If doves are the messengers of the Lord, then the Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko is probably Old Scratch's preferred postal carrier. Though you should know that these guys are utterly harmless. They're tiny -- usually two to five inches long -- and are endemic to the little island of Madagascar. So you're not likely to stumble across one in the first place, and it certainly won't hurt you if you do.
It won't hurt you at all. It needs you.
It might ask you to hurt others, though. Oh, softly enough at first, in half-heard whispers borne on the wind, but they will grow louder, more frequent and more insistent -- until one day you wake up to find yourself in a bathtub filled with liquid that used to be your family. And what will the Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko do? Why, just take a gander at that picture again: It will smile, friends. It will smile.
This is either a picture of the exact moment that Satan busted out his hot rod and started tearing ass into the apocalypse, or else poor Marty's stuck right at 87 MPH again. This photo was taken at Serra da Leba, a landmark road in Angola, and while it hasn't been digitally altered, it is a long exposure taken over 60 seconds. You could cry foul that a manipulated image shouldn't make the list, hypothetical reader, or you could choose to contemplate the implications of that fact instead. Perhaps evil moves at a different speed than man; perhaps it is a slow and creeping thing. And maybe, if you weren't so rash, so impulsive -- if you could just stop and consider it for one little minute -- maybe you could finally trace back its fiery path.
Or hey, maybe it just looks bitchin' and I'm trying to show you a neat picture. Either way -- shut up, hypothetical reader. God, you are being such an ass right now!
The entrance to hell is a labyrinth. A vast, snaking maze of caverns bathed in fire, where the lost and the damned wander, uncertain and afraid, for untold eons. The fires burn so hot and for so long in those twisted, screaming caves that the rock itself melts and drips down like water. The burning liquid passes through skin like air; it fuses to bone.
This is the only rain in hell.
And the crazy thing? That's actually what is happening here. This is Fort Zverev, and if you couldn't deduce from the mockery of consonants in that name, it's located in Russia. They stored a napalm-like substance in the base of the fort, which burned at temperatures of over 2000 degrees. Then, in the 1970s, the place where they stored super-fire (hopefully to the surprise of nobody,) caught on fire. The resulting inferno burned so hot that it melted the bricks of the walls and ceiling so that they ran down like icicles.
The fort still stands exactly like this today. You know, just in case you're ever overwhelmed by the temptation of sin and want to remind yourself where you'll be spending eternity should you fail to mend your lustful ways.
There are many different versions of the devil, and many interpretations of what it means for him to walk the Earth. Some say he is but a corruption of our best intentions, and that we invite him in when we are dishonest. Others say that Satan is a literal being, but it's his son who will return to the world, born of a woman to trick us into believing he is human. Me? I say the devil is like Shaft: Just ain't no need to be subtle when you're a badass motherfucker and everybody knows it. He's going to kick open the doors of hell and charge in, guns blazing and guitars wailing. And by the looks of these pictures, that happened a long time ago:
This is an area outside of Darvaz in Uzbekistan. The locals call it (surprise!) the Door to Hell. It's the Russian equivalent of Centralia, and like all Russian equivalents of anything, it is much, much worse than the alternative. Whereas Centralia is a small town precariously placed over a never-ending fire and plagued by sinkholes, the Door to Hell was a large gas-mining camp that fell entirely into a massive sinkhole. The Russians, being classic Russians, decided that the best way to avoid getting poisoned by all the flammable gas in their flammable gas mine was...to light it on fire.
That was 35 years ago; it has burned ever since.
"Whut? So we inadvertantly shatter bonds holding shut doors of hell. How would YOU get equipment back- gas masks? Ha! Mess up your hair. Cannot go clubbing afterward."
You can buy Robert's book, Everything is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook or you could just find religion (PROTIP: Don't look directly for it. You've got to kind of unfocus your eyes a little. Like, look in the middle distance - it'll just kind of pop up.)