BY: JESSICA BEUKER
In England, near the town of Knaresborough, on the banks of the River Nidd sits one of the oldest tourist attractions in England. A well — its sides resembling a giant’s skull — draws the courageous and deters the cautious, as it was once believed that anything the water touches will turn to stone.
The powers of the well caused many to believe that it had been cursed by the devil. Any object that had been touched by the water, whether it was leaves, sticks or even a dead bird, was turned to stone. Most people avoided the well for fear of turning into stone themselves. Other, more courageous inquisitives would start to leave everyday objects near the waterfall, so they could watch as they turned to stone in just a few weeks.
Despite what many believe, the well is not actually cursed. The petrification process is more scientific than it is miraculous. According to the Daily Mail, the water has a high mineral content due to its tufa and travertine rock. The water trickles down over the objects and creates a hard shell. The process is similar to how stalagmites or stalactites are formed in a cave.
The impressive part is how quickly this process occurs: instead of taking years, small items can petrify in only three to five months. Teddy bears petrify unusually quickly because they are porous, which means the water soaks in and petrifies from the inside out.
The petrifying well has grown in popularity over the years. Many visit just to take in the unusual sights, while others leave behind items with the hopes of revisiting to see their transformation. Visitors have left behind rings, clothing, toys, kitchen utensils and even a bicycle.