At the dawn of the twentieth century, explorers had vanquished all the dragons from the map, leaving only the Poles as blanks to be filled. The Arctic, nearer to the majority of humanity than its antipode, had long been the subject of imaginative filling, playing host to paradisiacal lands of legend and rumor.
The idea of an undiscovered Arctic continent is an old one. The ancient Greeks believed in Hyperborea, an idyllic land of eternal sunlight beyond the North Wind, populated by long-lived Hyperboreans. William Fairfield Warren in his book Paradise Found: The Cradle of the Human Race at the North Pole (1885) placed Hyperborea -- and Atlantis, Eden, Mount Meru, Yggdrasil, and Avalon -- in the Arctic.
Up to the 1890s, Greenland was widely thought to be the peninsula of a much larger land that covered the Pole. On the periphery, phantom islands like Sannikov Land and Frisland dotted the Arctic of the mind. For centuries, cartographers, most notably Mercator, filled the otherwise empty tops of their maps with various places drawn from mythology and tales of sailors seeking the Northern Passages.
It's no surprise then modern explorers, emboldened by scientific and technological advances, took up the search for lands hidden in the northern ice -- and some claimed to have found them.
In his 1904 Manual of Tides, Dr. Rollin A. Harris, a tidal mathematician for the US Coast and Geodetic Survey, gathered evidence from tidal patterns and sightings by Europeans and Inuit that all pointed to undiscovered lands near the Pole, ones grounded less in mythology and more in science. One proposed land mass off the shore of Alaska (that even showed up on some maps) was named Keenan Land after the whaler who said he was stranded on it in the 1870s.
The belief in a continent between North America and the North Pole was given increased credence by American explorer Robert Peary, who in his book about his 1905 expedition, Nearest the Pole, reported spotting a distant land he eventually named "Crocker Land". (Based on his contradictory diary entry for that day, some believe this sighting was a hoax designed to flatter San Francisco banker and the land's namesake, George Crocker, into funding Peary's next expedition.)
There was a famous dispute over Peary's claim to be the first to reach the North Pole on April 6, 1909, as fellow American explorer Frederick Cook claimed he reached it on April 21, 1908 (many today believe neither got there). Like his rival, Cook also said he sighted land, north of Peary's Crocker Land, which he named Bradley Land. He provided two photographs as proof, although his Inuit companions said these were taken elsewhere.
Settling the dispute possibly hinged on the existence or not of either of these two lands, at least according to Cook-partisan Edwin Balch in his book The North Pole and Bradley Land. He included this useful map showing the reported positions of Peary and Cook's lands:
In the summer of 1913, two separate expeditions went looking for land in the region. The Crocker Land Expedition, sponsored by American scientific institutions and led by Donald Baxter MacMillan, specifically sought to confirm Peary's sighting. They were unsuccessful. (For more, see: an official expedition report with photos and technical details, and MacMillan's memoir Four Years in the White North.)
The Canadian Arctic Expedition (1913–1916) was organized and led by Vilhjalmur Stefansson. Stefansson's Northern Party was tasked with looking for new land, and because of the possibility for success the Canadian Government took over sponsorship from the original American backers and Stefansson had his previous Canadian citizenship restored -- all the better to lay Canadian claim to any new continents.
While preparing for the expedition, Stefansson was plagued by various media rumors, including that he was "going to the north to find the lost continent and its people" (Seattle Star 1913-06-12; also, amusingly, Tacoma Times 1913-06-16, which rewrites their own reporter into the Star article, changing Stefansson's appearance through sloppy editing). In the Star interview, Stefansson explained his reasoning for the existence of an undiscovered Arctic continent:
"Personally, I believe the continent is there, and that we will find it. The idea is not new. Peary says he saw mountains on his dash to the pole, though the exact 'farthest north' is open sea."
[Star reporter:] "They may have been small islands that Peary saw?"
"Possibly," Stefansson agreed. "But the continent is there. The tides prove it. All the tides of all the oceans are made in the Atlantic and Pacific. The Pacific tides cannot flow into the Arctic ocean; Bering strait is too narrow and shallow. The Arctic tides come from the Atlantic, through the broad and deep channel between Norway and Greenland.
