This article originally appeared on VICE US.
For the past thirty-ish years, a well-worn urban legend has been recycled by your grandmother’s favorite inspirational channel and websites that have words like ‘salvation’ and ‘testimonies’ in their URLs. The repeatedly debunked hoax involves a so-called “Well to Hell” that was dug by either geologists or oil rig workers in either Siberia or Alaska, depending on the source. In both cases, the workers involved were shocked to hear the screams of the damned, coming from the bottom of the deep hole they’d just opened.
That’s completely ridiculous, and not just because the screams of the damned can only be heard at Newark-Liberty International Airport. If you’ve never had a layover in New Jersey, then you can listen to a close approximation in this video of sausages being cooked in a well-used skillet.
“My breakfast sausages begged for their lives this morning,” a Reddit user named Imjustkidding posted earlier this week. “Listen to their cries for mercy.” His 22-second video, called “Scared Sausages,” has been viewed more than one million times in the past four days, which says a lot about the overall mood in the United States right now.
According to Know Your Meme, this might be the most popular video of meat products shrieking in unison, but it’s far from being the first. A clip called “Screaming Sausages” was posted in July 2009, and even its creator described it simply as being “Self-explanatory.” Another video of sausages screaming as they were cooked in a microwave appeared online in October 2010.
In a cross-post to the r/poetry subreddit, a different user suggested that the ungodly shrieks are caused by steam escaping through the sausage casing, “like a meat kettle.” That might be true, but apparently it’s an incredibly difficult sound to recreate. The Daily Meal conducted an experiment to see which sausages would scream, and under what conditions.
They tried four different kinds of sausages—including hot dogs, ‘traditional’ breakfast links, and two kinds of chicken sausages—in four different kinds of pans, and...nothing happened. The breakthrough happened when the sausages were cooked in a microwave. They screamed all right, but it required overcooking them to the point of becoming “a pulpy mess.”
We don’t have any sausages on hand, but holding a package of Jimmy Dean’s finest and hissing “I will turn you into a pulpy mess” should make them scream, right there in the refrigerated section. If that doesn’t work, whisper it to the guy who just used all four outlets at that EWR departure gate. We’re all damned here anyway.