“Men have always made paths. If a man’s way is special to him
because he chooses to drink where others find the water brackish, or
because his pilgrimage is to a private god, the path will never
broaden, though it will serve this one man well. But if he seeks to
reach a place that promises sweet water or a god whose gifts are for
all men, then others will follow him. In so doing their feet will
mark the earth, so that the hundredth of them, beginning his
journey, will see the way ahead. And if some of these, in returning,
bring news of such a place and of its untold bounty, then others
will follow the way unto their many millions; and the path will
become a “road”….
From the novel “Expressway”
Trevor, writing as Howard North.
While this series of reports are mainly concerned with the possible
discoveries and explorations of Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd USN
(Ret.) in the earth’s interior, it will help to review the history
of Arctic and Antarctic exploration.
In particular, the sorrow and
tragedy that seemed to plague the early brave adventurers who gave
their all in the explorations of these mysterious areas of our
The Myth of the North
The ancient scholars including such recognized, oft-quoted names as
Plato, Aristotle and Ptolemy all realized that the earth is a globe.
They also believed that the earth was divided into five zones. They
believed only two of the zones were the correct distance from the
sun to support human life. Counting the top, or Northern Zone as
Zone 1 they believed that only the 2nd and 4th zone could support
life; while the middle land, Zone 3, being too close to the sun
would be far too hot to live in. The 1st and 5th zone, being too far
from the sun, would be uninhabitable because of the extreme cold.
With this fact settled, the talk turned to the possibility of human
life in Zone 4, which, it was decided was similar to their zone in
relation to climate. The consensus was that it was a subject little
time should be spent on. After all, no one would ever know because
they would never be able to cross the boiling hot desert of the
central zone. And there was one thing they were in total agreement
of … the northern and southern zones were totally uninhabitable by
any living thing. Period. The Myth of the North was born
The Myth’s First Victim
Sometimes between 333 – 323 BC Pytheas, famous navigator and
well-known astronomer, in command of a Greek sailing ship, cleared
the Pillars of Hercules - today known as the Straight of Gibraltar –
swung his bow north and headed into the unknown…
Pytheas wasn’t just your everyday sea captain. As Jeannette Mirsky
reported in her classic study of Arctic exploration, “To the North”
“Three impressive facts emerge: Pytheas introduced the method for
determining geographical location exactly by astronomical
measurement; he noted the relationship between the moon and the
tides; and he was chosen head of an elaborately equipped expedition
sent out to find the remote sources of tin and amber.”
After six long years Pytheas returned from his trip to the north. He
returned to tell of a beautiful, lush green land in the far north
where people lived who tended fields of crops and grains and owned
large herds of healthy and fat livestock.
The ‘myth of the north’ was stronger than Pytheas’ popularity and
the wonder of his previous achievement. The report of inhabited
lands in the far north destroyed his creditability, because everyone
knew … men could not live in the immeasurable cold of the frozen
zones. Pytheas was branded “the biggest liar in antiquity” and held
that unwanted title for over 2000 years. Except for a few fragments,
his records and writings were destroyed.
As Ms Mirsky concluded:
“His detractors had their way, and made of his capable and intrepid
work a nonsensical hash that persisted as long as men “chewed the
cud” of knowledge that had been collected in antiquity.” It is only
in light of our present knowledge that Pytheas emerges as a great
man wearing the sober habit of courage and truth.”
Thus Pytheas was the first
victim of “the myth of the north”, the belief
of it’s inhabitability.
The Fate of America’s First Democratic-Republic
In 982 AD Eric the Red spent his three years banishment from Iceland
exploring new lands. This was the first step in what was to become
one of the great “mysteries” of the north … the disappearance of the
J. Kennedy Mcclean & Chelsea Fraser’s book “Heroes of the Farthest
North and Farthest South” (1903) tell us:
“After three years in exploring the western coasts of Greenland, he
returned to Iceland. He made so favorable a report of the new
country that in 985 or 986 he induced a large body of colonists to
sail with him from Iceland in 25 ships.”
The newcomers to Greenland formed a government similar to the
government of Iceland and in 990 had their Congress in place. This
was America’s first Democratic-Republic. Greenland was a
Democratic-Republic from 990 to 1261 … over 200 years longer than
the United States has had the same form of government. In 1261
Greenland voluntarily ceased to be a Republic and became a province
Vilhjalmar Stefansson, one of the 20th Century’s most distinguished
polar explorer/scientist described their way of life in “Unsolved
Mysteries of the Arctic” (1938).
