Colin Wilson, the author of two previous books on the mystery of Atlantis, has recently written a new volume on that ancient lost land. His book, ‘Atlantis and the Kingdom of the Neanderthals’ is an enthralling read, offering many original insights and theories. Wilson starts his book with a preface detailing the experience of the anthropologist Michael Harner who, under the influence of a native Andes Indian drink called ‘ayahuasca’ saw what he believed to be the truth of humanities origins. In a form of induced hallucinogenic trance Harner ‘saw’ the whole land flooded as water gushed from the jaws of a huge crocodile. The water rose until it became a sea, then a galleon floated into view with bird headed creatures that reminded him of the ancient Egyptian tomb paintings. These creatures told him that they were the bringers of all life and lived within the bodies of every living thing on this planet. These bird-headed humans said that they were the true masters of humanity and that man was their servant. Wilson presents this as a possible vision of The Flood that destroyed the continent of Atlantis. However, the idea that bird-headed beings created humankind is perhaps, for most reasonable people, a difficult concept.
Then there is the question of Atlantis itself, as many believe the story of this lost continent to be nothing more than pure mythology. One argument discussed by Wilson in his book is that Atlantis may have been Antarctica. In support of this theory Wilson introduces the work of professor Charles Hapgood who declared that the earth’s crust is subjected to periodic shifts that can cause continents to change their positions. Hapgood suggested that the continent of Antarctica shifted approximately twelve thousand years ago. This is no pie in the sky total nonsense as the foreward to Hapgood’s book on the subject ‘Earth’s Shifting Crust’ was written by none other than Albert Einstein. It was the scientist Rand Flem-Ath that took the hypothesis of Hapgood and applied it to the Atlantis question arriving at the potential conclusion that it may once have been the land that is now known as Antarctica.
Now the problem with that hypothesis is that it is generally accepted that civilization started in the Middle East about ten thousand years ago, approximately 8000 BC. It was whilst contemplating this anomaly that Flem-Ath received a letter from Hapgood stating that he had discovered evidence that dated civilization back far beyond the accepted date to a time before the last major shift of the earth’s crust. When Flem-Ath wrote back requesting further details his letter was returned marked ‘deceased’. Between writing his letter to Flem-Ath and his response Hapgood had walked in front of a motor vehicle and been killed. And so the search for the evidence hinted at by Hapgood began.
Attempting to gain proof that Hapgood had been right Flem-Ath conducted research into various religious sites around the world. It is a known fact that most religious sites are aligned to true north. What Flem-Ath found was that more than fifty such sites in Mexico were misaligned from true north. And that Mexico’s most famous religious site ‘Teotihucan’, formerly a city as large as ancient Rome, had its ‘Way of The Dead’ 15.5 degrees off from true north. When Flem-Ath applied mathematics to this calculation it produced some remarkable implications. Assuming that this religious pathway was originally built running from south to true north, as all other religious sites usually are, then the land upon which it stands had shifted by 15.5 degrees and that shift happened when the earth’s crust last significantly moved 12,000 years ago. In other terms, the ‘Way of The Dead’ had been constructed in a period of time before civilization was supposed to exist.
Hapgood himself had theories about Atlantis being Antarctica but had arrived at these by a different route than Flem-Ath. He had considered the ancient map of the Turkish Admiral Piri Reis, created in the year 1513. This map shows in some detail the coast of Antarctica with its bays and rivers. Nothing strange about that one might think this being a map to aid seafarers but at the time the map was drawn Antarctica, like today, was under hundreds of feet of solid ice. A geological expedition in 1949 used radar to penetrate the ice and show the land underneath, it exactly matched the Piri Reis map. Also core samples taken from the site showed the area to be 6000 years old i.e. 4000 years BC that is before the Sumerian civilization and it was the Sumerians that are generally believed to have invented writing. Yet the Peri Reis map, or evidence used to draw it, must pre date that period and a map would be useless without writing. This was yet a further clue Hapgood had discovered dating civilization back way beyond the currently excepted period of 8000 years BC.
Wilson’s book captured my imagination with its many imaginative hypothesis and explanations that seem to prove, beyond what one might term reasonable doubt, that civilization existed perhaps as much as one hundred thousand years ago. That would be at the time of the Neanderthal man, before Cro-Magnon man. The generally accepted theory is that the Neanderthals were ape like and walked with a looping gait. Today the term is used to imply that someone is backward, slow or is a form of human dinosaur. However, it is a little known fact the brain size of Neanderthal man was substantially larger than that which pertains to homo-sapiens. Could it be, argues Wilson, that the Neanderthals were the occupants of Atlantis and that kingdom vanished when the earth’s crust shifted?
Whilst Wilson’s book does not provide all the answers it most certainly does raise a number of extremely interesting questions that have yet to be fully considered by many scientific disciplines that they involve. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a good mystery in the genre of The Da Vinci Code, for one thing Wilson does do, he makes you think.