The Hollow Earth
Chapter 5:
Was the North Pole Really Discovered?

By: Dr. R. W. Bernard, B.A., M.A., Ph.D.


On April 21, 1808, Dr. Frederick A. Cook announced that he had reached the North Pole. His announcement was followed a few days later by one from Rear Admiral Robert E. Peary, who claimed to reach the North Pole on April 6, 1909. Both men hurled accusations against the other, claiming that they discovered the North Pole and that the other did not. Cook accused Peary, saying that he had appropriated some of his reports on his return from the Pole. But Cook failed to have any written record that he had made of his trip, and this made his reports seem suspicious.

Though Cook claimed to be the first to reach the North Pole, Peary is generally given credit to have been the first to discover it. Cook's claim was discredited because the sun's altitude was only a few degrees above the horizon and was so low at the time that observations of it as proof of his position were worthless. Peary reached, or claimed he reached, the North Pole in April, fifteen days earlier in the season, and hence under more adverse solar conditions. His calculations are therefore more open to suspicion than Cook's.

Also, Cook has no witnesses that he found the North Pole, other than Eskimos. The same is true of Peary, who lacked witnesses through choice, having ordered the men on the expedition to remain behind, while he went on alone with one Eskimo companion to the Pole. While Cook was doubted when he claimed to make 15 miles a day, Peary claimed to have made over 20 miles. The argument whether Cook or Peary, or neither, discovered the North Pole is still not perfectly settled.

There is one factor in Peary's dash to the Pole that casts suspicion on his claim to have reached it. This was the remarkable speed at which he claimed to travel, or would have had to travel to reach the North Pole and return during the time he did. When he neared the 88th parallel north latitude, he decided to attempt a final dash to the Pole in five days. He made 25 miles the first day; 20 miles on the second day; 20 miles on the third day; 25 miles on the fourth; and 40 miles on the fifth. His five-day average was 26 miles a day. Can a man walk that fast under the incredibly difficult conditions of the North Pole area, supposedly an ice-terrain described by the men in the atomic submarine "Skate" as fantastically jumbled and jagged? And yet, further south, with presumably better conditions of travel, he was able to average only 20 miles a day.

From these facts we must conclude that neither Cook nor Peary reached the true North Pole, since, according to the theories presented in this book, it does not exist. What Cook and Peary reached was probably the magnetic rim of the polar opening or depression, where the compass points straight down, but not the Pole itself, which lies in the center of this opening. Peary may have traveled for the distance he calculated as correct to reach the North Pole, but what he really did was to travel this same distance either around or into the depression or opening which exists in this part of the world, into which Admiral Byrd entered; and the further he would travel the deeper he would go into this opening, without ever reaching the true Pole.

Scientific societies that considered Cook's and Peary's claims to reach the North Pole concluded that in neither case could it be said authoritatively that the explorer had reached the Pole.

Cook's claim to have reached the Pole was based on his promise to prove it by field notes and mathematical observations. But he was never able to present any notes. He claimed that Peary caused some of this data to be buried. But in time the faith in Cook turned into skepticism, which was started by Peary's denial of Cook's claim. Peary's denial was supported by Cook's failure to present proper scientific data. Rear Admiral Melville of the United States Navy, an old time Arctic explorer, said in an interview at the time:

"It was the crazy dispatches purporting to have come from Dr. Cook about the conditions he found there, and other things, that caused a doubt in my mind about Cook's having found the Pole."

According to Dr. Tittman, Cook and Peary could not have traveled on foot over solid ice to reach the North Pole, because practically all scientists agree that this is not the fact. Some think there is open sea there and others fertile land. All explorers who have gone far enough north found open sea. As for fertile land there, this would only be possible according to our own theory of a polar opening and central sun, since, according to the theory of a solid earth, it should get colder and colder the further north one goes. But Arctic explorers found the opposite to be true. They found it warmer near the, Pole than further south. But even if the cold at the Pole was not enough to freeze the sea, how could it be warm enough to permit fertile land unless our theory is correct? Since all polar explorers agree that there is open sea in this region (the polar orifice), but ice further south, it is clear that Cook did not go as far north as he thought he went.

When the Swedish Academy of Sciences and University of Copenhagen examined Cook's claims, they decided that he had not proved that he reached the Pole. Peary gave the following report to the Associated Press:

"Cook was not at the North Pole on April 21, 1908, nor at any other time. Cook's story should not be taken too seriously. The two Eskimos who accompanied him say he went no distance north, and not out of sight of land. Other members of the tribe commemorate this story. He has simply handed the public a gold brick."

But when Peary returned to civilization his own story sounded as dubious as Cook's. He had taken even fewer observations of his alleged position than Cook had done. The fact that he left his white companions behind and had no witnesses cast doubt on his claims. When Cook was doubted when he said he made fifteen miles a day in sledge traveling, Peary claimed he made over twenty, and even forty. Since it is impossible to make forty miles a day on a dog sledge, which is admitted to be slower travel than on foot, this claim seems impossible. When questioned whether he traveled faster on the dog sledge than on foot, Peary admitted:

"In Arctic expeditions a man is lucky if he is able to walk without pushing the sledge. Usually he must grip the rear and push it ahead. It is like guiding a breaking plow drawn by oxen. You must also expect at any moment that the sledge may strike some pressure ridge that will wrench you off your feet."

