Ah, the underworld. From time immemorial, people have believed that there is another world lying just beneath the surface of our planet. To a number of cultures—the ancient Greeks for one—it is a dark place filled with the souls of the dead. But most of these early beliefs were metaphorical or mythological in origin.
Modern science holds that that the Earth is an unbroken series of layers, crusts, and liquid magma surrounding a dense, hot core made primarily of iron and nickel. But not everyone is convinced. In the 17th century, some of the leading scientific minds of the time came up with a new theory—that the planet is actually hollow. This idea has proved incredibly durable.
Even today, there is a small cadre of Hollow Earth believers who are fighting valiantly to validate their ideas through books, websites, meetings and some extremely ambitious travel plans.
“My conception of the Hollow Earth, based on my research is that the shell of the Earth is about 800 miles thick, from the outside to the inner surface,” says Rodney Cluff, author of World Top Secret: Our Earth IS Hollow. He went even further in our phone conversation: half the planet is taken up by surface weight, and then there’s empty space, and then, something else. “Suspended in the center of that hollow is an interior sun that is divided by day and night sides,” he says, “The other part of the Hollow Earth theory is that near the North and South pole are substantial openings that lead into the interior.”
Hollow Earth theory sounds like science fiction, and is often presented as such, but some of history’s greatest scientists have subscribed to it. At one point, it seemed downright logical.
THE SCIENTIFIC BASIS FOR HOLLOW EARTH
Possibly the first person to scientifically speculate about a hollow earth was none other than Edmund Halley, of Halley’s Comet fame. Proposed in 1692 as a way of explaining anomalous compass readings, Halley’s theory is that the planet is a series of nested, spherical shells, spinning in different directions, all surrounding a central core. In his estimation, based on readings of the magnetic field and what he knew of the gravitational pull of the sun and the moon on the Earth, this model could account for any inaccuracies in his readings of the magnetic fields of the planet. He also posited that the space between each shell may have had luminous atmospheres capable of supporting life.
Halley’s strange idea was expanded upon over the next few centuries, tossing out the messy view of multiple spheres for the much funner vision that the entire interior of the Earth is just one, impossibly large cavern. Generally, this new view of the hollow Earth is accompanied with the theory of a small sun that hangs in the very center, creating a lush, livable environment on the flip side of the Earth’s surface. According to a number of hollow Earth websites, this vision was developed among famous mathematicians and scientists such as Leonhard Euler in the 18th century and Sir John Leslie in the 19th century, although the sources for these accreditations seem to be somewhat nebulous.
Regardless of where it originated, the model of a Hollow Earth managed to grow and survive. In 1818, John Cleves Symmes, Jr. published his Circular No. 1, declaring to the world that the Earth is hollow. Symmes, a veteran of the War of 1812 and unsuccessful trader, soon became maybe the most famous and successful proponent of the Hollow Earth theory. His initial vision of the Earth’s interior was like a simplified version of Halley’s multi-layered model, with the exception that Symmes’ version included huge holes at the North and South poles which allowed access to the hidden world inside. These holes, his unique addition to Hollow Earth theory, would even come to be known as “Symmes Holes.”
In his very first declaration, Symmes proposed to mount an expedition to the North Pole, where he was sure they could locate one of these apertures, and gain access to the inner Earth. He too believed that the interior of the Earth not only could, but did support life, saying in Circular No. 1, that the inside of the Earth would be “stocked with thrifty vegetables and animals if not men.” Symmes believed that his theory was not science fiction, but science fact, and that it applied not only to the Earth, but too all planetary bodies. To him, the whole universe was hollow.
Even in the 19th century, Symmes’ theories were greeted with derision from the public and scientific community, but he would not be silenced. Symmes continued to campaign, giving lectures and publishing letters about the Hollow Earth, always angling for an expedition to the North Pole that would prove his theory. Barrelling right through the skeptics, Symmes was eventually able to convince enough people of the possibility of his Hollow Earth that in 1822, he and his supporters actually got Congress to vote on funding for his expedition. The grant was shot down, but Symmes’ belief in the inner Earth never died. He continued to campaign for the theory until his death in 1849.
Even after Symmes’ death his idea continued to thrive amongst believers. Students and admirers of Symmes’ work, and even Symmes’ own son continued to publish materials explaining the increasingly odd theory.
