A man spent 25 years in the desert carving out sandstone caves and it’s hard to believe what’s inside

Hidden away from the bustling world for a quarter of a century, a man named Ra Paulette has emerged from the depths of isolation to unveil a breathtaking world of wonder that he sculpted within the heart of Northern New Mexico’s deserts. For 25 years, he toiled relentlessly, carving intricate and delicate designs into the very walls of the earth, transforming raw sandstone into a masterpiece of unparalleled beauty. ( With his loyal dog as his only companion, he embarked on a journey few could fathom, dedicating his existence to a dance of digging that has resulted in an underground marvel. (

Photo credit: Credit: PH/ Ra Paulette

In this subterranean sanctuary, Ra Paulette’s artistic vision breathed life into the caves, drawing inspiration from the natural light that pierced the darkness during the day. It was a labor of love, an unwavering commitment to his craft that consumed every waking moment. He lovingly dubbed it the ‘dance of digging,’ a name that now resonates with profound meaning as the world beholds the fruits of his solitude.

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When asked about the countless hours he poured into this endeavor, Ra reflects, “When you are doing something you love, and are drawn to it, you want to do it all the time.” And this love story, carved in stone, speaks volumes as you gaze upon the breathtaking images of his underground realm. ( ( It’s no wonder it took a lifetime to reveal this subterranean treasure to the world. (

The walls of these caves, meticulously sculpted over decades, stand as a testament to Ra’s unwavering dedication to his art. He doesn’t just want people to look; he wants them to experience, to feel. ( ( He hopes that those who behold his work find “at least a moment or a length of time in which they had a deeper feeling and deeper understanding of themselves and life.” His caves are more than physical structures; they are conduits to the soul, a testament to the boundless potential of human creativity. (

But Ra’s story is not one of solitude alone. In the cavernous echoes of his underground world, we find that he is not the only soul to embark on such an audacious and rewarding journey. Meet Angelo Mastropietro, a visionary who, for nearly £200,000, transformed a 250-million-year-old cave into his home. Imagine, a dwelling carved from the very rock that has witnessed millennia of history. Angelo’s creation, nestled within Wyre Forest, Worcestershire, bears the name “Rockhouse Retreat.” (

This modern caveman’s endeavor is nothing short of extraordinary. Spending 1,000 hours on his labor of love, he fashioned the cave into a veritable oasis of comfort and convenience. ( It boasts a functioning kitchen, a cozy bedroom, the luxury of fresh running water, underground heating for those chilly nights, and yes, even WIFI – a testament to the blending of ancient roots with modern comforts.

But the most astonishing part? This cave is nestled in the UK, not in some remote corner of the world. ( Angelo’s journey began in Australia, and it took a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 2007 to set him on this unique path. He purchased the cave initially for £62,000, a sum that might not even secure a house in today’s real estate market, let alone a whole cave.

As we marvel at these tales of artistic passion and innovative living, it’s clear that there are those among us who dare to defy convention, who take the extraordinary and make it a part of their everyday existence. Ra Paulette and Angelo Mastropietro remind us that the human spirit is boundless in its creativity, and that within the earth itself, there lies a canvas waiting for the touch of a daring soul. ( Their stories are not just about isolation and caves; they are about the depths of human potential and the extraordinary worlds that can be created when passion meets determination.

Yael Wolfe

Writer, photographer, artist, and big, bad wolf. I’m a writer, photographer, and artist. I use my work to explore what it means to be a woman in this world.

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