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Hey, this is Jason MacIntire, join me every weekday morning on my podcast, Straight Fire with Jason McIntyre. This isn't your typical sports pod pushing the same tired narratives down your throat every day. Straight fire gives you honest opinions on all the biggest sports headlines, accurate stats to help you win big at the sports book and all the best guess.
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It was an unimaginable crime, we couldn't believe something like that would happen here, three people dead, all from the same family. Nobody had a clue about who or why you got eight people.
And things like that don't happen anywhere.
This is the Pickton massacre. Listen to the pectin massacre on the I Heart radio app, on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Welcome to stuff you missed in History Class, A production of I Heart Radio. Hello and welcome to the podcast, I'm Tracy Wilson. And I'm Holly Fry. If you've listened to last week's episode on Teargassed, you heard my story that I was trying to find something fun to talk about. And my search for something fun instead took me to tear gas, which was not fun.
It was infuriating.
My short list at the moment just doesn't really have like it's got a lot of stuff on it. But none of it is really the tone that I was hoping for. And I did not want to repeat that experience of going to look for something fun and instead finding something not fun. So this time I just said to myself, OK, stop what you're doing. What's the most absurd historical thing you can think of? And I had this vague memory of somebody suggesting something about someone who was trying to prove that the earth was hollow.
And I went back in our listener suggestion list, that person's name was Angela, and at some point in the past, Angela responded to a call for suggestions with, quote, that Sim's fellow from Ohio who tried to prove the hollow earth theory in the eighteen hundreds. I have no recollection of exactly when Angela made that suggestion, it may have been years ago, but I apparently found that wording of the suggestion so charming that I copied and pasted the whole thing into the spreadsheet, word for word.
We're going to talk about that Sims fellow's ideas about the hollow earth today. And they were pretty wacky. But first, we need to look at some of the work that he was building on. That work was not quite so wacky, but it was also not correct. So the idea that there is some kind of otherworld or realm beneath us or contained within the earth is, of course, part of religion, mythology and folklore all over the world in terms of what we are talking about today.
In the 17th century, scientists and philosophers in Europe started theorizing that the planet was at least to some extent, hollow. And at first they didn't really have any data to back this up, though. They were just kind of drawing conclusions from the existence of things like caverns and canyons and sinkholes and volcanoes and geysers. All of those seem to suggest that the planet wasn't solid all the way through. There's some sound reasoning there, even if it's incorrect. I mean, sure, the first European scientists to really build a hypothesis on this subject and one that was based on data more than on kind of a what if that was astronomer and mathematician Edmund Halley.
You may also hear his name, said Hailie, how he lived from sixteen fifty six to 1742. And today he is most famous for calculating the orbit of the comet that is named after him. He did this after realizing that comets that had been reported in 15 thirty one, six, seven and 16, 82 all had remarkably similar orbits. And he suggests that maybe instead of three different comets, they were the same comet and that it would be back in 1758.
He was right about that, although he did not live to see it. Yeah, he has come up on the show before. He has. And he did a lot more than just figure out that one comet during his lifetime, he actually calculated the orbits of more than 20 other comments. He developed the first life table that was based on accurate data which started the development of the field of actuarial science. And he made a map of the world that included the oceans prevailing winds, which was the first meteorological chart published in Europe.
He went on a two year voyage of the South Atlantic to chart stars that could not be seen from the Northern Hemisphere. And he studied the Earth's magnetic field extensively, including taking other voyages to measure magnetic declination or the difference between the magnetic and geographic north poles.
In addition to all of that and other stuff that we did not even mention, Edmund Halley was a huge part of getting Isaac Newton's groundbreaking work, Principia Mathematica written and printed. We talked about that in our previous episode on Newton, as well as in our previous episode on Samuel Peeps, who was that works imprimatur premature encouraged Newton to write it. And then Hally edited it, corrected the proofs, wrote a preface and paid for the printing. He also mediated various conflicts and rivalries within the Royal Society, many of whose members had also been working on trying to answer some of the same questions on planetary motion that Newton addressed in this work.
