The Smoky God
Willis George Emerson
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THE SMOKY GOD
A Voyage to the Inner World
WILLIS GEORGE EMERSON
AUTHOR OF "BUELL HAMPTON," "THE BUILDERS," ETC.
By WILLIS GEORGE EMERSON
MY CHUM AND COMPANION
PART I. AUTHOR'S FOREWORD
PART II. OLAF JANSEN'S STORY
PART III. BEYOND THE NORTH WIND
PART IV. IN THE UNDER WORLD
PART V. AMONG THE ICE PACKS
PART VI. CONCLUSION
PART VII. AUTHOR'S AFTERWORD
The Smoky God
A Voyage to the Inner World
"He is the God who sits in the center, on
the navel of the earth, and he is the interpre-
ter of religion to all mankind." -- PLATO.
I FEAR the seemingly incredible story which I am about to relate
will be regarded as the result of a distorted intellect
superinduced, possibly, by the glamour of unveiling a
marvelous mystery, rather than a truthful record of the
unparalleled experiences related by one Olaf Jansen, whose
eloquent madness so appealed to my imagination that all
thought of an analytical criticism has been effectually
Marco Polo will doubtless shift uneasily in his grave at the
strange story I am called upon to chronicle; a story as strange
as a Munchausen tale. It is also incongruous that I, a
disbeliever, should be the one to edit the story of Olaf Jansen,
whose name is now for the first time given to the world, yet who
must hereafter rank as one of the notables of earth.
I freely confess his statements admit of no rational analysis,
but have to do with the profound mystery concerning the frozen
North that for centuries has claimed the attention of
scientists and laymen alike.
However much they are at variance with the cosmographical
manuscripts of the past, these plain statements may be relied
upon as a record of the things Olaf Jansen claims to have
seen with his own eyes.
A hundred times I have asked myself whether it is possible that
the world's geography is incomplete, and that the startling
narrative of Olaf Jansen is predicated upon demonstrable facts.
The reader may be able to answer these queries to his own
satisfaction, however far the chronicler of this narrative may be
from having reached a conviction. Yet sometimes even I am at a
loss to know whether I have been led away from an abstract truth
by the ignes fatui of a clever superstition, or whether
heretofore accepted facts are, after all, founded upon falsity.
It may be that the true home of Apollo was not at Delphi, but in
that older earth-center of which Plato speaks, where he says:
"Apollo's real home is among the Hyperboreans, in a land of
perpetual life, where mythology tells us two doves flying from
the two opposite ends of the world met in this fair region, the
home of Apollo. Indeed, according to Hecataeus, Leto, the
mother of Apollo, was born on an island in the Arctic Ocean far
beyond the North Wind."
It is not my intention to attempt a discussion of the theogony of
the deities nor the cosmogony of the world. My simple duty is to
enlighten the world concerning a heretofore unknown portion of
the universe, as it was seen and described by the old Norseman,
Interest in northern research is international. Eleven nations
are engaged in, or have contributed to, the perilous work of
trying to solve Earth's one remaining cosmological mystery.
There is a saying, ancient as the hills, that "truth is stranger
than fiction," and in a most startling manner has this axiom been
brought home to me within the last fortnight.
It was just two o'clock in the morning when I was aroused from a
restful sleep by the vigorous ringing of my door-bell. The
untimely disturber proved to be a messenger bearing a note,
scrawled almost to the point of illegibility, from an old
Norseman by the name of Olaf Jansen. After much deciphering, I
made out the writing, which simply said: "Am ill unto death.
Come." The call was imperative, and I lost no time in making
ready to comply.
Perhaps I may as well explain here that Olaf Jansen, a man who
quite recently celebrated his ninety-fifth birthday, has for the
last half-dozen years been living alone in an unpretentious
bungalow out Glendale way, a short distance from the business
district of Los Angeles, California.
It was less than two years ago, while out walking one afternoon
that I was attracted by Olaf Jansen's house and its homelike
surroundings, toward its owner and occupant, whom I afterward
came to know as a believer in the ancient worship of Odin
There was a gentleness in his face, and a kindly expression in
the keenly alert gray eyes of this man who had lived more than
four-score years and ten; and, withal, a sense of loneliness
that appealed to my sympathy. Slightly stooped, and with his
hands clasped behind him, he walked back and forth with slow and
measured tread, that day when first we met. I can hardly say what
particular motive impelled me to pause in my walk and engage him
in conversation. He seemed pleased when I complimented him on the
attractiveness of his bungalow, and on the well-tended vines and
flowers clustering in profusion over its windows, roof and wide
I soon discovered that my new acquaintance was no ordinary
person, but one profound and learned to a remarkable degree; a
man who, in the later years of his long life, had dug deeply into
books and become strong in the power of meditative silence.
I encouraged him to talk, and soon gathered that he had resided
only six or seven years in Southern California, but had passed
the dozen years prior in one of the middle Eastern states. Before
that he had been a fisherman off the coast of Norway, in the
region of the Lofoden Islands, from whence he had made trips
still farther north to Spitzbergen and even to Franz Josef Land.
When I started to take my leave, he seemed reluctant to have me
go, and asked me to come again. Although at the time I thought
nothing of it, I remember now that he made a peculiar remark as I
extended my hand in leave-taking. "You will come again?" he
asked. "Yes, you will come again some day. I am sure you will;
and I shall show you my library and tell you many things of
which you have never dreamed, things so wonderful that it may be
you will not believe me."
I laughingly assured him that I would not only come again, but
would be ready to believe whatever he might choose to tell me of
his travels and adventures.
In the days that followed I became well acquainted with Olaf
Jansen, and, little by little, he told me his story, so
marvelous, that its very daring challenges reason and belief.
The old Norseman always expressed himself with so much
earnestness and sincerity that I became enthralled by his strange
Then came the messenger's call that night, and within the hour I
was at Olaf Jansen's bungalow.
He was very impatient at the long wait, although after being
summoned I had come immediately to his bedside.
"I must hasten," he exclaimed, while yet he held my hand in
greeting. "I have much to tell you that you know not, and I will
trust no one but you. I fully realize," he went on hurriedly,
"that I shall not survive the night. The time has come to join
my fathers in the great sleep."
I adjusted the pillows to make him more comfortable, and assured
him I was glad to be able to serve him in any way possible, for I
was beginning to realize the seriousness of his condition.
The lateness of the hour, the stillness of the surroundings, the
uncanny feeling of being alone with the dying man, together with
his weird story, all combined to make my heart beat fast and loud
with a feeling for which I have no name. Indeed, there were many
times that night by the old Norseman's couch, and there have been
many times since, when a sensation rather than a conviction took
possession of my very soul, and I seemed not only to believe in,
but actually see, the strange lands, the strange people and the
strange world of which he told, and to hear the mighty orchestral
chorus of a thousand lusty voices.
For over two hours he seemed endowed with almost superhuman
strength, talking rapidly, and to all appearances, rationally.
Finally he gave into my hands certain data, drawings and crude
maps. "These," said he in conclusion, "I leave in your hands. If
I can have your promise to give them to the world, I shall die
happy, because I desire that people may know the truth, for then
all mystery concerning the frozen Northland will be explained.
There is no chance of your suffering the fate I suffered. They
will not put you in irons, nor confine you in a mad-house,
because you are not telling your own story, but mine, and I,
thanks to the gods, Odin and Thor, will be in my grave, and so
beyond the reach of disbelievers who would persecute."
Without a thought of the farreaching results the promise
entailed, or foreseeing the many sleepless nights which the
obligation has since brought me, I gave my hand and with
it a pledge to discharge faithfully his dying wish.
As the sun rose over the peaks of the San Jacinto, far to the
eastward, the spirit of Olaf Jansen, the navigator, the explorer
and worshiper of Odin and Thor, the man whose experiences and
travels, as related, are without a parallel in all the world's
history, passed away, and I was left alone with the dead.
And now, after having paid the last sad rites to this strange man
from the Lofoden Islands, and the still farther "Northward Ho!",
the courageous explorer of frozen regions, who in his declining
years (after he had passed the four-score mark) had sought an
asylum of restful peace in sun-favored California, I will
undertake to make public his story.
But, first of all, let me indulge in one or two reflections:
Generation follows generation, and the traditions from the misty
past are handed down from sire to son, but for some strange
reason interest in the ice-locked unknown does not abate with the
receding years, either in the minds of the ignorant or the
With each new generation a restless impulse stirs the hearts of
men to capture the veiled citadel of the Arctic, the circle of
silence, the land of glaciers, cold wastes of waters and winds
that are strangely warm. Increasing interest is manifested in the
mountainous icebergs, and marvelous speculations are indulged in
concerning the earth's center of gravity, the cradle of the
tides, where the whales have their nurseries, where the magnetic
needle goes mad, where the Aurora Borealis illumines the night,
and where brave and courageous spirits of every generation dare
to venture and explore, defying the dangers of the "Farthest
One of the ablest works of recent years is "Paradise Found, or
the Cradle of The Human Race at the North Pole," by William F.
Warren. In his carefully prepared volume, Mr. Warren almost
stubbed his toe against the real truth, but missed it
seemingly by only a hair's breadth, if the old Norseman's
revelation be true.
Dr. Orville Livingston Leech, scientist, in a recent article,
"The possibilities of a land inside the earth were first
brought to my attention when I picked up a geode on the
shores of the Great Lakes. The geode is a spherical and
apparently solid stone, but when broken is found to be hollow and
coated with crystals. The earth is only a larger form of a geode,
and the law that created the geode in its hollow form undoubtedly
fashioned the earth in the same way."
In presenting the theme of this almost incredible story, as told
by Olaf Jansen, and supplemented by manuscript, maps and crude
drawings entrusted to me, a fitting introduction is found in the
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, and the
earth was without form and void." And also, "God created man in
his own image." Therefore, even in things material, man must be
God-like, because he is created in the likeness of the Father.
A man builds a house for himself and family. The porches or
verandas are all without, and are secondary. The building is
really constructed for the conveniences within.
Olaf Jansen makes the startling announcement through me, an
humble instrument, that in like manner, God created the earth for
the "within" -- that is to say, for its lands, seas, rivers,
mountains, forests and valleys, and for its other internal
conveniences, while the outside surface of the earth is merely
the veranda, the porch, where things grow by comparison but
sparsely, like the lichen on the mountain side, clinging
determinedly for bare existence.
Take an egg-shell, and from each end break out a piece as large
as the end of this pencil. Extract its contents, and then you
will have a perfect representation of Olaf Jansen's earth. The
distance from the inside surface to the outside surface,
according to him, is about three hundred miles. The center of
gravity is not in the center of the earth, but in the center of
the shell or crust; therefore, if the thickness of the earth's
crust or shell is three hundred miles, the center of gravity is
one hundred and fifty miles below the surface.
