Last night the History Channel—which, for those of you keeping score, plans to begin a new season of Ancient Aliens on April 28—devoted three hours of prime time to a new installment of the giant-hunting Vieira Brothers’ ongoing quest, first broadcast in 2015, to investigate the “mystery” of the Dare Stones, a Depression-era hoax meant to explain where the colonists of the abandoned English settlement at Roanoke had gone to. While we have pretty good evidence today that they joined up with Native Americans on Hatteras Island, believers in the Dare Stones maintain that these rocks prove that they ventured into Georgia. Unfortunately, History did not make a screener of the show available (all A+E Networks properties are stingy that way), and I had better things to do than spend three (!) hours watching Return to Roanoke: Search for the Seven, a sequel to 2015’s dull outing, Roanoke: Search for the Lost Colony. As I understand it, the first hour was a condensed rerun of the 2015 escapade, with further developments occurring in the two-hour sequel. I will try to watch and review it for tomorrow.
I have some strange excerpts on the crazy quilt of Enochian mysteries to share with you today. They revolve around perhaps the strangest argument for Earth-crust displacement that I have ever read. It comes to us courtesy of an aging Australian adventurer named John Wood Beilby (1818-1903), in his 1883 treatise on, well, you’ll see, Eureka: An Elucidation of Mysteries in Nature. Beilby was a proponent of outlandish ideas of many stripes, and he contributed a supposedly true story of psychic auditory experiences to Phantasms of the Living the same year, alleging that he was gifted with “magnetic impressions.” In his book, he took it as a safe bet that the apocryphal Book of Enoch was written by its alleged author, Enoch, in the years prior to Noah’s Flood. Based on this, he concluded that the Earth’s crust has shifted over time, as gravitational forces caused the land to shift relative to the “fluid envelope” below:
The authenticity of the Book of Enoch, rescued from oblivion by Bruce, the Abyssinian traveller, has been doubted, because apparently composed by two writers, one of whom must have resided south-west of the Erythrean Sea, that is, of the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, and that part of the ocean which washes the shores of Arabia, therefore the place described by him must have been south of the Abyssinian Mountains, and in or about our present definition of latitude 9° north, and longitude 36° east. He, however, or his alleged co-author, describes the longest days as containing twelve parts out of eighteen, the whole number into which the day was then divided. Now twelve are to eighteen as sixteen to twenty-four hours in our mode of computation. Ergo, the theologian reviewers hold that this Book of Enoch could not have been written in latitude 9°, but that one of its authors must have resided in a latitude of not less than 36° further north, or within latitudes 45° to 49° north, where the longest days are from fifteen and quarter to sixteen hours. But if a point south of the Pyramids, now in latitude 9° north, was—when this Book of Enoch was written, prior to the Flood of Noah (assuming its internal evidence of being the work of Enoch or even of any ancient scribe)—in north latitude 45°, the position in latitude of the Pyramids then must have been nearly that of Archangel now, one of astronomical importance for observation of northern constellations, as apparently increasing in longitude of stellar position. The climate also of 66° north would be one conducive to physical energy, requisite in the Pyramid builders, and far in excess of that developed in the present semi-tropical climate of Egypt. Geology discloses that prior to the last revolution, presumably that of the Deluge, Great Britain was in a glacial climate, while Australia was in one of semi-tropical characteristics, which are just the relative coincidences of the case presented.
Eagle-eyed readers will likely have already noticed that it is rather unclear why the pyramids should be of any relevance to this bizarre argument that the Enochian volume had to have been composed in the latitudes occupied by the Black Sea. That gives us an even stranger argument, and one of the weirdest explanations for the Great Pyramid I have ever heard. This argument is that the pyramid was designed to measure the movement of the continents over time:
The author has on several occasions submitted to scientific reasoners his matured conviction that the constructer’s purpose for the mysterious stone coffer, within what is termed the King’s Chamber of the Great Pyramid, of Ghizeh, was to test the variation of the exact degree of parallelism between the surface level of water placed in the coffer, and the horizontal line of original surface level defined in the layers of massive stones built into the walls of the chamber, by successive observations, at prolonged intervals. Also, to note similarly the varying angle or degree of obliquity of the ascertained perpendicular to the plane of the water level—i.e., what is now termed the plumb line—with previously noted definitions of position of parallels or meridians of longitude, deduced from observations from the long passage through the Pyramid of the apparently varying longitude of northern constellations, as demonstrating whether such divergence, if any, is traceable to astronomical or terrestrial agencies. Whether such were, or were not, the objects sought by prehistoric science, the opportunities are open now for similar observations, possibly affording some clue to the period of continuance of existing cosmical placidity.
And what, you ask, would cause such changes in the position of the continents and the oceans over the eons? A modern thinker would attribute changes to the almost imperceptibly slow movement of the Earth’s crustal plates as a result of forces operating beneath the surface. Our writer, however, is a direct forebear of Charles Hapgood or Rand Flem-Ath or (early period) Graham Hancock, arguing that ice buildup at the poles causes catastrophic crustal slippage when the Earth’s axis falls over:
The deposit and accumulation through centuries of ice or water upon one segment of the globe in disproportionate bulk to what, under same natural laws, but varying conditions, is amassed elsewhere, and the consequent flow to and deepening of the circumjacent oceans, must produce, in time, leverage adequate to increase the tilt, and ultimately endanger the equilibrium sustaining the globe in any given position upon the plane of her orbit.
Beilby was, of course, not the first to have suggested that a pole shift had overturned the Earth in the past. In 1873, Brasseur de Bourbourg had proposed a similar idea in his Historical Chronology of the Mexicans, where he claimed that ancient Mexican texts showed that the Earth had been destroyed many times and “the disasters were caused each time by a shift in the axis of the world, upsetting the polar ice caps and reversing the order of the seasons” (my trans.). However, this reference was undeveloped, and Beilby is something of the missing link between Bourbourg and the modern form of the pole-shift mythology, reintroduced in 1948 by Hugh Auchincloss Brown. So far as I am aware, Brown never read Beilby, and yet they developed remarkably similar ideas.
There is a bit of irony in that Beilby wasn’t wrong to notice that Victorian geologists could not explain why astronomical and geographical observations over time showed that Australia wasn’t in exactly the same place that it used to be. But, lacking a theory of plate tectonics, he wrongly assumed that Australia’s drift was due to the entire surface of the Earth coming out of joint from the planet’s axis of rotation, rather than the fact, now well known to science, that the Australian plate moves rather rapidly, geologically speaking.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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