"Then why do not the tides strike the northern coast of America at exact right angles? Look at a map. The tides do not flow straight across the Arctic ocean, but follow closely the shore of Asia, cross at the western end and flow back to the east along the American shore.
"Why? Because the tides are deflected. By what, if not a continent?"
Dr. Harris' Arctic Tidal Theory
Stefansson's reasoning came from the now-elaborated theories of Dr. Harris. In 1911, Harris had published an official government scientific report titled Arctic Tides that used tidal data gathered by Peary's 1908 polar expedition (under direct order from President Roosevelt, no less):
The object was to secure observations along the northern coasts of Grant Land and Greenland at a sufficient number of places for determining the tides in that region, it being the belief that such observations might throw light upon the possible existence of a "considerable land mass in the unknown area of the Arctic Ocean."
Harris concluded that such a land mass did exist: "From various indications it will be assumed that the land in question is trapezoidal in form and that it contains nearly half a million square statute miles". He included a map based on his calculations:
The press took notice. The New York Times reported on his findings in November of 1912 and noted both that Stefansson had a copy and that retired Major Gen. Adolphus Greely, who commanded Arctic expeditions in the 1880s, shared Stefansson's conviction of an undiscovered Arctic continent and reached this conclusion independently of Harris.
After Stefansson had left, the NY Times reported (1913-10-12) that Russian explorers aboard the icebreaking steamers Taymyr and Vaygach had, according to Capt. Boris Vilkitsky, skirted "a body of land as large as Greenland" west of where Stefansson was looking, validating Harris' theory. Vilkitsky's discovery was actually Severnaya Zemlya (or "Nicholas II Land" as he originally christened it), an archipelago less than a twentieth the size of Greenland and unlikely to produce the effect Harris proposed. After this initial confusion, the English press correctly identified it as separate from Crockerland, but still presented it as suggesting an undiscovered continent may yet exist (e.g. this syndicated Sunday article: sources 1 & 2)
Sinking Noah's Atlantis Raises Antarctica
At the time there was another theory about the Arctic competing with Harris'. Norwegian explorer and scientist Fridtjof Nansen proposed, based on his research during the Fram expedition, that the Arctic circle is an ocean basin with no undiscovered large land masses. (This theory is today widely held among orthonoid Arctic researchers.)
In an impressive act of theoretical synthesis, a 1915 Sunday magazine article (Jan. 3 Richmond Times-Dispatch, and in that day's Washington Post) by Garrett P. Serviss (whose writing I've covered before: 1, 2, 3) manages to combine both theories of a large Arctic continent and an Arctic ocean basin into one that also explains Atlantis, Noah's Flood, and the origin of Antarctica while incorporating both Warren's syncretism and a novel take on cataclysmic pole shift:
The gist of the theory under consideration is that once there was a continent where now the Arctic Ocean rolls, and that this mysterious Polar continent was the earliest home of man, from which he was driven by climatic changes, culminating in a sinking of the land and a great invasion of the sea. The memory of this catastrophe, persisting in the form of varying legends among all the descendants of the men who witnessed it, gave rise to the traditions of a universal deluge, which are found scattered through the folk lore of all parts of the Northern Hemisphere.
This event, also the basis for the legend of Atlantis, was caused by the axle of the Earth shifting southward through the center of planet, causing the protruding of Antarctica and inundation of antediluvian Atlantis, as illustrated in the accompanying diagram (click to enlarge):
Diagram showing how the great axle of the earth might have slipped through from the North to the South Pole and forced out the peculiar, isolated and very high continent at the South Pole and caused the depression at the North Pole. Such a movement would have caused a rushing in of the waters of the sea and produced phenomena similar to the description of the Flood given in the Book of Genesis.
This may have happened at the period in the world's history when geologists have amply proved that tropical animals and tropical vegetation and climate existed at the North Pole—a period during which the portions of the earth around the equator were covered with snow.
Obviously, if this theory were correct, any Arctic continent would truly be lost -- unless discovered by submarine. Also, it would preclude Hollow Earth Theory (more on that below).
In Search of Vikings
Returning to the Star's interview with Stefansson: On an earlier expedition, he had discovered "Blonde Eskimos" on Victoria Island and the Star quotes him wondering if the lost continent might be home to an equally lost band of Norsemen, the discovery of which would interest Stefansson because of his Scandinavian heritage (his parents were Icelanders):
"And I—I have an interest—a racial interest, you might call it—in which my comrades of the expedition cannot share.