In their log-books Arctic explorers tell us of the dipping of the
needle as the vessel sails in regions of the farthest north
known. In reality, they are at the curve; on the edge of the
shell, where gravity is geometrically increased, and while the
electric current seemingly dashes off into space toward the
phantom idea of the North Pole, yet this same electric current
drops again and continues its course southward along the inside
surface of the earth's crust.
In the appendix to his work, Captain Sabine gives an account of
experiments to determine the acceleration of the pendulum in
different latitudes. This appears to have resulted from the joint
labor of Peary and Sabine. He says: "The accidental discovery
that a pendulum on being removed from Paris to the neighborhood
of the equator increased its time of vibration, gave the first
step to our present knowledge that the polar axis of the globe is
less than the equatorial; that the force of gravity at the
surface of the earth increases progressively from the equator
toward the poles."
According to Olaf Jansen, in the beginning this old world of ours
was created solely for the "within" world, where are located the
four great rivers -- the Euphrates, the Pison, the Gihon and the
Hiddekel. These same names of rivers, when applied to streams on
the "outside" surface of the earth, are purely traditional from
an antiquity beyond the memory of man.
On the top of a high mountain, near the fountain-head of these
four rivers, Olaf Jansen, the Norseman, claims to have discovered
the long-lost "Garden of Eden," the veritable navel of the earth,
and to have spent over two years studying and reconnoitering in
this marvelous "within" land, exuberant with stupendous plant
life and abounding in giant animals; a land where the people live
to be centuries old, after the order of Methuselah and other
Biblical characters; a region where one-quarter of the "inner"
surface is water and three-quarters land; where there are large
oceans and many rivers and lakes; where the cities are
superlative in construction and magnificence; where modes of
transportation are as far in advance of ours as we with our
boasted achievements are in advance of the inhabitants of
The distance directly across the space from inner surface to
inner surface is about six hundred miles less than the recognized
diameter of the earth. In the identical center of this vast
vacuum is the seat of electricity -- a mammoth ball of dull red
fire -- not startlingly brilliant, but surrounded by a white,
mild, luminous cloud, giving out uniform warmth, and held in its
place in the center of this internal space by the immutable law
of gravitation. This electrical cloud is known to the people
"within" as the abode of "The Smoky God." They believe it to be
the throne of "The Most High."
Olaf Jansen reminded me of how, in the old college days, we were
all familiar with the laboratory demonstrations of centrifugal
motion, which clearly proved that, if the earth were a solid, the
rapidity of its revolution upon its axis would tear it into a
The old Norseman also maintained that from the farthest points of
land on the islands of Spitzbergen and Franz Josef Land, flocks
of geese may be seen annually flying still farther northward,
just as the sailors and explorers record in their log-books. No
scientist has yet been audacious enough to attempt to explain,
even to his own satisfaction, toward what lands these winged
fowls are guided by their subtle instinct. However, Olaf Jansen
has given us a most reasonable explanation.
The presence of the open sea in the Northland is also explained.
Olaf Jansen claims that the northern aperture, intake or hole, so
to speak, is about fourteen hundred miles across. In connection
with this, let us read what Explorer Nansen writes, on page 288
of his book: "I have never had such a splendid sail. On to the
north, steadily north, with a good wind, as fast as steam and
sail can take us, an open sea mile after mile, watch after watch,
through these unknown regions, always clearer and clearer of ice,
one might almost say: 'How long will it last?' The eye always
turns to the northward as one paces the bridge. It is gazing into
the future. But there is always the same dark sky ahead which
means open sea." Again, the Norwood Review of England, in its
issue of May 10, 1884, says: "We do not admit that there is ice
up to the Pole -- once inside the great ice barrier, a new
world breaks upon the explorer, the climate is mild like that of
England, and, afterward, balmy as the Greek Isles."
Some of the rivers "within," Olaf Jansen claims, are larger than
our Mississippi and Amazon rivers combined, in point of volume of
water carried; indeed their greatness is occasioned by their
width and depth rather than their length, and it is at the mouths
of these mighty rivers, as they flow northward and southward
along the inside surface of the earth, that mammoth icebergs are
found, some of them fifteen and twenty miles wide and from forty
to one hundred miles in length.
Is it not strange that there has never been an iceberg
encountered either in the Arctic or Antarctic Ocean that is not
composed of fresh water? Modern scientists claim that freezing
eliminates the salt, but Olaf Jansen claims differently.
Ancient Hindoo, Japanese and Chinese writings, as well as the
hieroglyphics of the extinct races of the North American
continent, all speak of the custom of sun-worshiping, and it is
possible, in the startling light of Olaf Jansen's revelations,
that the people of the inner world, lured away by glimpses of the
sun as it shone upon the inner surface of the earth, either from
the northern or the southern opening, became dissatisfied with
"The Smoky God," the great pillar or mother cloud of electricity,
and, weary of their continuously mild and pleasant atmosphere,
followed the brighter light, and were finally led beyond the ice
belt and scattered over the "outer" surface of the earth,
through Asia, Europe, North America and, later, Africa, Australia
and South America. 
[1 The following quotation is significant; "It follows
that man issuing from a mother-region still undetermined but
which a number of considerations indicate to have been in the
North, has radiated in several directions; that his migrations
have been constantly from North to South." -- M. le
Marquis G. de Saporta, in Popular Science Monthly, October,
1883, page 753.]
It is a notable fact that, as we approach the Equator, the
stature of the human race grows less. But the Patagonians of
South America are probably the only aborigines from the center of
the earth who came out through the aperture usually designated as
the South Pole, and they are called the giant race.
Olaf Jansen avers that, in the beginning, the world was created
by the Great Architect of the Universe, so that man might dwell
upon its "inside" surface, which has ever since been the
habitation of the "chosen."
They who were driven out of the "Garden of Eden" brought their
traditional history with them.
The history of the people living "within" contains a narrative
suggesting the story of Noah and the ark with which we are
familiar. He sailed away, as did Columbus, from a certain port,
to a strange land he had heard of far to the northward,
carrying with him all manner of beasts of the fields and fowls of
the air, but was never heard of afterward.
On the northern boundaries of Alaska, and still more frequently
on the Siberian coast, are found boneyards containing tusks of
ivory in quantities so great as to suggest the burying-places of
antiquity. From Olaf Jansen's account, they have come from the
great prolific animal life that abounds in the fields and
forests and on the banks of numerous rivers of the Inner World.
The materials were caught in the ocean currents, or were carried
on ice-floes, and have accumulated like driftwood on the Siberian
coast. This has been going on for ages, and hence these
On this subject William F. Warren, in his book already cited,
pages 297 and 298, says: "The Arctic rocks tell of a lost
Atlantis more wonderful than Plato's. The fossil ivory beds of
Siberia excel everything of the kind in the world. From the
days of Pliny, at least, they have constantly been undergoing
exploitation, and still they are the chief headquarters of
supply. The remains of mammoths are so abundant that, as Gratacap
says, 'the northern islands of Siberia seem built up of crowded
bones.' Another scientific writer, speaking of the islands of New
Siberia, northward of the mouth of the River Lena, uses this
language: 'Large quantities of ivory are dug out of the ground
every year. Indeed, some of the islands are believed to be
nothing but an accumulation of drift-timber and the bodies of
mammoths and other antediluvian animals frozen together.' From
this we may infer that, during the years that have elapsed since
the Russian conquest of Siberia, useful tusks from more than
twenty thousand mammoths have been collected."
But now for the story of Olaf Jansen. I give it in detail, as set
down by himself in manuscript, and woven into the tale, just as
he placed them, are certain quotations from recent works on
Arctic exploration, showing how carefully the old Norseman
compared with his own experiences those of other voyagers to the
frozen North. Thus wrote the disciple of Odin and Thor:
OLAF JANSEN'S STORY
MY name is Olaf Jansen. I am a Norwegian, although I was born in
the little seafaring Russian town of Uleaborg, on the eastern
coast of the Gulf of Bothnia, the northern arm of the Baltic Sea.
My parents were on a fishing cruise in the Gulf of Bothnia, and
put into this Russian town of Uleaborg at the time of my birth,
being the twenty-seventh day of October, 1811.
My father, Jens Jansen, was born at Rodwig on the Scandinavian
coast, near the Lofoden Islands, but after marrying made his home
at Stockholm, because my mother's people resided in that city.
When seven years old, I began going with my father on his fishing
trips along the Scandinavian coast.
Early in life I displayed an aptitude for books, and at the age
of nine years was placed in a private school in Stockholm,
remaining there until I was fourteen. After this I made regular
trips with my father on all his fishing voyages.
My father was a man fully six feet three in height, and weighed
over fifteen stone, a typical Norseman of the most rugged sort,
and capable of more endurance than any other man I have ever
known. He possessed the gentleness of a woman in tender little
ways, yet his determination and will-power were beyond
description. His will admitted of no defeat.
I was in my nineteenth year when we started on what proved to be
our last trip as fishermen, and which resulted in the strange
story that shall be given to the world,-- but not until I have
finished my earthly pilgrimage.
I dare not allow the facts as I know them to be published while I
am living, for fear of further humiliation, confinement and
suffering. First of all, I was put in irons by the captain of the
whaling vessel that rescued me, for no other reason than that I
told the truth about the marvelous discoveries made by my father
and myself. But this was far from being the end of my tortures.
After four years and eight months' absence I reached Stockholm,
only to find my mother had died the previous year, and the
property left by my parents in the possession of my mother's
people, but it was at once made over to me.
All might have been well, had I erased from my memory the story
of our adventure and of my father's terrible death.
Finally, one day I told the story in detail to my uncle, Gustaf
Osterlind, a man of considerable property, and urged him to fit
out an expedition for me to make another voyage to the strange
At first I thought he favored my project. He seemed interested,
and invited me to go before certain officials and explain to
them, as I had to him, the story of our travels and discoveries.
Imagine my disappointment and horror when, upon the conclusion of
my narrative, certain papers were signed by my uncle, and,
without warning, I found myself arrested and hurried away to
dismal and fearful confinement in a madhouse, where I remained
for twenty-eight years -- long, tedious, frightful years of
I never ceased to assert my sanity, and to protest against the
injustice of my confinement. Finally, on the seventeenth of
October, 1862, I was released. My uncle was dead, and the friends
of my youth were now strangers. Indeed, a man over fifty years
old, whose only known record is that of a madman, has no friends.
