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On a stormy night in 1997, personal trainer Dallas' Thompson drove down Highway 58 in Bakersfield, California. The rain made the asphalt slick so the road was more dangerous than usual.
Sure enough, Thompson lost control of his vehicle. The car hydroplaned sliding along the watery road at 70 miles per hour. It spun around at least six times before falling 250 feet down a cliff.
When firefighters and paramedics arrived, they presumed anyone in the flattened vehicle was dead. But miraculously, Thompson survived five years later. In 2002, Thompson went on the radio show Coast to Coast A.M. with Art Bell to promote his book Cosmic Manuscript in its pages. Thompson claimed that interdimensional beings pulled him from the car before impact and transported him to a realm where all time flows simultaneously.
He also mysteriously learned information that all humans once knew. The Earth is hollow, and it's crossed only a quarter mile thick underneath that shell.
Thompson said there was an ancient civilization that built a vast array of subterranean tunnels illuminated by crystals and glowing moss. Its citizens had incredibly advanced technology at their fingertips, including electro magnetic vehicles that could travel thousands of miles per hour for his 30 second birthday on May 24th, 2003. Thompson planned to join the society.
It was going to enter a hole in the earth's crust that he believed was at the North Pole.
However, before Thompson could make his journey, he suddenly vanished from the face of the earth.
Maybe it was already underneath it. Welcome to Conspiracy Theories, a podcast original every Monday and Wednesday, we dig into the complicated stories behind the world's most controversial events and search for the truth. I'm Carter Roy. And I'm Molly Brandenberg.
And neither of us are conspiracy theorists, but we are open minded, skeptical and curious. Don't get us wrong. Sometimes the official version is the truth, but sometimes it's not.
You can find episodes of conspiracy theories and all other precast originals for free on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts to stream conspiracy theories for free on Spotify, just open the app and type conspiracy theories in the search bar. This is our first of two episodes on the Hollow Earth hypothesis, the belief that the Earth is completely hollow and may contain advanced humanoid species or even UFOs. This episode will trace the history of the idea that the Earth might be hollow from ancient civilizations to the scientific minds of the Enlightenment era to today.
Next episode will examine some of the most popular conspiracy theories surrounding the Hollow Earth hypothesis, including one that suggests that right now we're all living in the innards of our planet.
We have all that and more coming up. Stay with us. You might be surprised to know that tales of an underground world have been around for a while, as long as humans have looked to the heavens for inspiration, they've also looked beneath their feet.
In fact, Dallas Thompson may have based his hollow earth theory off the legends of the Hopi tribe in Arizona. According to the tribe's mythology, their ancestors sprang up from caves beneath the earth.
Three worlds existed beneath the Earth's surface, but eventually humans outgrew them. They climbed higher and higher until they reached the surface. What we consider our world.
And some believe that the cavernous worlds of the Hopis ancestors still exist below the Grand Canyon, across the Atlantic Ocean, another ancient civilization conceived of a world below ours.
Though the ancient Greeks and Egyptians didn't believe that they came from a place underneath the earth, they did believe that they went to one in depth, the underworld.
As early as 3000 BCE.
Ancient Egyptians view death as merely another form of life, one that primarily existed underground.
According to their beliefs, human souls descended to an underworld filled with demons who could be benevolent and merciful or monstrously cruel.
Ancient Egyptian mythology is one of the oldest on earth, so its stories have changed over thousands of years. But the most common narrative of the soul's journey from earth to paradise is as follows.
Upon leaving its human body, every soul was led to the Hall of Truth. There, it waited to see Osiris, Judge of the Dead and Lord of the Underworld. But before it reached Osiris, each soul faced 42 judges, a series of gods, each representing an earthly sin.
When a soul reached one of the judges, it needed to a vow that in life it never committed their respective sin.
You didn't need to actually be innocent, just convincing.
Each soul recited the declaration of innocence or negative confession proclamations that stated that they deserved a place in paradise.
Following this, a soul underwent the weighing of the heart of Cyrus, placed an ostrich feather on a scale and weighed the heart of the souls former body against it.
