The belief that I am going to debunk in this research is the idea of earth being hollow. The concept of a hollow Earth is still encircling in the minds of quite a few researchers and cultures. This belief is also a part of some the conspiracy theories emerging in this present time.
The basic concept of the hollow earth theory is that the Earth is like a shell with thick walls. These walls are said to be about 800 meters thick. Furthermore, this theory suggests that in the region at the poles, there are holes of fourteen hundred miles, with edges that are curving in from the outside of the surface to the inside. This theory is supported with an example of sea which can move across the sides of the holes or a traveler would be move over the other side of the hole just like an insect, which crawls over the top of a glass from one side to another, while being unaware of its surroundings. Richard Bernard, a researcher, justifies the theory by saying that the aircraft pilots are unable to see the holes because they are misguided by the compasses, which they carry, into believing that they are just crossing one of the two poles, instead of going into the inner crust of the earth. He says that the compasses are following the magnetic rim of the holes. And that these pilots never actually fly over the poles, which are in fact the centers of a given holes. Raymond’s’ claim was supported by a statement by Admiral Byrd, which goes like this “I’d like to see that land beyond the Pole. That area beyond the Pole is the Great Unknown.”
People who believe that the Earth is hollow are tend to believe the following
The concept of a North Pole and a South Pole is not real. They are in reality wide openings of up to 1400 meters leading to the interior of the Earth, which is hollow. (Rodney, 2010)
The central sun heats up the interior of the Earth, and the temperature of the interior sphere remains around 76 degrees Fahrenheit, which is neither cold nor hot. (Raymond, 1991)
A large population is living in the inner surface of the Earth, the land on the other side of the holes at the poles. They are believed to be there, since the continents of Atlantis and Lemuria sank. This civilization is thought to be way more advanced than our own and the invention of flying saucers is attributed to them. A popular conspiracy theory extends the contact of this civilization with the U.S army, and they are taking advantage from the vast knowledge possessed by that civilization. (Billie & Woodard, 2008)
So the focus of this research is to analyze the belief held by people about the Earth being hollow. First these three beliefs would be would be examined in a more detail, their origins and practicality, or lack of it, would be judged.
In the end the contradictory concepts would be discussed and in the conclusion reason would be given about the validity of this weird belief.
Origins and Supporters of the Belief
The exact amount of people who do believe in the theory that Earth is hollow is not known. But this much is known that its not a high percentage of population with these believes. There is a bunch of people who have formed a group and call themselves the “Flat-Earth Society”. (Childress & Raymond, 2009)
There is another group, equally vocal, who believe that the earth is hollow. Several years ago, a group of “believers” informed a member of the Geophysical Institute staff that there was an opening to the center of the earth in the Alaska Range, and that this was an entry and exit point for flying saucers. (Robbins, 2003)
This theory originated from the mind of a British astronomer, Edmund Halley, he was the first to come up the theory that earth might consist of several concentric spheres, each placed inside one another like concentric spheres. He further stated that the two inner most spheres have diameters matching that of Venus or Mars, while suggesting that the solid inner most core is as big as planet Mercury. The inner spheres rotate at different speed than the other spheres. The original objective for Halley proposal was to explain the anomalous compass readings.
But the most surprising element of his theories was the suggestion that the inner sphere had another life form living there. His theories suggested a presence of light due to the luminous nature of the atmosphere, but he later concluded that the reason for that could be the release of the glowing gas from the atmosphere of the earth (Childress & Raymond, 2009).
At the time when Halley proposed these theories, back in the 17th century, there was very little known and verified knowledge about the structure of the earth. So at that time no one was able to confirm or deny these theories. So as time passed, writers used this concept for their imaginative writing. The two authors most contributing to this were Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Burroughs wrote not just one but a series of novel in light of the theme of a hollow earth
Leonhard Euler supported the hollow-Earth theories of Halley and began an experiment , which featured taking a closer look at the Poles. Adding to Halley’s work Leanhard Euler further proposed that, without any reference, that an inner Sun exists, which is 600 miles deep and its purpose is to provide light to the civilization living inside the inner sphere of the Earth’s crust.