One bizarre offshoot of the traditional Hollow Earth theory, put forth by natural healer and eventual cult leader, Cyrus Teed, even inverted the idea, devising a “cellular cosmology” that placed the entire universe inside a shell. According to Teed’s thinking, we were actually living on the inside of the Hollow Earth, looking up at the universe, which itself was just an illusion created by a strange solar mechanism. The stars were just reflections of the mechanism’s light. Teed’s theory managed to gain enough traction that a small cult developed around him, called the Koreshan Unity after Teed renamed himself Koresh. The Koreshans established an extensive colony in Estero, Florida in 1894, but most of the community disbanded after Teed’s death in 1908.
Both Teed and Symmes still have monuments dedicated to their work and beliefs. The location where the Koreshan community made their home is now protected as the Koreshan State Historic Site, while Ohio’s Hollow Earth Monument is dedicated to Symmes’ work.
Even as unbelievable as the beliefs of Symmes and Teed were, as the Hollow Earth theory grew into the 20th century, it began to take on an even more supernatural air.
FROM SCIENCE TO SCIENCE FICTION
In 1864 Jules Verne published A Journey to the Centre of the Earth, which proposed a weird world inside our own, and while it was not the first work of fiction to propose such a thing (it could be argued that the first such work of fiction regarding the weird world inside of our own is Dante’s poem, Inferno), Verne’s work quickly became the benchmark for such fantasy tales, giving steam to a whole sub-genre of subterranean science-fiction. Many of these stories used the theories of Halley and Symmes as jumping off points for tales of weird prehistoric jungles and highly advanced, lost races of humans. The 1892 novel, The Goddess of Atvatabar, or The History of the Discovery of the Interior World, used Symmes’ model as a basis for a tale of a rich interior world inhabited by a race of spiritually enlightened beings. This vision of the Hollow Earth would seem to be one of the prime inspirations of many of the current tropes among modern hollow Earth theory.
Modern belief in the Hollow Earth theory can be a bit hard to pin down, encompassing such disparate subjects as the Northern Lights and even an escaping Hitler (“The Germans did make it to Hollow Earth. They made a deal with the people in the Hollow Earth.”). The largest proponents of the theory seem to be singular thinkers like Cluff, who often have their own spin on the hypothesis, or hold up what they consider to be the true evidence. Despite the variations a few themes do seem to be common among Hollow Earth truthers.
Among most believers, the inside of the Hollow Earth is a lush tropical paradise that very likely houses an advanced race of humans/aliens/giants. In most scenarios, the inhabitants are the descendants of ancient races such as the Lemurians or, as in Cluff’s view, the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel, guided there through the North polar opening by God himself. No matter where they come from, they are generally characterized as peace-loving, and advanced far beyond our own. “They have flying saucer technology. They live lives of perfect health for hundreds of years. Their science is much more advanced because they live much longer lives,” says Cluff.
The perfect climate believed to exist in the Hollow Earth is said to produce animals and people that are larger and far more healthy than those on the surface. “It has a perfect temperature. God made the inner sun so that it provides heat, during the night, and a little bit less at night….Trees grow up to a thousand feet tall. Humans even grow up to 15 feet tall,” Cluff told us. “Because of the ideal conditions, animal life grows really large also.” This inner world is sometimes called or associated with Agartha, a legendary city at the Earth’s core often tied to Eastern mysticism.
FEAR OF A HOLLOW PLANET
If it is to be believed that the Earth is in fact hollow, and home to all manner of super-race and megafauna, why have we never contacted them, or gone there? According to Cluff, we have, but an international banking conspiracy has worked to cover up the existence of the Hollow Earth, and hide evidence of any Symmes Holes. This sort of paranoid, conspiratorial thinking tends to be another hallmark among modern Hollow Earth believers, because, really there is no other force that could be keeping us from engaging with the wonders of the inner Earth, given our current level of technology and exploratory freedom.
One of the most popular pieces of evidence for Hollow Earth is a supposed secret journal entry by Admiral Richard Byrd, who claimed to be the first person to fly over the North and South pole. According to believers, Byrd’s secret journal from 1947 included a report of flying into one of the Symmes Holes, and making contact with the race that lives inside the Earth.
Of course this too, has supposedly been covered up.
