Image source: Michael Abbey of Visual Communications
The Hollow Earth Theory
One Hollow Earth Theory or another has surfaced for thousands of years. The concept of a subterranean land inside the Earth has been popular in mythology, folklore and legends from ancient times.
Back then, the concept of subterranean worlds appeared feasible, and although no one spoke of a “Hollow Earth theory,” interior life became linked with the concept of “places” such as the underworld of Greek mythology, the Nordic Svart, the Christian Hell, and the Jewish Sheol.
Edmond Halley’s Hypothesis.
Edmond Halley in 1692 put forth the idea of Earth consisting of a hollow shell about 800 km (500 mi) thick, with two inner concentric shells and an innermost core, about the diameters of the planets Venus, Mars, and Mercury. Atmospheres separate these shells, and each shell has its own magnetic poles. The spheres rotate at different speeds. Halley proposed this scheme in order to explain anomalous compass readings. He envisaged the atmosphere inside as luminous (and possibly inhabited) and speculated that escaping gas caused the Aurora Borealis.
De Camp and Ley have claimed (in their Lands Beyond) that Leonhard Euler also proposed a hollow-Earth idea, getting rid of multiple shells and postulating an interior sun 1,000 km (620 mi) across to provide light to advanced inner-Earth civilization but they provide no references; indeed, Euler did not propose a hollow-Earth, but there is a slightly related thought experiment.
They also postulated that Sir John Leslie had expanded on Euler’s idea, suggesting two central suns named Pluto and Proserpine (this was unrelated to the dwarf planet Pluto, which was discovered and named some time later). Leslie did propose a hollow Earth in his 1829 Elements of Natural Philosophy (pp. 449\endash 453), but does not mention interior suns.
Le Clerc Milfort in 1781 led a journey with hundreds of Creek Indians to a series of caverns near the Red River above the junction of the Mississippi river, according to Milfort the original Creek Indian ancestors are believed to have emerged out to the surface of the earth in ancient times from the caverns. Milfort also claimed the caverns they saw “could easily contain 15,000 \endash 20,000 families.”
In 1818, John Cleves Symmes, Jr. suggested that the Earth consisted of a hollow shell about 1,300 km (810 mi) thick, with openings about 2,300 km (1,400 mi) across at both poles with 4 inner shells each open at the poles. Symmes became the most famous of the early Hollow Earth proponents. He proposed making an expedition to the North Pole hole, thanks to efforts of one of his followers, James McBride. United States president John Quincy Adams indicated he would approve of this but he left office before this could occur. The new President of the United States, Andrew Jackson, halted the attempt. It is possible this is the source of the (untrue) legend that Jackson believed in a Flat Earth, and was consequently the only United States president to do so.
Jeremiah Reynolds also delivered lectures on the “Hollow Earth” and argued for an expedition. Reynolds went on an expedition to Antarctica himself but missed joining the Great U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838\endash 1842, even though that venture was a result of his agitation.
Though Symmes himself never wrote a book about his ideas, several authors published works discussing his ideas. McBride wrote Symmes’ Theory of Concentric Spheres in 1826. It appears that Reynolds has an article that appeared as a separate booklet in 1827: Remarks of Symmes’ Theory Which Appeared in the American Quarterly Review. In 1868, a professor W.F. Lyons published The Hollow Globe which put forth a Symmes-like Hollow Earth hypothesis, but failed to mention Symmes himself. Symmes’s son Americus then published The Symmes’ Theory of Concentric Spheres in 1878 to set the record straight.
The Nazi era Thule Society reported much about Tibetan myths of openings into the Earth. There is even a theory that Hitler ordered a research journey for such an opening in Antarctica, based on a speech of Admiral Donitz in front of a German u-boat in 1944, when he claimed,
“The German submarine fleet is proud of having built an invisible fortification for the Furhrer, anywhere in the world.”
During the Nuremberg Trials, Donitz spoke of “an invisible fortification, in midst of the eternal ice.”
An early twentieth-century proponent of hollow Earth, William Reed, wrote Phantom of the Poles in 1906. He supported the idea of a hollow Earth, but without interior shells or inner sun.
