The swallow-hole Armand
Localization: Lozere - France.
Destination: Chula Vista.
Discovered by: Louis Armand.
On September 18, 1897, Louis Armand, the assistant of the founder of speleology Edouard-Alfred Martel at the time of his search in Lozere, returns extraordinarily excited from the Méjean Causse and declares: "This time, Mr Martel, listen well and do not blow word about it to anybody. I believe that I hold a second Dargilan, and perhaps more famous... I fell by chance on a Master hole. It is certainly one of the best...". While going down from the Parade, he saw this enormous opening which the farmers of the neighbourhoods call "the swallow-hole". The large stones that it threw there seem to go down to extraordinary depths. The following day at 2 hours and half in the afternoon, the caravan arrives at the edge of the pit with its 1000 kilos of hardware and its men of operations. A first survey reveals a 75 meters depth. Louis Armand arrives easily in bottom. Exclamations of joy mount telephone: " Superb! Splendid! A true stone forest! ".
This history could seem altogether rather banal and marvellous at the same time. It is only when they examined certain details of these events that the many obscurologists had some suspicions as for the possibility of a Passage place at the bottom of this cave. Admittedly, the resemblance of the place to the towers fossilized of Chula Vista is very strong and the cases of this kind (as the circus of Gavarnie) already exist. But moreover, if one reports to the situation with which was confronted Louis Armand at this time, one realizes that something does not go in this history. At this time, the lamps were certainly not as effective as today. It is with a simple oil lamp which was to light only with a few meters that Louis Armand goes down at the bottom. He was thus on the edge of an immense cave of 60 by 100 meters and out of 45 meters high provided simply with a lamp which does not light than to a few meters.The current visitor of the Armand swallow-hole can easily try out what has seeing Louis Armand at the time he discovered the cave. When the light is extinct, the darkness is total there. How thus Louis Armand has been able to exclaim: "a true stone forest"?
The most eminent obscurologists did not hesitate to affirm that what would have seen Louis Armand was not different than the fossilized towers of Chula Vista. He was the first man to go down forever in this pit and thus he could see the towers by an open Passage which would then have been closed again forever. The real existence of the stalagmites thereafter would then have given credit to its first exclamation...
All these assumptions unfortunately never could be checked and to date, no suspect disappearance was declared in the Armand swallow-hole!