Through the mid-2000s and into the early 2010s, Cluff was actually a part of a long-gestating expedition known most recently as the North Pole Inner Earth Expedition. Unfortunately after a number of setbacks including backers and members of the team falling victim to calamities ranging from cancer to fatal plane crashes, the expedition was put on hiatus. Had the expedition been successful, the team would have chartered one of the world’s largest ice breaking ships straight to the North Pole, where they would have attempted to contact the denizens of the Hollow Earth through the hole they believed they would find. Cluff believes that the various setbacks to the project are the work of the international banking conspiracy, but is hopeful that they will someday be able to get funding, and a new expedition leader to help continue the project.
And even if he doesn’t, the Hollow Earth theory will likely continue on. Until humans can actually peer into the Earth’s core, who can say that it’s not filled with Germans or aliens or a very small sun.
More about germans interest on the matter from crystalinks.com:
The Thule Society, which was well known by Adolf Hitler, 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 submarine in 1944, when he claimed “The German submarine fleet is proud of having built an invisible fortification for the Fuhrer, anywhere in the world.” During the Nuremberg Trials, Donitz spoke of “an invisible fortification, in midst of the eternal ice.”
- As the story goes … Hitler and his followers wanted to create a race of super soldiers an Ayran race (like the Atlanteans) to rule the world. They came to this conclusion through the acceptance of many occult beliefs and practices, including the Hollow Earth Theory. There is a legend which says that Hitler and his chief advisers escaped the last days of the Third Reich by going through the opening at the South Pole (Antarctica) where they discovered an entrance to the Earth’s interior.
According to the Hollow Earth Research Society in Ontario, Canada, they are still there. After the war, the organization claims, the Allies discovered that more than 2,000 scientists from Germany and Italy had vanished, along with almost a million people, to the land beyond the South Pole. This story gets more complicated with Nazi-designed UFOs, Nazi collaboration with the people who live in the center of the Earth, and the possible explanation for “Aryan-looking” UFO pilots.
In 2005, Steven Currey Expeditions planned an expedition to the North Pole region to explore for a possible opening into the inner Earth. Brooks A. Agnew took over as leader on Currey’s death in 2006, with the plan of taking 100 scientists and film makers to the supposed Arctic “opening” in 2009.
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.
Marshall Gardner wrote A Journey to the Earth’s Interior in 1913 and an expanded edition in 1920. He placed an interior sun in the hollow Earth. He even built a working model of the hollow Earth and patented it. Gardner made no mention of Reed, but did take Symmes to task for his ideas. In the same time Vladimir Obruchev wrote a fiction novel Plutonia, where the hollow Earth’s interior possessed one inner (central) sun and was inhabited by prehistoric species. The interior was connected with the surface by a hole in the Arctic.
Other writers have proposed that ascended masters of esoteric wisdom inhabit subterranean caverns 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.
In 1964, Raymond W. Bernard, an esotericist and leader of the Rosicrucians published The Hollow Earth – The Greatest Geographical Discovery in History Made by Admiral Richard E. Byrd in the Mysterious Land Beyond the Poles – The True Origin of the Flying Saucers. Bernard tells stories about people who have entered the inner earth and what has happened to them. It mentions a photograph published in 1960 in the Globe and Mail in Toronto, Canada which shows a beautiful valley with lush hills. An aviator claimed that he had taken the picture while flying into the North Pole.
In his Letters from Nowhere, Bernard claims to have been in contact with great mystics in secret ashrams and with Grand Lamas in Tibet. He was, in short, another Gurdjieff. Dr. Bernard “died of pneumonia on September 10, 1965, while searching the tunnel openings to the interior of the Earth, in South America.”
Bernard seems to have accepted every legend ever associated with the hollow Earth idea, including the notions that the Eskimos originated within the Earth and an advanced civilization dwells within even now, revving up their UFOs for occasional forays into thin air. Bernard even accepts without question Shaver’s claim that he learned the secret of relativity before Einstein from the Hollow Earth people.
Admiral Richard E. Byrd of the United States Navy flew to the North Pole in 1926 and over the South Pole in 1929. he referred to Antarctica as “The Land of Everlasting Mystery”. In reference to the North Pole he wrote: “I’d like to see that land beyond the North Pole, it is the Center of the Great Unknown.”
- In his diary, Byrd allegedly tells of entering the hollow interior of the earth, along with others and traveling 17 miles over mountains, lakes, rivers, green vegetation, and animal life. He tells of seeing tremendous animals resembling the mammoths of antiquity moving through the brush. He eventually found cities and a thriving civilization. The external temperature was 74 degrees F.
