There are still those who believe that our Earth is really hollow.
On reflection, although the Earth is our home, it really feels so far away from us when we think of it on a macroscopic scale. We can indeed talk about what is every day to us about it, such as the recurring places where we dwell. But even if we have traveled to other countries and managed to cross entire oceans from the view of an airplane, the Earth feels so distant when we think of it as a gigantic orb. So our eyes and ears turn to science, which is the only way to unlock the secrets of our planet, which has been proven to be geoid and composed of different layers.
Nevertheless, there are still those who believe that our Earth is really hollow, and there are even those who claim that it is prolific and full of life inside. Thanks to science, we know that the planet is composed of a liquid center of molten metal that is then covered with crusts of materials that shape the mantle and crust, where we live. But the idea of a hollow Earth continues to live in the collective imagination despite what science says, which makes us wonder where such an idea came from.
The origin of the hollow Earth
Possibly the first person to speculate that the Earth might be hollow was Edmund Halley himself, the same scientist who discovered why the sea is salty and who is most famous for having calculated the trajectory of the famous comet that now bears his name in his honor.
In 1692, Halley wrote a hypothesis to explain anomalous compass readings. His hypothesis stated that the planet is a series of nested spherical layers, rotating in different directions and all surrounding a central core. Each of these spheres would have its own luminous atmosphere, so he did not rule out or affirm the possibility of each sphere harboring life.
Based on his knowledge of gravity between the Sun, Earth, and Moon, as well as his speculations on magnetic fields, Halley believed that such a model could explain any anomalies in Earth’s magnetic field measurements.
Halley only sought to explain anomalies in compass measurements, but his idea was taken up by other thinkers to try to explain the existence of intelligent life at the center of the Earth. Later in 1818, John Cleves Symmes, Jr., a war veteran, and unsuccessful merchant published a pamphlet entitled No.1, in which he openly declared that the Earth was hollow. It was from this that Symmes became the leading proponent of the hollow Earth hypothesis.
Polar holes and inverted universes
Symmes’ version was basically a copy of Halley’s hypothesis, except that it incorporated the existence of two huge holes each at the planet’s poles. These holes became known as ‘Symmes Holes’ and became famous as the veteran asked the world to help fund a trip to the north pole to prove his hypothesis to the world.
“I state that the Earth is hollow and habitable inside; it contains several concentric solid spheres, each inside the other and that it is open at the poles by 12 or 16 degrees.”
In No. 1, Symmes swore with his life to the veracity of this ‘truth’ and asked for help to finance his journey to the North Pole. The trip to the pole never came, but Symmes continued to spread his hypothesis through various campaigns and lectures until the day of his death in 1849.
Of course, Symmes was not the only proponent of the hollow Earth, in the late 19th and early 20th century, a new hypothesis emerged. Created by Cyrus Teed, the leader of a cult called Koreshan Unity, he took the concept and inverted it. According to Teed, the entire universe is immersed in a shell, and from a superspective, it is we humans who inhabit the center of the planet. The stars in our sky are, according to this hypothesis, a strange solar mechanism leaking into the hollow center. Teed’s followers believed in the hypothesis of the supposed spiritual leader and even formed an extensive colony in Estero, Florida, although this was dissolved in 1908 with Teed’s death.
Today the idea that the Earth is hollow continues to proliferate among some people, however, as far as science allows us to know, our planet is a geoid-shaped orb, made up of different layers that at the center house a molten metal core. Although it is true that due to the depth of the earth’s layers, geologists still do not fully understand the structural dynamics of this place we call home.
Story originally published in Spanish in Ecoosfera