Who is John Edwards Jones

Who is John Edwards Jones? 

Nutty Putty Cave is a limestone cave located in Utah, USA. It gained national attention in 2009 when a spelunker ( aka cave explorer) named John Jones became trapped in a narrow passage deep within the cave. Despite rescue efforts, John Jones tragically lost his life after being stuck upside down for more than 28 hours.


In the heart of Utah lies a limestone cave that once drew adventurers seeking the thrill of exploration—Nutty Putty Cave. This subterranean wonder, however, became the stage for a tragic event that changed its fate forever. Join us as we delve into the story of Nutty Putty Cave, a tale of adventure, courage, and ultimately, heartbreak.

The Allure of Nutty Putty Cave

Nutty Putty Cave, located near Utah Lake, was renowned for its intricate passages and unique formations. The allure of underground exploration attracted people from far and wide, seeking the thrill of navigating its depths. However, this captivating environment would soon become the backdrop for a fateful incident that gripped the nation’s attention.

The Story of Nutty Putty Cave

Discovered in 1960 outside Salt Lake City, Utah, Nutty Putty Cave was a local favourite with Boy Scout troops and college students, attracting 5,000 visitors a year. 

Paulson, Chairperson of the Timpanogos Grotto, the local branch of the National Speleological Society, says that Nutty Putty is what’s known as a hypogenic cave, formed when superheated water is forced upward into a bed of limestone, and minerals in the water eat away at the rock above to create cave shafts.

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“Traditionally, these types of caves are very complex and feature lots of domes and three-dimensional passages, which was true of Nutty Putty,” says Paulson. “It had tight squeezes that opened up into a big room, then back to another tight squeeze. It was very characteristic of a hypogenic cave.”

The most recognizable characteristic of the cave was the strangely viscous clay oozing from some of its walls, which the cave’s first explorer, a man named Dale Green, compared to Nutty Putty, the original product name for Silly Putty. Like Silly Putty, the clay would change from a solid to an elastic fluid when lightly squeezed.

Some people even say that the clay was “sound active,” meaning that if you yelled at it, it would ooze and move. Analyses done on the clay in the 1960s found that it was composed of tiny particles of silicon dioxide (the main component of sand) roughly 3 microns (less than 0.0001 inches) in diameter.

Unfortunately, the tragic death of a 26-year-old father and medical student, John Edward Jones in 2009, stopped the frequent visits of tourists and locals.

According to HowStuffWorks, “Nutty Putty Cave has been closed ever since, and because Jones’ body couldn’t be removed, the site is now considered a grave. Visitors to Nutty Putty today will only find a plaque dedicated to Jones and poured concrete sealing over the cave entrance”.

History of the Cave

From 1999 to 2004, six different people became stuck in one of Nutty Putty’s narrow passages. It’s not for nothing that three of the cave’s tightest squeezes are called “The Helmet Eater,” “The Scout Eater” and “The Birth Canal.”

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Nutty Putty Cave was closed in 2006 citing safety concerns and only reopened in May 2009 after a cave management plan was signed with the Timpanogos Grotto. The Grotto set up an online reservation system that only allowed one group in the cave at a time, and the entrance to the cave was padlocked shut at night.

John Edward Jones

John Edward Jones visited Nutty Putty Cave with his brother Josh and 11 others on Nov. 24, 2009, only months after the cave was reopened. While attempting to find the Birth Canal, Jones took a wrong turn and ended up in an unmapped section of the cave near Ed’s Push.

Thinking he saw a larger opening on the other side, Jones tried to squeeze headfirst through the tight spot and turn around, but he became hopelessly stuck upside down at a 70-degree angle.

“As cavers, that’s one of the things we’re taught not to do, go head first into a tight squeeze going downward,” says Paulson. “Had he been oriented the other way, it’s my opinion he would have gotten out.”

The Tragic Events of November 24, 2009

On that fateful day, experienced spelunker John Jones entered Nutty Putty Cave with a group of friends.

Jones was exploring the cave with a group of friends when he entered a tight section known as the “Bob’s Push” crawlway. As they ventured deeper into the cave, Jones found himself stuck in a tight passage known as the “Birth Canal.”Unfortunately, he became wedged upside down in the “Birth Canal-” which is a narrow passage approximately 150 feet below the cave entrance.

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 Despite the efforts of rescuers, including skilled cave explorers and emergency personnel, Jones remained trapped upside down, unable to be freed.

The Agonizing Rescue Attempt

The rescue operation spanned over 28 hours, marked by challenges inherent to cave environments—limited space, difficult access, and technical difficulties. Despite the expertise and dedication of the rescue team, Jones tragically lost his life in the depths of Nutty Putty Cave. The incident prompted reflection on the risks associated with cave exploration and the need for stringent safety measures.

Closure and Reflection

In the aftermath of the tragedy, Nutty Putty Cave was permanently closed to the public. The decision to seal its entrance was not only a response to the challenges faced during the rescue attempt but also a gesture of respect for the Jones family. The closure serves as a poignant reminder of the delicate balance between adventure and safety, prompting enthusiasts and novices alike to approach subterranean exploration with caution and preparedness.


Nutty Putty Cave, once a symbol of adventure and exploration, now stands as a solemn memorial to John Edwards Jones and a cautionary tale for those who venture into the depths of the Earth. The tragedy serves as a reminder that, even in the pursuit of excitement, safety should always be paramount. 

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