This idea was expanded later by other researchers, and they claimed that the inner spheres have not one but two central suns, namely Pluto and Proserpine. (Solomon, 2011)
These researchers believe in their theories on the basis of the idea that the Earth was in a molten state during and before its formation, heavier particles were thrown in an outward direction due to centrifugal force, which later converted into metals and rocks making the outer most layer of the crust. Thus the interior must have remained hollow, with the only openings at the poles, as the centrifugal force was of its least force at those positions and resulted in a lesser tendency to throw materials in an outward direction than at other places. This centrifugal force was at its maximum at the equater and hence a huge bulge has been caused there in the region. And further calculations and estimations conclude that taking into account the rotation of the Earth around it axis, at the time of it molten state, caused polar contractions and openings. And the 1400-mile hole at the poles is present due to these movements. (Solomon, 2011)
The theory that the inner Sphere consists of a central Sun was deduced by another theory that some of the original substances and debris from the movement did not fall or shift over to the outer crust of the Earth, in fact these substances remained at the center of the Earth, forming a central sun. This sun is no doubt very small than the one we have, but it is equally capable of producing light and support the growth of plants and other life forms. These researchers believe that the Aurora Borealis or the streaming lights that illuminate the Arctic sky at nighttime come from this inner sun and its rays are coming out through the polar openings (Zero point subrise, 2010).
Reasons for discredit of early Theories
Thus, if the Earth was originally a ball of fire and molten metal, some of this fire remained in its center, while centrifugal force as a result of its rotation on its axis caused its solid matter to be thrown toward the surface, forming a solid crust and leaving its interior hollow, with a fiery ball in its center, forming the central sun, which provides illumination for plant, animal and human life. The research falters with the inclusion of so many ‘ifs’. The early researchers based their theories on other theories, which were not confirmed. So that left a huge gap for the next generation of researchers to prove the concept of a hollow earth to the world.
Next generation of Theorists
In 1818, John Cleves Symmes, Jr. came up with similar conclusion like that of the 17th and 18th century researchers. Symmes work in the early part of the nineteenth century was considered a success and he instantly became very famous at being a huge proponent of the early Hollow Earth theory. Symmes even proposed to make an experimental expedition to the North Pole but the President at that time, Andrew Jackson, put an end to the idea of this expedition. Symmes soon passed away and his research remained incomplete (Robbins, 2003).
Other 19th century researchers tried to pursue after arrangements for an expedition to the Poles. Most notable efforts came from Jeremiah Reynolds, who even succeeded in getting his voice heard. And finally, when the expedition did leave, Reynolds didn’t join it but left for his own expedition separately to Antarctica.
Reasons for discredit of these Theories
No doubt expeditions were made to the North Pole in the 19th century but still no proof of a 1400-mile hole at the North Pole was seen and the other theories remain unsolved. So the works of these researchers lacked substance and were not able to give many answers to hollow earth question. Had the group of researcher found evidence of holes at the Poles then they would have definitely brought it forward but no such claim was made, so it can be concluded that nothing was found.
How this Belief is conceived Today and Why
The twentieth-century also saw many proponent of the theory of Earth being hollow. William Reed in his work ‘Phantom of the Poles’ in 1906 reintroduced the idea of a hollow Earth, but refused to comment on the presence of any interior shells or a central sun.
Following Reed other twentieth century theorist have proposed some of the places with the exception of the poles where entrances to a subterranean realm referred to as Agarttha existed. These places are Antarctica, the North Pole, South Pole, Tibet, Peru, and Mount Shasta in California, USA, India, Mongolian dessert, Ecuador and Italy. Some even suggested that the UFOs have their homeland in any one or some of these places (Hollow Earth Hupothesis, 2010). .
Theories from Dr Raymond Bernard support Reeds and the UFO theory more than Symmes ideas. In his book, The Hollow Earth (1969), the ideas of Reeds are exemplified. Bernard also adds his own theories: He claims that UFOs come from the interior of the Earth. According to him the Ring Nebula proves the existence of hollow worlds and other life forms (Childress & Raymond, 2009).
