The 1908 account The Smokey God, or A Voyage to the Inner World by Willis George Emerson tells the story of Olaf Jansen. Emerson describes Jansen as an elderly Norwegian of 95 who was residing in southern California when they met and where Jansen related his deathbed story. Having spent years in a mental institution for telling his tale in the past, he had vowed to keep it secret until he was near to death. The story was of a fishing trip with his father when he was 19 years old.
Jansen's story begins like earlier tales and tells of sailing far north toward the pole only to find the climate warm and tropical. After sailing for weeks, the Jansens finally came into sight of land. Sailing up a river toward the interior of the continent they caught sight of a huge craft. The passengers were singing and playing harps. When the craft passed, a smaller boat was lowered to the water with six gigantic men aboard. The visitors invited Jansen and his father aboard their craft, an invitation that they readily accepted. Jansen described these strange giants:
There was not a single man aboard who would not have measured fully twelve feet in height. They all wore full beards, not particularly long, but seemingly short-cropped. They had mild and beautiful faces, exceeding fair, with ruddy complexions. The hair and beard of some were black, others sandy, and still others yellow. The captain, as we designated the dignitary in command of the great vessel, was fully a head taller than any of his companions. The women averaged from ten to eleven feet in height. Their features were especially regular and refined, while their complexion was of a most delicate tint heightened by a healthful glow. (98-9)
As the ship sped back up river, Jansen noted the warmth of the strange sun over their heads. It glowed with a white light from a large bank of cloud. The refraction of the sun's light through the clouds gave the light of two full moons on a clear night. This cloudy sun was found to shine for 12 hours and then disappear, as if eclipsed. Jansen learned that his hosts worshipped this light, 'The Smokey God.' As
4 THEY HAD SAILED Jansen and his father learned
OVER THE curve 0f THE that they had sailed over the
, curve of the earth's outer shell
and into the hollow interior
INTO THE HOLLOW INTERIOR 5 along the inner surface of the shell, they came to understand that the sun now shining above their heads was a glowing ball of electricity at the earth's core. From the perspective of inhabitants of the outer surface, the inner surface looked down upon the sun.
The Jansens journeyed to the beautiful city known as Eden by a kind of train, and experienced many more great wonders, including a great herd of elephants:
There must have been five hundred of these thunder-throated monsters, with their restlessly waving trunks. They were tearing huge boughs from the trees and trampling smaller growth into dust like so much hazel-brush. They would average over 100 feet in length and from 75 to 85 in height.
It seemed as I gazed upon this wonderful herd of giant elephants, that I was again living in the public library at Stockholm, where I had spent much time studying the wonders of the Miocene age. I was filled with mute astonishment, and my father was speechless with awe. He held my arm with a protecting grip, as if fearful harm would overtake us. We were two atoms in this great forest, and fortunately, unobserved by this vast herd of elephants as they drifted on and away, following a leader as does a herd of sheep. They browsed from growing herbage which they encountered as they traveled, and now and again shook the firmament with their deep bellowing. (126-7)
Finally, their adventures over, Olaf and his father sailed across the inner ocean and around the curve of the earth's southern polar opening.
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