There's a hole in the Arctic that leads right down to the centre of Earth. Maybe. And far below the Earth's crust are huge caverns and thousands of miles of tunnels. Perhaps. And living in that all that space is a race of long lost human-like creatures, who've adjusted well to their new home far below the surface world and they've built a new society for themselves. What?
Yes, or so claims a US scientist. Well, he doesn't claim it all to be true. He just thinks it might be. But regardless of the absurdity of his claims, he's going to mount an expedition to the Arctic to find the cave that will lead to the tunnels that will lead to the caverns that will bring him to the underworld civilisation. He's calling the trip "the greatest geological expedition in history."
Naturally the American scientist is also selling tickets for his great expedition :
Is it a proper scientific trip and investigation? Well, not really. He's setting out find something that he knows very likely does not even exist : the cave that acts as the 'portal' to the underworld.
This time next year, Kentucky based physicist and futurist Brooks Agnew hopes to board the commercially owned Russian icebreaker Yamal in the port of Murmansk, and to sail into the polar sea just beyond Canada's Arctic islands.
"Everest has been climbed a hundred times," Mr. Agnew says. "The Titanic has been scanned from stem to stern. [But] this is the first and only expedition to the North Pole opening ever attempted."
Mr. Agnew is the latest in a long line of people to peddle the nutty, yet persistent, theory that humans live on the surface of a hollow planet, in which two undiscovered openings, near the North and South poles, connect the outer Earth with an interior realm.
In the 17th century, English astronomer and mathematician Sir Edmond Halley, who calculated the orbit of Halley's Comet, advanced hollow-Earth theories, as did German scientist Athanasius Kircher.
While he insists the journey has a genuine scientific purpose, Mr. Agnew also says the expedition will include several experts in meditation, mythology and UFOs, as well as a team of documentary filmmakers.
Randy Freeman, a Yellowknife writer commenting in the current issue of Up Here magazine, warns that "besides heaps of throwaway cash, prospective cruisers should bring along enough gullibility to swallow an outlandish theory that, despite centuries of scorn, refuses to die."
But Mr. Agnew is unfazed by such criticism, promising a grand polar adventure, no matter what the outcome.
If the polar opening isn't there, the voyage "will still make an outstanding documentary," he promises.
"But if we do find something, this will be the greatest geological discovery in the history of the world."
He's just going to drag a bunch of people into the middle of nowhere, meditate, and roll cameras.
Will it be profitable?
Oh yes. Mr Agnew is charging $20,000 for anyone who wants to join him on his journey of discovery to find just a cave, if he's lucky.