"Were the blonde Eskimos I found on the American mainland a straggling band? Were the blonde Eskimos found by others on Prince Albert Land other bands? Where, then, did they wander from?
"If I find the lost continent, will I find, too, that it is peopled with the descendants of those fellow-countrymen of mine who sailed from Norway so many hundreds of years ago?
"Why not? And, if so, will I find that they have forgotten completely the Norselandic tongue? Will they have no legends of their own to help me to the truth?
"I like to think that only Norsemen could withstand the bitter cold, the awful storms, the grim fight for life which the Arctic imposes on all who dare to venture north of the circle."
Stefansson later denied he said anything about a "lost continent" or Norsemen (The Sun, NY, 1913-07-06):
The purpose of the expedition has been most variously misrepresented. The story that we are going north to search for fifty gallons of brandy abandoned by an Arctic expedition of sixty years ago had currency for a while, but has apparently died through its inherent ridiculousness, but the equally absurd one that we are going north to look for a lost continent peopled by Scandinavians crops out in the telegraphic despatches every few days. The only lost continent of which I have ever heard is "Atlantis," and I never heard of its being in the Arctic or being peopled with Scandinavians.
He did reiterate that tidal phenomena might suggest there's land there, and if so that it would almost certainly be peopled, although with Inuit:
Putting it conservatively I should say that our chances of finding Scandinavians in any land we may discover are about the same as of finding there humming birds or cocoanut trees.
However, his protestations couldn't silence talk of the increasingly-capitalized Lost Continent in the press: Over a year later, tragedy struck when Stefansson went missing after abandoning the expedition's ship, the Karluk, which was crushed by ice, leading to the deaths of eleven of the twenty-two crewmen while they waited for rescue. (More proof of the need for mechasquitoes!) The Star melodramatically proclaimed that "Stefansson Finds Lost Continent, But It's the Continent From Which No Man Returns" (1914-09-12):
Above, map of Arctic regions north of Alaska's northernmost point, showing where members of Stefansson expedition probably have gone to their deaths. Below, picture of Explorer Stefansson, taken by Fred L. Boalt of The Star, just before he sailed from Esquimalt, B. C., last year.
They sailed away to search for the Lost Continent.
Some of them found it, but they send no message. They are dead men.
Meanwhile, Stefansson, on April 7 last, with a supporting party of four men, left the Arctic shore and proceeded 50 miles out to sea over the ice.
Then he went on alone, saying he would return to report on the condition of the ice. Two days later an open lead appeared on the ice. The floes drifted. Stefansson was adrift on the Arctic ocean—alone.
THERE IS NO QUESTION BUT THAT HE, AT LEAST, HAS FOUND THE LOST CONTINENT.
Except he didn't, literally or euphemistically. In August of 1915, he reported in to the Canadian Government that he was alive, well, and planned to continue his Northern explorations (or as the Star put it, "continue his search for the Lost Continent"). In 1918 he returned to civilization, having discovered three new islands, but no new continent (at least none he was willing to divulge).
Mammoths and Neanderthals and Dinosaurs, Oh My!
Having already conquered the South Pole in 1911, explorer Roald Amundsen set his eyes on the North. In 1918 he and his team tried to reach the Pole by freezing their ship, the Maud, in the ice cap and hoping it would drift over it after a few years. This didn't work. In 1922 he decided to get a bit more proactive and chartered a plane with the intent to fly over the Pole. This didn't work either, and he abandoned the venture after the plane was damaged.
During the preparations for this aerial expedition, a syndicated article in the Washington Times asked, "Will Amundsen Discover the Lost Arctic Continent Where Even the 'Missing Link' May Still be Alive?" According to the unnamed author, the only thing we know about the Lost Continent is that it exists, but the mind of science dwelled with eager curiosity on the possibilities:
For on that lost continent, there is good reason for belief, there are still living forms of life, both animal and vegetable, which have been wiped out for ages in all other parts of the earth. In its hidden valleys, protected by towering mountains and volcanic warmth, the dinosaurs, those monster lizards of a million years ago, may dwell. The mastodon and the hairy mammoth may walk with ponderous tread the floors of its forests; the pterodactyl, the enormous flying lizard, whose memory still comes down to us in the legends of dragons, may still beat the air with its bat-like wings.