I was at a loss to know what to do for a living, but
turned toward the harbor where fishing boats in great numbers
anchored, and within a week I had shipped with a fisherman by the
name of Yan Hansen, who was starting on a long fishing cruise to
the Lofoden Islands.
Here my earlier years of training proved of the very greatest
advantage, especially in enabling me to make myself useful. This
was but the beginning of other trips, and by frugal economy I
was, in a few years, able to own a fishing-brig of my own. For
twenty-seven years thereafter I followed the sea as a fisherman,
five years working for others, and the last twenty-two for
During all these years I was a most diligent student of books, as
well as a hard worker at my business, but I took great care not
to mention to anyone the story concerning the discoveries made by
my father and myself. Even at this late day I would be fearful of
having any one see or know the things I am writing, and the
and maps I have in my keeping. When my days on earth are
I shall leave maps and records that will enlighten and, I hope,
The memory of my long confinement with maniacs, and all the
horrible anguish and sufferings are too vivid to warrant my
taking further chances.
In 1889 I sold out my fishing boats, and found I had accumulated
a fortune quite sufficient to keep me the remainder of my life. I
then came to America.
For a dozen years my home was in Illinois, near Batavia, where I
gathered most of the books in my present library, though I
brought many choice volumes from Stockholm. Later, I came to Los
Angeles, arriving here March 4, 1901. The date I well remember,
as it was President McKinley's second inauguration day. I bought
this humble home and determined, here in the privacy of my own
abode, sheltered by my own vine and fig-tree, and with my books
about me, to make maps and drawings of the new lands we had
discovered, and also to write the story in detail from the time
my father and I left Stockholm until the tragic event that parted
us in the Antarctic Ocean.
I well remember that we left Stockholm in our fishing-sloop on
the third day of April, 1829, and sailed to the southward,
leaving Gothland Island to the left and Oeland Island to the
right. A few days later we succeeded in doubling Sandhommar
Point, and made our way through the sound which separates Denmark
from the Scandinavian coast. In due time we put in at the town of
Christiansand, where we rested two days, and then started around
the Scandinavian coast to the westward, bound for the Lofoden
My father was in high spirit, because of the excellent and
gratifying returns he had received from our last catch by
marketing at Stockholm, instead of selling at one of the
seafaring towns along the Scandinavian coast. He was especially
pleased with the sale of some ivory tusks that he had found on
the west coast of Franz Joseph Land during one of his northern
cruises the previous year, and he expressed the hope that this
time we might again be fortunate enough to load our little
fishing-sloop with ivory, instead of cod, herring, mackerel and
We put in at Hammerfest, latitude seventy-one degrees and forty
minutes, for a few days' rest. Here we remained one week, laying
in an extra supply of provisions and several casks of
drinking-water, and then sailed toward Spitzbergen.
For the first few days we had an open sea and a favoring wind,
and then we encountered much ice and many icebergs. A vessel
larger than our little fishing-sloop could not possibly have
threaded its way among the labyrinth of icebergs or squeezed
through the barely open channels. These monster bergs presented
an endless succession of crystal palaces, of massive cathedrals
and fantastic mountain ranges, grim and sentinel-like, immovable
as some towering cliff of solid rock, standing; silent as a
sphinx, resisting the restless waves of a fretful sea.
After many narrow escapes, we arrived at Spitzbergen on the 23d
of June, and anchored at Wijade Bay for a short time, where we
were quite successful in our catches. We then lifted anchor and
sailed through the Hinlopen Strait, and coasted along the
[2 It will be remembered that Andree started on his fatal
balloon voyage from the northwest coast of Spitzbergen.]
A strong wind came up from the southwest, and my father said that
we had better take advantage of it and try to reach Franz Josef
Land, where, the year before he had, by accident, found the ivory
tusks that had brought him such a good price at Stockholm.
Never, before or since, have I seen so many sea-fowl; they were
so numerous that they hid the rocks on the coast line and
darkened the sky.
For several days we sailed along the rocky coast of Franz Josef
Land. Finally, a favoring wind came up that enabled us to make
the West Coast, and, after sailing twenty-four hours, we came to
a beautiful inlet.
One could hardly believe it was the far Northland. The place was
green with growing vegetation, and while the area did not
comprise more than one or two acres, yet the air was warm and
tranquil. It seemed to be at that point where the Gulf Stream's
influence is most keenly felt.
[3 Sir John Barrow, Bart., F.R.S., in his work entitled
"Voyages of Discovery and Research Within the Arctic Regions,"
says on page 57: "Mr. Beechey refers to what has
frequently been found and noticed -- the mildness of the
temperature on the western coast of Spitzbergen, there being
little or no sensation of cold, though the thermometer might be
only a few degrees above the freezing-point. The brilliant and
lively effect of a clear day, when the sun shines forth with a
pure sky, whose azure hue is so intense as to find no parallel
even in the boasted Italian sky."]
On the east coast there were numerous icebergs, yet here we were
in open water. Far to the west of us, however, were icepacks, and
still farther to the westward the ice appeared like ranges of low
hills. In front of us, and directly to the north, lay an open
[4 Captain Kane, on page 299, quoting from Morton's
Journal on Monday, the 26th of December, says: "As far as
I could see, the open passages were fifteen miles or more wide,
with sometimes mashed ice separating them. But it is all small
ice, and I think it either drives out to the open space to the
north or rots and sinks, as I could see none ahead to the
My father was an ardent believer in Odin and Thor, and had
frequently told me they were gods who came from far beyond the
There was a tradition, my father explained, that still farther
northward was a land more beautiful than any that mortal man had
ever known, and that it was inhabited by the "Chosen."
[5 We find the following in "Deutsche Mythologie,"
page 778, from the pen of Jakob Grimm; "Then,the sons of
Bor built in the middle of the universe the city called Asgard,
where dwell the gods and their kindred, and from that abode
work out so many wondrous things both on the earth and in the
heavens above it. There is in that city a place called
Illidskjalf, and when Odin is seated there upon his lofty throne
he sees over the whole world and discerns all the actions of
My youthful imagination was fired by the ardor, zeal and
religious fervor of my good father, and I exclaimed: "Why not
sail to this goodly land? The sky is fair, the wind favorable
and the sea open."
Even now I can see the expression of pleasurable surprise on his
countenance as he turned toward me and asked: "My son, are you
willing to go with me and explore -- to go far beyond where man
has ever ventured?" I answered affirmatively. "Very well," he
replied. "May the god Odin protect us!" and, quickly adjusting
the sails, he glanced at our compass, turned the prow in due
northerly direction through an open channel, and our voyage had
[6 Hall writes, on page 288: "On the 23rd of
January the two Esquimaux, accompanied by two of the seamen, went
to Cape Lupton. They reported a sea of open water extending
as far as the eye could reach."]
The sun was low in the horizon, as it was still the early summer.
Indeed, we had almost four months of day ahead of us before the
frozen night could come on again.
Our little fishing-sloop sprang forward as if eager as ourselves
for adventure. Within thirty-six hours we were out of sight of
the highest point on the coast line of Franz Josef Land. "We
seemed to be in a strong current running north by northeast.
Far to the right and to the left of us were icebergs, but our
little sloop bore down on the narrows and passed through channels
and out into open seas -- channels so narrow in places that, had
our craft been other than small, we never could have gotten
On the third day we came to an island. Its shores were washed by
an open sea. My father determined to land and explore for a day.
This new land was destitute of timber, but we found a large
accumulation of drift-wood on the northern shore. Some of the
trunks of the trees were forty feet long and two feet in
[7 Greely tells us in vol. 1, page 100, that:
"Privates Connell and Frederick found a large coniferous tree on
the beach, just above the extreme high-water mark. It was nearly
thirty inches in circumference, some thirty feet long, and had
apparently been carried to that point by a current within a
couple of years. A portion of it was cut up for fire-wood, and
for the first time in that valley, a bright, cheery camp-fire
gave comfort to man."]
After one day's exploration of the coast line of this island, we
lifted anchor and turned our prow to the north in an open
[8 Dr. Kane says, on page 379 of his works: "I
cannot imagine what becomes of the ice. A strong current sets in
constantly to the north; but, from altitudes of more than five
hundred feet, I saw only narrow strips of ice, with great spaces
of open water, from ten to fifteen miles in breadth, between
them. It must, therefore, either go to an open space in the
north, or dissolve."]
I remember that neither my father nor myself had tasted food for
almost thirty hours. Perhaps this was because of the tension of
excitement about our strange voyage in waters farther north, my
father said, than anyone had ever before been. Active mentality
had dulled the demands of the physical needs.
Instead of the cold being intense as we had anticipated, it was
really warmer and more pleasant than it had been while in
Hammerfest on the north coast of Norway, some six weeks
[9 Captain Peary's second voyage relates another
circumstance which may serve to confirm a conjecture which
has long been maintained by some, that an open sea, free of ice,
exists at or near the Pole. "On the second of November," says
Peary, "the wind freshened up to a gale from north by west,
lowered the thermometer before midnight to 5 degrees,
whereas, a rise of wind at Melville Island was generally
accompanied by a simultaneous rise in the thermometer at low
temperatures. May not this," he asks, "be occasioned by the wind
blowing over an open sea in the quarter from which the wind
blows? And tend to confirm the opinion that at or near the
Pole an open sea exists?"]
We both frankly admitted that we were very hungry, and forthwith
I prepared a substantial meal from our well-stored larder. When
we had partaken heartily of the repast, I told my father I
believed I would sleep, as I was beginning to feel quite drowsy.
"Very well," he replied, "I will keep the watch."
I have no way to determine how long I slept; I only know that I
was rudely awakened by a terrible commotion of the sloop. To my
surprise, I found my father sleeping soundly. I cried out lustily
to him, and starting up, he sprang quickly to his feet. Indeed,
had he not instantly clutched the rail, he would certainly have
been thrown into the seething waves.
A fierce snow-storm was raging. The wind was directly astern,
driving our sloop at a terrific speed, and was threatening every
moment to capsize us. There was no time to lose, the sails had to
be lowered immediately. Our boat was writhing in convulsions. A
few icebergs we knew were on either side of us, but fortunately
the channel was open directly to the north. But would it remain
so? In front of us, girding the horizon from left to right, was a
vaporish fog or mist, black as Egyptian night at the water's
edge, and white like a steam-cloud toward the top, which was
finally lost to view as it blended with the great white flakes of
falling snow. Whether it covered a treacherous iceberg, or some
other hidden obstacle against which our little sloop would dash
and send us to a watery grave, or was merely the phenomenon of an
Arctic fog, there was no way to determine.
