Photo by Ron Simmons

Found by Accident---
Cave Explorers Discover 'Lost Paradise' Canyons

Cincinnati Times-Star, 2/19/54

CRYSTAL CAVE, Ky., Feb. 19-A "lost paradise" of jaded coral canyons was discovered today in the previously unknown recesses of Crystal Cave.

The spectacle was stumbled upon by accident by a group of five explorers who had wandered for hours through underground passages and had lost their way.

It is being proclaimed "the most important find to date" for the National Speleological Cave Study Society's week-long exploration, now in its sixth day.

"The wall of one large cave room was lined with fossil shells and coral deposits pressed there millions of years ago," the finders said.

The discovery occurred as explorers sought an answer to the riddle of the wilderness of waterfalls that spout 300 feet below the face of the earth near Mammoth Cave National Park.

What the explorers termed a "lost paradise" were two great canyons separated by honeycombing passages and a multitude of cave rooms.

Roger W. Brucker, 24, Yellow Springs, O., A U.S. Air Force motion picture script writer, and Luther Miller, Oblong, Ill., a farmer and school-bus driver, were first on the scene.

They reported "the more cave we found, the more leads we got and the more endless the cavern became."

James W. Dyer, Columbus, O., a commercial cave consultant, said that at least one month would be required to explore the newly-discovered vistas.

Close on the heels of Brucker and Miller were Ulysses E. Lutz, Philadelphia real estate broker; Dr. Halvard Wanger, Shepardstown, W. Va., and his son, William.

Explorers also redoubled their search for a subterranean river believed to have formed by an elaborate network of waterfalls found earlier today. But its course through the cave remains unknown.

Pressing their ears against cave walls, explorers have "picked up the roar of rushing waters," Phil Harsham, Louisville Courier-Journal reporter with them, said.

The explorers are now working around the clock in final efforts to map previously unknown canyon parts and amass scientific information from the analysis of soil, rock and insect life in the cave.

The 60 explorers who joined the expedition, due to end this week, made it the largest of its kind ever conducted on the American Continent.

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