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Hollow Earth (Public Domain Image)

The Phantom of the Poles

by William Reed


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The hollow earth has long been a popular alternative theory of the shape of the earth. Typically this theory also posits large holes at the North and South Poles which would allow entry into the interior.* In his 1906 book, The Phantom of the Poles, William Reed presents a collection of reports of polar explorers on strange and unexplained phenomena, such as warm winds, deposits of dust, rocks embedded in icebergs, large ice-free areas, fresh water areas in the open polar ocean, and bizarre auroras, all in support of his belief that the polar areas are the vestibule to the interior of the hollow earth. Reed believed that the poles were unreachable because they simply didn't exist.

However, three years later, on April 6th, 1909, Peary and Henson reached the North Pole (more or less: it is now thought that they missed it by about 20 nautical miles). And so Reed's primary assertion, that the poles cannot be reached, was soon to be invalidated by facts. Today the poles have been reached by land, air and in the case of the North Pole, by submarine; there is a permanent base at the South Pole, which you can view on webcam. (You can also view the North Pole on webcam). The poles are no phantom.

In contrast to Teed and Rowbotham, Reed doesn't claim to be the messiah or that his theory is based on scriptural evidence. Nor does he attempt a far-reaching overhaul of science to make his point. Although he is wrong about the nature of the aurora (one word: magnetohydrodynamics), the origin of meteorites, and some other points, his book makes interesting reading, and conveys a sense of wonder about the cosmos.

--John Bruno Hare, 6/18/2005

* So, this sort of hollow Earth would be topologically equivalent to a donut. Umm, donuts.

Title Page
General Summary
Chapter I. Flattening of the Earth at the Poles.
Chapter II. Length of Polar Nights
Chapter III. Working of the Compass
Chapter IV. Around the Curve
Chapter V. Mysteries of the Polar Regions
Chapter IV. The Water-Sky: What It Is
Chapter VII. The Aurora: Its Wonderful Variations
Chapter VIII. Meteors or Volcanic Disturbances
Chapter IX. Finding of Rock in and on Ice
Chapter X. Dust in the Arctic
Chapter XI. Open Water at Farthest Point North and South
Chapter XII. Why it is Warmer Near the Poles
Chapter XIII. Driftwood--Whence it Came
Chapter XIV. Have Other Than the Eskimos Inhabited the Arctic Regions?
Chapter XV. What Produces Colored Snow in the Arctic?
Chapter XVI. Where and how are Icebergs Formed?
Chapter XVII. The Tidal Wave
Chapter XVIII. Clouds, Fogs, and Vapors
Chapter XIX. Arctic and Antarctic Winds
Chapter XX. The Centre of Gravity
Chapter XXI. Cannot Reach the Poles
Chapter XXII. What is in the Interior of the Earth?
In Conclusion