[10 On page 284 of his works, Hall writes: "From the
top of Providence Berg, a dark fog was seen to the north,
indicating water. At 10 a. m. three of the men (Kruger,
Nindemann and Hobby) went to Cape Lupton to ascertain if possible
the extent of the open water. On their return they reported
several open spaces and much young ice -- not more than a day
old, so thin that it was easily broken by throwing pieces of
ice upon it."]
By what miracle we escaped being dashed to utter destruction, I
do not know. I remember our little craft creaked and groaned, as
if its joints were breaking. It rocked and staggered to and fro
as if clutched by some fierce undertow of whirlpool or maelstrom.
Fortunately our compass had been fastened with long screws to a
crossbeam. Most of our provisions, however, were tumbled out and
swept away from the deck of the cuddy, and had we not taken the
precaution at the very beginning to tie ourselves firmly to the
masts of the sloop, we should have been swept into the lashing
Above the deafening tumult of the raging waves, I heard my
father's voice. "Be courageous, my son," he shouted, "Odin is the
god of the waters, the companion of the brave, and he is with us.
To me it seemed there was no possibility of our escaping a
horrible death. The little sloop was shipping water, the snow was
falling so fast as to be blinding, and the waves were tumbling
over our counters in reckless white-sprayed fury. There was
no telling what instant we should be dashed against some drifting
ice-pack. The tremendous swells would heave us up to the very
peaks of mountainous waves, then plunge us down into the depths
of the sea's trough as if our fishing-sloop were a fragile shell.
Gigantic white-capped waves, like veritable walls, fenced us
in, fore and aft.
This terrible nerve-racking ordeal, with its nameless horrors of
suspense and agony of fear indescribable, continued for more than
three hours, and all the time we were being driven forward at
fierce speed. Then suddenly, as if growing weary of its frantic
exertions, the wind began to lessen its fury and by degrees to
At last we were in a perfect calm. The fog mist had also
disappeared, and before us lay an iceless channel perhaps ten or
fifteen miles wide, with a few icebergs far away to our right,
and an intermittent archipelago of smaller ones to the left.
I watched my father closely, determined to remain silent until he
spoke. Presently he untied the rope from his waist and, without
saying a word, began working the pumps, which fortunately were
not damaged, relieving the sloop of the water it had shipped
in the madness of the storm.
He put up the sloop's sails as calmly as if casting a
fishing-net, and then remarked that we were ready for a favoring
wind when it came. His courage and persistence were truly
On investigation we found less than one-third of our provisions
remaining, while to our utter dismay, we discovered that our
water-casks had been swept overboard during the violent
plungings of our boat.
Two of our water-casks were in the main hold, but both were
empty. We had a fair supply of food, but no fresh water. I
realized at once the awfulness of our position. Presently I was
seized with a consuming thirst. "It is indeed bad," remarked my
father. "However, let us dry our bedraggled clothing, for we are
soaked to the skin. Trust to the god Odin, my son. Do not give up
The sun was beating down slantingly, as if we were in a southern
latitude, instead of in the far Northland. It was swinging
around, its orbit ever visible and rising higher and higher each
day, frequently mist-covered, yet always peering through the
lacework of clouds like some fretful eye of fate, guarding the
mysterious Northland and jealously watching the pranks of man.
Far to our right the rays decking the prisms of icebergs were
gorgeous. Their reflections emitted flashes of garnet, of
diamond, of sapphire. A pyrotechnic panorama of countless colors
and shapes, while below could be seen the green-tinted sea, and
above, the purple sky.
BEYOND THE NORTH WIND
I TRIED to forget my thirst by busying myself with bringing up
some food and an empty vessel from the hold. Reaching over the
side-rail, I filled the vessel with water for the purpose of
laving my hands and face. To my astonishment, when the water came
in contact with my lips, I could taste no salt. I was startled by
the discovery. "Father!" I fairly gasped, "the water, the water;
it is fresh!" "What, Olaf?" exclaimed my father, glancing hastily
around. "Surely you are mistaken. There is no land. You are going
mad." "But taste it!" I cried.
And thus we made the discovery that the water was indeed fresh,
absolutely so, without the least briny taste or even the
suspicion of a salty flavor.
We forthwith filled our two remaining water-casks, and my father
declared it was a heavenly dispensation of mercy from the gods
Odin and Thor.
We were almost beside ourselves with joy, but hunger bade us end
our enforced fast. Now that we had found fresh water in the open
sea, what might we not expect in this strange latitude where ship
had never before sailed and the splash of an oar had never been
[11 In vol. I, page 196, Nansen writes: "It is a
peculiar phenomenon,-- this dead water. We had at present a
better opportunity of studying it than we desired. It occurs
where a surface layer of fresh water rests upon the salt water of
the sea, and this fresh water is carried along with the ship
gliding on the heavier sea beneath it as if on a fixed
foundation. The difference between the two strata was in this
case so great that while we had drinking water on the surface,
the water we got from the bottom cock of the engine-room was far
too salt to be used for the boiler."]
We had scarcely appeased our hunger when a breeze began filling
the idle sails, and, glancing at the compass, we found the
northern point pressing hard against the glass.
In response to my surprise, my father said, "I have heard of this
before; it is what they call the dipping of the needle."
We loosened the compass and turned it at right angles with the
surface of the sea before its point would free itself from the
glass and point according to unmolested attraction. It shifted
uneasily, and seemed as unsteady as a drunken man, but finally
pointed a course.
Before this we thought the wind was carrying us north by
northwest, but, with the needle free, we discovered, if it could
be relied upon, that we were sailing slightly north by
northeast. Our course, however, was ever tending northward.
[12 In volume II, pages 18 and 19, Nansen
writes about the inclination of the needle. Speaking of Johnson,
his aide: "One day -- it was November 24 -- he came in to
supper a little after six o'clock, quite alarmed, and said:
'There has just been a singular inclination of the needle in
twenty-four degrees. And remarkably enough, its northern
extremity pointed to the east.'"
We again find in Peary's first voyage -- page 67,-- the
following: "It had been observed that from the moment they had
entered Lancaster Sound, the motion of the compass needle was
very sluggish, and both this and its deviation increased as
they progressed to the westward, and continued to do so in
descending this inlet. Having reached latitude 73
degrees, they witnessed for the first time the curious
phenomenon of the directive power of the needle becoming so weak
as to be completely overcome by the attraction of the ship, so
that the needle might now be said to point to the north pole of
The sea was serenely smooth, with hardly a choppy wave, and the
wind brisk and exhilarating. The sun's rays, while striking us
aslant, furnished tranquil warmth. And thus time wore on day
after day, and we found from the record in our logbook, we had
been sailing eleven days since the storm in the open sea.
By strictest economy, our food was holding out fairly well, but
beginning to run low. In the meantime, one of our casks of water
had been exhausted, and my father said: "We will fill it again."
But, to our dismay, we found the water was now as salt as in the
region of the Lofoden Islands off the coast of Norway. This
necessitated our being extremely careful of the remaining cask.
I found myself wanting to sleep much of the time; whether it was
the effect of the exciting experience of sailing in unknown
waters, or the relaxation from the awful excitement incident to
our adventure in a storm at sea, or due to want of food, I could
I frequently lay down on the bunker of our little sloop, and
looked far up into the blue dome of the sky; and, notwithstanding
the sun was shining far away in the east, I always saw a single
star overhead. For several days, when I looked for this star,
it was always there directly above us.
It was now, according to our reckoning, about the first of
August. The sun was high in the heavens, and was so bright that I
could no longer see the one lone star that attracted my attention
a few days earlier.
One day about this time, my father startled me by calling my
attention to a novel sight far in front of us, almost at the
horizon. "It is a mock sun," exclaimed my father. "I have read
of them; it is called a reflection or mirage. It will soon pass
But this dull-red, false sun, as we supposed it to be, did not
pass away for several hours; and while we were unconscious of its
emitting any rays of light, still there was no time thereafter
when we could not sweep the horizon in front and locate the
illumination of the so-called false sun, during a period of at
least twelve hours out of every twenty-four.
Clouds and mists would at times almost, but never entirely, hide
its location. Gradually it seemed to climb higher in the horizon
of the uncertain purply sky as we advanced.
It could hardly be said to resemble the sun, except in its
circular shape, and when not obscured by clouds or the ocean
mists, it had a hazy-red, bronzed appearance, which would
change to a white light like a luminous cloud, as if reflecting
some greater light beyond.
"We finally agreed in our discussion of this smoky
furnace-colored sun, that, whatever the cause of the phenomenon,
it was not a reflection of our sun, but a planet of some sort --
[13 Nansen, on page 394, says: "To-day another
noteworthy thing happened, which was that about mid-day we saw
the sun, or to be more correct, an image of the sun, for it
was only a mirage. A peculiar impression was produced by the
sight of that glowing fire lit just above the outermost edge of
the ice. According to the enthusiastic descriptions given by many
Arctic travelers of the first appearance of this god of life
after the long winter night, the impression ought to be one of
jubilant excitement; but it was not so in my case. We had not
expected to see it for some days yet, so that my feeling was
rather one of pain, of disappointment that we must have drifted
farther south than we thought. So it was with pleasure I soon
discovered that it could not be the sun itself. The mirage was at
first a flattened-out, glowing red, streak of fire on the
horizon; later there were two streaks, the one above the other,
with a dark space between; and from the maintop I could see four,
or even five, such horizontal lines directly over one another,
all of equal length, as if one could only imagine a square,
dull-red sun, with horizontal dark streaks across it."]
One day soon after this, I felt exceedingly drowsy, and fell into
a sound sleep. But it seemed that I was almost immediately
aroused by my father's vigorous shaking of me by the shoulder and
saying: "Olaf, awaken; there is land in sight!"
I sprang to my feet, and oh! joy unspeakable! There, far in the
distance, yet directly in our path, were lands jutting boldly
into the sea. The shore-line stretched far away to the right of
us, as far as the eye could see, and all along the sandy beach
were waves breaking into choppy foam, receding, then going
forward again, ever chanting in monotonous thunder tones the song
of the deep. The banks were covered with trees and vegetation.
I cannot express my feeling of exultation at this discovery. My
father stood motionless, with his hand on the tiller, looking
straight ahead, pouring out his heart in thankful prayer and
thanksgiving to the gods Odin and Thor.
In the meantime, a net which we found in the stowage had been
cast, and we caught a few fish that materially added to our
dwindling stock of provisions.
The compass, which we had fastened back in its place, in fear of
another storm, was still pointing due north, and moving on its
pivot, just as it had at Stockholm. The dipping of the needle had
ceased. What could this mean? Then, too, our many days of sailing
had certainly carried us far past the North Pole. And yet the
needle continued to point north. We were sorely perplexed, for
surely our direction was now south.