And in some such hidden and protected valley the creature that bridged the gap between the ape-like forms and man, the "missing link" itself, may still be alive. Or, at least, relics of him may still exist in such numbers and forms as to settle forever the question of our evolution.
It may be, too, that on this lost continent are the ruins and remains of a forgotten civilization to which old Egypt's most ancient cities are nothing but babies. Remnants of the races that built them may still be alive among them. Almost certainly there are descendants of a great expedition of Norsemen who journeyed west some seven hundred years ago, found the lost continent and were trapped there.
All these things may be, and science believes that many of them are. It is sure that, at the least, the lost land hides profitable trades in gold and gems and minerals of all kinds. There is evidence that radium-bearing ores in vast quantities exist—and if this can be found and utilized the whole problem and power may be solved for the world.
Diagrammatic Map Showing the Location of the Lost Continent, Amundsen's Proposed Route, and How His Aeroplane Will Leave the "Maud" and Circle Over the Mysterious Continent. At the Right Is Shown the Probable Course of the Ancient Norse Expedition, Which Sought and Probably Found the Lost Land and Whose Survivors May Still Be Living There.
Evidence to support an abundance of tropical life at this latitude came from Greenland, where can be found fossils of palms, bread fruit trees, tigers, camels, rhinoceroses, mastodons, elephants, and more. Could not similar flora and fauna be found alive on the Lost Continent, preserved from chilly extinction after a cataclysmic pole shift (of the rotational variety) by its sheltering mountain ranges and geothermally warmed climate? (Why, there might even be humming birds and cocoanut trees!)
If the climate wasn't quite good enough for tropical life, there was still hope for mammoths. The author notes that mammoths roamed Siberia down to comparatively recent times, and presumably the same type of mammoth roamed its way to the Lost Continent, and, if so, it's reasonable to suppose they're still there. Furthermore:
If the mammoths still exist, it is also probably that the other extinct animals which flourished at the same time survive with them in their hidden retreat. Therefore we should expect to find the hairy mammoth accompanied by the wooly rhinoceros, the sabre-toothed tiger, the cave-lion, the cave-bear, the cave-hyena, the aurochs and many extinct monkeys in the Arctic Continent.
Further still, if the mammoth, etc., survived on the Lost Continent, then "it would be most reasonable to expect to find the Neanderthal type of men" there fighting the beasts with spears and clubs.
While it seems a stretch to argue that pre-Cenozoic life could still be found on the Lost Continent, in 1916 the Ogden Standard (1916-04-15) reported on a band of Inuit who had seen exactly that. After being lost on an ice floe for many days, they found an unknown mountain range hiding a fertile, steamy plateau rich with game, where they encountered "northern monsters" whose description "fitted in every detail that of the tyrannosaurus". It killed two of their party before they escaped. They brought back a frozen chunk of flesh and hide from one of the dead "demons" for good luck.
References to living Arctic dinosaurs in the press go back even further: The Chicago Daily Tribune ran a two page story in 1906 titled "Chicago Invaded by Hordes of Prehistoric Monsters Dealing Death and Destruction". The source of the dinosaur incursion was said to be Atlantis, located somewhere in the Arctic circle. Unfortunately the story ran on April 1, so no one took it seriously. (Pay-walled copy: pages 1 & 2; free copy of later reprint with inferior images: pages 1 & 2.)
Conquering the Lost Continent by Air
US Navy Lieutenant-Commander Fitzhugh Green, who served on the Crocker Land Expedition, didn't let their expedition's failure dash his hope of finding the Lost Continent. He saw in the proposed transpolar flight of the Navy's new American-built dirigible, ZR-1 (aka USS Shenandoah), the "most thrilling possibility that ever faced a single body of explorers":
In the center of the unknown area of the Polar Sea may be discovered a vast continent heated by subterranean fires, and inhabited by the descendants of the lost Norwegian colony of Greenland!
He outlined his hope of finding a "polar paradise" in an article in Popular Science (Dec. 1923), proclaiming that "experts are in nearly unanimous agreement that a new arctic land will be found by the ZR-1". Mentioning the work of Harris and the previous land sightings, he also adds the significant fact that the unknown area -- a million square miles in size -- is in the line of volcanic activity stretching from Japan through the Pole to Iceland.