According to Peary's statement it seems impossible that he could travel at speeds of twenty to forty miles a day over Arctic ice and keep it up for eight days, after doing equally arduous work for months.

For this reason, after examining Cook's and Peary's data, Honorable Mr. Miller concludes:

"The question whether Cook or Peary discovered the North Pole may never be solved. It seems to be one of history's puzzles, and to remain a matter of one man's word against another."

When Peary submitted his proofs for investigation, the Congressional Committee that examined them acknowledged in Congress that Peary had not, no more than Cook, proved his claim of reaching the Pole. Peary claimed he traveled a distance of 270 miles from eighty-seven degrees, forty- seven minutes North to the Pole and back to the same latitude in seven days and a few hours. This speed seems impossible in the polar region.

Cook admitted he did not reach the Pole in his book he wrote after he returned from his expedition, in which he wrote:

"Did I actually reach the North Pole?...If I was mistaken in approximately placing my feet upon the pin-point (North Pole) about which this controversy has raged, I maintain it was the inevitable mistake any man must make. To touch that spot would be an accident."

This created an international scandal. After foreign kings and universities had congratulated and showered honors on Cook, later it was discovered they had been duped. Now, after one American explorer (Cook) was found to have made a false claim, it would reflect badly the reputation of the United States if another (Peary) was found, after examination, to also make a false claim. This would lead to ridicule in the foreign press. To prevent this, the Congress of the United States appointed a committee of the National Geographical Society, which gave a favorable verdict on Peary's discovery after a cursory examination of his field notes, and it was hoped this would settle the matter, so that the world may consider an American explorer, Peary, to have discovered the North Pole. It was hoped this would settle the matter, and prevent one false claim about the discovery of the North Pole by an American from following the other.

However, a year after the committee of the National Geographical Society made a favorable verdict on Peary's claim, a new Congressional investigation was made and its verdict was that Peary did not prove his claims because his statements were not backed by a single white witness. The committee made the verdict of "not proven."

But Peary never replied to the charges made against him, and wished to end his career by retiring with the rank of Rear Admiral, which carried a pension with it of $6,000 a year. Friends of Peary brought into Congress a bill to retire him. One would think that before he retired an inquiry would be made whether or not he reached the Pole, but no inquiry was made. While the United States government refused to officially endorse Peary's discovery, it could not afford to lower its prestige before the world by announcing that he did not discover the North Pole.

"I am satisfied that Peary did not discover the Pole for two reasons:

"1. In spite of all the talk there has been about scientific data brought back by him and furnished as evidence, the fact is that his claim to the discovery in question is backed by his unsupported word, and by nothing else.

"2. All of the other claims to discoveries in the Arctic region by Peary have been proven false. Why, then, should we accept as true his unsupported statement that he arrived at the Pole?"

At a Congressional Hearing, Mr. Tittmann, superintendent of the U.S. Coast Survey, was asked: "What evidence is there that this party consisting of Peary and others, reached the Pole?"

Mr. Tittmann replied: "I have no evidence of that except the soundings recorded under Peary's signature. Peary brought back nothing - no witnesses, no worthwhile scientific proof, nothing but his unsupported word to back up his claim to have discovered the Pole. But, inasmuch as his reputation for veracity has been completely shattered by the fact that every other claim of discovery made by him has proven false, there is nothing that the world can accept as demonstrating that at any time he has been anywhere near the Pole."

Due to the irregular action of the compass in the polar region and the fact that the sun was barely above the horizon when both explorers were there, making it difficult to make measurements, in a region where it is easy for an explorer to get lost due to difficulty in ascertaining his position, it is probable that neither Cook or Peary really found the North Pole, even if they thought they did. This is confirmed by the fact that every previous Arctic explorer found warmer conditions and open sea very far north, while Cook and Peary claimed they traveled over ice. This would indicate that they were in points further south and if they had gone further north they would reach open sea. Commenting on this fact, Marshall B. Gardner, in his book, "A Journey to the Earth's Interior or Were the Poles Really Discovered," writes:

"Had they (Cook and Peary) gone further they would have found open and increasing temperature. Had they then possessed boats they could have launched on that sea and the way to the goal and to the truth would have been clear. They would have seen the earth's central sun shining even in the winter, shining all of the twenty-four hours and all of the year, and they would have discovered new continents and oceans, a new world of land and water and of forms of life some of which have vanished from the outside of the globe.

"But it was not to be. The discovery of that new land was left to those who, following the theory outlined in this book, and using such safe means of Arctic traveling as the airplane and dirigible, will fly over the eternal barrier of ice to the warmer sea beyond and over that until they come into the realm of perpetual sunlight. "

Gardner's claim was confirmed by the two expeditions of Admiral Byrd, which traveled by airplane through the openings at the North and South Poles and came to this warmer land, where they saw a new strange form of animal life, as well as trees, green vegetation, mountains and lakes, though the expeditions did not penetrate the polar openings far enough to reach the tropical land of perpetual sunlight in the earth's interior, about which Gardner speaks. But such a land and such a sun must exist if Admiral Byrd's observations of a warmer territory beyond the Poles are correct.

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