Swim At Your Own Risk

Last week’s article seemed to go over well enough that I thought I would take another swing at aiming my weekly musings as more of a case study than a sermon. We will save those for special occasions…


This week I thought we would discuss one of my favorite subjects, a “cursed” location. In the past you have heard me mention various locations that seem to have a mind of their own or a strange air about them, this one is no different. The location is called Babinda Boulders, or more aptly the Devil’s Pool, and is located near Babinda, Queensland in Australia. It has been documented that this mysterious body of water has claimed at least 17 lives since 1959, but is claimed to have taken more undocumented lives before and since… 


To lay the foundation for this discussion, one needs to go over the Aboriginal legend concerning the Devil’s Pool. A version of the legend pulled from https://cairnstoursaustralia.com.au/blog/babinda-boulders/ goes as thus:

“There’s a legend that spans the area that tells the story of a girl named Ooolana from the Yidinji people. She is thought to have married an elder from her tribe named Waroonoo, but soon after the got together a handsome young member of another tribe who had moved to the area caught her eye.


He was known as Dyga and they fell in love quickly. They soon realized the error of their ways and the adulterous crime they were committing, so they fled their respective tribes and ran into the valleys. They were eventually found, but Oolana managed to break free before throwing herself into the unmoving waters that surround the Babinda Boulders. She hit the water crying out for her love, Dyga, which shook the water into action. The land vibrated around her, sending boulders flying into the creek and causing the water to plunge forward at alarming rates. This is the story behind how the Babinda Boulders came to be and, if you listen closely, it’s thought you can still here Oolana’s cries for her lost lover.”


According to the Aboriginal peoples, she has never really left and is still anchored to the areas looking to lure young men to a watery grave. To support this take on the legend, an overwhelming majority of the hikers and tourists that have fallen victim to the Devil’s Pool area have been male, 16 of the 17 reported to be precise. Tales have it that not only being a male puts you at risk but being disrespectful too has made some a target to have drowned under strange circumstances. An example of that would be that one of the young men that drowned did so after attempting to kick one of the warning signs, in which he then slipped, fell into a pool, and drowned. Although one of the more harrowing examples is about the drowning naval seaman James Bennett. I will quote re-telling by the ever-popular by Brent Swancer:

“Perhaps the most recent and dramatic account of a mysterious death at the Devil’s Pool is that of 23-year-old Tasmanian naval seaman James Bennett, who had been out for a day exploring the area with some friends in 2010. The group had jumped over a safety railing to sit in a natural tub of churning water known locally as the “Washing Machine.” According to one of James’ friends, he had been swimming in a calm area nearby when he was suddenly and violently yanked backwards, as if by “an invisible hand,” which seemed to be dragging him back towards a section of churning white water at the back of the pool. James then allegedly reached up to grab a branch, which snapped, after which his head went under water and he just struggled there suspended helplessly in the water for no apparent reason, with just the tips of his fingers protruding from the surface as he struggled to come up for air.


He would remain like this while his friends tried to reach out to him and offer their extended legs, before sinking down into the depths to his fate. It would not be until 3 days later that the body of James Bennett would be found floating about in a calmer section of the stream, and a plaque would be erected in the aftermath, eerily reading “He came for a visit and stayed forever.” Most of the area is now closed off, although the inviting locale constantly draws visitors in.”


And in true storyteller fashion, I will leave you just when the skin on the back of your neck starts to tingle…and next time you are looking to take a little dip and cool off, just beware of what may be lurking below the surface of your favorite swimming hole…