Journey to the Earths Interior

Seven years after Reed's Phantom of the Poles, which sought to show why the ongoing quest to reach the North Pole was bound for failure, Marshall Gardner's 1913 A Journey to the Earth's Interior faced a slightly more difficult obstacle when it came to persuading readers that reaching the pole was an impossibility. The obstacle? The recent claims by both Cook and Peary to have done just that. Gardner not only had to marshal evidence to support his hollow earth theory, he also had to demonstrate why he believed that Cook's and Peary's claims were mistaken. He also, it seems, wanted to demonstrate the superiority of his arguments over those that had come before. He begins, therefore, with an important caveat aimed at Symmes and perhaps Reed as well.

Cranky Ideas are Not in Same Class with Scientific Ones

It will also be an injustice to us if the reader confuses our idea of a hollow earth as presented in this book with one or two theories which have been put out in the past and which only bear a superficial relation to ours. For instance, nearly one hundred years ago in America a theory was put forth that the earth consisted of a number of concentric spheres one within the other. Now that could hardly be called a scientific theory. It was based on a supposition, and the author argued from his supposition down to what the facts ought to be. He said in effect, 'According to my principle there ought to be within the earth a series of spheres each one inside the other'. But he did not know, and he never went down to see. (27)

Gardner offers a diversity of evidence to support his claim, including evidence from the field of astronomy. He argues that the fact that other planets are hollow spheres lends credence to the idea that the earth is hollow as well. Examining Mars and Venus through a telescope, he claims, reveals that they are indeed hollow. What some researchers have mistaken for polar ice caps on the planet Mars are, in reality, holes leading into the interior. On certain occasions the glimmer of an interior sun has even been glimpsed.

In addition, Gardner claims that the discovery of the preserved remains of woolly mammoths can best be explained by the hollow earth theory. The creatures obviously continue to thrive within the earth's core and occasionally wander through the polar opening and onto the surface of the earth. As they travel through the Arctic Circle they become frozen in ice until discovered by humans a short time later.

Of course, his evidence means little unless he can show why the claims of Peary and Cook should be disregarded. How is it, readers may wonder, that Peary does not describe the huge opening at the North Pole in his account of his polar expedition. The answer is quite simple - the hole into the interior is not something that one would expect to notice from a position on the surface of the earth. It is the same reason, he argues, that humans did not realize that the earth was round:

Why did not man discover by looking around him, that he was living on the surface of what is, practically speaking, an immense sphere (to be exact spheroid)? And why did man for centuries think that the earth was flat? Simply because the sphere was so large that he could not see its curvature but thought it was a flat surface, and that he should be able to move all over the surface of it appeared so natural that, when scientists first told him it was a sphere he began to wonder why he did not fall off, or at least, if he lived in the northern hemisphere, he wondered why the Australians did not fall off - for he had no conception of the law of gravity.

Now, in the case of the polar explorers the same thing is true. They sail up to the outer edge of the immense polar opening, but that opening is so vast - remember that the crust of the earth over which it curves is eight hundred miles thick - that the down-ward curvature of its edge is not perceptible to them, and its diameter is so great - say 1400 miles - that its other side is not visible to them. So that if an explorer went far enough he could sail right over that edge, down over the seas of the inner world and out through the

18. The Iron Mole that transports Doug McClure and Peter Cushing to the land of Pellucidar in At the Earth's Core (1976). Image courtesy of the Kobal Collection.

Antarctic orifice, and all that would show him what he had done, would be that as soon as he got inside he would see a smaller sun than he was accustomed to - only to him it might look larger owing to its closeness - and he would not be able to take any observations by the stars because there would be neither stars nor even a night in which to see them. (33-4)

Neither Peary nor Cook's brief excursions to the polar north were prepared to investigate the veracity of the hollow earth theory. Believing the earth to be a solid sphere, they would have missed the evidence for the polar opening entirely. It is only by examining the evidence with an open mind that the truth can be discovered.

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