[14 Peary's first voyage, pages 69 and 70,
says: "On reaching Sir Byam Martin's Island, the nearest to
Melville Island, the latitude of the place of observation was
75 degrees - 09' - 23", and the longitude 103
degrees - 44' - 37"; the dip of the magnetic needle 88
degrees - 25' - 56" west in the longitude of 91
degrees - 48', where the last observations on the shore
had been made, to 165 degrees - 50' - 09", east, at
their present station, so thatwe had," says Peary, "in sailing
over the space included between these two meridians, crossed
immediately northward of the magnetic pole, and had undoubtedly
passed over one of those spots upon the globe where the needle
would have been found to vary 180 degrees, or in other
words, where the North Pole would have pointed to the south."]
We sailed for three days along the shoreline, then came to the
mouth of a fjord or river of immense size. It seemed more like a
great bay, and into this we turned our fishing-craft, the
direction being slightly northeast of south. By the assistance of
a fretful wind that came to our aid about twelve hours out of
every twenty-four, we continued to make our way inland, into what
afterward proved to be a mighty river, and which we learned was
called by the inhabitants Hiddekel.
We continued our journey for ten days thereafter, and found we
had fortunately attained a distance inland where ocean tides no
longer affected the water, which had become fresh.
The discovery came none too soon, for our remaining cask of water
was well-nigh exhausted. We lost no time in replenishing our
casks, and continued to sail farther up the river when the wind
Along the banks great forests miles in extent could be seen
stretching away on the shore-line. The trees were of enormous
size. We landed after anchoring near a sandy beach, and waded
ashore, and were rewarded by finding a quantity of nuts that
were very palatable and satisfying to hunger, and a welcome
change from the monotony of our stock of provisions.
It was about the first of September, over five months, we
calculated, since our leave-taking from Stockholm. Suddenly we
were frightened almost out of our wits by hearing in the far
distance the singing of people. Very soon thereafter we
discovered a huge ship gliding down the river directly toward us.
Those aboard were singing in one mighty chorus that, echoing from
bank to bank, sounded like a thousand voices, filling the whole
universe with quivering melody. The accompaniment was played on
stringed instruments not unlike our harps.
It was a larger ship than any we had ever seen, and was differently
[15 Asiatic Mythology,-- page 240, "Paradise
found" -- from translation by Sayce, in a book called "Records
of the Past," we were told of a "dwelling" which "the gods
created for" the first human beings,-- a dwelling in which they
"became great" and "increased in numbers," and the location of
which is described in words exactly corresponding to those of
Iranian, Indian, Chinese, Eddaic and Aztecan literature; namely,
"in the center of the earth." -- Warren.]
At this particular time our sloop was becalmed, and not far from
the shore. The bank of the river, covered with mammoth trees,
rose up several hundred feet in beautiful fashion. We seemed to
be on the edge of some primeval forest that doubtless stretched
The immense craft paused, and almost immediately a boat was
lowered and six men of gigantic stature rowed to our little
fishing-sloop. They spoke to us in a strange language. We knew
from their manner, however, that they were not unfriendly. They
talked a great deal among themselves, and one of them laughed
immoderately, as though in finding us a queer discovery had been
made. One of them spied our compass, and it seemed to interest
them more than any other part of our sloop.
Finally, the leader motioned as if to ask whether we were willing
to leave our craft to go on board their ship. "What say you, my
son?" asked my father. "They cannot do any more than kill us."
"They seem to be kindly disposed," I replied, "although what
terrible giants! They must be the select six of the kingdom's
crack regiment. Just look at their great size."
"We may as well go willingly as be taken by force," said my
father, smiling, "for they are certainly able to capture us."
Thereupon he made known, by signs, that we were ready to
Within a few minutes we were on board the ship, and half an hour
later our little fishing-craft had been lifted bodily out of the
water by a strange sort of hook and tackle, and set on board as a
There were several hundred people on board this, to us, mammoth
ship, which we discovered was called "The Naz," meaning, as we
afterward learned, "Pleasure," or to give a more proper
interpretation, "Pleasure Excursion" ship.
If my father and I were curiously observed by the ship's
occupants, this strange race of giants offered us an equal amount
There was not a single man aboard who would not have measured
fully twelve feet in height. They all wore full beards, not
particularly long, but seemingly short-cropped. They had mild and
beautiful faces, exceedingly fair, with ruddy complexions. The
hair and beard of some were black, others sandy, and still others
yellow. The captain, as we designated the dignitary in command of
the great vessel, was fully a head taller than any of his
companions. The women averaged from ten to eleven feet in height.
Their features were especially regular and refined, while their
complexion was of a most delicate tint heightened by a healthful
[16 "According to all procurable data, that spot at the era
of man's appearance upon the stage was in the now lost 'Miocene
continent,' which then surrounded the Arctic Pole. That in that
true, original Eden some of the early generations of men attained
to a stature and longevity unequaled in any countries known to
postdiluvian history is by no means scientifically incredible."
-- Wm. F. Warren, "Paradise Found," p. 284.]
Both men and women seemed to possess that particular ease of
manner which we deem a sign of good breeding, and,
notwithstanding their huge statures, there was nothing about them
suggesting awkwardness. As I was a lad in only my nineteenth
year, I was doubtless looked upon as a true Tom Thumb. My
father's six feet three did not lift the top of his head above
the waist line of these people.
Each one seemed to vie with the others in extending courtesies
and showing kindness to us, but all laughed heartily, I remember,
when they had to improvise chairs for my father and myself to sit
at table. They were richly attired in a costume peculiar to
themselves, and very attractive. The men were clothed in
handsomely embroidered tunics of silk and satin and belted at the
waist. They wore knee-breeches and stockings of a fine texture,
while their feet were encased in sandals adorned with gold
buckles. We early discovered that gold was one of the most common
metals known, and that it was used extensively in decoration.
Strange as it may seem, neither my father nor myself felt the
least bit of solicitude for our safety. "We have come into our
own," my father said to me. "This is the fulfillment of the
tradition told me by my father and my father's father, and still
back for many generations of our race. This is, assuredly, the
land beyond the North Wind."
We seemed to make such an impression on the party that we were
given specially into the charge of one of the men, Jules Galdea,
and his wife, for the purpose of being educated in their
language; and we, on our part, were just as eager to learn as
they were to instruct.
At the captain's command, the vessel was swung cleverly about,
and began retracing its course up the river. The machinery, while
noiseless, was very powerful.
The banks and trees on either side seemed to rush by. The ship's
speed, at times, surpassed that of any railroad train on which I
have ever ridden, even here in America. It was wonderful.
In the meantime we had lost sight of the sun's rays, but we found
a radiance "within" emanating from the dull-red sun which had
already attracted our attention, now giving out a white light
seemingly from a cloud-bank far away in front of us. It dispensed
a greater light, I should say, than two full moons on the
In twelve hours this cloud of whiteness would pass out of sight
as if eclipsed, and the twelve hours following corresponded with
our night. We early learned that these strange people were
worshipers of this great cloud of night. It was "The Smoky
God" of the "Inner World."
The ship was equipped with a mode of illumination which I now
presume was electricity, but neither my father nor myself were
sufficiently skilled in mechanics to understand whence came the
power to operate the ship, or to maintain the soft beautiful
lights that answered the same purpose of our present methods of
lighting the streets of our cities, our houses and places of
It must be remembered, the time of which I write was the autumn
of 1829, and we of the "outside" surface of the earth knew
nothing then, so to speak, of electricity.
The electrically surcharged condition of the air was a constant
vitalizer. I never felt better in my life than during the two
years my father and I sojourned on the inside of the earth.
To resume my narrative of events; The ship on which we were
sailing came to a stop two days after we had been taken on board.
My father said as nearly as he could judge, we were directly
under Stockholm or London. The city we had reached was called
"Jehu," signifying a seaport town. The houses were large and
beautifully constructed, and quite uniform in appearance, yet
without sameness. The principal occupation of the people appeared
to be agriculture; the hillsides were covered with vineyards,
while the valleys were devoted to the growing of grain.
I never saw such a display of gold. It was everywhere. The
door-casings were inlaid and the tables were veneered with
sheetings of gold. Domes of the public buildings were of gold. It
was used most generously in the finishings of the great temples
Vegetation grew in lavish exuberance, and fruit of all kinds
possessed the most delicate flavor. Clusters of grapes four and
five feet in length, each grape as large as an orange, and
apples larger than a man's head typified the wonderful growth of
all things on the "inside" of the earth.
The great redwood trees of California would be considered mere
underbrush compared with the giant forest trees extending for
miles and miles in all directions. In many directions along the
foothills of the mountains vast herds of cattle were seen during
the last day of our travel on the river.
"We heard much of a city called "Eden," but were kept at "Jehu"
for an entire year. By the end of that time we had learned to
speak fairly well the language of this strange race of people.
Our instructors, Jules Galdea and his wife, exhibited a patience
that was truly commendable.
One day an envoy from the Ruler at "Eden" came to see us, and for
two whole days my father and myself were put through a series of
surprising questions. They wished to know from whence we came,
what sort of people dwelt "without," what God we worshiped, our
religious beliefs, the mode of living in our strange land, and a
thousand other things.
The compass which we had brought with us attracted especial
attention. My father and I commented between ourselves on the
fact that the compass still pointed north, although we now knew
that we had sailed over the curve or edge of the earth's
aperture, and were far along southward on the "inside" surface of
the earth's crust, which, according to my father's estimate and
my own, is about three hundred miles in thickness from the
"inside" to the "outside" surface. Relatively speaking, it is no
thicker than an egg-shell, so that there is almost as much
surface on the "inside" as on the "outside" of the earth.
The great luminous cloud or ball of dull-red fire -- fiery-red in
the mornings and evenings, and during the day giving off a
beautiful white light, "The Smoky God," -- is seemingly suspended
in the center of the great vacuum "within" the earth, and held
to its place by the immutable law of gravitation, or a repellant
atmospheric force, as the case may be. I refer to the known power
that draws or repels with equal force in all directions.
The base of this electrical cloud or central luminary, the seat
of the gods, is dark and non-transparent, save for innumerable
small openings, seemingly in the bottom of the great support or
altar of the Deity, upon which "The Smoky God" rests; and, the
lights shining through these many openings twinkle at night in
all their splendor, and seem to be stars, as natural as the stars
we saw shining when in our home at Stockholm, excepting that they
appear larger. "The Smoky God," therefore, with each daily
revolution of the earth, appears to come up in the east and go
down in the west, the same as does our sun on the external
surface. In reality, the people "within" believe that "The Smoky
God" is the throne of their Jehovah, and is stationary. The
effect of night and day is, therefore, produced by the earth's
I have since discovered that the language of the people of the
Inner World is much like the Sanskrit.
