The "Well to Hell" is a borehole located in the Murmansk Oblast, Russia which was purportedly drilled so deep that it broke through to hell. This urban legend has been circulating on the Internet since at least 1997. It is first attested in English as a 1989 broadcast by Trinity Broadcasting Network, which had picked up the story from Finnish newspaper reports.
The legend holds that the Siberians had drilled a hole that was nine miles (14.5 km) deep before breaking through to a cavity. Intrigued by this unexpected discovery, they lowered an extremely heat tolerant microphone, along with other sensory equipment, into the well. The temperature deep within was a 2,000 °F (1,100 °C) — heat from a chamber of fire from which sounds of screaming human voices could be heard.
Some people had, in fact, drilled a hole almost eight miles deep in Kola (the Kola Superdeep Borehole), and found some interesting geological anomalies, although they reported no supernatural encounters. Temperatures reached 180 °C (360 °F), making deeper drilling prohibitively expensive.
United States tabloids soon ran the story, and sound files – recordings of those alleged supplications from the damned – began appearing on various sites across the Internet. The story eventually made its way to TBN, which broadcasted it on the network, claiming it to be "proof" of the literal existence of Hell as taught in some denominations of Christianity.
Åge Rendalen, a Norwegian teacher, disgusted with what he perceived to be mass gullibility, decided to augment the tale at TBN's expense. Having heard the original story on TBN during a visit to the US, he wrote to the network, originally claiming that he disbelieved the tale but, upon his return to Norway, supposedly read a "factual account" of the story. According to Rendalen, the "story" claimed not only that the cursed well was real, but that a bat-like apparition had risen out of it before blazing a trail across the Russian sky.
Rendalen deliberately mistranslated a Norwegian article – an insignificant piece about a local building inspector – and submitted both the original story and the "translation" to TBN, along with a letter which included his real name, phone number, and address, as well as those of a pastor friend who knew about the hoax and had agreed to expose it to anyone who called seeking verification.
However, TBN did not verify Rendalen's claims and aired the story as "proof" of the validity of the original story.