Bernard, Raymond W. (1901-1965) The Hollow Earth: The Greatest Geographical Discovery in History, Made by Admiral Richard E. Byrd in the Mysterious Land Beyond the Poles — the True Origin of Flying Saucers. New York: Fieldcrest Publishing Company, 1964.
Widely read and reprinted many times, Bernard’s book is considered by many to be the definitive treatise on the hollow Earth theory. The book purports that the Earth has a hollow and habitable interior, with a small sun in place of a molten core, and is inhabited by a race of “superhumans” who are the descendants of the exiled residents of the long lost continents of Atlantis and Lemuria. Bernard claimed that the true North and South poles had not yet been discovered, and that in their place are concave openings to the inner Earth.
Bernard quotes several diary entries and radio announcements by polar explorer Admiral Richard E. Byrd as being definitive proof for his theory that travel to the Earth’s interior was possible. Bernard claims that Byrd’s 1947 and 1956 expeditions took him “beyond the poles” into to a land of lush, green vegetation.
Bernard also popularized the theory that Atlantean inner-Earth beings invented flying saucers (or “vimanas”) many years ago, and were now visiting our realm. He borrowed a lot of these theories from Ray Palmer, the hunchback-dwarf editor of Flying Saucers magazine; Palmer was generally considered by the FBI to be the chief cause of flying saucer hysteria in the 1950s. Hollow Earth theories today are dismissed as pseudoscience, as the claims have been disputed by geodetic data and satellite imagery. True believers, of course, assert this information is fabricated, and is part of a massive governmental conspiracy to keep us from the truth.
Controversy exists as to whether or not an author by the name of Raymond Bernard actually existed. An article penned by Scientific American columnist Martin Gardner claimed that Bernard was actually a pseudonym for a man named Dr. Walter Siegmeister. Dr. Siegmeister was a scientist who initially studied lecithin and its therapeutic aspects. Siegmeister/Bernard also wrote on such varied subjects as utopian settlements, eugenics (Creation of the Superman), Jesus (The Secret Life of Jesus the Essene), constipation (Nutritional Methods of Intestinal Regeneration, Constipation), virgin birth (The Mysteries of Human Reproduction), atomic survivalism (Escape from Destruction: How to Survive in the Atomic Age), Rosicrucianism, sexual abstention (Science Discovers the Physiological Value of Continence), bizarre diets (Organic Way To Health), Atlantis, and how to “cure” menstruation (The Physiological Enigma of Woman: The Mystery of Menstruation). In fact, most of his books contained some skilled amalgamation of a number of these subjects. Bernard/Siegmeister reportedly died in 1965 of pneumonia while searching for a tunnel opening to inner Earth in South America.
The Hollow Earth is truly one of my favorite books. I love the book’s cover, and the rather homemade looking illustrations. It’s chock-full of bizarre hyperbole, meandering logic, and circumlocutory reasoning. Reading it is an experience I can only describe as falling down the occult rabbit hole. Although Bernard’s theories can be debunked pretty easily, there’s a part of me that wishes he was right. I’d certainly fancy a saucer ride to the center of the Earth to meet out Atlantean elders.
“Evidence exists, all we have to do is examine it.”