After we had given an account of ourselves to the emissaries from
the central seat of government of the inner continent, and my
father had, in his crude way, drawn maps, at their request, of
the "outside" surface of the earth, showing the divisions of
land and water, and giving the name of each of the continents,
large islands and the oceans, we were taken overland to the city
of "Eden," in a conveyance different from anything we have in
Europe or America. This vehicle was doubtless some electrical
contrivance. It was noiseless, and ran on a single iron rail in
perfect balance. The trip was made at a very high rate of speed.
We were carried up hills and down dales, across valleys and again
along the sides of steep mountains, without any apparent attempt
having been made to level the earth as we do for railroad tracks.
The car seats were huge yet comfortable affairs, and very high
above the floor of the car. On the top of each car were high
geared fly wheels lying on their sides, which were so
automatically adjusted that, as the speed of the car increased,
the high speed of these fly wheels geometrically increased.
Jules Galdea explained to us that these revolving fan-like wheels
on top of the cars destroyed atmospheric pressure, or what is
generally understood by the term gravitation, and with this force
thus destroyed or rendered nugatory the car is as safe from
falling to one side or the other from the single rail track as if
it were in a vacuum; the fly wheels in their rapid revolutions
destroying effectually the so-called power of gravitation, or the
force of atmospheric pressure or whatever potent influence it may
be that causes all unsupported things to fall downward to the
earth's surface or to the nearest point of resistance.
The surprise of my father and myself was indescribable when, amid
the regal magnificence of a spacious hall, we were finally
brought before the Great High Priest, ruler over all the land. He
was richly robed, and much taller than those about him, and could
not have been less than fourteen or fifteen feet in height. The
immense room in which we were received seemed finished in solid
slabs of gold thickly studded with jewels, of amazing brilliancy.
The city of "Eden" is located in what seems to be a beautiful
valley, yet, in fact, it is on the loftiest mountain plateau of
the Inner Continent, several thousand feet higher than any
portion of the surrounding country. It is the most beautiful
place I have ever beheld in all my travels. In this elevated
garden all manner of fruits, vines, shrubs, trees, and flowers
grow in riotous profusion.
In this garden four rivers have their source in a mighty artesian
fountain. They divide and flow in four directions. This place is
called by the inhabitants the "navel of the earth," or the
beginning, "the cradle of the human race." The names of the
rivers are the Euphrates, the Pison, the Gihon, and the
[17 "And the Lord God planted a garden, and out of the
ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to
the sight and good for food." -- The Book of Genesis.]
The unexpected awaited us in this palace of beauty, in the
finding of our little fishing-craft. It had been brought before
the High Priest in perfect shape, just as it had been taken from
the waters that day when it was loaded on board the ship by the
people who discovered us on the river more than a year before.
"We were given an audience of over two hours with this great
dignitary, who seemed kindly disposed and considerate. He showed
himself eagerly interested, asking us numerous questions, and
invariably regarding things about which his emissaries had failed
At the conclusion of the interview he inquired our pleasure,
asking us whether we wished to remain in his country or if we
preferred to return to the "outer" world, providing it were
possible to make a successful return trip, across the frozen belt
barriers that encircle both the northern and southern openings of
My father replied: "It would please me and my son to visit your
country and see your people, your colleges and palaces of music
and art, your great fields, your wonderful forests of timber; and
after we have had this pleasurable privilege, we should like to
try to return to our home on the 'outside' surface of the earth.
This son is my only child, and my good wife will be weary
awaiting our return."
"I fear you can never return," replied the Chief High Priest,
"because the way is a most hazardous one. However, you shall
visit the different countries with Jules Galdea as your escort,
and be accorded every courtesy and kindness. Whenever you are
ready to attempt a return voyage, I assure you that your boat
which is here on exhibition shall be put in the waters of the
river Hiddekel at its mouth, and we will bid you Jehovah-speed."
Thus terminated our only interview with the High Priest or Ruler
of the continent.
IN THE UNDER WORLD
WE learned that the males do not marry before they are from
seventy-five to one hundred years old, and that the age at which
women enter wedlock is only a little less, and that both men and
women frequently live to be from six to eight hundred years old,
and in some instances much older.
[18 Josephus says: "God prolonged the life of the
patriarchs that preceded the deluge, both on account of their
virtues and to give them the opportunity of perfecting the
sciences of geometry and astronomy, which they had discovered;
which they could not have done if they had not lived 600
years, because it is only after the lapse of 600 years
that the great year is accomplished." -- Flammarion, Astronomical
Myths, Paris p. 26.]
During the following year we visited many villages and towns,
prominent among them being the cities of Nigi, Delfi, Hectea, and
my father was called upon no less than a half-dozen times to go
over the maps which had been made from the rough sketches he had
originally given of the divisions of land and water on the
"outside" surface of the earth.
I remember hearing my father remark that the giant race of people
in the land of "The Smoky God" had almost as accurate an idea of
the geography of the "outside" surface of the earth as had the
average college professor in Stockholm.
In our travels we came to a forest of gigantic trees, near the
city of Delfi. Had the Bible said there were trees towering over
three hundred feet in height, and more than thirty feet in
diameter, growing in the Garden of Eden, the Ingersolls, the Tom
Paines and Voltaires would doubtless have pronounced the
statement a myth. Yet this is the description of the California
sequoia gigantea; but these California giants pale into
insignificance when compared with the forest Goliaths found in
the "within" continent, where abound mighty trees from eight
hundred to one thousand feet in height, and from one hundred
to one hundred and twenty feet in diameter; countless in numbers
and forming forests extending hundreds of miles back from the
The people are exceedingly musical, and learned to a remarkable
degree in their arts and sciences, especially geometry and
astronomy. Their cities are equipped with vast palaces of music,
where not infrequently as many as twenty-five thousand lusty
voices of this giant race swell forth in mighty choruses of the
most sublime symphonies.
The children are not supposed to attend institutions of learning
before they are twenty years old. Then their school life begins
and continues for thirty years, ten of which are uniformly
devoted by both sexes to the study of music.
Their principal vocations are architecture, agriculture,
horticulture, the raising of vast herds of cattle, and the
building of conveyances peculiar to that country, for travel on
land and water. By some device which I cannot explain, they hold
communion with one another between the most distant parts of
their country, on air currents.
All buildings are erected with special regard to strength,
durability, beauty and symmetry, and with a style of architecture
vastly more attractive to the eye than any I have ever observed
About three-fourths of the "inner" surface of the earth is land
and about one-fourth water. There are numerous rivers of
tremendous size, some flowing in a northerly direction and others
southerly. Some of these rivers are thirty miles in width, and
it is out of these vast waterways, at the extreme northern and
southern parts of the "inside" surface of the earth, in regions
where low temperatures are experienced, that fresh-water icebergs
are formed. They are then pushed out to sea like huge tongues of
ice, by the abnormal freshets of turbulent waters that, twice
every year, sweep everything before them.
We saw innumerable specimens of bird-life no larger than those
encountered in the forests of Europe or America. It is well known
that during the last few years whole species of birds have quit
the earth. A writer in a recent article on this subject
[19 "Almost every year sees the final extinction of one or
more bird species. Out of fourteen varieties of birds found a
century since on a single island -- the West Indian island of St.
Thomas -- eight have now to be numbered among the missing."]
Is it not possible that these disappearing bird species quit
their habitation without, and find an asylum in the "within
Whether inland among the mountains, or along the seashore, we
found bird life prolific. When they spread their great wings some
of the birds appeared to measure thirty feet from tip to tip.
They are of great variety and many colors. We were permitted to
climb up on the edge of a rock and examine a nest of eggs. There
were five in the nest, each of which was at least two feet in
length and fifteen inches in diameter.
After we had been in the city of Hectea about a week, Professor
Galdea took us to an inlet, where we saw thousands of tortoises
along the sandy shore. I hesitate to state the size of these
great creatures. They were from twenty-five to thirty feet in
length, from fifteen to twenty feet in width and fully seven feet
in height. When one of them projected its head it had the
appearance of some hideous sea monster.
The strange conditions "within" are favorable not only for vast
meadows of luxuriant grasses, forests of giant trees, and all
manner of vegetable life, but wonderful animal life as well.
One day we saw a great herd of elephants. There must have been
five hundred of these thunder-throated monsters, with their
restlessly waving trunks. They were tearing huge boughs from the
trees and trampling smaller growth into dust like so much
hazel-brush. They would average over 100 feet in length and from
75 to 85 in height.
It seemed, as I gazed upon this wonderful herd of giant
elephants, that I was again living in the public library at
Stockholm, where I had spent much time studying the wonders of
the Miocene age. I was filled with mute astonishment, and my
father was speechless with awe. He held my arm with a protecting
grip, as if fearful harm would overtake us. We were two atoms in
this great forest, and, fortunately, unobserved by this vast herd
of elephants as they drifted on and away, following a leader as
does a herd of sheep. They browsed from growing herbage which
they encountered as they traveled, and now and again shook the
firmament with their deep bellowing.
[20 "Moreover, there were a great number of elephants in
the island: and there was provision for animals of every kind.
Also whatever fragrant things there are in the earth, whether
roots or herbage, or woods, or distilling drops of flowers or
fruits, grew and thrived in that land." -- The Cratylus of
There is a hazy mist that goes up from the land each evening, and
it invariably rains once every twenty-four hours. This great
moisture and the invigorating electrical light and warmth account
perhaps for the luxuriant vegetation, while the highly charged
electrical air and the evenness of climatic conditions may have
much to do with the giant growth and longevity of all animal
In places the level valleys stretched away for many miles in
every direction. "The Smoky God," in its clear white light,
looked calmly down. There was an intoxication in the electrically
surcharged air that fanned the cheek as softly as a vanishing
whisper. Nature chanted a lullaby in the faint murmur of winds
whose breath was sweet with the fragrance of bud and blossom.
After having spent considerably more than a year in visiting
several of the many cities of the "within" world and a great deal
of intervening country, and more than two years had passed from
the time we had been picked up by the great excursion ship on the
river, we decided to cast our fortunes once more upon the sea,
and endeavor to regain the "outside" surface of the earth.
We made known our wishes, and they were reluctantly but promptly
followed. Our hosts gave my father, at his request, various maps
showing the entire "inside" surface of the earth, its cities,
oceans, seas, rivers, gulfs and bays. They also generously
offered to give us all the bags of gold nuggets -- some of them
as large as a goose's egg -- that we were willing to attempt to
take with us in our little fishing-boat.