Sometime between 1410 and 1721, perhaps 10,000 to 100,000 Norwegians who had established a colony in Greenland mysteriously disappeared. No one knows what happened to them, but according to Inuit tradition, swarms of white men had suddenly headed north, singing happily, into a wonderland that the natives feared to visit.
Green imagines the Norsemen of Greenland, cut off from friends, family, and trade with the outside world by the plagues and wars in Europe, growing desperate. After generations of heartbreak and longing, some of their younger men venture into the harsh northern icescape in search of anything, only to discover a polar paradise -- the Lost Continent -- just "one moon's easy journey north". Having long since relegated their homeland in Norway to a mere myth, they saw no reason not to pack all their stuff and move northward, never to return.
After we pass through the veil of fog surrounding their now-settled new continent, this is what Green thinks we would see from our airship:
We come upon a level clearing on which are spread symmetrically half a hundred human habitations. Tall men magnificently built and clad in short and bright-hued loosely fitting blouses are moving leisurely about. Mingling with them are comely, fair-haired women in dainty smocks. Laughing children dash here and there among the shrubbery.
No savages are these descendents of the vanished colony. Indeed, we shall be mistaken if they are not far in advance of our own smug selves in culture, learning, deportment, and social refinement. They have harnessed natural energy to an amazing degree. They know the truths of other worlds. They have mastered the secrets of health.
Our artist's conception of the discovery of a possible "polar paradise" by the ZR-1, based on Commander Green's imaginative article. This land, the explorer believes, may be about the size of the state of Pennsylvania, and may be encircled by a lofty, volcanic range of mountains buried in eternal ice and snow. Behind the veil of fog may lie a fertile plateau where heat from hot springs, geysers, and boiling pools defies the cold. The illustration shows the possible habitations of the modern descendants of a vanished race of Norsemen.
This map shows the proposed transpolar air route of the ZR-1 from Alaska to Norway. Cutting the distance to European and Asiatic capitals from 11,000 to 5000 miles, this route would pass across what many geologists believe to be an unexplored polar land on the opposite side of the Pole from Iceland. The curving dotted line indicates the possible route which the "lost Norsemen" may have followed to this imagined arctic wonderland
Commander Green's own idealistic drawing, showing a cross section of the imagined arctic continent—an undulating, fertile plateau, steam-heated by hot springs, geysers, and boiling pools and rimmed by a volcanic range of mountains. Behind this barrier rises a veil of vapor
The next year Green published a novel, ZR Wins, based on this concept, only now with living mammoths and "a lake of petroleum that is kept from flaming by helium bubbles." The framing narrative is something about a race to the North Pole among nations, all of whom use planes except the Americans, who use the Navy airship ZR-5, which gets blown off course, leading to the discovery of the Lost Continent and its population of technologically advanced Viking pacifists. (Details from synopsis in Science-fiction, the Early Years by Bleiler & Bleiler.)
Unfortunately, the ZR-1's transpolar flight was scrapped after it was damaged in a gale in Jan. 1924 and had to undergo repairs. With the airship out of the picture, the Navy's focus shifted to airplanes.
Richard E. Byrd was in command of the aviation unit of the 1925 MacMillan Arctic Expedition, and dreamed of being the first to fly to the North Pole. While back in the States, he talked to the press about his polar ambitions and thoughts on the Lost Continent ("'Lost Continent,' Great Mass of Uncharted Land in Polar Seas, Is No Myth, Says Commander Byrd", Davenport Democrat and Leader, 1925-10-18; also partial article, St. Petersburg Times, 1925-10-18):
"Let me sit in the cockpit of an airplane circling 7,000 feet above Cape Thomas Hubbard at the edge of the polar sea on a clear arctic day, and I firmly believe I would be able to sight this unknown land"
"There are two objectives up there—the pole itself and the 'lost continent.' I think the dash by air to the pole would be the easier of the two," he said. "They can be reached both by airship and by airplane."
While Amundsen was planning his own airship expedition, Byrd argued that an airplane would be the better option since it could "land for scientific work and detailed exploration". He explained that were he to try for the uncharted Polar area he would take two planes for safety (plus one in reserve), start at Cape Thomas Hubbard, and fly 350 miles into the "center of that unknown region".
