RICHARD SHAVER AND THE HOLLOW EARTH BRIGADE
Posted May 2, 2012on:
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Belief in a hollow earth goes back many centuries, in fact it’s probably been around for as long as Mankind itself. It has been a focal-point of religion and mythology, with the Ancient Greeks believing in an Underworld, or Hades, where the dead resided, which in turn of course became the Christian belief in Hell.
Sir Edmund Halley, of Halley’s Comet fame, believed another world existed beneath our own, that it was in fact lit by a luminous light, and that this light sometimes escaped, and caused the aurora borealis. Since then, the idea of a Hollow Earth, has been the inspiration behind much great fantasy fiction, most notably Jules Verne’s ‘Journey To The Centre Of The Earth’, published in 1863. Some though have believed it to be fact.
At the beginning of the 19th century, US war veteran John Cleves Symmes believed that the entrance to the Hollow Earth was located at the North Pole. Many decades later, Admiral Byrd, a decorated (but controversial) US aviator, said that he had seen an entrance to the Hollow Earth, whilst flying over the South Pole. Very recently I read an article which claimed that Byrd had actually entered this subterranean kingdom, and spoken at length with tall, alien-like beings in flowing robes that he met there. These strange people seemed to be of the patronising, holier-than-thou variety of alien, full of “my son” comments, and pious head-shaking at the vagaries of the human race. The gist of their comments seemed to be that the human race was heading to hell-in-a-hardcart (strangely, it always seems to manage to survive though).
Some also believe the Nazi’s had a secret base in Antartica, where they met the aliens from Below, (I hope they were as tedious as the ones Byrd met), who helped them develop flying saucers. This belief led some Far-Right political groups in the 1980s to embrace the whole Hollow Earth theory.
In 1907 Lady Walburga Paget, a German writer and previously a close friend to Queen Victoria, published ‘Colloquies With The Unseen Friend’, in which she put forward another idea that cities existed beneath the desert, to which the descendants of Atlantis survivors had fled.
In 1940 Georgian-born George Papashivily wrote his memoirs, in which he described how a cave had been found in the Caucausus Mountains, with a tunnel leading down to the centre of the Earth. One man who reputedly volunteered to explore the tunnel Was Never Seen Again.
The Mount Shasta region of California has long been known as an area of High Strangeness (an area which is prone to a rich gamut of paranormal phenomena). In 1932 Edward Lanser, passing the area on an Oregon-bound train, saw Shasta “ablaze with a strange redish-green light”. A fellow passenger described it as “luminous”. Lanser was sufficiently intrigued to return to the area to find out more. He was informed that tall men from a sunken civilisation were known to emerge and patronise local stores! These strange men would buy “a great deal of salt”, (cynics will no doubt insert the obvious joke at this point) and pay with gold nuggets.
The whole Hollow Earth idea really grabbed the public imagination though because of an intriguing character called Richard Sharpe Shaver. Shaver was born in October 1907 in Berwick, Pennsylvania. In 1932 Shaver claimed he was working in a factory, where he began to notice that one of the welding guns was allowing him to hear the thoughts of the men around him! He also said he received telepathic records of a torture session conducted by evil entities in “caverns deep within the Earth”. Shaver quit the job, and became a vagrant, which of course strongly suggests he suffered an acute nervous breakdown.
He was in fact hospitalised for psychiatric problems in 1934.
In 1943 Shaver wrote to ‘Amazing Stories’, a popular pulp-fiction magazine, with claims that he had discovered an ancient language called Mantong, which was the source of all Earthly languages. Editor Ray Palmer asked him how he had come across this information. Shaver in return produced a lengthy document telling of advanced prehistoric races who had built cities beneath the Earth, before abandoning our planet for another one, due to damaging radiation from the sun. Some of this race though had left before.
The left-behinds became divided into two races, some became Teros, who were noble beings, all round good eggs in fact. The others though became Deros (“detrimental robots”), who were nothing more than mentally-impaired sadists (not actually robots in any mechanical sense). Just about anything could be blamed on the Deros: aircrashes, accidents, natural disasters. Deros were complete bastards in other words, and regularly captured women for their own depraved ends.
There was no doubt that Shaver had a rich imagination. He was asked to fictionalise all this, and the result was published as “I Remember Lemuria!” in 1945. It provoked a massive response. The magazine was inundated with people saying not only did they believe what Shaver was saying, but that they had experienced it themselves! One woman said she had strayed into a deep sub-basement in Paris via a secret elevator. After months of torture and rape she had been freed by a kind Tero.