A heart that deserved a place in the afterlife would be lighter than a feather. If heavier, the heart would be devoured by a crocodile leopard hippopotamus hybrid named Ahmet and the soul would be no more. The ancient Egyptians concept of hell wasn't torturous. It was nonexistence, an unimaginable fate.
If the feather outweigh the soul's heart, the soul would be allowed to progress into Uru the field of reeds, a paradise tailored to the needs of every soul who entered.
To be clear, sources don't specify whether the Field of Reeds was underground. That said, no text mentions a return to the surface.
It's not unreasonable to propose that the ancient Egyptians idea of paradise might have been underground.
If true, the Egyptians wouldn't be alone. The Norse people of pre-Christian Scandinavia believe that Earth was one of nine realms. Asgard was the highest world and home to the most powerful gods like Odin, the God of war and wisdom, and Thor, the God of thunder. Below that was the human world called Midgard, which translates to Middle Earth.
If it sounds familiar.
J.R. Tolkien borrowed the name Middle Earth for the setting of his Lord of the Rings trilogy as well as The Hobbit.
But in Norse legend, there were more worlds below the Earth than above. First, there was Muswell Heim, a chaotic land of fire and lava. Beneath that was the home of the dwarves, the dark elves.
As early as 3000 B.C., ancient Greek mythology included an underworld that hosted the dead. It was split into two main realms, Elysium and Tartarus, a dark and inescapable place.
Tartarus was home to the enemies of the gods, the Titans starting around 1000 B.C.. Several Hindu texts mentioned Patala, a vast underground kingdom more beautiful than the heavens.
Patala extended 70000 Eugenia's about 500000 miles beneath the earth, these beliefs didn't only extend to the polytheistic religions.
The Hebrew Bible, written from approximately 100 to 165 BCE, alludes to God's reach extending beneath the earth.
And shale, sometimes referred to as Hades in different translations, is also mentioned as a terrifying underworld.
This concept endured all the way into the Renaissance. In 1920, the Italian poet Dante Allegory completed an epic called The Divine Comedy. It's speculated that the universe was divided into three layers paradise, purgatory and the inferno, the lowest level. The inferno was structured into nine circles, each corresponding to a different mortal sin. The lowest was reserved for betrayers like the biblical figures Cain and Judas. It was also home to Satan himself.
Dante wrote The Inferno as satire, but some believe the entrance to the underworld was all too real.
An Irish legend said that sometime in the fifth century, CE Jesus appeared to St.. Patrick and showed him the entrance to Purgatory. It was located on an island in the middle of a lake called Loch Darek. Jesus told St. Patrick that if a person confessed their sins, received communion and entered the cavern, they'd emerge. A day later, entirely cleansed of sin, St. Patrick erected a monastery on the spot around 11 50 C a night named Sir.
Ohan arrived to confess his sins to the monks.
But unsatisfied with the penance the monks asked him to pay, Owen supposedly descended into the underworld to purge himself of sin, unarmed and an armored ohan walk down a steep staircase until the light from the surface subsided and he was engulfed in darkness. As the story goes, demons captured and tortured the night to make him renounce God. Owen's suffered unimaginable pain but refused to turn back on his faith.
Once the pain became unbearable, Sir Owen invoked the name of Christ and Angels from on high, showed him a vision of paradise.
And then everything went black. When he woke up, Sir Owen was just steps into the cavern and free to leave. According to the legend, when Sir Owen passed away, he went straight to heaven. He'd already been through purgatory.
Today, a bell tower stands on the side of the cave referenced in the story. Historians agree that a hole in the earth did exist on the island where St.. Patrick supposedly rubbed elbows with Jesus Christ.
Scholars just don't know how big the hole was or where it led. Coming up, we'll learn which legendary scientists actually believe that the earth was hollow.
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Now back to the story. For thousands of years, humans believed in a world beneath our own weather as a paradise or as a desolate hell scape, many different societies suspected there was life underneath what we consider solid ground.
But the idea of a hollow or multitiered earth wasn't limited to antiquity, even as progress led more people to put their faith in science. The theory persisted.
