25 April 2011


As long as there have been people who could look up at the sky and wonder, there has been a concept of an underworld, a heavenly alter-ego, a dark shadow space where the bad things, the repudiated things, or maybe just the dark and squiggly things live.

I'm not talking about the Romeo-and-Juliet-cum-werewolf-and-vampire movie series, much as I love Kate Beckinsale and love her even more in PVC.

You're welcome.
This dark realm, underneath the earth's surface, "below," is a realm of danger, and represents the constant threat that we might be captured by it and dragged to our doom.

Hades, god of the Underworld, stealing away Persephone

It's easy enough to relate the concept of an underworld to the Christian hell, but there are other underworlds to explore for those of us interested in the unusual, which tell a different narrative about the world below.

In 1945, Richard Sharpe Shaver wrote a letter to the editor of Amazing Stories detailing what he claimed was a real encounter with the Teros, underground-dwelling supermen who educated him on a longstanding battle with the Deros, a degraded version of the Teros who had returned to a brutish mode of being. These cave dwellers delighted in tormenting humanity with the machines left behind by the ancients, and occasionally indulged in a little kidnapping, rape and cannibalism. Shaver acheived a sort of pulp fiction stardom with his stories, which appeared in 75% of Amazing Stories issues from 1945 to 1948. Eager readers wrote to the magazine to report that they'd had experiences with the Tero and the Dero. Shaver's stories continue to raise questions about his sources and convictions.

Proponents of the Hollow Earth hyphothesis have long sought to revise our understanding of the basic construction of our planet. Among the strongest advocates for the hollow earth hypothesis was Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd, who claimed that he had accessed a lush new land during his investigation of the North Pole (source):

In his diary, Byrd allegedly tells of entering the hollow interior of the earth, along with others and traveling 17 miles over mountains, lakes, rivers, green vegetation, and animal life. He tells of seeing tremendous animals resembling the mammoths of antiquity moving through the brush. He eventually found cities and a thriving civilization. The external temperature was 74 degrees F.

His airplane was greeted by flying machines of a type he had never seen before. They escorted him to a safe landing area where he was graciously greeted by emissaries from Agartha. After resting, he and his crew, were taken to meet the king and queen of Agartha. They told him that he had been allowed to enter Agartha because of his high moral and ethical character. They went on to say that they worried about the safety of planet due to he bombs and other testing done above the surface by governments. After the visit Byrd and his crew were guided back to the surface of the planet.

Byrd stated that the North and South Poles are only two of many openings into the center of the Earth. He also wrote about seeing a sun below the Earth.

Map of Agartha
For men like Shaver and Byrd, the hollow earth is a place of mystery, wonder, and secrets, keys to long lost civilizations, and the storage house of the real history of how we came to be here on planet Earth. To me, it's a testimony to the power of the human imagination, always willing and able to revise and remake our collective mythos.


Trisha said...

It probably says something about me that I've always been more fascinated by the Underworld than by anything like Heaven ;)

Catch My Words said...

There's something creepy cool about the underworld.