|On the surface, the scene is timeless. Young people have gathered at Jacob's Well to cool off on summer afternoons for as long as anyone can remember, dangling their legs from the knobby knees of cypress trees and leaping into the clear, bottomless depths from the end of a rope swing.
Heedless of the danger lurking beneath the calm surface of the Hill Country swimming hole, many adventurers have answered the siren call of the cave.
At least eight divers have discovered that if you answer that siren call and venture too deeply into the mysterious depths, the mouth of Cypress Creek will quietly swallow you.
"This is the horror story side of it," says Don Dibble, a dive shop owner with more than 40 years of diving experience.
"Jacob's Well definitely has a national reputation of being one of the most dangerous places to dive." Dibble has pulled most of the victims' remains out of Jacob's Well himself, and he nearly lost his own life in a 1979 recovery dive. Dibble was attempting to retrieve the remains of two young divers from Pasadena, Kent Maupin and Mark Brashier, when he became trapped, buried past his waist in the sliding gravel lining the bottom of the well's third chamber. Just as he ran out of air, Dibble was rescued by other divers but suffered a ruptured stomach during his rapid, unconscious ascent.
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Louie Bond © 2001