Athanasius Kircher was a German scholar and Jesuit priest. He lived during the 17th century CE and tried his hand at nearly every field of scientific study imaginable. He was quite literally a Renaissance man before Krischer left school.
He learned both Hebrew and Greek. After graduating, he moved to Rome, where he founded a natural history museum and became one of the first Egyptologists. He did all this while creating an encyclopedia on one of his favorite lands, China.
Kershner was also a geologist in sixteen thirty eight. He was sailing off the coast of Italy when he noticed that the sea was agitated, as if his ship was in the middle of a storm. But there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Curtius suggested that they make landfall shortly after a massive earthquake hit. Krischer witnessed the total destruction of multiple cities along the coastline.
Inspired by the Earth's raw power, Curser decided to explore the nearby volcano, Mount Vesuvius. He was lowered into the smoking mountain, and as he inhaled sulfur, he thought he heard the sound of devils. 26 years later, Kershaw published Monday Subterranean or the Subterranean World, in an attempt to explain the existence of volcanoes, hot springs and geysers. Kershaw hypothesized that the Earth's interior was riddled with small chambers connected to the planet's extremely warm core, which isn't too far off from what we know today.
But Kershaw didn't stop there.
He claimed these caverns were composed of two separate but intermingling cavernous networks.
One was filled with magma, while the other was filled with water volcanoes where magma tunnels that had reached the surface. Wellspring's and other bodies of water came from the water tunnels. When the two tunnels collided, they created hot springs or geysers.
Curser also believed that water inside the earth had a current, just like it did on the surface. But how is this current? Formed His biographer, John Edward Fletcher, summarized Persia's opinion, saying at the North Pole, the seas drain into a huge whirlpool and are led by devious routes through the earth to reemerge. Purified by the inner fire at the South Pole, they are to resume the endless ebb and flow.
Essentially, Kershaw suggested that the water traveled through the earth, meaning it had to be hollow to some extent, and some of his contemporaries agreed.
In sixteen seventy six, a twenty year old Englishman named Edmund Halley dropped out of Oxford, eager to begin his scientific career. He set sail to St.. Helena, a volcanic island off the coast of Africa, and set up a small observatory financed by his wealthy father.
Over the next few years, Halley became one of the first to catalog the stars.
As observed from the Southern Hemisphere, Halley's astronomical contributions to the British Empire's naval charts proved invaluable, and English traders needed all the help they could get.
At the time, sailors relied on magnetic compasses for navigation, but Magnetic North is actually quite far from geographic north. The difference between these points is called magnetic variance. Today, the difference is about 500 kilometres, but that changes with changes of polarity.
Geographic North is defined by the Earth's rotational access, the invisible line that runs from the geographic north to the South Pole. On the other hand, magnetic north is defined by the Earth's magnetic field as the magnetic field slowly drifts over time due to unseen forces within the earth, so do the magnetic north and south poles. This magnetic variance caused no end of troubles for Navigator's.
By the time Halley began his research, countless attempts had been made to understand the seemingly random nature of the magnetic. Polls in 16 41, Athanasius Kircher published the book Magnis, in which he speculated that God was the greatest magnetic force in the universe and that music and love had magnetic properties.
Cursors research was hugely popular. During Ali's time, the young astronomer had probably read both moondust, subterranean and Magnis.
However, Halley still search for his own ideas, and while they differed from Curtius, Halley also believed that the earth was hollow.
In 16, Ninety-two Edmund Halley published his theory on magnetism. He first presented his hard evidence magnetic readings that were taken from all over the world over the previous century. This data revealed that Magnetic North had shifted from east to west over time.
Then he suggested a possible explanation. Something incredibly large was moving within the earth and a slow and steady pace exerting force on the magnetic fields.
Think of the Earth as a balloon or, as Halley called it, a shell. Within that balloon, he believed, was another slightly smaller balloon, the nucleus. That internal balloon moved at its own pace, completely unattached from the balloon around it. It also had its own magnetic fields and some sort of liquid or gaseous membrane separated the nucleus from the shell.
