Introduction to the New Edition
It is good to see the word Atlantis prominently strutting its stuff in the title of this new and expanded edition of When the Sky Fell. This tarnished word has been maligned, misinterpreted, and tossed back and forth between timid suitors unsure whether to embrace or disdain it.
The theory of earth crust displacement, which proposes that the earth’s outer shell catastrophically shifts over the planet’s subterranean layers, forms the scaffolding of our quest for the lost civilization of Atlantis. Professor Charles Hapgood developed the theory, and in this new edition we detail our fresh research gleaned from three weeks of study at Hapgood’s long-neglected Yale archives. We delve in to his correspondence with President Dwight D. Eisenhower and visit the president’s archives in Abilene, Kansas. These forgotten documents reveal how Christopher Columbus may have possessed a world map drawn by the survivors of Atlantis. Fragments of the map incorporate astronomical clues pointing to the date it was originally drafted, 3800 BCE, a date that coincides with the dawn of Egyptian civilization.
We learn how Einstein urged that Hapgood be awarded a Guggenheim Foundation Grant because his earth crust displacement theory was “fascinating and important.”
A rare, debilitating genetic disease common to the Haida of British Columbia, on Canada’s western coast, is shown also to be suffered by the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, suggesting that the two vastly separated peoples may have had a common ancestor.
We follow the career of the seventeenth-century Jesuit priest Athanasius Kircher as he becomes the Einstein of his century and marvel at the lost Egyptian map of Atlantis that Kircher rediscovered.
Evidence is uncovered that demonstrates that intricate, advanced water-management systems were developed in the highlands of New Guinea immediately after the fall of Atlantis.
We reveal the existence of a shadowy cave where DNA samples taken from a young man’s remains point to the astonishing fact that he had traveled thousands of miles from the southern tip of South America to his death in Alaska. Nobody knows how or why.
And we celebrate a new generation of Latin American archaeologists who have come to the radical conclusion that South America was populated before North America.
Science is exploding, and the blast is providing more and more energy to drive the theory of earth crust displacement and the search for the lost continent.
A lot has changed since 1981, when we quit our jobs in Canada and packed up a trunk with all our worldly belongings, enough money to survive for three months, and presented ourselves at that mecca for librarians everywhere, the Reading Room of London’s British Museum. Under its robin-egg-blue dome, shutting out the great city’s roar, we devoured book after book. Some of them, like Charles Lyell’s 1830 Principles of Geology or James Hutton’s 1795 Theory of the Earth with Proofs and Illustrations, could only be accessed from the Rare Book Room. Books that took months to receive back home were presented to us in the Reading Room within hours. Five years later, our London adventure resulted in plenty of raw material for our own contributions to the library.
It’s no longer necessary for any writer to go to such lengths to find the intellectual spring of his or her subject matter. The Internet delivers any text we want to our eager eyes within seconds. Has to be a good thing, right? You’d think so. And for most of us it probably is. But don’t hold your breath thinking it will result in any paradigm-busting breakthroughs in the places where ideas are supposed to rule.
The Internet offers a potential gold mine of knowledge, bringing together more material than any individual could possibly explore in a lifetime. But it’s not well known that the search engines used to access this wealth of information direct researchers primarily to articles that espouse the conventional streams of current thought. Good enough, perhaps, to access the latest trend in scientific pronouncements, but far less effective for challenging hallowed assumptions and developing alternative theories. In fact, contrary to expectations, between 1945 and 2005, as millions of scholarly articles went online, researchers increasingly began to cite fewer and fewer articles. Rather than expanding the parameters within their fields of research, online access has unexpectedly resulted in a troubling narrowing of science and scholarship.
In contrast with how the Internet has narrowed the world of some researchers, it has also opened the door for Atlantis to shine again. Brushed up and polished to be presented to a new audience--whether skeptical or keen, inspired artist or naysayer, geographer or psychologist--Atlantis can step out and be judged in the light of a new age of information.
The remnants of the lost continent surface in intriguing places. In this book we delve in to the records of people from around the globe who fled the rising ocean and scrambled to safety in the mountains where, in a bid to survive, they began the sophisticated task of domesticating native plants. This sudden, global rise of the finely tuned art and science of agriculture in the highlands starts mysteriously at the precise time that Atlantis fell, suggesting a forgotten past unexplored by traditional archaeology.
The chronicle of Atlantis is properly called a legend, not a myth. A legend tells of events that took place in the real world at a specific time involving human beings. A myth, in contrast, is enacted on a supernatural stage where events are controlled by all-powerful gods and goddesses. Plato, the source of the Atlantis legend, tells us that the island continent perished at a specific time, some 11,600 years ago. He says that the vast island was located in a “real ocean” and was destroyed by earthquakes and floods of extraordinary violence. Gods don’t determine the unfolding events in this legend. Instead, it is the palpable forces of nature that prevail against Atlantis and end its rule. Atlantis is a legendary, but real, place that can be found.