In due time we returned to Jehu, at which place we spent one
month in fixing up and overhauling our little fishing sloop.
After all was in readiness, the same ship "Naz" that originally
discovered us, took us on board and sailed to the mouth of the
After our giant brothers had launched our little craft for us,
they were most cordially regretful at parting, and evinced much
solicitude for our safety. My father swore by the Gods Odin and
Thor that he would surely return again within a year or two and
pay them another visit. And thus we bade them adieu. We made
ready and hoisted our sail, but there was little breeze. We were
becalmed within an hour after our giant friends had left us and
started on their return trip.
The winds were constantly blowing south, that is, they were
blowing from the northern opening of the earth toward that which
we knew to be south, but which, according to our compass's
pointing finger, was directly north.
For three days we tried to sail, and to beat against the wind,
but to no avail. Whereupon my father said: "My son, to return by
the same route as we came in is impossible at this time of year.
I wonder why we did not think of this before. We have been here
almost two and a half years; therefore, this is the season when
the sun is beginning to shine in at the southern opening of the
earth. The long cold night is on in the Spitzbergen country."
"What shall we do?" I inquired.
"There is only one thing we can do," my father replied, "and that
is to go south." Accordingly, he turned the craft about, gave it
full reef, and started by the compass north but, in fact,
directly south. The wind was strong, and we seemed to have struck
a current that was running with remarkable swiftness in the same
In just forty days we arrived at Delfi, a city we had visited in
company with our guides Jules Galdea and his wife, near the mouth
of the Gihon river. Here we stopped for two days, and were most
hospitably entertained by the same people who had welcomed us on
our former visit. We laid in some additional provisions and again
set sail, following the needle due north.
On our outward trip we came through a narrow channel which
appeared to be a separating body of water between two
considerable bodies of land. There was a beautiful beach to our
right, and we decided to reconnoiter. Casting anchor, we waded
ashore to rest up for a day before continuing the outward
hazardous undertaking. We built a fire and threw on some sticks
of dry driftwood. While my father was walking along the shore, I
prepared a tempting repast from supplies we had provided.
There was a mild, luminous light which my father said resulted
from the sun shining in from the south aperture of the earth.
That night we slept soundly, and awakened the next morning as
refreshed as if we had been in our own beds at Stockholm.
After breakfast we started out on an inland tour of discovery,
but had not gone far when we sighted some birds which we
recognized at once as belonging to the penguin family.
They are flightless birds, but excellent swimmers and tremendous
in size, with white breast, short wings, black head, and long
peaked bills. They stand fully nine feet high. They looked at us
with little surprise, and presently waddled, rather than walked,
toward the water, and swam away in a northerly direction.
[21 "The nights are never so dark at the Poles as in other
regions, for the moon and stars seem to possess twice as much
light and effulgence. In addition, there is a continuous light,
the varied shades and play of which are amongst the strangest
phenomena of nature." -- Rambrosson's Astronomy.]
The events that occurred during the following hundred or more
days beggar description. We were on an open and iceless sea. The
month we reckoned to be November or December, and we knew the
so-called South Pole was turned toward the sun. Therefore, when
passing out and away from the internal electrical light of "The
Smoky God" and its genial warmth, we would be met by the light
and warmth of the sun, shining in through the south opening of
the earth. We were not mistaken.
[22 "The fact that gives the phenomenon of the polar aurora
its greatest importance is that the earth becomes self-luminous;
that, besides the light which as a planet is received from the
central body, it shows a capability of sustaining a luminous
process proper to itself." -- Humboldt.]
There were times when our little craft, driven by wind that was
continuous and persistent, shot through the waters like an arrow.
Indeed, had we encountered a hidden rock or obstacle, our little
vessel would have been crushed into kindling-wood.
At last we were conscious that the atmosphere was growing
decidedly colder, and, a few days later, icebergs were sighted
far to the left. My father argued, and correctly, that the winds
which filled our sails came from the warm climate "within." The
time of the year was certainly most auspicious for us to make our
dash for the "outside" world and attempt to scud our fishing
sloop through open channels of the frozen zone which surrounds
the polar regions.
We were soon amid the ice-packs, and how our little craft got
through. the narrow channels and escaped being crushed I know
not. The compass behaved in the same drunken and unreliable
fashion in passing over the southern curve or edge of the
earth's shell as it had done on our inbound trip at the northern
entrance. It gyrated, dipped and seemed like a thing
[23 Captain Sabine, on page 105 in "Voyages in the
Arctic Regions," says: "The geographical determination of the
direction and intensity of the magnetic forces at different
points of the earth's surface has been regarded as an object
worthy of especial research. To examine in different parts of the
globe, the declination, inclination and intensity of the magnetic
force, and their periodical and secular variations, and mutual
relations and dependencies could be duly investigated only in
fixed magnetical observatories."]
One day as I was lazily looking over the sloop's side into the
clear waters, my father shouted: "Breakers ahead!" Looking up, I
saw through a lifting mist a white object that towered several
hundred feet high, completely shutting off our advance. We
lowered sail immediately, and none too soon. In a moment we found
ourselves wedged between two monstrous icebergs. Each was
crowding and grinding against its fellow mountain of ice. They
were like two gods of war contending for supremacy. We were
greatly alarmed. Indeed, we were between the lines of a battle
royal; the sonorous thunder of the grinding ice was like the
continued volleys of artillery. Blocks of ice larger than a house
were frequently lifted up a hundred feet by the mighty force of
lateral pressure; they would shudder and rock to and fro for a
few seconds, then come crashing down with a deafening roar, and
disappear in the foaming waters. Thus, for more than two hours,
the contest of the icy giants continued.
It seemed as if the end had come. The ice pressure was terrific,
and while we were not caught in the dangerous part of the jam,
and were safe for the time being, yet the heaving and rending of
tons of ice as it fell splashing here and there into the watery
depths filled us with shaking fear.
Finally, to our great joy, the grinding of the ice ceased, and
within a few hours the great mass slowly divided, and, as if an
act of Providence had been performed, right before us lay an open
channel. Should we venture with our little craft into this
opening? If the pressure came on again, our little sloop as well
as ourselves would be crushed into nothingness. We decided to
take the chance, and, accordingly, hoisted our sail to a favoring
breeze, and soon started out like a race-horse, running the
gauntlet of this unknown narrow channel of open water.
AMONG THE ICE PACKS
FOR the next forty-five days our time was employed in dodging
icebergs and hunting channels; indeed, had we not been favored
with a strong south wind and a small boat, I doubt if this story
could have ever been given to the world.
At last, there came a morning when my father said: "My son, I
think we are to see home. We are almost through the ice. See! the
open water lies before us."
However, there were a few icebergs that had floated far northward
into the open water still ahead of us on either side, stretching
away for many miles. Directly in front of us, and by the compass,
which had now righted itself, due north, there was an open sea.
"What a wonderful story we have to tell to the people of
Stockholm," continued my father, while a look of pardonable
elation lighted up his honest face. "And think of the gold
nuggets stowed away in the hold!"
I spoke kind words of praise to my father, not alone for his
fortitude and endurance, but also for his courageous daring as a
discoverer, and for having made the voyage that now promised a
successful end. I was grateful, too, that he had gathered the
wealth of gold we were carrying home.
While congratulating ourselves on the goodly supply of provisions
and water we still had on hand, and on the dangers we had
escaped, we were startled by hearing a most terrific explosion,
caused by the tearing apart of a huge mountain of ice. It was
a deafening roar like the firing of a thousand cannon. We were
sailing at the time with great speed, and happened to be near a
monstrous iceberg which to all appearances was as immovable as a
rockbound island. It seemed, however, that the iceberg had split
and was breaking apart, whereupon the balance of the monster
along which we were sailing was destroyed, and it began dipping
from us. My father quickly anticipated the danger before I
realized its awful possibilities. The iceberg extended down into
the water many hundreds of feet, and, as it tipped over, the
portion coming up out of the water caught our fishing-craft like
a lever on a fulcrum, and threw it into the air as if it had
been a foot-ball.
Our boat fell back on the iceberg, that by this time had changed
the side next to us for the top. My father was still in the boat,
having become entangled in the rigging, while I was thrown some
twenty feet away.
I quickly scrambled to my feet and shouted to my father, who
answered: "All is well." Just then a realization dawned upon me.
Horror upon horror! The blood froze in my veins. The iceberg was
still in motion, and its great weight and force in toppling
over would cause it to submerge temporarily. I fully realized
what a sucking maelstrom it would produce amid the worlds of
water on every side. They would rush into the depression in all
their fury, like white-fanged wolves eager for human prey.
In this supreme moment of mental anguish, I remember glancing at
our boat, which was lying on its side, and wondering if it could
possibly right itself, and if my father could escape. Was this
the end of our struggles and adventures? Was this death? All
these questions flashed through my mind in the fraction of a
second, and a moment later I was engaged in a life and death
struggle. The ponderous monolith of ice sank below the surface,
and the frigid waters gurgled around me in frenzied anger. I was
in a saucer, with the waters pouring in on every side. A moment
more and I lost consciousness.
When I partially recovered my senses, and roused from the swoon
of a half-drowned man, I found myself wet, stiff, and almost
frozen, lying on the iceberg. But there was no sign of my father
or of our little fishing sloop. The monster berg had recovered
itself, and, with its new balance, lifted its head perhaps fifty
feet above the waves. The top of this island of ice was a plateau
perhaps half an acre in extent.
I loved my father well, and was grief-stricken at the awfulness
of his death. I railed at fate, that I, too, had not been
permitted to sleep with him in the depths of the ocean. Finally,
I climbed to my feet and looked about me. The purple-domed sky
above, the shoreless green ocean beneath, and only an occasional
iceberg discernible! My heart sank in hopeless despair. I
cautiously picked my way across the berg toward the other side,
hoping that our fishing craft had righted itself.
Dared I think it possible that my father still lived? It was but
a ray of hope that flamed up in my heart. But the anticipation
warmed my blood in my veins and started it rushing like some rare
stimulant through every fiber of my body.
