The Merry Widow Health
The area between Boulder and
filled with defunct gold and uranium mines that emit radioactive radon
gas, the queen of which is The Merry Widow Mine. Radon gas is a colorless,
tasteless, inert element formed by the aging or disintegration of radium.
what is the attraction to a radioactive radon mine? Purportedly, the
radon gas contains healing properties that cure the aches and pains of
arthritis, diabetes, eczema, sinusitis, migraine, lupus, asthma and other
The whole thing began
in the 1950s after an arthritic
woman visited a Boulder uranium mine and found relief. Soon, she
told all her friends, who told their friends, and before you know it,
Life Magazine picked up the story and the whole world then knew
of the radon potential for relief.
effects of radon have been studied for decades, documenting relief for
all manner of ailments, no one really knows why. One claim is
that the gas stimulates the nerves and helps the human body heal
itself. Other researches say the gas stimulates the pituitary gland
to produce health-giving hormones and natural steroids. Whatever
it is though, the visitors of the Merry Widow Mine declare that it
works in healing all manner of aches and pains!
A lot of people say radon gas, a natural
byproduct from the earth, is bad for you. In fact, it plagues real
estate sales in many areas of the U.S., as people fear breathing the
"atomic” air and its potentially harmful side effects. However,
in this area, there is quite a different opinion about radon.
Inside the Merry Widow Mine, people relax
curing their aches and pains. Photo
by Landon Nordeman,
The Merry Widow Mine is
a tunnel into the mountain, with a temperature that remains around 60
degrees in both winter and summer. The typical vacation at the
Merry Widow Health Mine lasts any where from a week to two weeks and
visitors are recommended to sit in the mine two or three times a day. Visitors also soak their feet in the freezing cold mineral waters or
drink the mine water, which they claim is very productive to good
health. The water at the Merry Widow Mine has been tested by the
State Health Department and found to be pure for drinking purposes.
mine shafts tout radon levels as much as 175
times the federal safety standard for houses. Yet, visitors claim
miraculous recoveries and disease remissions in the damp, cool passages.
Some have allegedly arrived in wheelchairs, then walked out on their own.
as well as others in the area, appeal to many types of people,
particularly those who like the "natural” healing aspects, such as the
Amish or the Mennonites. Each summer, hundreds of people come to the
radon health mines to relax and soak up the therapeutic aura, swearing by
the healing effects of the radon gases.
visiting the mine, it is advisable to bring warm clothing.
Nearby, there is much to see and do when you’re not healing yourself
inside the mine, such as the
of Comet and Gray Eagle, Boulder Hot Springs, which offers natural hot
water pools, the Lewis and Clark Cavern State Park, and several historic
sites and museums.