The spiritualist writer Walburga, Lady Paget in her book Colloquies with an unseen friend (1907) was an early writer to mention the hollow earth theory. She claimed that cities exist beneath a desert, which is where the people of Atlantis moved. She said an entrance to the subterranean kingdom will be discovered in the 21st century.
William Fairfield Warren, in his book, Paradise Found: The Cradle of the Human Race at the North Pole presented his belief that humanity originated on a continent in the Arctic called Hyperborea. This influenced some early hollow earth theorists. According to Marshall Gardner, both the Eskimo and Mongolian peoples had come from the interior of the earth by an entrance at the North pole.
Marshall Gardner wrote A Journey to the Earth’s Interior in 1913 and published an expanded edition in 1920. He placed an interior sun in the Earth and built a working model of the hollow Earth which patented (U.S. Patent 1,096,102). Gardner made no mention of Reed, but did criticize Symmes for his ideas. About the same time Vladimir Obruchev wrote a novel Plutonia, in which the hollow Earth possessed an inner sun and was inhabited by prehistoric species. The interior was connected with the surface by an opening in the Arctic.
Explorer Ferdynand Ossendowski wrote a book in 1922 titled Beasts, Men and Gods. Ossendowski said he was told about a subterranean kingdom exists inside the earth. It was known to Buddhists as Agharti.
George Papashvily in his Anything Can Happen (1940) claimed the discovery in the Caucasus mountains of a caver containing human skeletons “with heads as big as bushel baskets” and an ancient tunnel leading to the centre of the earth. One man entered the tunnel and never returned.
Other in the 20th century proposed that “Ascended Masters” of esoteric wisdom inhabit subterranean caves or a hollow Earth. Antarctica, the North Pole, Tibet, Peru, and Mount Shasta in California, USA, have all had their advocates as the locations of entrances to a subterranean realm referred to as Agartha, with some even advancing the hypothesis that UFOs have their homeland in these places.
Novelist Lobsang Rampa in his book The Cave of the Ancients said an underground chamber system exists beneath the Himalayas of Tibet, filled with ancient machinery, records and treasure.Michael Grumley a cryptozoologist has linked Bigfoot and other hominid cryptids to ancient tunnel systems underground.
Douglas Baker wrote in one of his books that he had an astral journey to the inner earth where he observed a subterranean civilization. Other occult writers such as Guy Ballard and Alice Bailey have written that they have had out of body experiences and met mysterious beings inside of the earth.
According to the ancient astronaut writer Peter Kolosimo a robot was seen entering a subterranean tunnel below a monastery in Mongolia, he also claimed a light was seen from underground in Azerbaijan. Kolosimo and other ancient astronaut writers such as Robert Charroux linked these activities to UFOs.
A book allegedly by a “Dr. Raymond Bernard” which appeared in 1964, The Hollow Earth, exemplifies the idea of UFOs coming from inside the earth. The book rehashes Reed and Gardner’s ideas and ignores Symmes. Bernard also adds his own ideas: the Ring Nebula proves the existence of hollow worlds, as well as speculation on the fate of Atlantis and the origin of flying saucers. Bernard argued that the inhabitants of Atlantis took refuge in the Earth’s interior before the city was destroyed in great calamity.
It was Atlanteans who piloted the flying machines known in ancient India as vimanas and in the modern world as flying saucers. After the US bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Bernard claimed, the Atlanteans became concerned that radioactive air might flow into the world’s interior, and so some emerged in their flying saucers in an act of self-defense.
An article by Martin Gardner revealed that Dr.Walter Siegmeister used the pseudonym `Bernard’, but not until the publishing of Walter Kafton-Minkel’s Subterranean Worlds: 100,000 years of dragons, dwarves, the dead, lost races & UFOs from inside the Earth, in 1989, did the full story of Bernard/Siegmeister become well known.
The pages of the science fiction pulp magazine Amazing Stories promoted one such idea from 1945 to 1949 as “the Shaver Mystery”. The magazine’s editor, Ray Palmer, ran a series of stories by Richard Sharpe Shaver supposedly claimed as factual, though presented in the context of fiction. Shaver claimed that a superior pre-historic race had built a honeycomb of caves in the Earth, and that their degenerate descendants, known as “Dero”, live there still, using the fantastic machines abandoned by the ancient races to torment those of us living on the surface. As one characteristic of this torment, Shaver described “voices” that purportedly came from no explainable source. Thousands of readers wrote to affirm that they, too, had heard the fiendish voices from inside the Earth.