Halley's hypothesis about the Earth being hollow pulled together multiple parts of his work. One piece was his study of the Earth's magnetic field. It had become clear for reasons that nobody really understood, that the Earth's magnetic poles moved around and that the planet's magnetic field shifted in a way that seemed erratic. Having studied all this data, Halley concluded, quote, that the globe of the Earth must be supposed to be one great magnet, having four magnetic poles or points of attraction near each pole of the equator to that in those parts of the world which lie near adjacent to any one of those magnetic poles, the needles is chiefly governed there by the nearest pole, always being always more prominent over the more remote.
So the problem with its conclusion, which Halley knew was that, quote, no magnet I have ever seen or heard of, had more than two opposite poles, whereas the Earth had visibly for and perhaps more also, Halley had never seen or heard of a magnet whose poles shifted around. And yet the Earth's four poles and perhaps even more of them did seem to wander.
How he found his solution to these problems through his work with Newton and the Principessa Mathematica. In it, Newton describes the moon as being far more dense than the Earth. And he had come to this conclusion by comparing the Suns in the moon's effects on tides and factoring in the idea that the sun. One was about a quarter as dense as the Earth, in Harley's words, quote, Sir Isaac Newton has demonstrated the moon to be more solid than our earth as nine to five, which may we not then suppose four nights of our globe to be cavity.
So Newton's calculations here, we're just not correct. This specific error has been described as possibly the most glaring one in the entire Principia Mathematica.
But Halley was working with what he had and he came to the conclusion that the earth was made up of four concentric nested layers with space in between them. He described them as, quote, subterranean orbs capable of being inhabited, although he didn't really know exactly what type of life they might support. These inner worlds, he thought, were about the sizes of Venus, Mars and Mercury. They were each held in place by gravity. They all rotated on their own axes and at least some of them had their own magnetic poles.
So all of those variations that Halley and others had seen in the wandering around of the magnetic North Pole and the shifts in a regularities of the Earth's magnetic field were because of the movement of the poles of those inner layers, how he presented these ideas to the Royal Society in sixteen ninety one. And in 1892, he published an account of the cause of the change of the variation of the magnetic Neidl with an hypothesis of the structure of the internal parts of the Earth.
And he published that in philosophical transactions, how he thought this nesting doll version of the Earth could explain some other phenomena as well. For example, for these inner worlds to be habitable as he thought they were, they would need to have light. That was something he thought might come from some kind of luminous material within if some of that luminous material escaped through cracks in the Earth's outer shell, that could explain the aurora borealis. He also noted the rings of Saturn, which were at the time believed to be solid and separated by gaps.
He noted that is an example of a similar concentric system that people already knew about. And Halley seems to have understood that this whole idea was a little bit fanciful. And in one writing, he noted that readers should, quote, lay no more stress upon this conceit than it will bear. But he also seemed to be really rather fond of this hypothesis. In his last official portrait painted by Michael Dahl in 1736, he is holding a reproduction of the nested earth diagram that had been printed and philosophical transactions in sixteen ninety two.
So while Halley's ideas about the structure of the Earth weren't correct, they were based on data. John Cleve Sims, on the other hand, had his own ideas and they came from nobody is quite sure where. We'll have more on that after a sponsor break. What happens when two therapists walk into a podcast and then hold people accountable for their advice? Hey, I'm Lori Gottlieb. I write the dear therapist advice column for The Atlantic, and I'm Guy, which I write the Dear Guy advice column for Ted.
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Hey, this is Jason McIntyre, join me every weekday morning on my podcast, Straight Fire with Jason McIntyre. This isn't your typical sports pot pushing the same tired narratives down your throat every day. Straight fire gives you a level of authenticity you just don't get. In sports media today, honest opinions on all the biggest sports headlines, accurate stats to help you win big at the sports book and direct conversations with all the best guests. Look, I know what sports fans want.
You want the fluff, the list, the hot takes, but I give you what you need. I can't say that I'm going to be right all the time, but unlike the rest of these shock jocks, I'm always real. Let me tell you something. Patrick Mahomes is not the Michael Jordan of football, but he is the Steph Curry.
And you know what else? Johnny's pulling a Kevin Durant and leaving the small market bucks to build a super team would be great for the NBA. These are just the facts. Folks, do yourself a favor and listen to Street Fire with Jason McIntyre on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcast. Edmund Halley's hollow earth hypothesis reminds me a little bit of our previous episode on Alfred Wegener and his ideas on Continental Drift, Wagoner's conclusion was pretty close to right, but he did not really have a solid explanation for why it was to back that up highly.