I crept close to the precipitous side of the iceberg, and peered
far down, hoping, still hoping. Then I made a circle of the berg,
scanning every foot of the way, and thus I kept going around and
around. One part of my brain was certainly becoming maniacal,
while the other part, I believe, and do to this day, was
I was conscious of having made the circuit a dozen times, and
while one part of my intelligence knew, in all reason, there was
not a vestige of hope, yet some strange fascinating aberration
bewitched and compelled me still to beguile myself with
expectation. The other part of my brain seemed to tell me that
while there was no possibility of my father being alive, yet, if
I quit making the circuitous pilgrimage, if I paused for a single
moment, it would be acknowledgment of defeat, and, should I do
this, I felt that I should go mad. Thus, hour after hour I walked
around and around, afraid to stop and rest, yet physically
powerless to continue much longer. Oh! horror of horrors! to be
cast away in this wide expanse of waters without food or drink,
and only a treacherous iceberg for an abiding place. My heart
sank within me, and all semblance of hope was fading into black
Then the hand of the Deliverer was extended, and the death-like
stillness of a solitude rapidly becoming unbearable was suddenly
broken by the firing of a signal-gun. I looked up in startled
amazement, when, I saw, less than a half-mile away, a
whaling-vessel bearing down toward me with her sail full set.
Evidently my continued activity on the iceberg had attracted
their attention. On drawing near, they put out a boat, and,
descending cautiously to the water's edge, I was rescued, and
a little later lifted on board the whaling-ship.
I found it was a Scotch whaler, "The Arlington." She had cleared
from Dundee in September, and started immediately for the
Antarctic, in search of whales. The captain, Angus MacPherson,
seemed kindly disposed, but in matters of discipline, as I soon
learned, possessed of an iron will. When I attempted to tell him
that I had come from the "inside" of the earth, the captain and
mate looked at each other, shook their heads, and insisted on my
being put in a bunk under strict surveillance of the ship's
I was very weak for want of food, and had not slept for many
hours. However, after a few days' rest, I got up one morning and
dressed myself without asking permission of the physician or
anyone else, and told them that I was as sane as anyone.
The captain sent for me and again questioned me concerning where
I had come from, and how I came to be alone on an iceberg in the
far off Antarctic Ocean. I replied that I had just come from the
"inside" of the earth, and proceeded to tell him how my father
and myself had gone in by way of Spitzbergen, and come out by
way of the South Pole country, whereupon I was put in irons. I
afterward heard the captain tell the mate that I was as crazy as
a March hare, and that I must remain in confinement until I was
rational enough to give a truthful account of myself.
Finally, after much pleading and many promises, I was released
from irons. I then and there decided to invent some story that
would satisfy the captain, and never again refer to my trip to
the land of "The Smoky God," at least until I was safe among
Within a fortnight I was permitted to go about and take my place
as one of the seamen. A little later the captain asked me for an
explanation. I told him that my experience had been so horrible
that I was fearful of my memory, and begged him to permit me to
leave the question unanswered until some time in the future. "I
think you are recovering considerably," he said, "but you are not
sane yet by a good deal." "Permit me to do such work as you may
assign," I replied, "and if it does not compensate you
sufficiently, I will pay you immediately after I reach Stockholm
-- to the last penny." Thus the matter rested.
On finally reaching Stockholm, as I have already related, I found
that my good mother had gone to her reward more than a year
before. I have also told how, later, the treachery of a relative
landed me in a madhouse, where I remained for twenty-eight years
-- seemingly unending years -- and, still later, after my
release, how I returned to the life of a fisherman, following it
sedulously for twenty-seven years, then how I came to America,
and finally to Los Angeles, California. But all this can be of
little interest to the reader. Indeed, it seems to me the climax
of my wonderful travels and strange adventures was reached when
the Scotch sailing-vessel took me from an iceberg on the
IN concluding this history of my adventures, I wish to state that
I firmly believe science is yet in its infancy concerning the
cosmology of the earth. There is so much that is unaccounted for
by the world's accepted knowledge of to-day, and will ever remain
so until the land of "The Smoky God" is known and recognized by
It is the land from whence came the great logs of cedar that have
been found by explorers in open waters far over the northern edge
of the earth's crust, and also the bodies of mammoths whose bones
are found in vast beds on the Siberian coast.
Northern explorers have done much. Sir John Franklin, De Haven
Grinnell, Sir John Murray, Kane, Melville, Hall, Nansen,
Schwatka, Greely, Peary, Ross, Gerlache, Bernacchi, Andree,
Amsden, Amundson and others have all been striving to storm the
frozen citadel of mystery.
I firmly believe that Andree and his two brave companions,
Strindberg and Fraenckell, who sailed away in the balloon "Oreon"
from the northwest coast of Spitzbergen on that Sunday afternoon
of July 11, 1897, are now in the "within" world, and doubtless
are being entertained, as my father and myself were entertained
by the kind-hearted giant race inhabiting the inner Atlantic
Having, in my humble way, devoted years to these problems, I am
well acquainted with the accepted definitions of gravity, as well
as the cause of the magnetic needle's attraction, and I am
prepared to say that it is my firm belief that the magnetic
needle is influenced solely by electric currents which completely
envelop the earth like a garment, and that these electric
currents in an endless circuit pass out of the southern end of
the earth's cylindrical opening, diffusing and spreading
themselves over all the "outside" surface, and rushing madly on
in their course toward the North Pole. And while these currents
seemingly dash off into space at the earth's curve or edge, yet
they drop again to the "inside" surface and continue their way
southward along the inside of the earth's crust, toward the
opening of the so-called South Pole.
[24 "Mr. Lemstrom concluded that an electric discharge
which could only be seen by means of the spectroscope was
taking place on the surface of the ground all around him, and
that from a distance it would appear as a faint display of
Aurora, the phenomena of pale and flaming light which is some
times seen on the top of the Spitzbergen Mountains." -- The
Arctic Manual, page 739.]
As to gravity, no one knows what it is, because it has not been
determined whether it is atmospheric pressure that causes the
apple to fall, or whether, 150 miles below the surface of the
earth, supposedly one-half way through the earth's crust, there
exists some powerful loadstone attraction that draws it.
Therefore, whether the apple, when it leaves the limb of the
tree, is drawn or impelled downward to the nearest point of
resistance, is unknown to the students of physics.
Sir James Ross claimed to have discovered the magnetic pole at
about seventy-four degrees latitude. This is wrong -- the
magnetic pole is exactly one-half the distance through the
earth's crust. Thus, if the earth's crust is three hundred miles
in thickness, which is the distance I estimate it to be, then the
magnetic pole is undoubtedly one hundred and fifty miles below
the surface of the earth, it matters not where the test is made.
And at this particular point one hundred and fifty miles below
the surface, gravity ceases, becomes neutralized; and when we
pass beyond that point on toward the "inside" surface of the
earth, a reverse attraction geometrically increases in power,
until the other one hundred and fifty miles of distance is
traversed, which would bring us out on the "inside" of the earth.
Thus, if a hole were bored down through the earth's crust at
London, Paris, New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles, a distance of
three hundred miles, it would connect the two surfaces. While the
inertia and momentum of a weight dropped in from the "outside"
surface would carry it far past the magnetic center, yet, before
reaching the "inside" surface of the earth it would gradually
diminish in speed, after passing the halfway point, finally pause
and immediately fall back toward the "outside" surface, and
continue thus to oscillate, like the swinging of a pendulum with
the power removed, until it would finally rest at the magnetic
center, or at that particular point exactly one-half the distance
between the "outside" surface and the "inside" surface of the
The gyration of the earth in its daily act of whirling around in
its spiral rotation -- at a rate greater than one thousand miles
every hour, or about seventeen miles per second -- makes of it a
vast electro-generating body, a huge machine, a mighty prototype
of the puny-man-made dynamo, which, at best, is but a feeble
imitation of nature's original,
The valleys of this inner Atlantis Continent, bordering the upper
waters of the farthest north are in season covered with the most
magnificent and luxuriant flowers. Not hundreds and thousands,
but millions, of acres, from which the pollen or blossoms are
carried far away in almost every direction by the earth's spiral
gyrations and the agitation of the wind resulting therefrom, and
it is these blossoms or pollen from the vast floral meadows
"within" that produce the colored snows of the Arctic regions
that have so mystified the northern explorers.
[25 Kane, vol. I, page 44, says: "We passed the
'crimson cliffs' of Sir John Ross in the forenoon of August
5th. The patches of red snow from which they derive their name
could be seen clearly at the distance of ten miles from the
La Chambre, in an account of Andree's balloon expedition, on
page 144, says: "On the isle of Amsterdam the snow is
tinted with red for a considerable distance, and the savants are
collecting it to examine it microscopically. It presents, in
fact, certain peculiarities; it is thought that it contains very
small plants. Scoresby, the famous whaler, had already remarked
Beyond question, this new land "within" is the home, the cradle,
of the human race, and viewed from the standpoint of the
discoveries made by us, must of necessity have a most important
bearing on all physical, paleontological, archaeological,
philological and mythological theories of antiquity.
The same idea of going back to the land of mystery -- to the very
beginning -- to the origin of man -- is found in Egyptian
traditions of the earlier terrestrial regions of the gods, heroes
and men, from the historical fragments of Manetho, fully verified
by the historical records taken from the more recent excavations
of Pompeii as well as the traditions of the North American
It is now one hour past midnight -- the new year of 1908 is here,
and this is the third day thereof, and having at last finished
the record of my strange travels and adventures I wish given to
the world, I am ready, and even longing, for the peaceful rest
which I am sure will follow life's trials and vicissitudes. I am
old in years, and ripe both with adventures and sorrows, yet rich
with the few friends I have cemented to me in my struggles to
lead a just and upright life. Like a story that is well-nigh
told, my life is ebbing away. The presentiment is strong within
me that I shall not live to see the rising of another sun. Thus
do I conclude my message.
I FOUND much difficulty in deciphering and editing the
manuscripts of Olaf Jansen. However, I have taken the liberty of
reconstructing only a very few expressions, and in doing this
have in no way changed the spirit or meaning. Otherwise, the
original text has neither been added to nor taken from.
It is impossible for me to express my opinion as to the value or
reliability of the wonderful statements made by Olaf Jansen. The
description here given of the strange lands and people visited by
him, location of cities, the names and directions of rivers, and
other information herein combined, conform in every way to the
rough drawings given into my custody by this ancient Norseman,
which drawings together with the manuscript it is my intention at
some later date to give to the Smithsonian Institution, to
preserve for the benefit of those interested in the mysteries
of the "Farthest North" -- the frozen circle of silence. It is
certain there are many things in Vedic literature, in "Josephus,"
the "Odyssey," the "Iliad," Terrien de Lacouperie's "Early
History of Chinese Civilization," Flammarion's "Astronomical
Myths," Lenormant's "Beginnings of History," Hesiod's "Theogony,"
Sir John de Maundeville's writings, and Sayce's "Records of the
Past," that, to say the least, are strangely in harmony with the
seemingly incredible text found in the yellow manuscript of the
old Norseman, Olaf Jansen, and now for the first time given to
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