The writer David Hatcher Childress authored Lost Continents and the Hollow Earth (1998) in which he reprinted the stories of Palmer and defended the hollow earth idea based on alleged tunnel systems beneath South America and central Asia.
Hollow earth theorists have claimed a number of different locations for the entrances which lead inside the earth. Other than the North and South poles, entrances in locations which have been cited include: Paris in France, Staffordshire in England, Montreal in Canada, Hangchow in China, and the Amazon Rainforest.
Fantastic stories (supposedly believed as factual within fringe circles) have also circulated that Adolf Hitler and some of his followers escaped to hollow lands within the Earth after World War II via an entrance in Antarctica. (See also Hitler’s supposed adherence to concave hollow-Earth ideas, below.)
Some writers have proposed building megastructures that have some similarities to a hollow Earth \endash see Dyson sphere, Globus Cassus.
In 2011, Horatio Valens and Paul Veneti presented a two-hour “Lazeria Map Collection” video on centuries-old maps of the Arctic region and the North Pole, making a case for a 100-mile wide canyon in the center of the physical North Pole, into which north-flowing rivers drain into a hollow Earth. The maps were collected by Harry Hubbard.
Concave Hollow Earths
An example of a concave hollow Earth. Humans live on the interior, with the universe in the center.
Instead of saying that humans live on the outside surface of a hollow planet, sometimes called a “convex” hollow-Earth hypothesis, some have claimed that our universe itself lies in the interior of a hollow world, calling this a “concave” hollow-Earth hypothesis. The surface of the Earth, according to such a view, might resemble the interior shell of a sphere.
Purportedly verifiable hypotheses of a “concave hollow Earth” need to be distinguished from a thought experiment which defines a coordinate transformation such that the interior of the Earth becomes “exterior” and the exterior becomes “interior”.
(For example, in spherical coordinates, let radius r go to R\’b2/r where R is the Earth’s radius.)
The transformation entails corresponding changes to the forms of physical laws. This is not a hypothesis but an illustration of the fact that any description of the physical world can be equivalently expressed in more than one way.
Cyrus Teed, a doctor from upstate New York, proposed such a concave hollow Earth in 1869, calling his scheme “Cellular Cosmogony”. Teed founded a group called the Koreshan Unity based on this notion, which he called Koreshanity. The main colony survives as a preserved Florida state historic site, at Estero, Florida, but all of Teed’s followers have now died. Teed’s followers claimed to have experimentally verified the concavity of the Earth’s curvature, through surveys of the Florida coastline making use of “rectilineator” equipment.
Several twentieth-century German writers, including Peter Bender, Johannes Lang, Karl Neupert, and Fritz Braun, published works advocating the hollow Earth hypothesis, or Hohlweltlehre. It has even been reported, although apparently without historical documentation, that Adolf Hitler was influenced by concave hollow-Earth ideas and sent an expedition in an unsuccessful attempt to spy on the British fleet by pointing infrared cameras up at the sky.
The Egyptian mathematician, Mostafa Abdelkader, wrote several scholarly papers working out a detailed mapping of the concave Earth model.
In one chapter of his book On the Wild Side (1992), Martin Gardner discusses the hollow Earth model articulated by Abdelkader. According to Gardner, this hypothesis posits that light rays travel in circular paths, and slow as they approach the center of the spherical star-filled cavern. No energy can reach the center of the cavern, which corresponds to no point a finite distance away from Earth in the widely accepted scientific cosmology. A drill, Gardner says, would lengthen as it traveled away from the cavern and eventually pass through the “point at infinity” corresponding to the center of the Earth in the widely accepted scientific cosmology. Supposedly no experiment can distinguish between the two cosmologies.
Gardner notes that “most mathematicians believe that an inside-out universe, with properly adjusted physical laws, is empirically irrefutable”. Gardner rejects the concave hollow Earth hypothesis on the basis of Occam’s Razor.
The concept of a subterranean world inside the Earth’s shell has been a popular vision in legend, folklore and tales of ancients, told round campfired and passed on through the oral tradition for hundreds of generations.