He called that material ether highly speculated that more worlds might exist within the smaller balloon and there could even be another balloon inside that one three layers of the earth, each one corresponding in size to Venus, Mars and Mercury, or at least as he understood their size, many of Halley's contemporaries believed that living beings inhabited every planet in our solar system. The reason that if a God created such massive heavenly bodies, they had to fill them with life.
By the same logic, Halley asserted, there must be something alive beneath the Earth's surface.
As for how life could exist in a place as pitch black as his nucleus, Halley's response was to this site. Answer that there are many ways of producing light, which we are wholly ignorant of.
In other words, he had no answer.
That is, until Halley observed the aurora borealis, also known as the Northern Lights.
The phenomenon reminded Halley of his theory of an ether between the Earth's outer shell and its inner worlds.
He suspected that the northern lights were the result of glowing ether escaping the internal world. If true, Halley's ether explained light inside the earth. Or rather, it was a good enough explanation for him.
Years later, how theorized that a comet he observed in 1882 would reappear again in 1758 when his prediction came true. The comet was named in his honor.
Unlike Athanasius Kershaw's work, Halley's astronomical contributions are well regarded by modern scientists. But during his lifetime, Halley's Hollow Earth theory was his most popular.
It was even supported by acclaimed mathematician, philosopher and astronomer Isaac Newton.
In fact, Newton's best-known work philosophy naturalist Principessa Mathematica would never have been published without Edmund Halley's help.
Halley edited and financed the book Pren Kippie, published in 16 Eighty-seven outline the laws of motion, including gravity. Newton also proposed that the moon was one point two times denser than the Earth. For him, the moon's density had to be larger than the Earth's. In order to explain the amount of pull it had on ocean tides, Newton suggested an experiment that might be able to measure Earth's density, confident that the planet's mass would be shockingly low.
He based his experiment on the supposition that everything has a gravitational pull and if Earth's gravitational pull could attract objects like comets, then a large enough object should affect a simple pendulum.
Newton proposed a mountain.
Theoretically, a scientist could set up a pendulum near a mountain and measure its movement. Using that measurement, they could compare its gravitational pull to that of the Earth. With the ratio in hand, they could calculate the. The Earth's mass, but Newton only proposed it as a thought experiment. He never expected anyone to actually do it.
Enter Neville Masculine in 1772, astronomer royal to King George the third.
He wanted to actually give the experiment a try. He just needed a mountain near a large, flat area so that the pendulum's arc could be accurately recorded.
Masculine pitched his idea to the Royal Court, and they approved masculine turn to his colleagues at the Royal Society of London, including Benjamin Franklin, surveyor Charles Mason and mathematician Charles Hutton.
They called themselves the Committee of Attraction, and together they decided upon Shaolin Mountain in Scotland as the site for the trial.
Charline had a roughly symmetrical cone shape. It was also relatively isolated from other peaks. Not having to measure the mass of an entire range would make the process easier.
Hundreds of observations were made over a period of several years.
Pascaline recorded that the mountain displace the pendulum swing by eleven point six arc seconds or point zero zero three two degrees.
This information told them that, unlike Newton's estimation, the earth was far denser than anyone had realised. When Hutton shared the results of his study with the Royal Society on May 21st, 1778, he proposed that 65 percent of the Earth's interior must be composed of some kind of extremely dense substance, most likely metal. But their findings didn't put an end to hollow earth theories.
Far from it. They lived in a time where supposedly great scientific breakthroughs could be disproven the very next day.
It wasn't unreasonable for anyone to wonder whether or not the Charline should be trusted.
Maybe we shouldn't trust it either. Coming up, hollow earth theory in the modern age. Now back to the story. For thousands of years, humans believe that there may be something significant below the crust of the planet, even renowned scientists such as Edmund Halley carried the belief into the 18th century and beyond.
Frenchman LeClaire Millford was six years old when Halley's comet reappeared in 1758 at 23. He emigrated to Boston from France, according to Milford's memoirs. He traveled throughout all 13 colonies.
But America wasn't quite what Millford had imagined, according to his memoirs, any time he expressed his own political opinion. He was told off by the American colonists.