"That land is there, all right."
"Some day man, from the skies, will circle over it and land upon it. The airplane will carry him there and bring him back with the news of his discovery."
Around this time, Stefansson wrote an article for the press (Bridgeport Telegram, 1926-03-18, p. 24) recounting the shrinking history of the "Lost Continent" and dismissing the idea of "Harris Land", as some suggested it be named in honor of Dr. Harris.
On May 9, 1926, Byrd flew from Kings Bay, Spitsbergen over the North Pole and back. Or at least he claimed to. Although at the time he was considered a national hero for this achievement, there were doubts. In the 1990s evidence surfaced that he falsified his official report and had turned back before reaching the Pole due to an oil leak. By both accounts, he didn't try to continue past the Pole to find the Lost Continent that day. But some aren't so sure he never did (more on that below).
Three days after Byrd's flight, Amundsen, along with 15 other men, indisputably made the crossing of the North Pole by airship in the Norge. Because of the doubts whether Cook, Peary, or Byrd ever actually made it to the Pole, most credit the Norge expedition as the true winner in the race. It did not, however, discover a mammoth-filled Viking paradise (or if they did, they kept quiet about it).
Later that year, Earl Hammond, a musher with the Wilkins Arctic Expedition, argued to the press that the pilot of the Norge, Lt. Hjalmar Riiser-Larsen, must have sighted the Lost Continent, or Keenan Land, during Amundsen's expedition, based on the pilot's log report of sighting Point Barrow 200 miles north from where it should have been.
On April 15, 1928, during a trans-Arctic flight, George Hubert Wilkins and his pilot flew over the supposed locations of Keenan Land and Harris Land, finding nothing. After this, Stefansson declared: "This Atlantis of the Arctic is now sunk forever" (quoted in: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 1928-04-23, p. 3).
(The idea of a lost Viking civilization living on undiscovered Arctic land visited by airship was made into a 1974 Disney movie, The Island at the Top of the World. No dinosaurs or mammoths, but there are angry orcas:
Also, a lot of this is thematically compatible with the Airship Troopers RPG I covered previously.)
The North Polar Opening
Besides fans of Vikings, tales of a Lost Continent in the Arctic have also drawn the attention of proponents of Hollow Earth theories, many of whom believe entrances to the interior world lie at the Poles.
A notable example is A Journey to the Earth's Interior: Or, Have the Poles Really Been Discovered (1920 edition) by Marshall Blutcher Gardner (I previously mentioned this book, but I linked to the 1913 edition; the expanded edition includes more, particularly refutations of polar discoveries that contradict his theory):
The earth as it would appear if viewed from space showing the north polar opening to the planet's interior which is hollow and contains a central sun instead of an ocean of liquid lava.
Under Gardner's theory -- which builds on the earlier theories of William Reed, expounded in his The Phantom of the Poles (1906) -- any Lost Continent found to the north would actually be on the interior surface of the Earth, a vast, unexplored area not much smaller than the exterior. Travelers -- be they wandering Vikings, migrating mammoths, or aviating explorers -- approaching the 1,400-mile-diameter North Polar Opening would not notice the subtle curving of the ocean and ice as the surface bends over a toroidal horizon into the interior:
Showing the earth bisected centrally through the polar openings and at right angles to the equator, giving a clear view of the central sun and the interior continents and oceans. (Reproduced from photograph of working model.) Made by the author, 1912. Patented May 12, 1914, No. 1096102.
This might also explain the mysterious disappearing land sightings of Peary, et al., since solidospherically minded navigators wouldn't take into consideration the diverging lines of longitude on the other side of the opening, possibly putting their calculated positions off by hundreds of miles.
Some Hollow Earth researchers believe that Admiral Byrd flew into the North Polar Opening in February of 1947 and kept a diary detailing his encounter with Nordic humanoids called the Arianni, who flew swastika-marked, saucer-shaped Flügelrads and warned humanity of a coming dark age should we continue in our war-like ways. He also saw a wooly mammoth near the entrance. (These claims were first made in The Worlds Beyond the Poles by F. Amadeo Giannini).
