Thrawn Rickle 86
the hollow earth
© 2005 Williscroft
years ago I embarked on an adventure that consumed a year and a half of my
life. It took me from my home in Virginia Beach, Va., and deposited me on a
10,000 foot high ice plateau at the bottom of the world. I lived and worked at
South Pole Station for thirteen months – the longest thirteen months of
was a commissioned officer with the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a small uniformed service
that started as an idea in 1807 when President Jefferson ordered a survey of
the U.S. coastlines, and became a uniformed
service in 1917 as the Coast and Geodetic Survey’s contribution to World
War I. I was assigned to the South Pole under the auspices of the National
Science Foundation and NOAA’s Geophysical
Monitoring for Climate Change (GMCC) program. My job was to monitor the
equipment and collect the data for an array of experiments designed to help us
understand man’s impact on our planet.
station was the third to be constructed at the bottom of the world. The first
had been a series of insulated canvas covered wooden structures called
Jamesways constructed in1956 for the International
Geophysical Year (IGY). In 1962 the Jamesways were replaced with more
permanent “T-5” buildings made of canvas and corrugated steel
“arches.” Over the years, these became increasingly covered with snow and
ice, and eventually began to collapse under the pressure of eighteen feet of
the white stuff. By 1975, a large geodesic dome had been constructed,
containing functional buildings and facilities, and the “Old Station” was
in the 1990s, the National Science Foundation designed a new station, so that
today a large building elevated on “stilts” has replaced the geodesic dome
as the primary facility at the pole.
my stint, of course, the “new” facility was just a distant dream as we
struggled with every-day existence in order to survive the nine-month
isolation we endured from February through October when even C-130
Hercules aircraft could not safely land at the pole.
life was made as easy as possible under the circumstances – certainly far
better than what the occupants endured in the old Jamesways in the 1950s and
early 1960s. Among other amenities, we actually had a library that even
sported a pool table. Although the slate had cracked years earlier, we had
carefully repaired it. After a while we became experienced at taking advantage
of its peculiarities, which stood us in good stead when taking on a visitor.
one corner of the library, inside a glass case, was the original 1932 doctoral
thesis of a University of California PhD candidate whose name I no longer
remember. What made this thesis special, and what gave it such an
“honored” place, was its fascinating subject matter.
put, the author argued that our planet is hollow, and that the interior is
occupied by a superior race of humans. The access to the interior, he claimed,
was a great hole located at the South Pole. Among other things, he claimed
that during Richard E. Byrd’s 1929 overflight of the pole, Byrd actually
flew into the Earth and met with its advanced inhabitants. Because the hole is
very large and its lip is rounded, he said that Byrd was not immediately aware
that he had entered this realm, until he found things warming up, and then saw
the cities and met the people.
explorers of Antarctica were frustrated by the edge of the Ross
Ice Shelf which appeared to them in their small ships as a great ice
barrier. Since their perceptions were formed by isolated “snapshots,” they
believed at first that Antarctica was surrounded by this “ice barrier.”
The thesis author grabbed this concept and decided that this
“impenetrable” ice barrier had been put in place by the super-race
inhabitants of the planet’s interior to keep the rest of us out of their
world. It was only after we developed effective flight that we were able to
overcome this barrier.
thesis made for delightful reading, especially since it was maintained less
than one hundred yards from the actual position of the geographic south pole.
By and of itself, this makes an interesting story worth telling from time to
so, several days ago I was listening to early morning radio, and tuned in Art
Bell’s Coast to Coast talk show. Art was interviewing an individual who
is totally convinced that the Earth really is hollow.
right – today, in 2005, thirty-six years after humans first walked on the
Moon, ninety-four years after Raul Amundsen first reached the South Pole,
otherwise seemingly rational people still believe this silliness. It boggles
program guest, whose name I did not get, was well spoken, and could rattle off
scientific sounding facts that seemed to support his thesis. Although I was
not aware of this, apparently I am part of a vast governmental conspiracy to
keep the general public in ignorance about the super folks who live inside the
you know that these guys gave us the transistor? And lasers? But they are
withholding their cure for the common cold – for reasons that they best
understand, but that have something to do with our not yet having risen to a
think he said that Jesus was one of these guys. Why not? It’s as good as any
I write this, the Huygens
spacecraft is commencing its descent into the atmosphere of Saturn’s giant
moon Titan. Titan is so distant that it takes about one and a half-hours for its radio
signal to traverse the gap – a signal that could go round the Earth 7 ¾
times in one second. We humans are on the verge of moving off our home planet
permanently to establish our race as the unchallenged masters of our entire
done much in a short time. Consider that from the first flight of the Wright
Brothers in 1903 until Neil
Armstrong’s first step on the Moon was only sixty-six years – but a
heartbeat in our long and tortuous history. In this light, perhaps it is not
so strange that some of us still believe in ghosts and hollow planets, or that
the stars control our destinies.
To experience a year at the South Pole in color pictures, please visit my South Pole Adventure.