Locals told him that perhaps he'd be happier in the wilderness to the West, where so-called civilized society didn't exist due to what Millford later called his thoughtless youth.
He decided to heed their advice in 1776 with a compass in hand, Milford cross the Georgia border with three horses, an assistant and no plans. After two days, his assistant turned back. Millford continued on alone through a vast roadless forest. Two weeks later, his provisions ran out. He subsisted on the fruits and nuts that fell off the trees.
Eventually, Milford reached the Chattahoochee River, which straddles the border between Present-day, Alabama, and Georgia, on the river's edge. He resolved himself to make a difficult decision to kill and eat his horse. Just as he was about to put an end to the animal's life, he noticed a group of five indigenous Americans. At first, they refused to approach Milford to show them he meant no harm. He laid down his gun. He told them he was French, not British or American.
Whether they understood or not, it seemed to do the trick. The group's elders shook Milford's hand and led him to their village there. The tribe inducted Milford's into the Muscogee Nation. He lived there for much of his life. Five years later, Millford and a group of 200 young Muscogee arrived at a cave system near the Red River in Louisiana. Milford's in the Muskogee, waited out the worst of winter there. For months, they lived off the land surrounding the caverns.
Mill notes that the caves could accommodate 15 to 20000 families. Millford never specified which of the Muskogee tribe spent those days with him in the cave. But we do know that some of them believe that their ancestors had emerged from caves in the area, much like the Hopi people near the Grand Canyon.
Nearly every modern hollow earth theory mentions Milford's expedition, but his writings never mentioned a descent into the Earth. After winter passed, M. Fort and the Muscogee traveled back to their village. If they did find an underground realm, they never told anyone about it. Although Millford may not have discovered anything indicating the earth was hollow. Someone else in his era might have.
The next historical figure that hollow Earth theorists often bring up is a captain in the War of 1812, John Clèves Sims Jr.. After the war concluded, Sims received an honorable discharge and moved to St. Louis, Missouri, to start a trade business. We don't know much about Sims life between 1815 and 1818, but at some point in that time he developed a thorough and strange model of the Earth.
On April 10th, 1818, Sims mailed out 500 copies of a pamphlet titled Circular. It began to all the world. I declare the earth is hollow and habitable within containing a number of solid concentric spheres, one within the other, and that it is open at the poles 12 or 16 degrees. I pledge my life in support of this truth and am ready to explore the hollow if the world will support and aid me in the undertaking.
Sims wanted to gather a force of 100 compatriots to set out from Siberia across the frozen Arctic sea and into the North Pole.
He was confident that upon their arrival they would find a warm and rich land stocked with thrifty vegetables and animals, if not men.
He believed that the holes leading to the center of the earth corresponded with the magnetic north and south poles rather than the geographic. From the way he spoke, it appeared that he might have even believed that the holes were the source of the Earth's magnetic field.
Sims also proposed that they created all of the winds and snow storms of the earth. On top of that, they also spewed hot temperatures and bright light. That light shone out from holes under the ocean and was redirected throughout the underworld by highly reflective crystals. As proof, Simms pointed to the dark skin of the area's indigenous people. He believed it was the result of the light and heat from the holes.
Most dismiss Sims pamphlets as analog spam mail. According to his son, Americus, his research was overwhelmed with ridicule as the production of a tempered imagination.
But a few recipients wrote back. American politician and physician Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell replied in support of the idea. He said, We stand in need of better information. One actual explorer would be better than a thousand inventors of stories.
This validation encouraged Sims to set out on a nationwide speaking tour to raise funds for the expedition. At first, people flocked to hear Sims talks, only to gawk at the absurdity of his ideas, but seemed surprised his sold out audiences with a surprisingly academic nature of his approach.
Eventually, Sims tour went international. During his travels, the chancellor of Russia allegedly agreed to support Sims expedition. If true, Sims turned down the aid for reasons unknown and returned to Ohio.
There, Sims leveraged the story of Russia's support to find other backers. He claimed that at any moment Russia could beat the United States in the exploration of this new frontier.