“In the early days the immigrants took up farming at the heads of
the Fjords. At first they depended on fishing and some hunting. As
time continued they became increasingly dependent on hunting.”
wasn’t long before all the game was killed off around the
settlements and as Mr. Stefansson explains,
“The hunters had to go
increasingly further north, not only because of killing off the
available game,” but because “game is (naturally) scarce in the
farming districts, more abundant on the highlands. Then, as now it
(animal life) was scarcer in the south of West Greenland than
further north, as a result of natural law.”
As Mr. Stefansson tells us:
“At the time there were two colonies on Greenland. The southern
settlement began at the southern tip, running 100 miles along the
West Coast. Then came the uninhabited coast, 170 miles to about 63o
45’ N. Northwest from there, at least 30 miles beyond the Arctic
Circle ran the undefined stretch called the Northern Outposts. (Nordurseta.)”
The last European ship sailed from Greenland in 1410 or in 1448 and
at that time it was believed “that even before this time all farms
in the Western Settlement were tenantless, but considered that many
if not most of the farms of the Eastern District were still occupied
when this last contact with Europe took place.” (Page 25).
To quote from Jennette Mirskys excellent book, To the North! Once
“The eleventh, the twelfth, the thirteenth centuries the colonies
flourish and prosper; and then quickly, mortally, declined, so
rapidly that by [the 1400’s] the colonies of Greenland, with their
bishops and priests, the many people who composed the hundred and
ninety townships, the fine churches and spreading homesteads, were
completely gone, like rain in deep snow. Gone suddenly like a note
cut short. Gone the very memory of their existence. And the sagas
that sing of them came to be regarded not so much as history, but as
the recitals of happy dreams of a Never-Never Land pleasant, pious
In this case a whole nation of people that were know to exist,
became nothing but mythical people, in a mythical land to the north.
Victims of the myth of the north.
In 1929 the top historian of medieval Greenland, Finnur Jonsson
estimated that 9000 people vanished without a trace. Valjalmur
Stafansson in the already quoted Unsolved Mysteries of the Arctic
gives the only real clue as to where they went:
“ …The northern colonies gave up husbandry pursuits and went
completely by hunting. Therefore they would naturally migrate
northward. Gradually on in a planned movement as a large group. For
it had been know to them for centuries that the better hunting was
in that direction.”
But the big question remains … Where did the people of Greenland end
up? For centuries all kinds of theories have been discussed and
debated, everything from Black Plague to scurvy to rickets. From
murderous pirates to Eskimo cannibals. (Ignoring the fact that the
Eskimo are a peace-loving race with a deep respect for human life).
All of these theories and others have proven not to be the case.
One of the most popular theories has to do with attrition. Those who
argue for this theory believe that Icelandic immigrants simply
inter-married with the local native population and disappeared into
their culture. The problem with this theory is that not one word of
their language, a single artifact has ever been found. (Remembering
that the colonists were very religious Catholics possessing all the
crosses, statues, etc that that entails.) Nor, has any other proof
of this happening ever been found. They and their personal
belongings had simple vanished.
The thought that they might have survived does not even cross the
mind of those who look for an answer to this “mystery” because of
the Myth of the North. They can be traced to the north, but they
couldn’t have survived up there.
Of course if the earth is hollow, with lands inside, it is easy to
speculate on their final destination…. Oh, and one final thought.
Could the blonde humanoids reported to be in an advisory position
aboard UFOs be descendants of the “Lost Colony of Greenland?”
The Search for the Northwest Passage
For the next few hundred years, with a few exceptions,
“civilization” moved east and west as new trade routes were linked
with the older localized routes. The North was largely ignored;
after all if no one could live there the possibility of profit was
slim. And profit dictated exploration. After Columbus opened the
secret lands of America, and later after Balboa had seen the Pacific
Ocean, the traders and sea captains were more interested in finding
a faster route to the riches of the Orient.
The search for a
Northwest Passage became an obsession. Between 1576 and Admiral
Richard E. Byrd’s 1926 historical flight there were at least 112
recognized northern expeditions. And with every question answered,
two new ones went unanswered. This added to the growing “mysteries”
of the northern polar region of our globe.
Henry Hudson, Sir John Franklin, Major-General A.W. Greeley, Parry
and Peary … just a few of the better known early northern explorers.
