The following story was circulated in 1990 by M.E.Beirnes, the Editor of “The Midnight Cry”, an interdenominational and pre-millennial magazine which began in 1939. We received copies of TMC for some years, but have no idea whether it still operates. The story began in Volume 51, No. 4, April 1990, and continued in the June and July editions. In relating this story, extracts will be taken from the magazines before any comment is made. [Our editing is in square brackets.]
SOVIETS ARE DISCOVERING THE REALITY OF HELL. [So began the article.] From a translation of a newspaper article inAmmenusastia, a newspaper published in Finland, comes the following report. There follows also an evaluation by Martin Hunter. One thing is certain: hell is there, and sinners and careless “Christians” had better beware!
Dr. Dmitri Azzacov, the Russian scientist in charge of the project to drill a 14.4 km hole in remote western Siberia, said, “As a Communist I don’t believe in heaven or the Bible, but as a scientist I now believe in hell.” Azzacov further commented, “At this depth [about 9 miles] the drill suddenly began to rotate wildly, indicating that we had reached a large empty pocket or cavern. Temperature sensors showed a dramatic increase in heat to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. We lowered a microphone designed to detect the sounds of plate movements down the shaft, but instead of plate movements we heard a human voice screaming in pain. At first we thought the sound was coming from our own equipment, but when we made adjustments our worst suspicions were confirmed. The screams weren’t those of a single human being, they were the screams of millions of humans. Luckily, we had the recorder going, so we have the mightmarish sounds on tape. At that point we suspended the project and capped the hole. It was obvious that we had discovered something beyond comprehension. We had seen and heard things that were never meant to be seen and heard.”
Another (Norwegian) scientist on the site, Chief Geologist Bjarne Nummedal (65) described “a fountain-head of luminous gas shooting up from the drill site,” which took on frightening forms during the night. [This would presumably account forAzzacov’s statement about what they had SEEN as well as heard.]
One thing is certain. [writes Beirnes] Hell exists as a factual, literal place within the earth, and that it is exactly as Jesus, the apostles and the prophets described it, a place of fire and of everlasting torments for the wicked. It is evident from the Biblical descriptions of heaven and hell that this is the quietist world men will ever live in, and that it will be either the bliss and joy of heaven, or the pain, torments and remorse of hell for every soul on the face of this earth – “according to their works.” Sinners, backsliders and careless “Christians” should seriously consider this evidence and repent! Hell is no joke.
We will continue to print further verifications of this discovery as we receive them. The following is from Age Rendalen, Jnr,Stjerneblokkvn 20, Oslo, Norway, January 7th 1990. “While visiting with a friend in California over the Christmas holidays I happened to tune in to TBN and heard your account of the Finnish seismologists who had located a giant cavity in the earth, 9 miles down, and that their microphones had picked up sounds resembling human voices crying in anguish. I must confess that I laughed when I hear your account (I am special counsellor to the Ministry of Justice in Norway). I did not believe one word of it, and commented to my friend that Americans sure were gullible to believe that hell could be physically located to a hole in the ground. I cannot even begin to tell you what a shock it was to me when I returned to Norway and found the newspapers full of reports about this incident. I knew immediately that if there was a hell, I for sure would end up in it. A tremendous fear took hold of me, and for two nights I dreamed about fire and screams until I surrendered to God and committed my life to His hands for safe-keeping. And I now plead with you, don’t let the skeptics squash this story, or in the least intimidate you from highlighting it. For your benefit I have translated an interview with a Norwegian, Bjarne Nummedal, who was the Chief Seismologist on this expedition. The interview was printed in the Norwegian newspaper Asker og BaerumsBudstikke, Norway’s largest and most reputable paper. Yours sincerely, Age Rendalen Jr.”
Further verification of the article which appeared on page 9 of our April 1990 issue, was provided by Dr. Joseph Chambers, Senior Editor of The End Times and Victorious Living, March-April 1990. (1209 Little Rock Road, Charlotte, NC 28214) He included a copy of the original story in the Finnish paper, Ammenusastia, (August 1989) by Suomen Jengi ja Katulahetys r.y., (29880 Levasjoki, Finland.) a paragraph by paragraph translation, alternately Finnish and English . . . in which the event is substantially authenticated, and is certainly no “hoax” as some have claimed.
[Beirnes concludes the three editions on the “hell-hole” by saying] Every person on earth, when they die, will either go up to heaven, or down to hell. And the choice is yours to make, whether you will repent and go to heaven, or refuse Christ and go to hell.
On first reading these three editions of “The Midnight Cry”, we adopted the attitude of believing the existence of the drilling, and the sounds that were heard, but attributing these sounds to peculiar noises emanating from inside the earth, as tectonic plates moved against each other. This would have been possible. After all, when huge objects are dragged across surfaces on the earth, we commonly hear rasping noises like sandpaper. We strongly objected to Beirnes’s theology on hell.
