Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 59

'BAD LUCK ROCK'
Ketota's deadpan delivery makes Skyline so special. She rattles off rib-ticklers
around every rock.
She says this: Look but don't touch.
And then?
"You can touch this," says Ketola. This
is 'Good Luck Rock.' Just watch your head
above. That is 'Bad Luck Rock.'"
Nauman makes jokes, too-especially
about the famous fried-egg formation of
Luray Caverns, which was actually caused
by the breaking of two stalagmites. "There
would be a yoke from the second egg,"
Nauman says, "but someone got hungry."
Again, folks, that's a joke.
"They used to allow people to rub them
for good luck for many, many years," Nauman says.
Unfortunately, all that rubbing damaged the formation. "And that's why the
center isn't yellow," Nauman says. "They
rubbed off the yellow yoke color from the
inside, so we've had to ask people to stop
rubbing them."
Steve Silverberg does not impose a
don't-touch rule when visitors take selfguided tours of his Lost World Caverns
near Lewisburg, West Virginia.
Yes, he has heard how oil on your
hands could make rocks stop growing. But
then he points to a handrail, installed in
1970, and says it's grown with about one
inch of deposits. "So," he says, "if they're
not going to be breaking stuff off, I don't
have a problem with them touching it."
'FALSE TEETH'
Waterfalls can be found showering inside
Tennessee's Tuckaleechee Caverns near
Townsend, and at the famous Ruby Falls
inside Lookout Mountain.
Look for the 70-foot-deep Lost Sea at
Sweetwater, Tennessee, the two-inch-deep
Mirror Lake at Skyline Caverns and the
shallow but elegant "Cleopatra's Bathtub"
at Gap Cave inside Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.
What's in a name?
Well, at Luray Caverns, you can feast
your imagination on a field of funky formations called "Darth Vader's Helmet,"
"Snoopy's Dog House," "Pluto's Ghost"
and "The World's Largest and Dirtiest Pair
of False Teeth."
Come hungry.

DISCOVERY STORIES: HOW A CAVE COMES TO BE
Men following fish that
disappeared into an
underground stream
discovered Linville Caverns in North Carolina.
To the north, a geologist
used clues-and a ledge,
covered with insects-to
find the Skyline Caverns
of Front Royal, Virginia.
But what about West
Virginia's dead-animal
dump? Rock, er, read on:
Shenandoah Caverns, Quicksburg, Virginia: Two young brothers
named Neff curiously
climbed into a hole at a
rock quarry in 1884. Using
a rope and a candle, they
are credited with finding
Shenandoah Caverns.
Endless Caverns,
New Market, Virginia:
Two boys chased a rabbit
in a hole in 1879. They
climbed in what became
known as Endless Caverns,
noticed formations on the
ceiling and said, "Carrots.
Turnips. We have found
the bottom of a farm."
Ruby Falls, Chat-

tanooga, Tennessee:
Native Americans and
Civil War soldiers knew
about a cave inside
Lookout Mountain. But
it took Leo Lambert to
make it a modern attraction. While building an
elevator in 1928, Lambert
and a friend entered the
cave through a tiny hole
then disappeared for the
next 17 hours. They reemerged to speak wildly
about beautiful formations and what is now
"Ruby Falls," a 45-foot-tall
freefall which Lambert
named for his wife.
Lost Sea, Sweetwater, Tennessee: Few may
have believed Ben Sands
when the 13-year-old boy
came back to the surface
from Craighead Caverns,
spinning tales of tossing
mud-balls into a "Lost
Sea." The year was 1905,
yet it would take several
more years before "The
Lost Sea" opened as part
of a commercial cave
tour.

Lost World Caverns,
Lewisburg, West Virginia:
You can see daylight-
about 12 stories above
your feet-at Lost World
Caverns. That natural
skylight marks this cave's
discovery point.
"In the early 1900s,
there was a big cattle
ranch here, and the old
farmer was dumping his
garbage and his dead
cows down this hole he
found on the hill," says
the cavern's owner, Steve
Silverberg. "He had no
idea what was down here.
He just knew it took a
long time to hit bottom,
and it never filled up."
Later, in 1942, two students from Virginia Tech
were dropped into that
hole-on ropes-and they
landed in the stinky trash
pile. But, with their helmet lights, they were able
to see what was here: a
giant underground room
of what would ultimately
be developed for tours.
- JT

Formations inside Luray Caverns include
"The World's Largest and Dirtiest Pair of False Teeth."

MAY/JUNE 2019

59



Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019

Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 3
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Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG1
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Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG3
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG4
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