Back then, the concept of subterranean worlds appeared feasible, and became linked with the concept of “places” such as the the underworld of Greek mythology, the Nordic Svartfaheimr, the Christian Hell, and the Jewish Sheol (about information describing internal Earth in Kabalistic literature, such as the Zohar and Hesed L’Avraham).
According to the ancient Greeks, there were caves which were entries leading deep into the earth, some of which were the caverns at Tainaron in Lakonia, at Trozien in Argolis, at Ephya in Thesprotia, at Herakleia in Pontos, and in Ermioni. In Thracian and Dacian folklore it is claimed that there are underground chambers inhabited by an revered god called Zalmoxis. In Mesopotamian religion we learn of a man who, after traveling through the blackness of an underground passage in a mountain called “Mashu,” entered an underground garden.
Celtic mythology has a legend of a cavern called “Cruachan,” additionally known as “Ireland’s gate to Hell,” a legendary and old cave from which, according to the tale, locals would sight weird beings emerge. There are likewise stories of medieval knights and saints who journeyed to a cave located in Station Island, County Donegal, in Ireland, where they made quests inside the planet to an area of purgatory. An Irish legend mentions tunnels in County Down, Northern Ireland, that lead to the subterranean Tuatha de Danaan, a special set of people who may have brought Druidism to Ireland, and then returned underground.
An old tale of the Angami Naga tribes of India reveals that their ancestors emerged in old times from a subterranean land inside the earth. There are myths from the Tai-no people that their ancestors actually emerged long ago from two caves in a the side of a mountain.
An ancient Mexican legend says that a mountain tunnel, located five miles south of Ojinaga, Mexico is possessed by devilish creatures that came from inside the mountain.
During the middle ages, a myth circulated that a portal to the hollow earth existed in mountains located between Eisenach and Gotha in Germany .
Likewise, an old Russian legend claimed the Samoyeds, an old Siberian tribe, went to live inside a city inside a mountain.
In North America, a Native American legend stated that the forefathers of the Mandans in arose from a subterranean land through a cavern at the northern edge of the Missouri River. The San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona was also thought to hold a strange tribe which lived within the earth.
The Iroquois, a fierce native tribe with a long history in Canada passed on stories of their ancient forefathers who had emerged from an underground world inside the earth. Hopi elders believed that an entrance in the Grand Canyon existed which could lead to the underworld.
South America also had native tribes who mentioned the inner earth in stories of yore. Brazilian Indians, who live along with the Parima River in Brazil, contended that their ancestors emerged in old times from the underground and that numerous ancestors were still to be found underground. Even the mighty Incas held that their forefathers came from underground caves, situated east of Cuzco, Peru.
Edmond Halley in 1692 argued that inside the Earth was a hollow shell about 800 km (500 mi) thick, with two internal concentric shells and an innermost center, similar in size to the planets Venus, Mars, and Mercury. Gases keep these shells separate, and each shell has its very own magnetic ends. They spin at various speeds. The scientist created this concept to explain strange compass readings. He imagined the inside to be lit up (and potentially occupied) and speculated that escaping gas triggers the Aurora Borealis.
Some people have argued that Leonhard Euler suggested a hollow-Earth concept, though he eliminated a number of shells in his theory and postulated an indoor sun 1,000 km (620 mi) across to give light to enhanced inner-Earth civilization.
Sir John Leslie broadened on Euler’s suggestion, suggesting two internal suns, which he named Pluto and Proserpine. Leslie did recommend a hollow Earth in his 1829 Elements of Natural Philosophy , but does not discuss interior suns.
In 1781 Le Clerc Milfort led hundreds of Creek Indians to a series of caverns near the Red River near the Mississippi. THis quest was an effort to find if there was substance to the ancient Creek Indian legends that ancestors were thought to have actually emerged out of the caverns.
In 1818, John Cleves Symmes, Jr. became convinced that the Earth consisted of a hollow shell approximately 1,300 km (810 mi) thick, about openings about 2,300 km (1,400 mi) around at both posts with four inner shells each with polar openings. Symmes became to be the most famous of the early Hollow Earth adherents.
