By Kyle Bennett

As discussed in some of my previous articles, and in my book, Polar Wandering and the Cycle of Ages, Charles Hapgood’s theory of Earth Crust Displacement (ECD) actually originated in the nineteenth century. For those unfamiliar with Hapgood’s work, he claimed that Ice Ages come and go due to the earth’s ‘crust’ (lithosphere) sliding as a whole over the fluid layers below, in the asthenosphere, moving places in and out of the polar regions.

It is now common knowledge that Einstein supported Hapgood’s theory. But what has been totally forgotten, even by the most devoted pole shift enthusiasts, is that the theory was first properly developed by the President of the Geological Society, Sir John Evans, back in 1866. (I will keep mentioning this fact in every single article I write, so that hopefully all the internet pundits catch on.) Astonishingly, even Hapgood appears to have not known about Evans’ work, as he made no mention of it in Path of the Pole, where he wrongly claimed that the idea was first proposed in the early twentieth century.

But it’s about time to pay homage to another great man, who developed an even earlier, less comprehensive theory of ECD way back in 1847: Frederik Alexander Gottlieb Klee. He has also been forgotten, and I only came across his work after years of painstaking research digging through dusty old books. Neither Hapgood nor any published authors on the subject of ECD have mentioned him, and none of the internet commentators either.

Klee was the son of a Russian Army officer who fought in the Napoleonic Wars. Young Klee studied Law at Copenhagen University, and by 1952 had become a justice councillor. He worked in a very senior position in the post office for many years, developing modern systems of communication, including the telegraph. Later he gained high office as the Danish financial administrator for the railroads. A true nineteenth-century Renaissance man, Klee also studied geology and ancient history. He went on to publish, in French, Le Deluge: Considération Géologique et Historique sur les Derniers Cataclysmes du Globe.

A contemporary of Charles Darwin, Klee was also a controversial figure in his day. In Le Déluge he presented his ideas about how the planet was originally formed, and also reviewed some of the earlier theories on the Great Flood.

He was a committed Christian, as well as a passionate believer in the power of science to overcome ignorance and superstition, as he explains here:

“Who would dare to accept the deceiving illusion that we have finally reached the end of the… struggle against superstition, ignorance and doubt that the truth has been battling for centuries? How could someone of limited intelligence believe that sun of progress has completely dispersed the clouds of ignorance that hide the ultimate goals of humankind: truth and freedom, since the light of science still only illuminates a small number of experts of the intellectual world.”

English Translation > | Large Quotes (English) >

Well said, Klee! Concerning geology, which was still in its infancy in Klee’s day, he believed that many of the orthodox views about the planet’s history were based on ignorance and prejudice, and were in great need of revision:

“The ideas that we have today concerning the shape of the earth and its climates etc., are ideas that each one of us has blindly adopted as common banalities that do not need to be further examined. What struggles these ideas have endured against the gross incredulity and obstinate ignorance of the past! How many centuries passed before we decided to renounce the theory that the world is flat!”

But alas, much of the above quote is still applicable to the state of science today; there is still a blind adoption of ideas that scientists and the public alike feel no need to examine, such as the assumption that Ice Ages are caused by a lowering of global temperatures. And in turn this idea is based on the assumption that the earth’s crust does not slide slide around as a whole – it is simply taken for granted that it doesn’t. As Stephen Bywater explains in his hilarious book Lost Worlds, each era is defined and shaped by its assumptions, and our own era is no different.

Regarding the Great Flood, Klee was highly critical of some of the earlier, fanciful theories of scholars, which he believed were based on excessively literal interpretations of the Bible. But he was more interested in some of the later theories, such as one proposed by an abbot called Pluche, who “claimed that the deluge was caused by a displacement of the earth’s axis accompanied by a subsidence of the earth’s surface”, in a book called Spectacle de la Nature, published was back in 1739! So this is, if you like, a proto-theory of polar wandering, and the father of Earth Crust Displacement is an eighteenth century abbot!

Although Hapgood did not discuss The Great Flood in his book Path of the Pole, he did claim that the last crust displacement moved North America southward by 30 degrees, initiating meltdown of the Laurentide Ice Sheet and the consequent rapid rise in global sea levels. This meltdown is claimed by many researchers to be the source of the worldwide legend of a Universal Deluge. So Hapgood’s ideas do correspend in that respect with Klee’s.

