In the remote southeastern corner of Oregon lies Malheur Cave, a mysterious lava tube cave with a history steeped in secrecy. Owned by the Masonic Lodge of Burns, this cave has been the venue for annual gatherings conducted by the Freemasons for decades, creating an air of mystique around its existence. While conspiracy theories abound, the undeniable fact is that Malheur Cave is one of the eeriest locations in Oregon, demanding specialized equipment for exploration. Let’s delve into the history and intrigue surrounding this cave that served as a meeting ground for Freemasons before its closure in October 2019.
Situated approximately 17 miles east of Crystal Crane Hot Springs in Burns, Oregon, Malheur Cave is a 3,000-foot lava tube cave that has seen the passage of local Native American tribes, early settlers, and various groups throughout history. In 1938, the idea of hosting Freemason meetings inside the cave was conceived by Ulysses S. Hackney and Charles W. Loggan, members of the Robert Burns Masonic Lodge. The first official Masonic meeting took place on October 1, 1938, marking the initiation of an annual tradition that persisted for decades.
The Freemasons, gathering from across the country, maintained and utilized the cave for their annual Malheur Cave Event. However, the clandestine nature of private meetings held within the cave fueled rumors and conspiracy theories, linking both the Masons and the cave itself to mysterious activities. Local legends added to the mystique, suggesting that Native Americans regarded the cave as a passageway to the underworld. Some of the more outlandish theories proposed that the cave was a site for satanic rituals, devil worship, and connected to an extensive underground tunnel network spanning the entire United States.
The closure of Malheur Cave in 2019 added a layer of intrigue to its enigmatic history. Concerns about vandalism and graffiti prompted the local Masons to install a gate, safeguarding the cave from further damage. Instances of burned bleachers, damage to the stone floor, and the presence of garbage and graffiti led to the decision to restrict access. Despite its closure, Malheur Cave continues to captivate with its eerie past and the lingering whispers of mystery that surround it.