Hollow Earth Theory

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The Hollow Earth Theory states that the Earth is not a solid sphere of mass, but a hollow body or a body with a considerable amount of space inside [1]. In this space, rests the colonized continent of Agartha, or Agharta, and its capital city Shamballa, or Shangri-La, which are home to various peoples and civilizations, depending on the legend. Some believe the great Atlantean-Lumurean wars caused the first inhabitants of Agartha to migrate into the Earth millions of years ago [2]. This thermonuclear war is also believed by a small number to be the cause of the world's major deserts in present day, including the Sahara, Gobi, Australian Outback, and American deserts. Nearly every theory postulates an advanced civilization, a central sun, and even UFOs. Variants on the theory include concentric spheres of land mass, alien inhabitants, or luminous atmospheres. Access points to the Hollow Earth are sometimes said to be located at the North and South poles, the Himalayan Mountains, and the Pyramid of Giza among many other places[1].



Beginning in the 1692, Edmund Haley formed the idea of a hollow Earth made up of concentric spheres of mass when trying to explain the phenomena of magnetic anomalies around the poles of Earth. In his theory, he saw concentric spheres inside the Earth approximately the size of Mars, Venus, and Mercury [2]. According to him, the outermost shell that humans live on is about 800km (500mi) thick. The landmasses inside Earth each had their own atmosphere to separate them from each other, which also served to block sight of the sphere surrounding their own. The atmospheres were also luminous; the aurora borealis is explained as a leak of this atmosphere into our own. He believed that these masses each had their own poles and rotated at different speeds, thus explaining his magnetic interference at the poles of Earth [3].

In 1818, John Cleves Symmes Jr. postulated Earth as a hollow shell 1300km (800mi) thick with opening 2300km (1400mi) across at the North and South Poles. Four concentric shells took up the space beyond this, all with openings at the North and South Poles. Symmes advocated the idea so intensely that the openings have become known to many as "Symme's Holes." He went so far as to plan an expedition to the North Pole to search for the hole before being halted by President Andrew Jackson.[4]

Many fictional books featured settings in a hollow Earth. These include Edgar Allen Poe's "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket" (1838), Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth" (1864), and many works by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950). The notion of a hollow Earth remained prevalent through the beginning of the 1900s despite overwhelming contradictory evidence [5]. In 1908, Willis Emerson wrote the "biography" of the Norwegian sailor, Olaf Jansen, entitled "The Smoky God." [6] In the book, Jansen's sloop sails through an opening into the center of the Earth. Once across, he lived there for two years, welcomed by a society of humanoids that were over twelve feet tall. In the Earth, there was a "smoky" central sun shining upon the land of Agartha. He visited Shamballa, the capital city, and learned of the twelve colonies spread throughout the crust of the Earth and the mountains of our land [7].

In 1906, William Reed wrote "The Phantom of the Poles", in which he claimed that no one had ever found the North and South Poles and reasoned that it was because they do not exist. Instead, they are entrances into the Hollow Earth [8]. Marshall Gardner supported these ideas in his book, "Journey to Earth's Interior", which stated that the Earth had holes thousands of miles wide at each pole. He, however, disagreed with the concentric sphere's model, claiming only one surface on the interior along with a central sun with a diameter of about six hundred miles.

Richard E. Byrd made the first flights over the North Pole in 1926. Believers of Hollow Earth cite a personal diary of his in which he is quoted as saying, "I'd like to see that land beyond the North Pole." [9] This is taken as a confirmation to the existence of an inner world. In his diary, believers say he wrote that a fleet of unknown airships greeted him. These ships took him to a landing strip where he was a taken to the King and Queen of Agartha. They told him that he was allowed to come into their world because he was of high ethical and moral character. They also explained to him their worries of the safety of the planet. The information said to be in the diary, however, is not actually present in Byrd's personal diary [10].

The 1940s saw rise of the most influential Hollow Earth Theory supporters, Ray Palmer and Richard Shaver. Together, they created what is known as "The Shaver Mystery." [11] Shaver was allegedly the guest of an Inner Earth civilization. The inhabitants of this world, known as "The Elders" or "Titans", came to Earth from another planet in a far away solar system. Upon arriving on Earth, they found that the Sun caused them premature aging, so they migrated underground. The race eventually decided to leave, leaving behind advanced cities and mutated life forms. The life forms came in two varieties, including the evil Deros, or detrimental robots, and the Teros, integrated robots, with whom Shaver stayed [12]. According to Richard Toronto, the United State's FBI blamed UFO hysteria on Shaver and Palmer in 1942, causing them to be known to some as the "fathers of UFOlogy." [13].

The Elders described by Shaver are not the only people believed to live within Earth. In India, there is an ancient legend of the Naga peoples. This serpentine race lives underground in the highly advanced, technological cities of Patala and Bhoguati. Patala is located either beneath the Well of Shreshna in Benares, India, or the shrine in Tibet also known as Patala, while Bhoguati is located deep in the Himalayas. The Naga's tunnel networking is extensive, spanning most of Asia and likely beyond. These creatures wage war against Agartha and are extremely cruel to humans, at times abducting, torturing, interbreeding, or even eating them. They also have an affinity for water, locating many of their cities entrances beneath wells or natural bodies of water [14].

In Brad Steiger's "The Hollows of Earth: Myth or Reality", he addresses the ancient race known as "The Old Ones." These humanoid creatures predate homo sapiens by over one million years and are extremely long-lived. This race could be made of the same people that inhabited the Earth during the period of the Atlanteans and Lemurians. The Old Ones are live in an extremely peaceful state within the Earth although they have been known to kidnap a child to raise as their own from time to time [15].

The Thule Society

The Thule society, of which Hitler is rumored to have belonged, knew of Tibetan myths of an opening into the Earth in the Himalayas. Hitler is said to have even mounted an expedition to the South Pole after hearing a speech by Admiral Donitz in 1944. The Admiral spoke of "an invisible fortification in the midst of eternal sea." [16] Legend holds that, in the last days of the Third Reich, Hitler along with over 2000 scientists escaped into the Hollow Earth through the opening in the South Pole. The modern group, The Hollow Earth Researchers Society, of Ontario, Canada supports this conclusion, claiming that after the war, thousands of scientists from Germany and Italy had gone missing and were unaccounted for, in addition to over one million people.


Edmund Haley

Edmund Haley envisioned the original Hollow Earth in 1692 to describe the natural phenomena of magnetic interference at the poles and the aurora borealis. He envisioned the Earth was made up of three shells, each approximately the size of Mercury, Venus, and Mars. According to him, the shells would rotate independent of each other, have their own light, and have their own magnetic fields.

Walter Siegmeister

In 1964, Walter Siegmeister, under the pen name Raymond W. Bernard, wrote "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." In this book, Bernard claims that all UFOs are really the ships of beings from within the Earth. In his book, Letters from Nowhere, Bernard writes that he was in contact with mystics in secret ashrams and grand lamas in Tibet who knew the secrets in the Hollow Earth. Bernard believed in almost every theory produced about the Hollow Earth, including the Eskimos' migration from the inner Earth, advanced civilizations, UFOs, and even Shaver's claim to have been told about the theory of relativity before Einstein created it. Bernard died of pneumonia on September 10, 1965 while searching for paths in South American tunnel openings [17].

Steve Currey

As recent as 2003, Steve Currey gathered a group of people to join him in his exploration of the North Pole to find the north opening. He had planned to fly to Russia where the group would charter the Russian Nuclear Icebreaker, Yamal, to carry them to the 86th parallel, where an opening is thought to exist. Before the expedition could launch, however, Currey was diagnosed with six inoperable brain tumors of which he died. Currently, the operation has been taken over by Dr. Brooks Agnew with the hopes of launching a similar expedition within the year. [18]

Nazi Alien Conspiracists

Those we believe in the Nazi Alien Conspiracy put a lot of faith into the Hollow Earth Theory. One of their main arguments is that the Hitler and his Nazis are hiding in the Hollow Earth with their Alien UFO's. There are supposedly two openings to the hollow earth and Hitler escaped to the Hole in Antarctica.

Captain John Cleves Symmes

In 1823, Captain John Cleves Symmes, who gave up his military duties to study science, proposed the earth was in fact hollow with the entrance located at the North Pole. His suggested that the universe is made up of concentric circles with a hollow earth surrounding the sun. He proposed an expedition to explore the North Pole but was denied an official investigation by congress, so his ideas rested until 1913 when M. B. Gardner came up with a similar story. He hypothesized the sun was in the middle of the earth and the Northern Lights are actually a radiance of the inner sun. Admiral Richard Byrd who flew over the North Pole and reported no hole or tunnel leading to the center of the earth soon debunked his theory. Currently there is a society that believes the earth is still hollow and that we live on the inside with the sun on the interior and Australia lingering somewhere over Britain but it is impossible to see. The Nazis probably become involved in the conspiracy theory when in the 1920’s a German team including Wernher von Braun attempted to get escape this hollow earth by way of rocket propelled vehicles to reach Australia. The plan for this team was to either prove or disprove the hollow earth theory by either passing through the hollow earth opening and landing in Australia or not. Many rockets were tested, but mostly ending in explosions. The project came to a close after repeated failures to launch, due to unexpected malfunction [Moore].

Criticisms and Controversy


The best evidence against a hollow Earth is gravity. In the universe, mass tends to clump together in mostly spherical shapes because of gravity. There is no known phenomenon to explain how a hollow body could form. No matter in the universe is strong enough to support a hollow body as large as Earth. Gravity on the inside of the Earth could not hold people to the interior of our crust even at the equator, where a centrifugal force is estimated to be 1/300th of the force of gravity. The mass of the planet also indicates that the hollow Earth hypothesis is not possible. If the Earth was hollow, its mass would be much lower and thus its gravity on the outer surface would be much lower than it currently is.

Seismic Information

Seismic information today points toward the current ideology of a crust, mantle, outer core, and inner core. A hollow Earth would provide very different results in terms of seismic observations. P-waves, are compression waves that travel through Earth [19]. Because of the current structure of Earth(crust, mantle, core), the core produces a dampening effect of P-waves traveling through Earth. This diffracts the waves and leaves what is called a shadow zone. These areas, between 103 and 142 degrees on both sides of the initial compression, feel no effect by this compression. The same dampening effect could not be produced in a hollow Earth world [20].

Visual Evidence

The deepest hole on Earth 12.3km deep, drilled by the Soviet Kola Superdeep Borehole project in Russia. This is the maximum depth of humans' visible range [21]. Additionally, photos from space provide visual evidence that there are no massive entrance holes to Earth's interior located on the poles, as claimed by conspirators.

Volcanic Islands

During recent studies of volcanic activity in Hawaii, scientists suggest the plumes that supply Hawaii with it's continuous lava flow come from a depth of 3000 km. Their research proved the lava was from the core of the earth using a new type of mass spectrometer that analysis's the isotopes of Thallium found in Hawaiian volcanic rocks [22]. Also, according to Dr. Gerard Fryer an earth scientists, earthquakes are caused by shifts in the plate tectonics below the earth's surface. These tectonics are constantly moving due to the continuous flow of rock and lava below the surface. When the tectonics rub, the earth shakes therefore causing the earthquakes. Clearly, the earth is not hollow [23]. If the earth was hollow, earthquakes would not happen, and islands like Hawaii would never form.


Many support the Hollow Earth Theory even though the evidence against it is overwhelming. There is no possible way for a hollow structure as large as Earth to exist in accordance with known physical laws. Men created this theory to explain the unknown causes of magnetic irregularities and the aurora borealis. Scientists now know the causes of both of these natural phenomena, so there is no reason to believe in the stories of fiction writers. A huge hollow earth would collapse under its own weight according to Newtonian physics. In fact, it would collapse into a round, solid earth, with a molten core. The mass of the Earth can be calculated using the equation F=GmM/r2, where G is a gravitational constant, 6.67 x 10-11 m3/(kg sec2), calculated by Henry Cavendish in 1798. M and m are two masses, the capital M being Earth's mass. Acceleration, a, is a known value of 9.8 m/s. Earth's radius is represented by "r", calculated first by the Greek Eratosthenes to be 6.4 x 106m. The constants are derived from observational evidence of other planets as well as natural phenomena on Earth. Using this equation along with Newton's F=ma (Force is equal to mass times its acceleration), we get ma = GmM/r2. Dividing both sides cancels out the "m", and solving for M gives M = ar2/G. Plugging in the constants yields Earth's mass of about 6.0 x 1024 kg [24]. Any other mass of Earth cannot be possible as it must change the constants already known to be true. The largest piece of evidence supporting the theory is a fictitious biography written in 1908. If this is the largest piece of historical evidence, the claim is falsified rather easily.

Cited References

  1. Robert T. Carroll. The Skeptics Dictionary. (August 13, 2009). Retrieved from http://www.skepdic.com/hollowearth.html
  2. About.com:Paranormal Phenomena-Secrets of the Hollow Earth. (2010). Retrieved from http://paranormal.about.com/library/weekly/aa090400a.htm

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