Dimitrios Makridopoulos has always been fascinated by the preternatural. Devouring books about occult phenomena from childhood to adulthood, he soon became curious about the pyramid-shaped mountain of Penteli, located about 15km north-west of Athens. “[I was] drawn to the energy of this mysterious and ancient mountain,” he told me.
Penteli is globally acclaimed for its ancient quarries and the incomparably crystalline structure and golden-hued tint of its marble that was used to construct the sacred temple of Parthenon as well as other glorious monuments. Yet, it was Davelis Cave, located on the mountain’s south-west side, that particularly piqued Makridopoulos’ interest.
Resting in and above an ancient marble quarry and averaging a width of 45m and a height of 62m, Davelis Cave is a vast, mesmerising and steeply descending grotto that could well serve as the backdrop to a horror movie. Visitors have reported electronics going out of control, glowing orbs, ineffable creatures, water dripping upwards, ghostly voices, spooky etchings, remnants of satanic rituals and more.
In 2015, Makridopoulos packed up a ‘spirit box’ (a device said to enable communication with spirits through the use of radio frequency) and an infrared camera, and headed for Penteli with some friends. It was January and the mountain was shrouded in fog. This made it virtually impossible for him and the others to make out what lay even 5m ahead, but Penteli compensated with gifts at every turn, from chunks of precious marble from its plentiful ancient quarries to pieces of iron bearing evidence (according to Makridopoulos) of cryptic military experiments conducted in the cave in the late 1970s and ‘80s.
“From the minute I stepped into this unspoilt and pure place, I became one with it. I was surrounded by an inexplicable, otherworldly energy… I felt eyes following my every move… I could not see or hear anything with my five senses, but I knew,” Makridopoulos said.
The 29-year-old computer technician remembers his surprise when his electrical appliances confirmed back at home what he’d felt in the cave. His spirit box captured what sounded like a choir of angelic children’s voices chanting in ancient Greek. “It was the language of the pixies,” he said. He is also adamant his infrared camera recorded ghostly apparitions near the cave’s centre, and a tiny, pitch-black creature lurking at the entrance of the hollow. “There, can you see it?” Makridopoulos asked with intense interest when showing me the photos a few days before my own journey to the cave.