Urban legends are a lot of fun to share when you sit around a table with your friends and family. There’s the one that says gang members purposely drive around with their headlights off at night as part of a gang initiation. When an unsuspecting do-gooder flashes his or her headlights to let the gang members know theirs are off, the criminals turn around and kill the driver.

Another urban myth, which was common in the 1960s, involved a woman who really loved her beehive haircut. She loved it so much that she never washed it. At some point, a spider decided to make a nest in her hair and eventually gave birth to a whole brood of spider babies.

A bit gross and, for the most part, a totally unbelievable story. And as probable as the gangbangers with the headlights off may sound, there are no documented cases.

But have you ever heard the urban legend about the Russian hole into hell?

According to this tale, a Soviet/Russian mining operation in Siberia was drilling the deepest humans had ever gone. Once they reached a depth of about nine miles, they hit a cavity that was more than 2,000°F. For whatever reason, the team sent some heat-resistant microphones into the cavity and recorded what sounded like screams of agony.

And so, the legend of the Russian hole into hell was born.

The supposed sounds of hell were played on a 1989 American religious broadcast, and by the late 1990s the Internet had brought the urban legend to all corners of the globe. There’s a good chance that you heard the recording in the late 1990s or early 2000s. I did, and it did seem pretty creepy. But it was all a big hoax.

The precise origin of the hoax remains a mystery, although the sounds were later determined to have come from a 1972 horror film titled Baron of Blood.

Like all urban legends, though, there is probably a kernel of truth to this story. In 1989, the Soviet Union conducted a project called the Kola Superdeep Borehole where they bored nearly eight miles into the earth. The project never made it to hell or dredged up any demons, but it is the deepest vertical borehole on record. I guess they’ll have to dig a little deeper to make it to hell.