Special Correspondence to The Press.
NEW YORK, April 13.—The Wm. Reed Hollow Earth Exploring club has just been incorporated. The purpose of this strange organization is to prove by experiment that the earth is hollow and that such a thing as a north or a south pole does not exist.
It is the theory of the men planning the trip to the inside of the earth that there's a hole where the north pole ought to be. By means of balloons, submarine boats, gyroscopes and high explosives they expect to slip over the edge of the earth's crust into the inside of the shell and there find continents and kingdoms yet unseen.
The executive committee of the club has talked of two starting points for their explorations. One is in Norway and the other in Greenland. Roy Knahenshue, the aeronaut, has been asked to take charge of the balloon experiments.
Wm. Reed, the former insurance man who heads the club, says it is prepared to spend $1,500,000.
"It's time for action now—not a time for mere talking," said Reed when seen at his home. "But the earth is hollow and our investigations will soon prove it. The poles so long sought are but phantoms. There are openings at the southern and northern extremities of the earth. In the interior are vast continents, oceans, mountains and rivers. Vegetable and animal life is evident in this new world. And it is possibly peopled by races yet unknown by dwellers on the earth's surface."
"Our equipment is to be nothing but the best," said W. S. Rookey, the business manager. "We shall use Holland boats, dirigible balloons, wireless telephone and telegraph and the gyroscope—in fact anything that will be of value."
The gyroscope is to be used in place of a compass for the reason that the compass has been proven unreliable by previous explorers. John P. Holland, inventor of the submarine, and Hiram Maxim, the maker of explosives, have been asked for their opinions on the expedition. Holland believes his boat can operate under ice, and Maxim says it can be liberated by the use of nitrogelatin.[The Spokane Press, 1908-04-13, p.4.]
Happy New Year again! Here's a 1991 Bollywood film called Ajooba Kudrat Kaa (English: The Magnificent Guardian) about a young girl, Sasha, who befriends a Yeti and helps save him from yetinappers. Skip ahead to 1:06 in the clip above for the song and dance number, "Yeti I Love You!"
Happy New Year! Here's US President Woodrow Wilson being delimbed by a Yeti with the help of a knight monster (representing the Cotton Trust and the Steel Trust, respectively), by Rudolf Herrmann, from a cover of Die Muskete (1916-03-30), an Austrian humor weekly.
In less enlightened times, traveling sideshow exhibits, such as this one by Glen "Bones" Hartzell from 1942, demonized tree octopuses to the ignorant masses. This and other fear-inducing anti-octopus propaganda was concocted by the Timber Industry to encourage the eradication of tree octopuses, which they viewed as a threat to their profits. Read the updated Tree Octopus page for more info...
Why wait for spontaneous polyvolution? Now, thanks to Archie McPhee's "Finger Hands", you can manifest a second-order dactyl fractal on your hand for under US$5 (right hand only). Polydactylightenment was never so easy!
Jupiter Jones, advanced explorer for the Galactic Colonization Board and misanthropic loner, is forced by low fuel to land his ship, the Mizar, on the distant jungle planet Yogol after he was accidentally space-warped beyond Alpha Centaurus. There he discovers that the native humanoids are ruled by purple-shelled octopods called the Anolyn, who ages ago shambled from the inland sea of Dra Dur and mind-controlled the humans by attaching their snail-like young to the back of the humans' necks, forcing the humans to carry the octopods around the jungle on litters, engage in blood-sports and inhuman orgies, and service their nameless cities from which the Anolyn lord over the world.
In 1141, a land octopus living in the spandrels of the convent of Disibodenberg, in Germany, visited Hildegard von Bingen, the new head nun, and gave her visions, most likely via a combination of chromatophoric signals and pressure phosphenes from palpation of her eyeballs.
Being as she was steeped in her religion, and with the obvious cross-species language difficulties, she misinterpreted the octopus' attempt at communication as messages from the "voice of heaven". She recorded her theological interpretations of these visions in her book, Scivias ("know the ways"), which included the above illumination in the frontispiece.
Unlike later illustrations of her receiving the visions, which show divine light-rays from the sky as would suit the presumptions of the time, this original one was either done by her or made from her sketches. In fact, the image shows her sketching on a wax tablet, perhaps recording the event as it happened. So it's the most accurate depiction of the encounter -- one clearly more cephalopodic than theophanic.
(Thanks to reader Rich Thomas for bringing this to my attention.)
I previously blogged about V. A. Firsoff's Life Among the Stars, which, among other things, explained how tree octopuses may one day become a spacefaring species. Life in Darwin's Universe (1981) by Gene Bylinsky, with illustrations by Wayne Mcloughlin, covers similar ground, asking what shape intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe may take under Darwinian constraints using Earth species as analogies. Of course it includes octopuses.
There's a new webseries called Pacific NorthWEIRD "chronicling the strange, supernatural, and eccentric happenings of the Pacific Northwest". Their premier episode is about the mysterious Mima Mounds near Olympia, WA (map):
As the first generation of a technological society, we have been acted upon by forces of such power that few, if any, of us can understand: extensive information gathering on every American; human experiments with drugs and psycho-surgery; electronic surveillance; the era of the computer; invasion of privacy; growing government and corporate power over our lives; a people plagued by dehumanization, loneliness, and violence.
Dramatic? Perhaps. But we are losing control of our technology and our lives. Not so long ago, people in a similar situation did not awaken to the forces around them.
Are we so unwise as to do the same?