Jeremiah Reynolds likewise provided lectures on the “Hollow Earth” and rallied for an exploration. Reynolds went on an exploration to Antarctica himself, yet missed participating in the Great U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838-1842, despite the fact that this expedition was a direct result of his public enthusiasms.
Symmes himself never wrote a book regarding his ideas, though a number of authors released works reviewing his suggestions. In 1868, W.F. Lyons, a professor, published The Hollow Globe which put forth a Symmes-like Hollow Earth theory, even though he neglected to mention the originator of that theory, Symmes, himself. Symmes’s son, Americus, published The Symmes’ Theory of Concentric Spheres in 1878 to cement his dad’s role in popularizing that theory.
The Twentieth Century
The Nazi era Thule Society publicized many of the Tibetan legends about openings into the Earth. Hitler was said to have ordered a study project to research such an opening in Antarctica, based upon a speech of Admiral Donitz while addressing sailors in front of a German u-boat in 1944. His is quoted as saying,
“The German submarine fleet boasts of having created an invisible stronghold for the Fuhrer, anywhere around the globe.”
Throughout the Nuremberg Trials, Donitz mentioned “an hidden stronghold, in middle of the eternal ice.”
William Reed, a very early twentieth-century proponent of the hollow Earth, published Phantom of the Poles in 1906. He maintained that the Earth was hollow, though he did not support the concept of inner shells and an internal sun.
The spiritualist writer, Walburga, Lady Paget, in her publication, Colloquies, wrote about an unseen companion. It was 1907 and she was one of the earliest authors to discuss the hollow Earth concept. She declared that cities exist beneath a desert, which is where Atlanteans moved to. She promised that an entry to the subterranean kingdom will certainly be found in the 21st century.
William Fairfield Warren, in his book, Paradise Found: The Cradle of the Human Race at the North Pole believed that humanity come from on a continent in the Arctic called Hyperborea. This affected some very early hollow planet thinkers.
According to Marshall Gardner, who wrote A Journey to the Earth’s Interior (in 1913), both the Eskimo and Mongolian peoples had come from the inside of the hollow Earth through an entrance at the North pole.
He placed an interior sun inside the Earth and developed a working scale design of the hollow Earth which he patented in the US. At about the same time, Vladimir Obruchev wrote a story called \i Plutonia\i0 , in which the hollow Earth had internal sunlight and was occupied by primitive beings. An opening in the Arctic connected the underground world.
Ferdynand Ossendowski was an explorer who wrote a manual in 1922 titled Beasts, Men and Gods. Ossendowski claimed he was told by some mysterious being about a subterranean kingdom that existed inside the planet.
In his book, Anything Can Happen, published in 1940, George Papashvily spoke of the discovery in the Caucasus mountains of a cave filled with human skeletons “with heads as big as bushel containers.” He also mentioned an old passage leading to the center of the earth. He claimed that one chap entered the tunnel and never returned.
Many have proposed that “Ascended Masters” of esoteric knowledge inhabit subterranean caverns or a hollow Earth. Antarctica, the North Pole, Tibet, Peru, and Mount Shasta in California, USA, have all been mentioned as places of entry to a subterranean realm known to Buddhists as Agartha. Some have even promulgated the theory that UFOs have their base in these locations.
Author Lobsang Rampa in his book, The Cave of the Ancients said an underground chamber system exists beneath the Himalayas of Tibet, loaded with ancient machinery, manuscripts and treasure.
Michael Grumley a cryptozoologist, has actually connected Bigfoot and various other hominoid cryptids to ancient underground tunnel systems.
Douglas Baker said in one of his books that he experienced an astral trip to the inner planet where he observed a subterranean civilization. Other occult writers such as Guy Ballard and Alice Bailey have also written about “out-of-body” experiences and claim they met mysterious beings inside of the earth.
According to Peter Kolosimo, who wrote about ancient astronauts, a robot was seen entering an underground tunnel below an abbey in Mongolia. He further avers a light was seen from underground in Azerbaijan;he thought it was a UFO.
A manual supposedly by Dr. Raymond Bernard showed up in 1964, called The Hollow Earth. It talks about UFOs coming from inside the earth. Bernard argued that the residents of Atlantis took refuge in the Earth’s interior before the city was completely demolished.