First over the Lip
On May 31st,
James Clark Ross stood at 89o 59’ and watched as his
magnetic compass dipped sharply while the horizontal needle was
totally inactive. He was sure he had located the exact spot of the
magnetic pole. According to my research as already reported he was
actually standing on the center of the lip of the north polar
In 1893 Dr. Fridtjof Nansen equipped a ship of his own design, the
Fram. As planned, he allowed his ship to be frozen in the winter ice
of the Arctic Ocean and drifted with the ice across 50,000 miles of
previously unexplored Arctic waters. Many of the “mysteries” cited
by the founders of the Hollow Earth Theory were discovered by Nansen.
He first reported of the open sea with warm winds coming from the
north. The red and green pollen covering snow thousands of miles
from any source. Fresh driftwood found in the ice on the Arctic
Ocean. An Ocean that is almost landlocked by rocky coast with no
trees on any of them.
The First Airman
Three years later, in 1896, Augste Andree had to
abandon his worldwide-publicized plans to fly a large balloon, the
Eagle over the pole because of unfavorable winds. However, the
following year on July 11th 1897 Andree and his hand picked team of
experts took off. As one of his companions was quoted in Heroes of
the Farthest North & Farthest South (1938) by J.Kennedy Mcclean
“With a fairly strong wind, we shall make 10 to 20 knots an hour,
and should reach the pole in from thirty to sixty hours. Once having
reached our goal, we didn’t care where the wind carries us … but,
even if we were obliged to leave the balloon and proceed over the
ice, we should not consider ourselves lost. We have sledges and
provisions for four months, guns and ammunition; hence we are just
as well equipped as other expeditions have been.”
Andre and his crew, a, the first men to try and fly over the pole,
flew up and out of sight … and disappeared into the mysterious skies
above the Arctic Ocean. Despite one of the most massive rescue
missions undertaken up to that time, no sign of him, his balloon, or
his crew was found. Thirty-three years later remains of his balloon
were found at a spot that had been searched many times before. We’ll
look into this in a later report. Stay tuned!
The Peary – Cook Question
As a strong advocate of the Hollow Earth Theory, I am sure that
neither Peary nor Cook could have reached the pole, as this is an
impossible feat. However I do believe that Peary thought he had
achieved his goal. As Major-General A.W. Greeley wrote on the
subject in The Polar Regions in the Twentieth Century:
“That Peary entered regions adjacent to the pole is unquestionable
by any Arctic explorer, and his claim of reaching the pole has been
accepted by some geographic societies. Others, among who are his
predecessors over the great Frozen Sea, view with serious doubt his
accuracy. The reasons by them for adverse judgment are as follows:
character of the ice, shown by Peary’s photographs; condition of
dogs, worn down by hard travel; unsurpassed rapidity of travel over
rough sea ice for a distance which must have exceeded—with a minimum
of detours—530 miles; then with the tired dogs he far exceeded the
return journey of his supporting parties with fresher teams; and his
inaccuracies as to his accomplishments earlier made.”
As for Dr. Frederick Cook’s claim, I have no comment.
The ‘Keepers’ had a problem. People were getting closer and closer
to the truth about the both Polar Regions. With modern equipment and
air travel on the horizon it was inevitable that someone would
uncover the closely guarded secret. Something had to be done. The
answer lay in America, in the hands of one person. That person was
Richard E. Byrd.
The Geographical Lore at the Time of the Crusades by Kirtland Wright
Ph.D. © 1925 by The American Geographical Society of New York.
Reprinted (1965) by Dover Publications, Inc. 180 Varick St. NY, NY.
Ultima Thule © 1940 by Vilhjalmar Stefansson, published by The
Macmillan Co., NY.
To the North: The Story of Arctic Exploration from Earliest Times to
the Present © 1934 by Jeannette Mirsky, published by the New Viking
Heroes of the Farthest North & Farthest South © 1923 revised 1937 by
J. Kennedy MaClean & Chelsea Fraser.
Unsolved Mysteries of the Arctic by Vilhjalmar Stefansson © 1938 by
the Macmillion Company, published by Press North America, 835
Lakechime Dr. Sunnyvale, and CA 94089.
Peary at the North Pole: Fact or Fiction, 1973, by Dennis Rawlins.
The Big Nail: The Story of the Cook-Peary Feud, 1970, by Theon