‘Round Trip To Hell In A Flying Saucer’ by Timothy Green Beckley and Sean Casteel publishes a full account of this woman’s extraordinary story. She claimed that one night in 1943, she had arranged to meet her boyfriend, a physician, at his place of work. She got into the lift, but was uncertain how to work the controls (the lift-attendent had gone off-duty). She wound up in the basement, and from then on endured a truly horrific nightmare of rape, degradation and brutality at the hands of hideous, pig-like creatures. The Hollow Earth Society claimed to have investigated her story, and confirmed that the young woman had indeed disappeared for 4 months of her life. The lift she had taken was checked out, and in the basement there were signs of fresh building work at the bottom of the lift-shaft. The building owners refused permission for any tests to be carried out.
What to make of this horrifying story? I don’t know. At the time it happened, Paris was still under Nazi-occupation. Had the young woman become so exhausted and traumatised at this difficult time that she perhaps lost her memory, and imagined this gruesome, almost Sadean-like story? I’m not a trained psychologist, it’s hard for me to say. She claims that she was very much in love with her boyfriend, and that “we were not worried about the Nazi’s”. This might sound odd, but with a young person in love it’s actually quite believable.
Anyway, the public response to Shaver’s story was so overwhelming in fact that Shaver Mystery Clubs were set up in his honour. Because he claimed that the Deros sometimes travelled by spaceships and met up with equally evil aliens, Shaver is sometimes accredited with the birth of a the UFO age. Certainly “I Remember Lemuria!” came only 2 years before Kenneth Arnold coined the phrase Flying Saucers on that fateful plane journey, followed in rapid succession by the Roswell crash.
Eventually Shaver’s fame began to decline (as these things do), but in the 70s artist Jemaine Rogers designed posters of the Deros for rock concerts, detailing them as 6ft tall beings with leering faces and bulging red eyes. Rogers claimed that the Deros had ravaged Shaver’s mind so much that much of what he had said couldn’t be trusted. He said that there was no rape and torture, that the Deros had been much more complicated than all that.
Shaver died in November 1975 in Sumit, Arkansas.
Even though much of the Hollow Earth legend is now largely discredited, there is no doubting that it all makes a damn good story.
EXTRA: FRED LEE CRISMAN
I’d like to add a few words about another interesting character in the whole Deros mythology. Fred Lee Crisman was a strange, somewhat shadowy figure who seems to have lived a life shot through with conspiracy theories. He was born in Washington in 1919, and worked on the railroads before joining the military in 1942. He served as a fighter pilot in both WW2 and the Korean conflict. Later on, he became a teacher, as well as an author, and also worked for a couple of years at the Boeing Aircraft Company in Seattle.
In 1946 he wrote to Ray Palmer, of Amazing Stories, to say that he too had encountered the Deros, and had even been wounded (with a laser gun) by one of them whilst operating as a commando in Burma. A year later he pops up again in the controversial Maury Island UFO incident.
In June 1947 the whole modern UFO legend was born, when Kenneth Arnold sighted “flying saucers” whilst flying near Mt Rainier, Washington, on 24 June. The following month was the Roswell incident. So the months of June and July 1947 are hugely important in the whole UFO story.
Three days prior to Kenneth Arnold’s sighting, on 21 June 1947, Harold A Dahl claimed to have seen a UFO crash whilst out on his boat at Maury Island. He claimed that some of the wreckage had landed on his boat. What is interesing is that Harold Dahl worked for Fred Lee Crisman! The Maury Island incident is largely discredited as a hoax by UFO enthusiasts these days, and certainly Crisman’s involvement does lend it a cautionary note.
And then, to cap it all, Mr Crisman reappears at the shooting of John F Kennedy in Dallas in November 1963. Crisman was said to have been one of the “3 tramps” photographed on the grassy knoll on that fateful day. There is some controversy over these men. They were reputed to be homeless men who just happened to have been passing through, but it has been pointed that they looked remarkably clean and well-shaven for vagrants. Well the trouble is, they were said to have spent the previous night in a homeless shelter, so I suppose it’s not impossible that they might have had a wash-and-brush-up whilst they were there. Anyway, the three tramps were in fact Gus Abrams, Harold Doyle and John Gedney, and Crisman was said to have been teaching that day.
Crisman died of kidney failure in 1975. A curious character. Was he a Walter Mitty type, with a love of fantastic tales, keen to get in on the latest one going? Or was there more to his stories than that?