A post by Martin Gardner revealed that Dr. Walter Siegmeister utilized the pseudonym, “Bernard,” but not until the posting of Walter Kafton-Minkel’s Subterranean Worlds: 100,000 years of Dragons, Dwarves, the Dead, Lost Races & UFOs from Inside the Earth, in 1989, did the full tale of Bernard/Siegmeister name-switching become publicly known.
The magazine, Amazing Stories, highighted many tales about the paranormal and UFOs between 1945 and 1949. Who knows how many or how few had any basis in fact? Ray Palmer was the fearless editor who employed Richard Sharpe Shaver,writer of the tales that purported to be real.
Shaver claimed that a superior pre-historic race had created a honeycomb of caves in the Earth, and that their degenerate descendents, known as “Dero,” live there still, making use of the fantastic devices deserted by the old races to torment those of us living on the surface. He wrote that tormented voices were a product of their agony down under. Thousands of readers wrote to verify that they, too, had actually heard the fiendish voices from inside the Earth.
David Hatcher Childress then authored Lost Continents and the Hollow Earth (1998) in which he republished Palmer’s stories and argued for the hollow Earth concept, based on underground passages said to be found beneath South America and central Asia.
Hollow Earth proponents have pointed to a variety of different locations where the entrances can be found, which lead deep inside planet Earth.
Incredible tales (taken as gospel within some groups, but also confirmed by others who claim to have inside knowledge, like Ritter Von X – See Dan Weiss’s Special Report on his exclusive interview) have likewise maintained that Adolf Hitler and several of his followers were obsessed with finding the Hollow Earth entrance during and after the War. Some even claim that not only was there an entry in Antarctica, but that Hitler and some of his henchmen made it there. We remain a little more than agnostic on this issue.
In 2011, Horatio Valens and Paul Veneti offered a two-hour “Lazeria Map Collection” video clip of centuries-old charts of the Arctic area and the North Pole, suggesting that there is a 100-mile wide gulch in the physical North Pole, into which north-flowing streams drain into a hollow Earth. The charts were collected by Harry Hubbard.
Some individuals have suggested that humans live on the outside surface of a hollow world; this is often called a “convex” hollow-Earth hypothesis. Others have actually claimed that our world itself depends on the interior of a hollow world, calling this a “concave” hollow-Earth hypothesis. The area of the Earth, according to such a view, might look like the interior shell of a sphere.
Cyrus Teed, a doctor from upstate New York, proposed such a concave hollow Earth in 1869, calling his system “Cellular Cosmogony.” Teed founded a team called the Koreshan Unity based upon this idea, which he called Koreshanity. He fancied himself as a new Christ, a peculiar breed of megalomania. The cult following moved from New York state to Florida, where their estate prospered until the death of the last true believer, after which, the property was deeded to the state as tourist destination for those interested in seeing an historical site, at Estero, Florida. Teed’s fans declared that he had to have experimentally validated the concavity of the Earth’s curve, by surveying the Florida shoreline, having used “rectilineator” machinery.
German authors have shown a particular fascination with the hollow Earth. Writers, including Peter Bender, Johannes Lang, Karl Neupert, and Fritz Braun have each published research papers and books supporting the hollow Earth theory, or Hohlweltlehre.
There has even been talk about Adolf Hitler having been convinced of concave hollow-Earth ideas, that he sent out an expedition in an unsuccessful attempt to spy on the British fleet by aiming infrared cameras up at the sky.
An Egyptian mathematician, Mostafa Abdelkader, apparently created several academic research papers providing a comprehensive mapping of the concave Earth model.
In one chapter of On the Wild Side (1992), Martin Gardner talks about the hollow Earth model mentioned by Abdelkader. He theorized that a drill would lengthen as it traveled away from the cavern and eventually pass over the “factor at infinity” equivalent to the center of the Earth in the widely approved scientific understanding of the planets and the universe.
There is no evidence that scientists and interested observers will cease to believe in the concept of a hollow earth anytime soon. As long as man has imagination and a resistance to the version of the truth as concocted by government authorities, there will be tales of conspiracies, hollow Earth entrances and strange beings. Perhaps some day, some intrepid explorers will discover that myths of the hollow Earth had far more substance than most would believe.