On August 13th, 2019, popular YouTube travel vlogger Theodore “Teddy” Cheston went missing beneath the property of his late father Charles David Cheston. It was the evening of August 13th, 2019 and Mr. Theodore Cheston had decided to explore and out of use well on the family farm. He never returned to the surface.
Records show that there was previous planning of this excursion described in a journal belonging to Mr. Cheston, which was found in the guest bedroom of his father’s home five days after Theodore was first reported missing. Theodore and his brother, Glenn Ronald Cheston, were staying in the home for a few weeks as they settled the details of their father’s will. Glenn Cheston is now presumably the only surviving member of the Cheston family.
According to the most recent entries in Theodore’s journal, the two brothers wanted to solve an old family legend before they sold the property. The legend had been passed down through the generations and the two brothers—when they were young boys—were told that there was a secret passageway at the bottom of the well. The story goes that the passageway was created as a means to help runaway slaves escape to the north.
Theodore and his brother believed that the passageway, or tunnel, existed and ran beneath the property and ended somewhere beneath the neighboring farm. There were also ideas of money or gold having been hidden in the passageway, but Theodore didn’t seem to take those notions as seriously as his brother.
According to Glenn Cheston, Theodore did take the proper precautions for the exploration itself, bringing with him a flashlight, a backpack with general survival gear, and his cell phone. And as an avid rock climber, he used the proper gear to descend into the well, but that process had not been documented in writing nor through video footage.
Below are the written transcripts from the cell phone recordings that were salvaged from Theodore’s mobile cloud service. These transcripts have been released to us from the ******* mobile phone company via order of the Jackson County Sheriff’s office. The audio recordings were extracted from the video files recovered from the cloud, but many of the video files themselves were corrupted and much of the video footage was either unsalvageable outside of the audio or heavily distorted. And while Theodore had used a GoPro camera to record throughout his excursion, that footage has been lost with him. These audio recordings and few video clips are all that remains of Mr. Cheston’s journey underground.
File number one starts with only the audio working. It begins abruptly with Theodore yelling.
Theodore: I’m at the bottom!
Glenn: What do you see?
Glenn’s voice sounds far away and echoes as he speaks.
Theodore: Not much.
Theodore: I said, not much! Just some dirt and—
He suddenly stops talking and a loud scraping sound can be heard.
Glenn: Everything alright down there?
Theodore doesn’t respond. The scraping turns into pounding.
Glenn: Teddy! Teddy! Can you hear me?
There’s a sudden crash followed by heavy breathing.
Glenn: Teddy, talk to me, man!
Theodore: Holy shit! The tunnel is real.
Glenn: What was that?
Theodore: The tunnel! It’s real!
Glenn: You’re shitting me?
There’s a mechanical click and the video finally cuts in to reveal a wall of wet stone. Theodore’s hand can be seen feeling around a dark opening, then the video cuts to black. The audio continues uninterrupted.
Theodore: I’m going in!
Glenn: I don’t think that’s a good idea!
Theodore: I’m just going in a little.
Theodore: A little! I’m just going in a little!
The only noise for several moments is the rhythmic dripping of water hitting the stone floor of the well.
Glenn: Be careful dammit! The whole thing might collapse on you.
Theodore: What was that?
Glenn: I said, be careful!
Theodore: I’m careful like a fox, chico.
Theodore: I’ll be careful! Be back before you know it!
Water sloshes around for a few seconds, then there’s a scraping of what might be metal against a rock that lasts for around one minute. This is most likely Theodore’s gear grinding against the entrance to the tunnel as he squeezes through. Glenn hollers something in the background but his voice is too muffled to make the words out. Theodore narrates as he makes his way into the tunnel.
Theodore: Holy hell. This is much bigger than I’d ever imagined. From what I can tell, the width of the tunnel is about four feet wide. The height, I’d say… maybe five feet. I’m crouching down but can walk okay like this.
Besides the sound of Theodore’s breathing, there is a faint whistling. Perhaps air pushing through the entrance behind him.
Theodore: The entrance is a small hole that was blocked by a big rock. The rock was wet and slippery with green algae, but I managed to jam the end of a carabiner into the seal for leverage and pry it loose. The hole is barely three feet by three feet. Had a hell of a time squeezing through.
I’m going to go a little farther inside. My GoPro is recording but even with the flashlight, it’s way too dark to see anything down here. To be on the safe side, I’m also using my phone to record to my cloud as a backup. Don’t need a replay of what happened in that cave in Utah. Still pissed I lost that GoPro.
There’s a sliding noise followed by a light tapping.
Theodore: Surprisingly, the walls and ceiling are all stone. And it’s also much hotter than I thought it would be. Why the hell is it so hot?
There’s a plastic cracking followed by the sound of swallowing. Probably a bottle of water. Then footsteps echo as Theodore continues forward.
Theodore: I can’t believe how long this tunnel is. The light can’t even put a dent in this darkness. I couldn’t imagine how terrifying it would’ve been to have to walk through here with a damn torch. Or worse, in total darkness. Do you guys think you could do it? Let me know down in the comments.
More footsteps are heard and the whistling stops abruptly.
Theodore: I’ve walked maybe 50 yards and as much as I want to explore this more, I need to go back. I hate to disappoint you all, but this is a pretty major find. I’m going to need a few other people down here with me if I want to be safe. The tunnel looks pretty sturdy, but I have no clue how long this goes on or where it ends. The last thing I want to do is get myself stuck somewhere without anyone around to pull me out.
And it’s so damn hot in here. That’s not normal. There are no thermal vents or anything like that known in this area. This means there could be an underground coal fire, radiation dump, or God knows what else. I’m not fucking with any of that.
There’s a brief shuffling followed by footsteps that lasts for several minutes. The footsteps go on for much longer than they did previously.
Theodore: Either I’m slow as shit or I’m losing my mind. I swear I should’ve made it back to the entrance already. Fuck. There’s no way I’ve walked this far.
At this point, the video cuts back in. Theodore is moving quickly and he continues to pick up speed until he’s running. The dark stone walls pass by in a blur. This goes on for a little over a minute before he slows to a stop. After several moments of labored breathing, he begins walking again.
Theodore: Fuck me.
The first file comes to an end. The second file starts up and the time stamp reveals that 27 minutes have passed between recordings. The video cuts in and out rapidly. The clip is brief and the footage is of Theodore speaking to the camera. No visible parts of the tunnel are in the shot.
Theodore: Okay, okay. I’m trying not to panic here. I tried calling my brother but of course, there’s no service in this God-forsaken tunnel of bullshit. My texts won’t go through and even the 911 emergency shit isn’t working. I’m legit fucked.
I don’t know what’s happening. I went back the way I came. The only way! This doesn’t make any fucking sense. I’ve been down here for… a half-hour? Longer? I don’t know. I’m sure Glenn called for help already.
I guess I should wait right here. I can’t keep walking like this. It’s too damn hot. And why is it so quiet? I’ve been in a lot of caves and tunnels and shit but never anywhere this quiet. What the fuck?