Other paranoid researchers argue that, besides various technical inaccuracies in the diary suggesting a deliberate fraud by the "Controllers" who wish to discredit Hollow Earth Theory, this could not have happened because in 1947 Byrd was still in Antarctica leading Operation Highjump, a cover for a covert mission to rout out a secret Nazi UFO base. They also point to February being Arctic winter, so there wouldn't have been any light to spot a mammoth by plane (however, this criticism doesn't take into consideration light from the interior sun).
It is possible to reconcile these two views by recognizing that the supposed Antarctic Nazi base might actually have been misidentified Arianni Flügelrad activity near the South Polar Opening. Furthermore, we must allow the possibility that there were two Admirals Byrd, since, being an active Freemason (he was a member of Federal Lodge No. 1 and introduced Freemasonry to the penguins of Antarctica by founding Masonic Lodge No. 777 there), Byrd would have gone through the Masonic Bio-Duplication process that was in fashion at the time, thus the Brothers Byrd could have been in two places at once. But that is beyond the scope of this blog post and I've digressed enough.
Returning to the original subject of a Lost Arctic Continent: what if the northern entrance to the Earth's interior was not as grand as Gardner, et al. suppose, but was rather a terrestrial opening on the Lost Continent, like with the South Polar Opening on Antarctica? That's the premise of Russian geologist and science fiction writer Vladimir Obruchev's Plutonia (Плутония, 1915). It's about an expedition to the last unexplored area of the Arctic that finds "Nansen Land", an island with an opening to the inner world, which is divided into zones whose flora and fauna correspond to ages of the surface earth: a Pleistocene zone with mammoths, a Jurassic zone with dinosaurs, etc. Obruchev also wrote Sannikov Land, or the Last Onkilons (Земля Санникова, 1924), which is similar in setting to Green's ZR Wins, only with stone-age people and Neanderthals instead of Vikings (it was made into a film.)
Was There Ever a Lost Continent? Is There One Still?
Orthonoiac people of today would argue that, what with satellite imagery, scrutiny by oil and mineral prospectors, technological advances in navigation and aircraft reliability, and just a general increase in the presence of humans in the Arctic, there could be no lost lands waiting to be discovered up there. But could all the reports of the Lost Continent really have been just mirages, wishful thinking, and confidence scams?
While it would be extremely unlikely for a large island, much less a continent, to be undiscovered, it could be intentionally hidden. If the secretive agencies that rule our world can put a non-existent country on the map, undoubtedly they can make an existent one disappear, especially from a place hardly anyone goes.
Have you been to the Arctic? And even if you have, was your access unfettered or was it controlled by government or corporate agencies?
When people think of the Arctic today, it's most often in relation to Global Warming: The ice caps are melting! What will happen to the polar bears? Surely the melting ice would make it harder to hide a lost land; in fact, a 1922 article from the Washington Times (1922-12-03 -- no relation to the current newspaper) made exactly that point: "Science puzzled by surprising news from the far north which indicates that the Polar Sea is warming up and the Great Ice Cap is slowly melting away which may soon reveal the hidden secrets of the unknown Polar continent".
But while it would seem climate change is the enemy of those who wish the continent remain lost, in fact it's the opposite. How better to sell the public on the lie of a continent-free Arctic than to show them proof that land couldn't be lost in its ice anymore. A constant media barrage of images of polar bears adrift at sea, no land in sight, only reinforces this narrative (what they don't show you is the fog-enshrouded, pseudotropical, dinosauric paradise just out of frame that the bear's swimming to).
Might it even be that Global Warming is actually the result of a massive geoengineering project conducted for the sole purpose of creating this perverse charade?
Isn't it odd that the abrupt rise in global temperatures seen in the infamous "hockey stick" graph just so happens to coincide with the first expeditions in search of the Lost Continent? Could the inhabitants of that mysterious land, with access to geothermal forces unknown to us, have started the warming process after seeing their isolation being threatened by outsiders, and have since been colluding with outsider governments and industry to keep their location, identity, and existence secret, even at the expense of the global climate? Is this collusion mutually beneficial, or do the Lost Continentals hold some devastating leverage over even the New World Order? Those saying climate change isn't anthropogenic might know more than they're letting on.
Perhaps it would have been best had humanity never gone in search of the Lost Continent. Some dragons are best left undisturbed.