don't order pizza very much here as Pakistani pizza is kind of small and a bit too shaky and very super ready.
But it fills you up and you never leave hungry. I just had a fairly tasty contraption from Pizza Point around five hours ago for dinner and I can still feel it in my throat. Lesson learned. Did not go to bed in the morning, sleep until the evening in order. Excess food anyways. Love the show and lots of love that is now see it. Thanks a lot as well. Yeah that's all. That's why. Yeah. See it.
He just said or maybe just said so I thought it said we'll find out to be her. Right. Yeah.
Thanks a lot for writing it. Good luck with your studies in the pizza. Yeah. If you're in a foreign land and you're listening to us and you have some four one one, as Nabila pointed out, to be her. Right. We want to hear from you and we want to hear about it from you. You can tweet to us that that's why ask podcast. You can join us on Facebook, dot com slash stuff. You should know and you can send us an email to Stuff podcast at HowStuffWorks dot com.
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