On the other hand, did some solid work on the analysis and the explanation, although it did rest on Newton's incorrect calculation of the Earth's density, how his conclusions, on the other hand, were wrong. Halley's work on this, though, did find some support. For example, Puritan Minister Cotton Mather of Massachusetts Bay Colony repeated Halley's ideas in The Christian philosopher. In 1729, 18th century Swiss mathematician Leonardo Oilor proposed his own variation on it, suggesting that the earth was hollow with a sun at the centre and that the planet's interior might have its own civilisation.
Similarly, Scottish physicist and mathematician Sir John Leslie suggested that the earth was hollow with two sons inside. I love this sort of fanciful one upmanship, right? Like, yeah, you're on to something, but it's really two sons, two of them. And then there was John Cleve Sims. Sometimes he is called John Clèves Sims Jr. to distinguish him from his uncle and namesake. The elder John both fought in and helped finance the Revolutionary War. He's also served as a delegate to the Continental Congress.
He bought a large tract of land in the Northwest Territory from the government, and that was known as the Semmes Purchase or the Miami Purchase. One of the settlements there eventually became the city of Cincinnati. This purchase, though, also led the government to change how it dealt with this kind of land deal because the elder John Sims sold land that he did not actually own and the buyers had to re buy it from the government if they wanted to keep it.
This was part of what led to Alexander Hamilton's creation of the Office of the Surveyor General in 1790.
Like his brother, Timothy Sims had also fought in the Revolutionary War.
Afterward, he became judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Sussex County, New Jersey, and he married a woman named Mersea Harker. And one of their children was the younger John Cleve Sims, who was born on November 5th, 1780.
Not a whole lot is known about the younger John's early life or his education, although in the words of his son Americus, he had, quote, a good common English education, which in afterlife he greatly improved through his great fondness for reading and an insatiable desire for knowledge. This younger John Clèves Sims entered the US Army as an ensign on March 26 of 1882, and he started working his way up through the ranks. In 1837, he was injured in a duel with a fellow officer.
This was over a kind of petty dispute that stretched back to an altercation with a different officer over compensation during that second officer's furlough. I'd read a whole account of this that he wrote in a letter, and I was like, man, this is just annoying and hard to follow. And you probably could have cleared it up about bewailing. Sims was struck in the wrist in this duel. He never recovered his full range of motion afterward. He did apparently, though, later become friends with his opponent.
Talking it out would never work. In eighty eight, Sims married Mrs Mary and Pelletiere Lockwood, who was the widow of another fellow officer, Captain Benjamin Lockwood. Marijan already had six children and she and John had four more together.
By 1812, Sims had been promoted to captain. He served in the War of 1812 before being given an honorable discharge in 1815. From there, he and his family moved to St.. Louis, where he worked as a trader, both with the military outposts along the Mississippi River and with the indigenous people of the area. We really don't have a lot of detail about exactly what he traded or what his relationships were like with all the people involved. Like that entire topic can be very fraught and I just don't have any information.
Then in a letter to his stepson that was written in 1817, Sims mentioned that because of the curious formation of Saturn and its rings, he thought that all planets and globes were hollow.
He did not explain in this letter how exactly he came to that conclusion based on that information did not say what it was about the rings of Saturn that led to his conclusion that the Earth was hollow, to be specific. But in 1818, Sims published an announcement on this subject. It began, quote, lt gives light to light, discover, add infinite. St. Louis, Missouri, territory, North America, April 10th, 18, 18, and then in all capital letters to all the world exclamation point, I declare the earth is hollow and habitable within containing a number of solid concentric spheres, one within the other, and is open at the poles 12 or 16 degrees.
I pledge my life in support of this truth and I'm ready to explore the hollow if the world will support and aid me in the undertaking. John Cleve Simms of Ohio, late captain of Infantry.
This makes me wonder what sort of grand announcement I would put under all caps to all the world.
And then came the notation B or nota bene, which means take note, quote, I have read for the press a treatise on the principles of the matter, wherein I show proofs of the above positions, account for the phenomena, and disclosed Dr. Darwin's golden secrets. My terms are the patronage of this and new worlds I dedicate to my wife and ten children. I select Dr. s.L. Mitchell, Sir Davit and Baron Alex de Humboldt as my protectors. I ask one hundred brave companions well-equipped to start from Siberia in the fall season with reindeer and sleigh's on the ice of the frozen sea, I engage.
