Inside Portland's 'Mystery Hole'

Vimeo // emily yurek
Vimeo // emily yurek / Vimeo // emily yurek

In a back yard near me, a man discovered a mysterious hole. He discovered it by digging. "The more dirt I took out, the more hole I found," he says.

Known as "Barron Mind," he is the proprietor of the Woodstock Mystery Hole, a surprisingly large hole (plus tunnel) in southeast Portland, Oregon. The hole is in Barron's back yard, alongside the Mystery Hedge, Mystery Tower, Mystery Gate, Mirror of a Higher Truth (shattered in a 2008 windstorm), Mystery Wishing Pipe, Mystery Pole...well, the list goes on. Each of these attractions reveals a glimpse of Barron's wit. When he's not uncovering mysteries, Barron is a substitute teacher.

I first visited the Mystery Hole back in 2002. Even then it was hard to find; today it's not even on the map, as Barron has mostly retired from doing tours. (Actually, it shows up on all kinds of maps from Google Maps to Yelp, but it's always in the wrong place!) So if you can't visit the Mystery Hole in person, the next best thing is this delightful mini-documentary by Emily Yurek. Behold the wondrous mysteries in a sleepy neighborhood of Portland: