Author: Mark Isaak Title: The Once Hollow Earth Theory THE ONCE HOLLOW EARTH THEORY Introd

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

====================================================================== Author: Mark Isaak Title: The Once Hollow Earth Theory ====================================================================== THE ONCE HOLLOW EARTH THEORY Introduction In 1950, Immanuel Velikovsky published _Worlds in Collision_ [1], a book based on the premise that ancient mythology, interpreted literally, could give useful information about past history. The premise has some merit to it; after all, Heinrich Schliemann used the Iliad as his guidebook to making several important discoveries and sparking the new science of archeology in the process [2]. However, Velikovsky erred in his objectivity. He surmised that the planet Venus had a major worldwide influence, often catastrophic, on the world, and that these influences showed up in mythology. Mythology, however, doesn't support this conclusion. Venus appears very rarely in world mythology [3], and Velikovsky, as a result, had to concentrate on the few cultures that did mention it and infer far-fetched connections in other areas. In 1990 I began to ask myself what conclusions one would come to if one looked at *all* the world's mythology. It immediately occurred to me that legends of an underground were practically universal, and further research has confirmed this. In order for such legends to be so important and widespread, underground caverns must have played an important part in the lives of ancient peoples. However, although some extensive cave systems exist, we don't today see any of the vast underground chambers we hear of in legend. The inescapable conclusion is that the huge caverns collapsed at some point in the distant past. The collapse of these caves also explains much more elegantly many of the catastrophes which Velikovsky required unknown extraterrestrial forces to cause. In brief, the Once Hollow Earth theory may be stated as the theory that there were once vast chambers beneath the surface of the earth; that humans lived in these chambers, and that their life there contributed to the development of civilization and of humanity itself; and that most or all of the chambers collapsed over a stretch of time early in history and/or in prehistory. The following text goes into more detail but is still but a brief summary; space doesn't allow inclusion of all the evidence supporting the Once Hollow Earth theory. Mechanisms for Forming Caves Diseased nature oftentimes breaks forth In strange eruptions; oft the teeming earth Is with a kind of colic pinched and vexed By the imprisoning of unruly wind Within her womb, which, for enlargement striving, Shakes the old beldame earth and topples down Steeples and mossgrown towers. William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part One, (III,i) The earth's interior is a dynamic place where powerful forces even today are slowly but inexorably changing the face of the surface above. These forces are driven by the energy of radioactive decay. This energy manifests itself, to us, mainly as earthquakes, volcanoes, and the earth's magnetic field. Radioactive decay produces more than energy, however. Alpha decay produces alpha particles which (with rare exception) turn into helium atoms. Other processes create argon and radon. These are all inert gasses, which means they don't combine chemically with the other materials in the earth. Since they are lighter than the surrounding minerals, they will slowly make their way to the surface. Here, though, the gasses encounter an obstacle, since the earth's crust isn't uniformly porous. In some places they will find an outlet and escape as part of volcanic eruptions, but in other cases they will remain underground, either dissolved in magma or in huge bubbles. The bubbles, of course, produce underground chambers directly when the rock around them cools sufficiently. The dissolved gases produce chambers via a different mechanism. If the gases have built up until the magma is saturated with them, a decrease in pressure will cause some of the gas to come out of solution. A decrease in pressure can be caused in any of many different ways--the magma may continue to rise slowly; the magma may partially vent as a volcanic release; or an earthquake may pass through the magma, creating waves of increasing and decreasing pressure. Whatever the cause, a decrease in pressure can produce small gas bubbles in the magma, which, if the magma is cool enough, won't escape. If water later gets into these small spaces, it will fairly rapidly erode a complex and intricate cave structure. The caves will initially be entirely underground, but nothing on or in the earth long remains unchanged. Groundwater slowly dissolves tiny cracks into wide underground rivers, some of which will connect with the caves. Lands uplift, and the surface above the caves slowly erodes away, while the waters which once scoured the caves drain out of them. In time, the caves become habitable. Early Ventures Underground The Tunnel is not lighted Existence with a wall Is better we consider Than not exist at all. Emily Dickenson Even before mankind existed as such, caves must have played a role in its development. Caves provide shelter from the elements and from larger predators. African folktales still tell of escaping from a lion in a cave and of the lion getting stuck under the roof [4]. It is perhaps inevitable that caves should come to be frequently used by primitive humans. Evidence of this early use shows up as artifacts which archeologists find in caves. It also shows up in the physical and mental characteristics of modern humans. Elaine Morgan has listed several physical characteristics unique to humans. She proposes that they can best be explained by supposing that humans once went through a semi-aquatic stage. However, they can also be explained just as well, and perhaps better, by considering mankind's early ventures underground. Man's upright posture evolved from the need to free the hands for groping along cave walls in the dark. Our unique distribution of body hair arose as a result of being freed from dependence on hair for protection from the elements. Our streamlined fat distribution allows us to carry as much fat as possible yet still fit through narrow openings. In addition to physical characteristics, we have several mental features which point to underground life. Since natural objects are the objects of phobias much more often than more recent but more dangerous objects like automobiles and electric outlets, phobias apparently have a genetic basis, requiring probably hundreds of generations of natural selection to become part of our nature. Excepting social phobias, most of the most common phobias (snakes, spiders, darkness, cliffs, closed places) are associated with caves. Agoraphobia, another of the most common phobias, may be associated with leaving the security of caves. It's unlikely that human phobias would have such a strong association with caves if humans didn't spend much of their lives there. Furthermore, near-death experiences almost invariably include traveling through a tunnel, providing further evidence of a brain evolved inside caves. Chthonian Civilization Deep in unfathomable mines Of never failing skill, He treasures up his bright designs, And works his sovereign will. William Cowper, from Olmey Hymns With the advent of the controlled use of fire, caves became much more accessible, for people no longer needed to navigate them by feel. At that point, caves had almost everything necessary to sustain permanent populations. Ground water supplied their water source. If the cave system were extensive enough, it would be naturally ventilating, because cool air sinking to lower levels would be heated geothermally, causing it to rise and create a perpetual circulation of air. The only thing lacking for self-sufficient underground living is food. A few caves may have had even that. Some bacteria and at least one species of fly eat petrochemicals [5]. They may have been able to convert subterranean oil reserves into something edible by humans. Evidence that this may have happened appears in the book of Exodus, which tells how Moses and his followers, in an oil-rich region of the world, fed for a time on the manna which came from the ground (not, as Velikovsky pretends, from the sky) [6]. Human life will be found wherever sustained life is possible; therefore it is inevitable that people would have formed lasting communities in the underground areas capable of supporting them. I refer to these underground dwellers as "Chthonians" (from Greek for "in the earth"). Since their homes have since been buried under miles of rock, we can't see the results of their civilization directly, but we can get some idea of what their life was like through indirect means, mainly through the legends about them that have been passed down through the generations. One particular force for causing people to live underground would be powerful invading tribes which force people into more inhospitable areas. Stories of such an exile exist in myths around the world. The Titans, for example, were confined to Tartarus after their battle with the Greek gods, and Satan was banished to the abyss. Across the globe, the underworld has gained a reputation as an abode of hostility and death. [7] Yet some Chthonian civilizations must have flourished, for many tales of the underground characterize it as a place of riches and luxury. Beside Tartarus, for example, the Greeks had the Elysian Fields. Mimir, in the Scandanavian underground, is a source of wisdom. [8] In Hindu myth, the underworld is home to Nagas and Rakshasas with all their riches. [9] In New Guinea, the underworld was the source of musical instruments. [10] Buffalo and the sowing of corn came from the Cheyenne underground. [11] Since the underground is a source for many natural resources (especially energy and minerals), and since the Chthonians would be much more sheltered from hostile people, animals, and climate, it's not surprising that some Chthonian civilizations would surpass even the cities aboveground. Collapse Atoms or systems into ruin hurled, And now a bubble burst, and now a world. Alexander Pope, Essay on Man, epistle I Caves even today are not the most stable of geologic structures. Normal weathering and erosion cause them to fall in on themselves eventually. The typical lifetime of a cave is on the order of a few million years [12], which is very brief by geologic standards. Ceiling collapse is one of the major causes of caving accident today [13]. When cave systems were even larger and more extensive, they must have been even more subject to collapse. Furthermore, the shock waves from one collapsing cave may have triggered the failure of nearby caves as well, causing entire regions of underground chambers to collapse essentially simultaneously. In many areas, the collapse could have triggered (or have been triggered by) volcanic