We will find warm and rich land stocked with thrifty vegetables and animals, if not men, on reaching one degree northward of latitude. Eighty two we will return in the succeeding spring. JKS, my favorite part of the passage that Holly just read, which is not evident to listening, is that slaves with Reindeer Sleighs is spelled s.L AYSO, which just makes me think of like bipedal reindeer armed with knives in their front hooves.
Is that not how reindeer normally stroll about or now?
I mean, they should throw a note on these these names that he drops as his protectors. These were Dr. Samuel Latham, Mitchell, Sir Humphrey, Davy and Alexander von Humboldt. All three of these were Sam's contemporaries. And for just a glimpse of each of their work, Mitchell was a doctor and a naturalist who conducted geological surveys and founded the New York Academy of Sciences. Davy was a chemist who discovered several elements and invented a miner's safety lamp. There are actually some references to that lamp in Sim's other work.
Von Humboldt was a naturalist and a polymath who undertook a scientific expedition to South America. And in the years after the events that we're talking about here, published Cosmos, a sketch of a physical description of the universe. We should also note that the idea that the earth was open somehow at the poles was not new, just the opposite in terms of European thought. It goes back at least to the 16th century. Gerardus Mercator, for example, promoted the idea that the Earth's waters entered the globe through the North Pole and then passed through the centre and were expelled from the South Pole.
He wrote about this in fifteen sixty nine the same year that he made the map projection that really distorts the sizes of things the farther you get from the equator. But that also pretty much became the standard map for both classrooms and navigation. It is not clear if Mercator is writing or this 16th century line of thought in general.
May have informed Simms's ideas, though, that he just never really said where that idea came from. I also didn't realize that the Mercator projection of maps was quite that old Sims printed five hundred copies of this announcement and in some accounts when he sent it out, it was accompanied by a certificate that proclaimed him to be saying, I feel like when you send out your announcement and you also have to get a sanity certificate, like maybe you should just just recheck all your data.
Yeah, yeah. In the words of his son, Americus, he sent it, quote, to every learned institution and to every considerable town and village, as well as to numerous distinguished individuals throughout the United States and sent several to the learned societies of Europe. Sim's also published a series of what he called memoirs in a Cincinnati newspaper that was called The Western Spy. These detailed all kinds of phenomena that he saw as proof of his ideas. These included visible circles around the poles of Mars, the rings of Saturn, the faces of Venus, the belts of Jupiter, and the way iron filings make circles under paper.
Sometimes if you put a magnet under there. So again. In his son's words, Simms's message was, quote, overwhelmed with ridicule as the production of a dis tempered imagination. It was for many years a fruitful source of jest with the newspaper's sources of ridicule included two of the three protectors that he named Humboldt and Davy. Each dismissed this hypothesis entirely. But Mitchell, who was described as being in general very generous with his time and energy with scientific and curious people, sent Sims a letter saying that he deserved, quote, great credit for ingenuity and originality, while also stressing in that letter that Simms's idea was a hypothesis and that hypothesis could be correct or incorrect in his reply.
Mitchell also included some other examples of hollow things from nature, and he helped Sim's out in the years that followed, making introductions and generally opening doors for him in his traveling and lecturing.
So I've read this letter and the tone of it came off to me as like the patient indulgence that someone might respond to a letter from a child. I I can't really say whether he thought he was corresponding with a child, you know, that that announcement did mention that Semmes had been in the Army. But I have this imagined scenario in my head where, like, you thought he was writing to an eight year old and then met a grown man.
But that's probably just me making things up. We will talk about where things went after this whole announcement was distributed after a quick response break. What if you can learn from one of the world's most inspiring women now you can introducing Senecas 100 women to hear a new podcast brought to you by Seneca Women and I Heart Radio in partnership with PNG. I'm Kim Azorella. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of American women getting the vote, we're bringing you the voices of a hundred groundbreaking and history making women.
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Great podcast, Dotcom. Why shouldn't the next great podcast come from you? Apparently, life is a traitor in St. Louis didn't really work out for John Klip since he and his family moved to Newport, Kentucky in 1819. And that same year, the book Symphonia, A Voyage of Discovery, was published under the pseudonym of Captain Adam Seabourne. This is a fictional travelogue that details a voyage in which Seabourne meets a society of people living within a hollow earth.