However, in 1993 Kathryn Lindskoog wrote a book entitled “Fakes, Frauds, and other Malarkey”, 301 amazing stories and how not to be fooled. [Zondervan Publishing House ISBN 0-310-57731-4]It was not until recent years that we were to contact Kathryn via correspondence. She was kind enough to allow us to quote from pages 74-75 in her book, which deals with the above story.
“In 1990 an English translation of a Norwegian newspaper article revealed an amazing event in the Soviet Union. Dr. Azzacovand other scientists on an oil drilling platform in the North Sea drilled a hole nine miles deep, then stopped when they smelledsulfur and heard millions of people screaming. The frightened scientists had discovered the location of hell. A translation of the Norwegian article was used by at least one American news announcer and appeared in a prophecy magazine called theMidnight Cry.
Biblical Archaeology Review published the news in a tongue-in-cheek report in its November-December 1990 [sic. Should be 1989] issue, likening the discovery of hell under Siberia to purported discoveries of Noah’s Ark and the Ark of the Covenant. Many readers took the spoof seriously and sent in comments, including the following: “To take at face value the report from the Midnight Cry as though it were reliable and free from prejudice and bias is naïve in the extreme. Then to report it without comment giving it an air of respectability is irresponsible.” (Professor T.R.Hobbs, McMaster University Divinity College,Ontario, Canada.) “I hope you will stop printing such non-sensicle third- and fourth-hand information and stick to straightforward and helpful finds . . .” (Kerry Cort, Webster, New York). “. . . one would expect more from a scholarly journal.”(Dr.Robert A. Box, Augusta, Kansas.) “I would like to see BAR follow up and see if a Dr. Azzacov even exists.” (Janis Hutchinson, Everet, Washington.)
Editor Herschel Shanks answered that the article had been concocted by a hoaxer to test the American media and had never appeared in a Norwegian newspaper. “We thought . . . our readers would get a laugh over the story, just as we did. If hell is ever actually discovered, you may be sure that we will not confine our announcement to an item in [our miscellany page]. We’ll give it a 72-point head across a spread – with the first color pictures of the place!”
“Outside the city are all those who love and practise falsehood.” Spoofs, scams and hoaxes, call them what you like, are poverty-stricken devices which cause a great deal of upset in life, even though many would argue that “April fools” and “Practical jokes” are just good fun. Be that as it may, to have a fictitious story purporting to be fact, circulated by a magazine with such a high profile reputation as BAR was mischievous and ill-conceived. In the event, the American media were certainly “tested”, and the hoax brought into the open those who persistently preach the Gospel (“good news”???) of everlasting conscious torment for millions. Many adhere to this teaching, simply because the wording of the Authorised Version seems to imply it, but when questioned further they refuse to face up to the moral issue, and the frightful blasphemy it causes to the character of God. Take the horrendous attitude of a late 19th century preacher (with a most applicable name!) the Reverend Joseph Furniss. He specialised in taking children’s missions, but (to his way of thinking) the most important topic he expounded was the literal reality of hell. These were some of his words, recorded at the time of a mission to children. Just imagine how a crowd of little tots would feel!
“You are going to see again the child about which you heard in the Terrible Judgement, that it was condemned to hell. See! It is a pitiful sight. The little child is in this red-hot oven. Hear how it screams to come out. See how it turns and twists itself about in the fire of the oven. It stamps its little feet on the floor of the oven. You can see on the face of the little child what you see on all the faces in hell – despair, desperate and horrible!”
And who propagates these horrendous ideas? Is it the world? No, it’s the church of Jesus Christ. It is only within the Christian church that one finds belief in such diabolical imagery. If we, as Christians, desire to represent God to those who as yet express no faith, then we should seek to get our facts right before setting out to evangelise the world. Judgement is one thing, but the thought of everlasting conscious torment is quite another thing, and should be purged from Christian thought. There isa real judgement, there is a real hell, there are those who will be excluded from God’s Kingdom, to spend time in “outer darkness”, but all God’s judgements are purgative, refining, and purifying, not endless and hopeless, because He is the Author of LIFE, not destruction.
[P.S. Kathryn Lindskoog has been a fearless author of many books, and possesses the same clarity of vision as C.S.Lewis for exposing third-class thinking, tom-foolery and chicanery. She lives in California and is now crippled with MS, hardly able to use her hands to type. In a recent letter she has asked for prayer support at this time. Looking after her is the full-time occupation for her husband John. As the Lord leads, please remember them in your prayers.
2007 note. Since writing the above, we have learned of the death of Kathryn. She has gone to be with the Lord.]