It worked. Sims gained so much social capital that he became known as the Knewton of the West, although he never managed to get to the North Pole. His ideas caught the public's imagination, and for all intents and purposes, no one could prove that the Earth wasn't. Followed by his death in 1829, 29 had achieved a level of respect that it seemed impossible when he printed his first pamphlet. Today, a monument stands in his honor in Hamilton, Ohio, a concrete sphere with a hole through the middle rests atop an obelisk shaped gravestone.
And Sim's memory lives on in other art forms as well. Prior to his death, an anonymous author published the novel Seme Zannier, A Voyage of Discovery. It tells the story of the fictional captain Adam Seabourne, who voyages to the South Pole and discovers the entrance to the inner earth. He meets the peaceful Smithsonian's who live inside but is banished when they realize his ship has weapons.
In 1833, Edgar Allan Poe published another story inspired by Sims called Manuscript Found in a Bottle. It ends with a ship being drawn into a great whirlpool in the South Pole.
Poe's novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, also references Sim's theory. Published in 1838, Poe's only completed novel plays out like a standard adventure story until the titular character, Arthur Pym, sails to the Antarctic.
Nearing the South Pole, Pym notices the air get warmer before discovering an island filled with alien wildlife and a strange humanoid species. He finds tunnels that appear to lead deep beneath the earth. The novel ends with him traveling into a massive fog, the implication being that he's about to enter another world.
Scholars are undecided about whether the works reflect, pose genuine beliefs about the Earth's geography or if they're satire. Either way, whose work cemented the hollow Earth as a popular destination for fictional travelers.
In 1864, French novelist Jules Verne published the most well-known subterranean fiction novel, Journey to the Center of the Earth. The book never actually claims that the earth is hollow. In fact, one of the characters, Axelle, frequently comments on the impossibility of the events as they occur. But while Verne doesn't postulate that the entire Earth is hollow, his characters discover a vast underground cavern the size of Europe. The setting is similar to Athanasius Curtius theories about interconnected cave systems filled with magma, water or mixtures of the two.
Each of these works were intended to be fiction. But starting in the late 80s 90s, dozens of people and then hundreds began combining these stories with medieval religious based science and ancient mythologies. They constructed elaborate theories regarding the hollow nature of our planet.
Eventually, they'd be called hollow authors, not all hollow Earth or share the same theories. Some are more far fetched than others, but we've narrowed them down to three of the most popular and credible theories.
Conspiracy theory number one, Admiral Byrd, the first person to fly over the North Pole, kept a secret diary that described his flight into the innards of the Earth, which he called a garter.
And a gatta is both the source of UFOs and the potential home of the Nazis who escaped World War two.
Conspiracy theory. Number two, Earth's shifting magnetic poles will create an apocalyptic event or rather, another apocalyptic event. Those who don't escape to the caverns beneath the earth will die.
Conspiracy theory number three not only is our Planet Hollow, but it's concave and we are the ones living on the inside sound impossible.
Next week, we'll discuss recent scientific discoveries that reveal just how little we know about the world beneath our feet. Thanks for tuning into conspiracy theories. We'll be back Wednesday to explore what or who might be under the earth's crust. You can find all episodes of conspiracy theories and all other cast originals for free on Spotify.
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Until then, remember, the truth isn't always the best story and the official story isn't always the truth. Conspiracy Theories was created by Max Cutler and is a podcast studio's original. Executive producers include Max and Ron Cutler, Sound Design by Russell Nash with production assistance by Ron Shapiro, Carly Madden and Joshua Kern. This episode of Conspiracy Theories was written by Eric Stanky with writing assistants by Maggie Admirer and stars Molly Brandenberg and Carter Roy. Hi, listeners, trust me, you don't want to miss the intense new park EST original series, medical murders from trauma surgeons to hospice staff, medical professionals are trained to give exceptional care.
But what about those who use their skills not to heal but hurt? Every Wednesday meet the worst the medical community has to offer men and women who took an oath to save lives, but instead use their expertise to develop more sinister specialties, follow medical murders free on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.