Lovecraft, Lovecraft-H.P.

The Transition of Juan Romero

The Transition of Juan RomeroThe Transition of Juan Romero

In Mexico, there was a man working in the mines. Alongside himself was a man named Juan Romero. Many supposed that Juan was a Mexican, or an Indian, but his color just wasn’t quite right. It was supposed that he was an heir to an older race. The narrator of the story wore a Hindu ring. This ring came to him, but no really knew where it came from.

One day, the miners had used a very large amount of explosives to blast open what they thought was solid rock. As it turned out, it was not solid. A large chasm opened up. The chasm seemed to have no end. Lengths of rope were passed down into the chasm, only to reach no bottom. Many were scared of the chasm and refused to work in the mines.

There was a storm one night. It was a strange storm with strange clouds. Strange noises were heard in the night. A coyote, a dog, and something else. Juan, who did not speak much English at all, told the narrator that the sound was coming from the Earth. There was a deep throbbing sound that both the narrator and Juan heard. They were both compelled out of their hut and up the mountain, inside of it, to the chasm.

Juan ran ahead of the narrator and reached the chasm first, only to be swallowed up by it. The narrator noticed that his ring had been giving off a strange light. The colossal chasm was now aglow. Our narrator looked into it and could not repeat what he saw. There was a large commotion and the chasm closed up again.

In the morning, the narrator awoke in his bed. Juan was there too, in body, but his spirit was gone. Juan was dead. The others said that neither Juan, nor the narrator, had left their bunks all night. The ring was also gone, strangely. No one would admit to taking it. The chasm, which had closed up in the commotion, was attempted again, but all the miners found was solid rock. It was as if the chasm was never there and Juan made his transition to something else, in the most frightening manner.


I am sure that miners have many superstitions. It is quite a dangerous job, one that I don’t know nearly enough about. Certainly, if I found some unexplained chasm in the Earth, I would be a bit reluctant about the idea of going near it. Who knows what is down there.

I kept thinking of Ted the Caver while reading this story. We don’t know if Ted ever made it back alive, but at least our narrator did.


Some things shouldn’t be messed with. It’s pretty simple. Do you know what that big red button does? No? Well, don’t press it. If you don’t know enough about something to be able to predict at least ten outcomes, then you shouldn’t be messing with it. If you find a large chasm, that mysteriously opened up while you were mining, perhaps leave it to the geologists, at the very least.

There are so many concerns associated with this scenario.

Let’s tackle the realistic first. This chasm could have undermined the integrity of the ground you’re standing on. You don’t know how stable the ground beneath your feet is. You also don’t know how stable the tunnels are that you’ve been walking through. You don’t know if you’ve released a pocket of gas that is hazardness to breathe. You don’t know if you’ve unleashed a reservoir of underground water that will flood your tunnels. You don’t know if you’ve unleashed a pit of giant snakes. Maybe there are lots of bats in there. Maybe there is some nasty anaerobic bacteria down there that can eat your flesh off. Maybe you tapped into a magma tube and now you’ve got a volcano on your hands.

Now, for the more fantastic scenarios– suppose you’ve found a gateway to Hell? Or the subterranean land of the lizard people? A room full of demons? Vampires who have been thrown in a cave to rot? Ancient, cursed burial grounds? I mean, really, it could be anything.

Whether you want to take the realistic scenarios, or the fantastic, if you find a big, giant hole in the ground that appeared there under mysterious circumstances, leave it alone. Let the geologists, or the demonologists, whoever, get in there and do their thing first, then, maybe, you can go in there and poke at stuff.


Stay away from big holes in the ground?

Weigh In

If a mysterious hole opened up in your backyard what would you do?

Are some things better left alone?


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