It is sometimes described as the first American work of utopian fiction. It makes several direct references to Sims and his theories. And there are two competing interpretations for this book either. It is an absolutely, completely earnest book that was written by John Clèves Sims to promote his ideas. Or it is a satire that somebody did to make fun of him. I have not read the whole book, but I did read part of it before recording this podcast and I read papers arguing each of these points of view.
And honestly, I do not know.
I am a cynical person and there's part of me when this gets introduced that thinks he's just an epic flim flam man. But that's, again, probably just me making things up. In 1822, in 1823, Sims petitioned Congress for funding for a polar expedition that he hoped would prove him right. He also gave lectures to drum up support in Newark, Ohio. In 1823, he encountered an expedition headed by Major Stephen Long. Expedition geographer William Keating wrote down some very strong opinions about Sims, calling him, quote, a man whose eccentric views on the nature of the globe have acquired for him not only in America, but also in England a temporary reputation.
The partial insanity of this man is of a singular nature. It has caused him to revert to the support of an evidently absurd doctrine, all the facts which by close study, he has been enabled to collect from a vast number of authorities. He appears conversant with every work of travels from Hearn's to Humboldt's, and there is not a fact to be found in these, which he does not manage with considerable ingenuity to bring to the support of his favorite doctrine.
On the other hand, Semmes apparently got along quite well with major long, let's see with them became friends, and that just seemed to be a pattern with him. People either found Sim's ideas to be totally ridiculous and questioned whether he was in his right mind or they found him just so affable and earnest that they became friends and even supporters of his ideas. In 1824, the Sims family moved again, this time to Hamilton, Ohio, to a farm that he had inherited from his uncle.
That same year, Sims went on tour with his stepson, Anthony Lockwood, and supporter Jeremiah and Reynolds. Sims and Reynolds parted ways pretty quickly, though essentially Reynolds thought he might have better success getting an expedition together on his own. And he was more interested in going to the South Pole than the North Pole. Sims got approval to join a Russian polar expedition in 1825. He could not afford to go. Yeah, he was making like a little money through donations and things on these tours, and it was barely enough to cover expenses and not enough for anything else.
A book detailing some serious came out in eighteen twenty six. It is entitled Sim's Theory of Concentric Spheres, demonstrating that the earth is hollow, habitable within and widely open about the polls by a citizen of the United States. The book was really written by another of Sims supporters, James McBride, who hoped that the proceeds from the book might fund an expedition. If you go looking for this book and you search it by the title, you may find another book that has the exact same name, although it is not by a citizen of the United States.
The second book is by John's son, Americus. It came out in 1878. In addition to having an identical title, some of the content of this later book is also identical. That's reportedly because by 1878, McBride's book was no longer in print and there weren't many copies left. So America's Sims just copied a lot of it himself into his own book. I like that the laws around such things were a lot looser. People were way more chill about about things being plagiarized.
Then I didn't know, like I didn't it was in the order of things that I ordered that I read things. It was like another one of them sons who was like, yeah, my brother copied this book because this other book was out of print and there weren't many more copies. And like I came at that information very late in the game after I had already read McBride's entire book and I had started reading America's Simms's book. And I got to the part where I was like, I have read the.
Before my mind had already been so bent by reading so much of the part that was not identical, that I was like, have I read this book right?
In the words of McBride's book?
Quote, According to Simms's theory, the Earth, as well as all the celestial auricular bodies existing in the universe, visible and invisible, which partake in any degree of a planetary nature from the greatest to the smallest, from the sun down to the most, my nute blazing meteor or falling star are all constituted in a greater or lesser degree of a collection of spheres, more or less solid concentric with each other and more or less open at their poles, each sphere being separated from its adjoining computers by space, replete with aerial fluids.
So yet not only was the Earth this kind of nesting doll with open poles, so was everything else that was roughly shaped like a planet. This book went on to say, quote, The planet which has been designated the earth, is composed of at least five hollow concentric spheres with spaces between each an atmosphere surrounding each and habitable as well on the concave as the convex surface. Each of these spheres are widely open at their poles. The north polar opening of the sphere we inhabit is believed to be about 4000 miles in diameter and the southern above 6000.