A popular science fiction magazine, Amazing Stories, in the 1940’s published an article under the name of ”the Shaver mystery”. The magazine ran a whole series of stories by an author, Richard Sharpe Shaver, who claimed them to be true but wrote them in a fictional manner. Shaver in his stories claimed that a higher pre-historic species had built a honeycomb of caves in the Earth at different places, and that they have degenerate descendants, who are known as “Dero”. Shaver maintained that the Deros still lived in those places and had access to the most advanced technologies the world has not even dream about. The most prominent element of these stories was the description of ”voices”, which Shaver claimed that he heard from the inside of the Earth’s crust. Shaver was not able to give evidence or a reliable source about the characteristics of these sounds (Childress & Raymond, 2009).
Admiral Richard E. Byrd of the United States Navy had the most influence on the followers of the hollow Earth theory. He was a proponent of the UFO theory and he flew to the North Pole in 1926 and three years later to the South Pole in 1929. Later his diary was found and very strange and weird observations were noted in it. In reference to the North Pole he wrote: “I’d like to see that land beyond the North Pole, it is the Center of the Great Unknown.”
In his diary, Byrd admits that he has enter the interior of the Earth’s crust, along with other people and traveling as much as 18 miles over mountains, rivers, green plants, and animal life. He tells of seeing tremendous animals, which resemble like that as mammoths of antiquity moving around in the greens. As he traveled further, he was able to find cities and a prospering civilization. According to him the air temperature was 74 degrees F (Solomon, 2011).
Faults in these Recent Theories
The twentieth century writers and theorist advanced the theories of an internal sphere inside the surface of the earth with a possibility of other life forms existing. But the fact remains that even the theorist who claim to have gone there, did not come back with any pictorial evidence. A personal diary of a proponent of this theory cannot be considered as any proof. So once again these researchers have just blown hot air and not provided with any evidence
The Rational Concept
The best and most viable scientific argument that can be made against a hollow Earth theory(or any hollow planet) is gravity. Huge objects tend to come together gravitationally; this should create an attraction towards non-hollow spherical objects we call stars and planets. The solid sphere is therefore the best explanation for the minimal effect of the gravitational potential energy of a physical object; and had it been a hallow surface then it would have been unfavorable in the energetic sense. In addition, ordinary matter is not strong enough to support a hollow shape of planetary size against the force of gravity. And if Earth was hollow it would not have been able to rotate around its axis.
Furthermore basic general knowledge suggests that if someone is on the inside of a hollow Earth, he would not be influenced by gravity and thus receive no outward pull. And with no gravity how can anyone stand on the inner side of the Earth’s crust, if there really is one (Holyoak, 2005).
From the concepts of gravity we know, as its been tested and proven that a person inside the inner sphere would experience weightlessness. This was in evidence from the experiments performed by Newton, who in his shell theorem has mathematically predicted a gravitational pull (from the shell) of zero at any point inside a spherically symmetric hollow shell, without any impact of the thickness of the sphere
Another obvious fact that contradicts the hollow Earth theory is the mass of the planet. Considering the diameter and the height of the earth this hypothesis becomes unfeasible. As if the Earth was hollow from the inside, its mass would then be much lower than it is and a lower mass would also suggest that its gravity on the outer surface should be lower than it what it actually is (Holyoak, 2005).
Although there is no visual evidence of the core of the earth but from the knowledge or vibrations and earthquake, geologists are able to determine the structure of the Earth, includes an outer core, and an inner core. And if the Earth had really been hollow, the vibrations would have been entirely different from what we experience currently.
There is a famous saying, “seeing is believing” but the facts are that no one has seen the inner Earth or the civilization living there and showed evidence of their encounters.The deepest hole which has been drilled to date is 12.3 km deep. So the visual knowledge of the Earth’s structure extends only this far
And apart from this there have been no satellite images of huge holes at the Poles. So that also disproves this theory.
So from the rational way of thinking and the evidence which is available we can conclude that the belief of people in an inner world and a hollow earth is nothing else than outcome a stretch of their imagination. With rational thinking and evidence we can conclude that the idea of a hollow earth is debunked.