by Rand Flem-Ath
Iíd like to be able to say that Iíve
been fascinated by Atlantis since I was a child. But
the site of the great lost civilization unfolded itself to me quite
In the summer of 1976 Iíd been unemployed for nearly a year and had
finally stuck my foot in the door for a job interview with the
public library (Iím a librarian) in Victoria, British
Columbia (Canada). The interview was on a Friday.
It promised to be a very long weekend as I waited to find out if I
had the job. As a distraction from counting the hours I decided to
try my hand at a screenplay.
A science fiction story about a group of aliens marooned
on Earth some ten thousand years ago appealed to me. The
aliens would hibernate while they waited on help from their home
located in a very distant star system. I jotted down some ideas: the
aliens were under ice, they had bases in Peru, in Mexico,
in Egypt, in India, on all the continents. As I wrote this down
Donovanís "Hail Atlantis" come over the radio and it
struck me that the lost continent would be the perfect place to
locate my aliens. Liking the hibernation notion I decided to
put Atlantis under ice (as a Canadian, the idea of surviving
in ice is never more than a subconscious level away) so I jotted
down: "Atlantis = Antarctica."
I knew nothing about Atlantis
so I jogged off to the library to do some research and soon
discovered that everything we know about the lost continent comes
from the Greek philosopher, Plato. In L. Sprague de Campís
book LOST CONTINENTS, I came across a map of Atlantis
reproduced from ancient Egyptian sources by a Jesuit
priest (Athanasius Kircher 1601-1680). Kircher
placed Atlantis in the North Atlantic Ocean but
strangely, put north at the bottom of the page. The Kircher
map had to be studied up-side-down.
This intriguing depiction propelled me to find out all I could about
ancient maps. I tackled the libraryís card catalogue and almost
immediately came across Charles Hapgoodís
MAPS OF THE ANCIENT SEA KINGS: EVIDENCE OF
ADVANCED CIVILIZATION IN THE ICE AGE. It took my breath
away. Ancient maps and ice woven together in the same book: exactly
what I needed for my story.
As I flipped through Hapgoodís work I suddenly came to a full
stop at a depiction of Antarctica without its ice
cover. I remembered Kircherís map. The two were so close in
so many particulars. Since Antarctica wasnít
discovered until the early part of the 19th century and
its ice free shape was unknown until 1958, the Egyptian Map of
Antarctica represents solid evidence that someone had mapped
Antarctica long before Europeans ever landed. How far in
the past I didnít know but Hapgood argued that the entire
world had been mapped by some unknown, ancient,
maritime culture which had been destroyed by an Earth
In the libraryís pamphlet file I found a brochure produced by the
U.S. Naval Support Force on Antarctica called
INTRODUCTION TO ANTARCTICA. I had just read Platoís
account of Atlantis which he claimed gave an account
of the earthís geography FROM Atlantis.
On the 30th of August 1976 I notarized a think piece
called "Atlantis and the True Ocean". It began:
legendary lost continent of antiquity, has haunted menís minds
for countless centuries. This lost and fascinating continent may
lie beneath our own vast, frozen, and little known continent of
Antarctica! Our search for Atlantis
was led astray as long ago as Platoís time. Plato
records the first known reference to Atlantis. Its
location is described as being in the ítrue oceaní.
Pre-satellite generations have assumed this ocean to be the
Atlantic. Viewed from a satellite perspective, the Earth has but
one true ocean and the continent of Antarctica
is in its center."
The U.S. Naval projection shows the
world as seen FROM the shores of Antarctica.
Antarctica and Atlantis were both island
continents in the middle of the "True" or "Real" ocean
which I learned was what oceanographers now call the "World Ocean."
Seen FROM Antarctica a modern globe matched
perfectly the ancient Egyptianís account of the world as seen
FROM Atlantis. This ancient geography was in fact far
more advanced than our own which made sense if Atlantis
was, as Platoís account argues, an advanced civilization.
I had found my quest.
Little did my wife Rose and I suspect it would take nearly
two decades of sometimes frustrating, always fascinating research to
assemble all the evidence and finally bring it together in
WHEN THE SKY FELL: IN SEARCH OF ATLANTIS.
By the way, I got the job.