Athanasius Kircher and Sir Edmund Halley

The more recent history of Hollow Earth theory begins with Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680), a Jesuit priest who wrote Mundus Subterraneus, published in 1669. He is one of the first to support a Hollow Earth theory and writes that within the holes of the center of the earth live dragons, gems, precious metals, spirits, demons, and hot and cold water. He also argued that tides were caused by the water flow of a subterranean ocean.

The next significant contributor to Hollow Earth theory was astronomer and mathematician Sir Edmund Halley (1656-1742), who argued that the earth was hollow and supported life. Halley gathered data about the readings of the magnetic compass and concluded in a paper titled, An Account of the Cause of the Change of the Variation of the Magnetic Needle, published in 1692, that the earth held three concentric circles: the diameter of Venus, Mars, and Mercury. Each circle was 500 miles apart so as not to collide with each other. Thus, Halley proposed that the earth was not a solid body but hollow, which also answered the question of magnetic variation at the north and south poles. Halley interpreted Sir Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity as the origin of the aurora borealis, where luminous materials came from underneath the earth and lit up the night sky.

Today, scientists agree that the aurora borealis and aurora australis occurs in two bands surrounding the North and South poles and pass from west to east. The aurora is connected to the earth’s magnetic field, where charged particles from the sun hit the nitrogen molecules, creating a red light. Light emitted by oxygen atoms in the upper atmosphere produces a green glow. However, how and why the particles reach the earth in those particular latitudes is still debatable. The crackling and rustling noises are believed to be caused by electrical and magnetic phenomena at ground level.

Further Reading