In addition to the spaces between the nested spheres, Sim's also thought that, quote, Each sphere has an intermediate cavity or midlane space of considerable extent, situated between the convex and concave surfaces of the sphere, filled with a very light inelastic fluid, rarified in proportion to the gravity or condensing power of the exposed surfaces of the respective spheres and also various other less cavities or spaces between the larger or principal one and the outer and inner surfaces of the spheres, each filled with a similar fluid or gas, most probably partaking much of the nature of hydrogen.
So unlike in Edmund Halley's model, which is mentioned repeatedly in McBride's books. So that's clearly something that Sims did know about. Sims thought that these inner layers of the planet were illuminated not by luminous material, but by the same sun as the exterior. He described the edges of these circular openings at the poles as Vergis, and he wrote that they were angled in such a way that the sun's reflections off of polar ice could reach very deep down into the interior.
And he outlined where on the globe these Vergis were in, places they overlapped, parts of the world that had been mapped or were inhabited, apparently without anyone noticing that they were really inside and opening into the planet. Sims also suggested these interior nested worlds had their own weather systems brought on by water and wind being sucked in through one pole and expelled out the other.
As we said earlier, it's really unclear exactly how Sims came up with any of this, like whether it was just his own imaginative flight of fancy or whether he had based it on some kind of specific information. The surviving summaries of what he was talking about are not really based on data or measurements, but they do use some ideas to try to explain a lot of other phenomena or to use other phenomena to back up his ideas. So, for example, the Magellanic clouds, as described in America's Simms's book, they are due to the, quote, great refractive power of the atmosphere about the polar openings causing the opposite side of the birds to appear pictured in the sky.
To be clear, the Magellanic clouds are really galaxies that are visible in the southern hemisphere.
He also used meteors in meteorites in this way. McBride's book explains Sim's opinion on meteors as being sort of spontaneously accumulated in space as hollow spheres. It then talks about several specific recovered meteorites as proof, for example, one seen in Connecticut in 1887, which broke apart in three stages. Some of the recovered pieces were concave and some were convex. And Sims concluded that the meteorite had originally been made up of three concentric spheres, like a miniature version of his model of the Earth.
Sims also pulled in all kinds of other phenomena that were not planetary bodies or objects from space as evidence of what he was talking about, like sunspots, which that is in space. Maybe sunspots are the sun's versions of the holes in the Earth's poles. Also, have you noticed that stalks of wheat and bird feathers and the large bones of animals are hollow? He thought maybe that backed up his ideas. Also, migratory fish and other animals that over winter in the Arctic, maybe they were really overwintering in a temperate zone within the interior of the Earth.
So like, for example, musk oxen weren't just migrating to where it was less snowy to survive the winter. They were really going somewhere warm and balmy and secretly hanging out there and then returning back to the colder parts of the earth in the spring. Although Sim's first announcement of his theory seems to have been almost universally laughed at. He did develop something of a following during his lecture tours. His last tour made its way into Canada in 1827, but the cold weather worsened his existing health issues, something that one of his sons described as an aggravated case of dyspepsia brought on by eating bad food while he was in the army.
He went back to New York and then recovered with relatives in New Jersey until he was well enough to travel back home to Ohio. He died there at home in Ohio on May 29th, 1829, at the age of just forty eight. One of his sons erected a monument at his gravesite, which is an inscribed obelisk with a hollow sphere on top.
Sims was pretty deeply in debt when he died, although most of his creditors were family members. His eldest son, Ameriquest, the same one who wrote that book, was only 16 at that time. He took over the farm. He sold some of the family's land to get them on better financial footing. It does seem like they they pulled themselves out of the financial situation they were in. In spite of all of this, it seems as though at least some or maybe even all of his family were really genuinely devoted to him.
In addition to America, Simms's book, Another of John's children, Elmore Sims, also wrote an account of his life at work, which was published in three parts in the magazine Southern Bivouac in 1887.
As for Jeremiah Reynolds, he kept trying to get funding for a polar expedition, including meeting with President John Quincy Adams in 1828. This did not work out and he turned to the private sector and he wound up stuck in Chile after a mutiny in 1829.