activity, too. These collapses did not go unnoticed by our ancestors. Tales of terrible earthquakes are common the world over, and they are often connected with creatures living underground. But even large earthquakes don't come close to explaining some of the catastrophes which ancient legends relate. One point in the Mahabharata, for example, tells that "the Himalayas are exploding and tumbling down." [14] Indians of the American Northwest tell of a time when "'the world turned over,' 'the world turned inside out,' or 'the world changed,' often quite suddenly." [15] The "angel of the Abyss" in the book of Revelation is known as "Destroyer." [16] As the lands collapsed, the waters which had settled in some of the lower chambers were forced out, causing large local floods in many areas, and giving rise to legends of global floods. Once Chinese legend, for example, tells of a time when ". . . the earth cracked, making deep chasms in all directions. During this great disturbance, flames spat up in the forests and waters gushed forth from the ground in great waves, turning the whole world into a vast ocean." [17] In a Samoan tale, the earth is overwhelmed by a "boundless sea" as the result of a battle between fire and water, and the god Tangaloa had then to re-create the world. [18] The underground civilizations, of course, would have perished without a trace in such disasters. Tales of lost civilizations probably refer to buried Chthonian cultures. Atlantis in particular must have been underground; Plato said it disappeared midst "violent earthquakes and floods" and tells of an entire army sinking into the earth. [19] The only kind of catastrophe that could cause a large area to sink into the ground would be the collapse of a huge underground chamber. The few survivors of collapsed caves may have given rise to legends of people escaping after being eaten by monsters. A Basuto legend is particularly illustrative of this; in it, the monster is a rock which eats all the cattle and people in the area; they escape after one of the people carves a door in the rock's belly. [20] Postlude In olden times . . . Earth attained unity, and therefore became tranquil. Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chpt. 2 None of the very large caves capable of supporting entire cities remains accessible to us today. Most, no doubt, have collapsed, but a few may remain buried deep underground. Possibly some of these may one day be detected via analysis of seismic echoes. The bones and artifacts of the chthonians are still buried, but they are probably deep enough that, without knowing exactly where to look for them, it may be decades or even centuries before we find any of them. However, the underworlds of legend were only the latest in many cycles of creation and collapse of underground areas; it is more likely that we will find fossils of animals that wandered into the caverns of past ages. Such fossils can be recognized by being badly damaged from crushing and by being dated (based on the age of surrounding rocks) much older than expected. Protoavis may be one such fossil which has already been found. Until some good direct evidence of the Once Hollow Earth is found, though, research of the subject will have to take the form of analysis of the many myths and legends that refer to it. References [1] Velikovsky, Immanuel. _Worlds in Collision_, Pocket Books, New York, 1950. [2] Boorstin, Daniel J. _The Discoverers_, Random House, New York, 1983, pp. 588-596. [3] Thompson, Stith, 1958. _Motif-Index of Folk-Literature_, 6 volumes, of which ~20 lines refer to Venus. Indiana University Press, Bloomington. [4] Mbele, Joseph, 1993. "How Hare Helped Civet", _Earthwatch_ 12(5) (Jul/Aug 1993), 14-15. [5] Borrer, Triplehorn, & Johnson. _An Introduction to the Study of Insects_, Saunders College Publishing, Philadelphia, 1989, p. 500. [6] Exodus 16:14. [7] Besides Hell and Tartarus, there is Scandanavia's Niflheim [Sturluson, Snorri. _The Prose Edda_, Oxford University Press, London, 1929, p. 42], Egypt's Tuat [Budge, E. A. Wallis. _The Book of the Dead_, Arkana, London, 1923, 1989, p. 57], Apa Tanis' Neli [von Furer Haimendorf, Cristoph. _A Himalayan Tribe_, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1980. p. 172], Polynesia's Po [Poignant, Roslyn. _Oceanic Mythology_, The Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited, London, 1967, 1975, p. 22], Maya's Xibalba [Tedlock, Dennis. _Popol Vuh_, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1985, p. 110], and many others. [8] Sturluson, op.cit., p. 27. [9] Buck, William. _Ramayana_, The New American Library, Inc., New York, 1976, pp. 10-11, 301. [10] Poignant, op.cit., pp. 106-107. [11] Erdoes, Richard and Alfonso Ortiz. _American Indian Myths and Legends_, Pantheon Books, New York. 1984, pp. 27-28. [12] Moore, George W. and G. Nicholas Sullivan, F.S.C. _Speleology, The Study of Caves_, Zephyrus Press, Inc., Teaneck, NJ, 1978, p. 21. [13] Knutson, Steve. 1994. Personal communication. [14] Buck, William. _Mahabharata_, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1973, p. 250. [15] Clark, Ella E. _Indian Legends of the Pacific Northwest_, University of California Press, 1953, p. 81. [16] Revelation 9:11 [17] Walls, Jan & Walls, Yvonne. _Classical Chinese Myths_, Joint Publishing Co., Hongkong, 1984, p. 9. [18] Poignant, op.cit., p. 80. [19] Plato, "Timaeus" 25 [20] Abrahams, Roger D. _African Folktales_, Random House, New York, 1983, pp. 332-333.


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank