Raymond Bernard's The Hollow Earth (1964) covered much of the same territory that had already been staked out by Reed and Gardner, including chapters devoted to each of their books. His work did more than simply rework those earlier texts, however, for Bernard's book makes some important contributions of its own. Bernard would link the hollow earth theory with unidentified flying objects and claim that flying saucers were not from outer space but from the earth's core; he would introduce claims concerning Admiral Byrd's support for the hollow earth theory; and he would connect the Symmes/ Reed/Gardner tradition of hollow earth theory with other strands of esoterica.
Bernard began his book with a dedication that seemed to make the discovery of the interior world an event that was just around the corner, just waiting for a brave adventurer to answer the call. He wrote:
Dedicated to the Future Explorers of the New World that exists beyond North and South Poles in the hollow interior of the Earth. Who will Repeat Admiral Byrd's historic flight for 1,700 miles beyond the North Pole and that of his Expedition for 2,300 Miles beyond the South Pole, entering a New Unknown Territory not shown on any map, covering an immense land area whose total size is larger than North America, consisting of forests, mountains, lakes, vegetation and animal life.
The aviator who will be the first to reach this New Territory, unknown until Admiral Byrd first discovered it, will go down in history as a New Columbus and greater than Columbus, for while Columbus discovered a new continent, he will discover a new world.
Like the other writers in this genre, Bernard's goals are quite lofty, and he offers the requisite laundry list of things that he seeks to prove. Some of them are familiar: the earth is hollow with polar openings, the poles have never been reached as this is an impossibility, and the hollow earth is probably filled with plant and animal life waiting to be discovered. Some of them are new: it is more logical to suppose that flying saucers come from the earth's interior than from another planet, the inner earth will provide a safe haven for refugees from a nuclear holocaust, and:
That the observations and discoveries of Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd of the United States Navy, who was the first to enter into the polar openings, which he did for a total distance of 4,000 miles in the Arctic and Antarctic, confirm the correctness of our revolutionary theory of the Earth's structure, as do the observations of other Arctic explorers. (21)
Admiral Byrd, according to Bernard, made several interesting comments concerning his flights to the North and South Poles, which indicate that he had indeed crossed over into the earth's interior. He quotes Byrd as saying in February, 1947, 'I'd like to see , that land beyond the (North) Pole. 6 1 D LIKE TO SEE THAT
That area beyond the Pole is the LAND BEYOND THE NORTH
center of the Great Unknown,' POLE. THAT AREA BEYOND THE
and in March, 1956, following POLE IS THE CENTER OF THE his return from the South Pole,
The present expedition has opened up a vast new territory'
(20). Bernard also notes that Byrd referred to the land beyond the poles as 'that enchanted continent in the sky, land of everlasting mystery!'
The only way that we can understand Byrd's enigmatical statements is if we discard the traditional conception of the formation of the earth and entertain an entirely new one, according to which its Arctic and Antarctic extremities are not convex but concave, and that Byrd entered into the polar concavities when he went beyond the Poles.
In other words, he did not travel across the Poles to the other side, but entered into the polar concavity or depression, which . . . opens to the hollow interior of the earth, the home of plant, animal and human life, enjoying a tropical climate. This is the 'Great Unknown' to which Byrd had reference when he made this statement - and not the ice - and snow-bound area on the other side of the North Pole, extending to the upper reaches of Siberia. (30)
The expression 'that enchanted continent in the sky' obviously refers to a land area, and not ice, mirrored in the sky which acts as a mirror, a strange phenomenon observed by many polar explorers, who speak of 'the island in the sky' or 'water sky,' depending or whether the sky of polar regions reflects land or water. If Byrd saw the reflection of water or ice he would not use the word 'continent,' nor call it an 'enchanted' continent. It was 'enchanted' because, according to accepted geographical conceptions, this continent which Byrd saw reflected in the sky (where water globules act as a mirror for the surface below) could not exist. (34-5)
Adding further detail to Bernard's claims is Byrd's strange 'missing diary' whose origins remain mysterious but which has been passed around in hollow earth circles, sometimes in cheap mimeographed versions, for years.