While he was there, he heard a story about a white whale which led him to write Mosaddeq or the White Whale of the Pacific, one of the inspirations for Herman Melville's Moby Dick. Finally, Reynolds was part of the great United States exploring expedition or the X X, which could be its own episode at some point. They did not find evidence of Sim's holes, but many of the specimens they returned with helped build the collections at the newly established Smithsonian Institution.
Yet that that expedition is a whole story separate from this. Obviously, Reynolds expeditions and Sim's theories also helped inspire Edgar Allan Poe's only complete novel, which is narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket and Sim's really heavy promotion of this idea of the Earth being hollow and something that was inhabitable that you could travel into that helped make strange worlds in the Earth's interior a common setting for works of science fiction and fantasy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Lovecraft owes him a debt of gratitude today. Our knowledge of the interior structure of the earth comes from the study of seismic waves. In 1936, Danish seismologist Enga Lehman published work describing an inner core and outer core and a mantle beneath the Earth's crust. The prevailing theory for the Earth's magnetic field and its variants is that it comes from the dynamo effect, which is the result of fluid motion in the Earth's outer core Angouleme, and also seems to have a really interesting work.
I was. Thinking about whether to try to do an episode on her as well, but at a glance, I was not able to find quite enough information. So she'll be on like my future list to try to gather more info on over time.
That sounds good to me. Yeah, that is John Clèves. Sims is ideas were just kind of wacky. I mean, wonderfully imaginative.
That's also true. I want to I want to celebrate the good at the moment. Yeah. You have good listener mail to celebrate. I do. This is from Lena and I answered this email, but I also thought that other folks listening to the show might be interested as well. Lena wrote in to say Hi, Holly and Tracy, thank you so much for your informative podcast. I've been listening for years and this is my first time writing in Thank You for introducing to my baby a couple of months ago.
I've been enjoying it as well, listening to two Monday and some of your shows that deal with the history of slavery got me thinking. How did the idea of slavery first come about? I understand that chattel slavery in the US and other settler colonies was the most extreme and ugly manifestation of the practice. But I also know that slavery is thousands of years old without it being an accepted practice in the first place. The Atlantic slave trade couldn't have come about.
I vaguely understand that slavery originated with the victors of war, making prisoners of war work for them. But I wonder how it became a widespread, accepted practice. It still seems like a huge moral jump from forcing prisoners of war to work to families casually owning, buying and selling their household staff as property. And farmers owning the workers in their fields, would you consider doing an episode about the history of how the concept of slavery came about and became widely accepted?
How did humans decide it was OK to own other humans? Thank you again for all you do. Best wishes, Lena. So thank you so much, Lena, for this email. I did answer it and the basic answer that I gave is I'm not sure if the question of where slavery originally came from is really answerable, since it's been present in some form for so many societies around the world, probably going back to before there was a written record of anything to go back to.
But there are two other podcasts that have looked at this whole question. It's way more than one episode worth of stuff. So the one that I mentioned when I wrote back to Lena was Slate's History of American Slavery podcast, which used to be available only for Slate plus subscribers but now is available to anybody. It is hosted by Jamelle Bouie and Rebecca Onion, and it looks step by step at this evolution of slavery, specifically in the United States and how it went from something that looked more like the way slavery has been practiced in lots of other parts of the world to something that became like the hereditary, racial or race based slavery that we have talked so much about on the show.
The other one is a season of the podcast seen on radio, and that season is called Seeing White. I feel like it's the second season of that show, but I might be wrong, that is hosted by John Ewan and Chenjerai Communicare. And it looks at the idea of of like white people and how that idea evolved and especially the earlier episodes. Talk about that a lot in the way that slavery transformed and like how in a lot of ways these racist ideas were created to support the institution of slavery.
So both of those podcasts are excellent. I highly recommend them to everyone they like. They, to me, work really well together, along with also like the 16 19 podcast also has some of the same information. But all of it is like different angles on the same the same stuff. And so all of that, I think is absolutely worth a listen.
So thank you so much for that question. Those other podcasts, again, are all great. They should all be available on any podcast platform that you like. If you would like to write to us about this or any other podcast or at History podcast that I heart radio dotcom and then we're all over social media missed in history. And that's where you'll find our Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest, Instagram.
And you can subscribe to our show on the I Heart radio app and Apple podcasts and anywhere else you get your podcast.
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