His airplane was greeted by flying machines of a type he had never seen before. They escorted him to a safe landing area where he was graciously greeted by emissaries from Agartha. After resting, he and his crew, were taken to meet the king and queen of Agartha. They told him that he had been allowed to enter Agartha because of his high moral and ethical character. They went on to say that they worried about the safety of planet due to he bombs and other testing done above the surface by governments. After the visit Byrd and his crew were guided back to the surface of the planet.
Byrd stated that the North and South Poles are only two of many openings into the center of the Earth. He also wrote about seeing a sun below the Earth.
On May 9, 1926, famed American explorer Richard Byrd took off from the Norwegian Arctic island of Spitsbergen along with his pilot, Floyd Bennett, in an attempt to be the first to fly to the North Pole. About 16 hours later, the pair returned to the island in their Fokker tri-motor airplane, the Josephine Ford, saying they had indeed accomplished the feat. Byrd submitted his navigational records to the U.S. Navy and a committee of the National Geographic Society, one of his sponsors, who confirmed the accomplishment, according to the Ohio State University Libraries. Byrd was hailed as a hero, given the Medal of Honor, and went on to fly over the South Pole, as well as achieving many other polar exploration milestones. But from 1926 onward, not everyone thought that Byrd and Bennett actually made it to the North Pole. The controversy largely rested on whether the plane could have covered the distance in just 15 hours and 44 minutes, as the team recorded, when the flight was expected to take about 18 hours, given the ground speed of the aircraft.
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 Dyson sphere. Generally, scientists have taken neither type of speculation seriously.
Cyrus Teed, an eccentric doctor from upstate New York, proposed such a concave hollow Earth in 1869, calling his scheme “Cellular Cosmogony”. Teed founded a cult 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, 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 aiming infrared cameras up into the sky (Wagner, 1999).
The Egyptian mathematician Mostafa Abdelkader authored several scholarly papers working out a detailed mapping of the concave Earth model. See M. Abdelkader, “A Geocosmos: Mapping Outer Space Into a Hollow Earth,” 6 Speculations in Science & Technology 81-89 (1983). Abstracts of two of Abdelkader’s papers also appeared in Notices of the American Mathematical Society, (Oct. 1981 and Feb. 1982).
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. Martin 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.
In a trivial sense, one can always define a coordinate transformation such that the interior of the Earth becomes “exterior” and the exterior becomes “interior”. Such transformations would require corresponding changes to the forms of physical laws; the consensus suggests that such theories tend towards sophism.
The best scientific argument against that of a hollow Earth (or in fact any hollow planet) is gravity. Massive objects tend to clump together gravitationally, creating non-hollow spherical objects we call stars and planets. The solid sphere is the best way in which to minimize the gravitational potential energy of a physical object; having hollowness is therefore unfavorable in the energetic sense. In addition, ordinary matter is not strong enough to support a hollow shape of planetary size against the force of gravity.
Someone on the inside of a hollow Earth would not experience an outward pull and could not stand on the inner surface; rather, the theory of gravity implies that a person on the inside would be nearly weightless. This was first shown by Newton, whose shell theorem mathematically predicts a gravitational force (from the shell) of zero everywhere inside a spherically symmetric hollow shell of matter, regardless of the shell’s thickness.
A tiny gravitational force would arise from the fact that the Earth does not have a perfectly symmetrical spherical shape, as well as forces from other bodies such as the Moon. The centrifugal force from the Earth’s rotation would pull a person (on the inner surface) outwards if the person was traveling at the same velocity as the Earth’s interior and was in contact with the ground on the interior, but even at the equator this is only 1/300 of ordinary Earth gravity.
The mass of the planet also indicates that the hollow Earth hypothesis is unfeasible. Should the Earth be largely hollow, its mass would be much lower and thus its gravity on the outer surface would be much lower than it currently is.
Although not visually observable, the core of the Earth is observable via vibrations (primarily from earthquakes) passing from one side of the planet to the other. Using this method, geologists have been able to establish the structure of mantle, outer core, and inner core known today. A hollow earth would behave entirely differently in terms of seismic observations.
The deepest hole drilled to date is the SG-3 borehole which is 12.3 km (7.6 miles) deep, part of the Soviet Kola Superdeep Borehole project; thus, visual knowledge of the Earth’s structure extends that far.
Author: ERIC GRUNDHAUSER