Modern Subterranean Worlds at Mount Shasta

Ray Palmer and Richard S. Shaver

The modern conception of subterranean worlds was largely influenced by Ray Palmer and Richard S. Shaver (1907-1975). In 1932, Shaver was employed as a welder in a Ford Motor plant in Highland Park, Michigan, and claimed to hear far-off voices when he was welding. Later, Shaver claimed that he could read the minds of his co-workers. Shaver used Atlantis, Lemuria, and subterranean worlds in his stories and invented the Mantong alphabet, which Shaver claimed to be the oldest Lemurian alphabet. According to Shaver, there are Lemurian words in thirteen different languages around the world.

Shaver was most popular in America during the 1940s. His technologically warped world coincided with World War II, and the threat of real out-of-control technologies demonstrated at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After Shaver died, he left a legacy of the Hollow Earth theory and mind control conspiracies. Shaver began writing in 1944 with the article, A Warning for Man, which Ray Palmer, editor of the magazine Amazing Stories, published under a new title, I Remember Lemuria (Shaver 1948). Shaver was a poor writer, and Palmer rewrote all of his stories.

Shaver may have been influenced by science fiction genres from the 1870s. Technological progress and Darwin’s theories of evolution provided fertile ground for imaginative works such as Erwhon, or Over the Range by Samuel Butler (1872) that described humans’ enslavement to evolving machines. In Shaver’s two stories, I Remember Lemuria and The Return of Sathanas, Shaver told of Kut-Humi, who ruled a subterranean kingdom called Agartha, which is located under Tibet, along with a giant library. Shaver believed that ancient peoples, like humans today, came from other solar systems to inhabit the earth. After I Remember Lemuria was published, magazine sales skyrocketed, and interest in Amazing Stories increased.

Science Fiction

These two science fiction stories have been taken literally by people. The theories of Shaver and Palmer contradicted Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, and consequently, controversies surfaced because Shaver claimed his stories of hollow earth inhabitants were true. Remarkably, many people claimed to have similar experiences underground and confront the dwellers of the inner earth. Without any evidence, people supported and authenticated Shaver’s science fiction stories. The stories provided a method for people to “remember” or “encounter” beings that live inside the earth. By sharing the stories, they are validated and retold as truth. For the first time, letters were published that explained personal experiences with unexplained phenomena. Eventually, The All Shaver Mystery Issue: The Most Sensational True Story Ever Told was published in June 1947. Soon after, Shaver was banned from Amazing Stories, and Palmer quit, later creating Fate Magazine in 1948.

In I Remember Lemuria (1948), the main character, Mutan Mion travels to Mu’s center to retrieve potions. At the center, he finds a guide who shows him that radium and radioactive metals from the sun contaminate Mu and cause old age. Mutan Mion is determined to escape the sun’s rays and boards a spaceship with twelve companions, all of different planetary origins. They plan to relocate to the moon or Venus, however, they are pursued by another craft and divert their course to Quanto, located at the edge of the Solar System. At Quanto, they are taken to the city of Nor to meet Princess Vanue, Elder Princess of Van of Nor, and Chief of Nor on Quanto.

The mission assigned to Mutan Mion is to save Atlan and its inhabitants. He must create a message for future Lemurians inscribed on the Time Plates. When he returns to Mu, Mutan Mion learns of the abandoned Dero, the mutant robots who desire the destruction of Mu. In subterranean caverns, he finds the sub-Dero eating the flesh of Mu’s inhabitants. Mutan Mion defeats the deranged Dero, and as a result, Mu is abandoned. Many of the robots were left behind on Mu because there were not enough spaceships for transport. Besides, the distance was too great to return and retrieve them. Some of the robots adjusted to the sun and became surface dwellers, forgetting about the subterranean caverns. The races that remained underground, the Dero and the Tero, degenerated into races of psychotic dwarfs.

In The Return of Sathanas, Mutan Mion apprehends Sathana, ruler of the planet Satana, who is put on trial for misdeeds. There is a war against the Jotuns, an enemy army that possessed ray guns, and the Sathanas peoples. Mutan Mion is captured by Sathana and taken underground. Sathana violated Life Laws, which states he must protect living plants, animals and minerals from misuse. Sathana became a Dero when the detrimental energy from the sun destroyed his cognitive abilities and made him into a robot.

Shaver’s Psychotic Robots

Shaver claimed that the Dero ate humans and the unaccounted people that are missing every year make up their diet. It is obvious that he believed that the world was under attack by a race of diabolical underground beings armed with magical technology. Shaver claimed that Dero and Tero were real but with lack of evidence, he had no proof to support his mythology. Later in his life, he looked for “rock books” that had been created by ancient people, and embedded with legible pictures and texts. For years he wrote about the rock books, photographed them and made paintings of the images. Both I Remember Lemuria and The Return of Sathanas are negative in that the Dero are slowly destroying humankind. Shaver never provided his readers a plan to defeat the Dero, who also deny humans access to hidden knowledge and powers. This is perhaps why Shaver has fallen out of favor in recent times.

Further Reading

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