Following a general discussion of the phenomenon of gravitational collapse and the formation of dwarf stars, neutron stars and black holes, the characteristics of black holes are discussed in more detail. The nature of a black hole in the space-time continuum of the general relativity theory is described and the 'Einstein-Rosen bridge', or 'snake-pit', is presented. The concept that matter drawn into a black hole in our universe may be emitted from a 'white hole' on the 'other side' is also presented. Evidence for the existence of black holes in the universe is discussed and the X-ray source in Cygnus X-1 is cited as a possible example. Finally the interesting possibility is mentioned that our universe itself may be a black hole, having its origin in a white hole, which mathematically could represent the 'big bang' theory.