Byrd's missing diary begins:
I must write this diary in secrecy and obscurity. It concerns my Arctic flight of the nineteenth day of February in the year of Nineteen and Forty Seven.
There comes a time when the rationality of men must fade into insignificance and one must accept the inevitability of the Truth! I am not at liberty to disclose the following documentation at this writing . . . perhaps it shall never see the light of public scrutiny, but I must do my duty and record here for all to read one day. In a world of greed and exploitation of certain of mankind, one can no longer suppress that which is truth.
Following this rather sensational introduction, the diary takes on the form of a flight log. In some versions that I have seen the hours are recorded, in others they are missing. I will include them here as they add to the drama.
0600 HOURS - All preparations are complete for our flight northward and we are airborne with full fuel tanks at 0610 Hours.
0620 HOURS - Fuel mixture on starboard engine seems too rich, adjustment made and Pratt Whittneys are running smoothly.
0730 HOURS - Radio Check with base camp. All is well and radio reception is normal . . .
0910 HOURS - Both Magnetic and Gyro compasses beginning to gyrate and wobble, we are unable to hold our heading by instrumentation. Take bearing with Sun compass, yet all seems well. The controls are seemingly slow to respond and have sluggish quality, but there is no indication of Icing!
0915 HOURS - In the distance is what appears to be mountains.
0949 HOURS - 29 minutes elapsed flight time from the first sighting of the mountains, it is no illusion. They are mountains and consisting of a small range that I have never seen before! . . .
1000 HOURS - We are crossing over the small mountain range and still proceeding northward as best as can be ascertained. Beyond the mountain range is what appears to be a valley with a small river or stream running through the center portion. There should be no green valley below! Something is definitely wrong and abnormal here! We should be over Ice and Snow! To the portside are great forests growing on the mountain slopes. Our navigation Instruments are still spinning, the gyroscope is oscillating back and forth!
1005 HOURS - I alter altitude to 1400 feet and execute a sharp left turn to better examine the valley below. It is green with either moss or a type of tight knit grass. The Light here seems different. I cannot see the Sun anymore. We make another left turn and we spot what seems to be a large animal of some kind below us. It appears to be an elephant! NO!!! It looks more like a mammoth! This is incredible! Yet, there it is! Decrease altitude to 1000 feet and take binoculars to better examine the animal. It is confirmed - it is definitely a mammoth-like animal! Report this to base camp . . .
1130 HOURS - Countryside below is more level and normal (if I may use that word). Ahead we spot what seems to be a city! This is impossible! Aircraft seems light and oddly buoyant. The controls refuse to respond! My GOD! Off our port and starboard wings are a strange type of aircraft. They are closing rapidly alongside! They are disc-shaped and have a radiant quality to them. They are close enough now to see the markings on them. It is a type of Swastika!!! This is fantastic. Where are we! What has happened. I tug at the controls again. They will not respond! We are caught in an invisible vice grip of some type!
1135 HOURS - Our radio crackles and a voice comes through in English with what perhaps is a slight Nordic or Germanic accent! The message is: 'Welcome, Admiral, to our domain. We shall land you in exactly seven minutes! Relax, Admiral, you are in good hands.' I note the engines of our plane have stopped running! The aircraft is under some strange control and is now turning itself. The controls are useless.
1140 HOURS - Another radio message received. We begin the landing process now, and in moments the plane shudders slightly, and begins a descent as though caught in some great unseen elevator! The downward motion is negligible, and we touch down with only a slight jolt!
1145 HOURS - I am making a hasty last entry in the flight log. Several men are approaching on foot toward our aircraft. They are tall with blond hair. In the distance is a large shimmering city pulsating with rainbow hues of color. I do not know what is going to happen now, but I see no signs of weapons on those approaching. I hear now a voice ordering me by name to open the cargo door. I comply.
From this point the diary offers Byrd's recollections of the events following the landing. Byrd is soon taken from his aircraft to a city made of crystal and to a building 'that is a type I have never seen before. It appears to be right out of the design board of Frank Lloyd Wright, or perhaps more correctly, out of a Buck Rogers setting!!' (37). Once inside the building, Byrd is ushered in to meet a spiritual master. Byrd recalls the master's words and his own response to them:
'We have let you enter here because you are of noble character and well-known on the Surface World, Admiral.' Surface World, I half-gasp under my breath! 'Yes,' the Master replies with a smile, 'you are in the domain of the Arianni, the Inner World of the Earth. We shall not long delay your mission, and you will be safely escorted back to the surface and for a distance beyond. But now, Admiral, I shall tell you why you have been summoned here. Our interest rightly begins just after your race exploded the first atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. It was at that alarming time we sent our flying machines, the "Flugelrads," to your surface world to investigate what your race had done. That is, of course, past history now, my dear Admiral, but I must continue on.
'You see, we have never interfered before in your race's wars, and barbarity, but now we must, for you have learned to tamper with a certain power that is not for man, namely, that of atomic energy. Our emissaries have already delivered messages to the powers of your world, and yet they do not heed. Now you have been chosen to be witness here that our world does exist. You see, our Culture and Science is many thousands of years beyond your race, Admiral.' (40-2)
After the master has employed Byrd to warn the world of the impending nuclear disaster and to share the story of the inner world, he is ushered back to his aircraft. The flight log continues the story:
215 HOURS - A radio message comes through. 'We are leaving you now, Admiral, your controls are free. Auf Wiedersehen!' We watched for a moment as the flugelrads disappeared into the pale blue sky. The aircraft suddenly felt as though caught in a sharp downdraft for a moment. We quickly recovered her control. We do not speak for some time, each man has his thoughts . . .
300 HOURS - We land smoothly at base camp. I have a mission . . .
Then follows an entry from March 11, 1947:
MARCH 11, 1947. I have just attended a staff meeting at the Pentagon. I have stated fully my discovery and the message from the Master. All is duly recorded. The President has been advised. I am now detained for several hours (six hours, thirty-nine minutes, to be exact.) I am interviewed intently by Top Security Forces and a medical team. It was an ordeal! I am placed under strict control via the national security provisions of this United States of America. I am ORDERED TO REMAIN SILENT IN REGARD TO ALL THAT I HAVE LEARNED, ON THE BEHALF OF HUMANITY! Incredible! I am reminded that I am a military man and I must obey orders. (5960)
And, the final entry from December 30, 1956:
These last few years elapsed since 1947 have not been kind . . . I now make my final entry in this singular diary. In closing, I must state that I have faithfully kept this matter secret as directed all these years. It has been completely against my values of moral right. Now, I seem to sense the long night coming on and this secret will not die with me, but as all truth shall, it will triumph and so it shall.
This can be the only hope for mankind. I have seen the truth and it has quickened my spirit and has set me free! I have done my duty toward the monstrous military industrial complex. Now, the long night begins to approach, but there shall be no end. Just as the long night of the Arctic ends, the brilliant sunshine of Truth shall come again . . . and those who are of darkness shall fall in its Light. FOR I HAVE SEEN THAT LAND BEYOND THE POLE, THAT CENTER OF THE GREAT UNKNOWN.
The Byrd diary, like Bernard's Hollow Earth, freely combines elements of the Symmes/Reed/Gardner hollow earth tradition with the traditions of Atlantis and Lemuria as articulated by the theosophists. Bernard, for example, describes the civilization at the center of the earth in terms of Agharta and Shambala, which are, according to Bernard, names given to the underground world by Tibetan Buddhists who believe that the King of the World rules from below ground. This underground kingdom of Agharta, ruled over by the capital city of Shambala, is far more advanced than our own, Bernard claims, and is responsible for the flying saucers which fill our skies. Tunnels connect this underground kingdom with all areas of the world, making it accessible from many places other than the poles. Descended from the survivors of the sunken continents of Lemuria and Atlantis, the kingdom at the center of the earth has much to teach us, both technologically and spiritually.
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