TORI PÕRGU (HELL)
Location: N58° 28` 56.6", E24° 49` 8.05"
A half-kilometre-long and up to 10 metres high steep sandstone bank of the Pärnu river is located near Tori cemetery. There you will find a mysterious cave known as Tori Hell. You can walk there along the river bank or by the stairs from the graveyard gates. The cave is under nature protection. The cave was created by the water in the streams eroding the sandstone bank of the Pärnu River. 150 years ago it was possible to walk hundreds of metres underground. This is the reason why it was called Tori Hell. The opening of Tori Hell was 6 metres in diameter and some sources say that the ‘passage to hell’ was 32 metres long. The ceiling of the cave collapsed in 1908 and its mouth in 1974.
There are lots of folk stories and legends about the place. The cave had been a home of horned family, namely Vanapagan (The Old Devil). He had been seen in Tori village for several times: he had scared the people, teased women, drunk vodka in the pub.
Once a man rode past the cave. He was afraid of meeting the devil. Suddenly he felt, that somebody was pulling his coat. The man opened quickly the buttons of the coat with fear and whipped the horse to move faster. His coat was pulled off. The man barely reached home. There his son found out that the flap of the coat had just got stuck into the carriage's wheel.
Once upon a time, the travellers arrived in Tori in late autumn evening and stayed overnight in the cave. They made a bonfire on the ground. They had no food, so one man was sent to steal a sheep from the manor's pasture. The pastor of Tori church had problems with his feet, so he went to see the local healer who lived at the other bank of the river. As the pastor couldn't walk down the river bank to the boat, his coachman carried the pastor on his back. The men in the cave saw someone coming, something on his back. So they shouted: ''Is it very fatty?'' When the pastor heard it, he thought that the devil was coming after his soul, he jumped down the coachman's back and ran as fast as possible back up to the church. His feet recovered miraculously!
The oldest records from Tori Hell date back to 18th century. It was believed to be the entrance to the hell. Once the bell was tied on the goose's neck and the goose was sent into the cave. It came out in Viljandi town. Another legend tells that the cave and tunnel were made by leprechauns and the other end of it lies near Riga.