Amazing Places

The Huge Underground Organ That Is Also A Cave

One of the largest instruments on Earth, the Great Stalacpipe Organ sits in a unique home: underground. This organ, which can be found in the Luray Caverns of Virginia, utilizes the cave's natural stalactites in place of pipes for making its delicate music.

Great Stalacpipe Organ

How Does It Work?

When a musician hits a key on the Great Stalacpipe Organ, wires run through the instrument to soft rubber mallets that strike stalactites of varying lengths which are distributed over 3.5 acres within the cave. Mathematician and electronic scientist Leland Sprinkle invented and began construction on the organ in 1954 and it was finished just over three years later. Today, it's open to visitors. "Tiny hammers tap at stone pillars filling the subterranean hallways with music," explains a reporter for OZY who visited the cave. "The effect is magical."

Luray Caverns

Music To Your Ears

For many visitors, a trip to hear the organ is a way to truly experience the natural wonder of the world. "You don't visit places like this to escape the world, but rather to remember you are a part of it," explained that OZY reporter. Or, as organist Otto Pebworth explained to Great Big Story in the video below, "to play the instrument that is utilizing our gentle Earth—it's like you are becoming one with the instrument in a very true way."

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Written by Curiosity Staff July 11, 2016

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