After investigating the formation of the planet, Klee went on in Part I, Chapter XII of Le Deluge to discuss the Great Flood, ice ages and climatic change. This is where his book gets really interesting. At the very beginning of this chapter, he writes about how a “deplacement au l’axe du globe” (displacement of the earth’s axis) can explain many mysteries, including the discovery of mammoths in the northern Siberia and remnants of tropical beasts within the rocks strata of the most northerly of island archipelagoes:

“Does the assumed direction of the earth’s axis before the flood offer ways of explaining certain obscure geological phenomena? The supposed direction of the earth’s axis before the deluge explains satisfactorily the frequency and tremendous development of tropical plants and animals in current climates where we would least expect to find them…The equator traversed the current poles, passing at around 90 degrees from the meridian of the Faroe Islands . It was situated between Africa and Oceania , divided Asia and North America , and passed just to the west of South America.”

Klee is referring to the strange reptiles which had been discovered in the icy north. He then goes on to explain how climatic changes were caused displacements of the earth’s axis of rotation. He proposed that the last dispacement caused the Deluge and killed the Siberian mammoths by moving those lands up towards the inhospitably cold polar regions:

“By attributing to the earth’s axis the direction as mentioned above, it will not be necessary to explain the exuberant development of the organic world by resorting to an arbitrary assumption that a different climate existed. My proposed hypothesis explains how tropical animals and vegetation, which always require warm climates, were formerly able to exist in areas which are currently subject to freezing temperatures for months on end. This includes how the elephant, the rhinoceros, the hippopotamus, the hyena, the tiger, and other animals of the pre-diluvian world were able to exist in England , France and Germany , etc. Furthermore, why is it that the mammoth or the pre-diluvian elephant who, based on their structure must have lived in areas covered in rich vegetation, are mainly found in Siberia, whereas the mastodon, which is assumed to have preferred warm, swampy areas, could have existed in North America, since the physical composition of several areas of this region -in particular the areas which are currently inhabited by Indians, provide all of the conditions necessary for their existence. This also explains how Greenland could have nourished palm trees, whereas at the same time, tropical vegetation and animals existed in Mexico, Peru and in South and Central America; how plant fossils found in the carboniferous soil of England, France, Belgium, Bohemia, and Canada, as well as in the neighboring areas of Baffin Island could have belonged to the same species. Therefore, if we assume that both Siberia and North America were situated below the line (equator) or that they were further apart from each other, and that later on following a displacement of the earth’s axis, these lands were situated much closer to the North Pole, we would not be surprised to discover rhinoceros or mammoth cadavers in the glaciers of Siberia, where they must have been buried for thousands of years after having been seized by the flood in the regions they inhabited. This was a necessary consequence of the tilting of the earth’s axis. The water, which suddenly turned to ice, completely preserved them from contact with outside air, and consequently, also from decomposition, which would have occurred after several days if they had remained in water or if they had been subject to the air.”

Klee’s sets out above essentially the same theory as Hapgood’s, although without the benefit of modern science. For example, Klee claimed the Siberia was much further from the North Pole during the times when mammoths lived there. However, some of Klee’s ideas are way off the mark, but that is to be expected, given the state of science in his day. He believed the last shift of the earth axis occured 4,000 years ago, directly causing the Deluge. In contrast, over a century later Hapgood proposed – using up-to-date scientific research – that the last displacement was between 17,000 and 12,000 years ago, and slowly moved the polar ice cap of North America into lower latitudes over millenia, initiating the glacial meltdown. This meltdown is now known, from the work of Professor John Shaw, to have resulted in rapid sea level rise, as well as tsunamis when the crust violently “bounced back” into shape once the weight of the ice was removed. So the last displacement of the crust did indirectly cause a period of flooding of “Biblical” proportions, and cannot be easily dismissed as a possible source of flood mythology. Klee thought that memories of this last crust displacement had survived in mythology. He was quoted by William Fairfield Warren in Paradise Found:

“Il est de même vraisemblable que les Chaldéens ont eu l’idée d’une destruction et d’un renouvellement du monde, c’est-à-dire, de la surface de notre globe, et conjointement avec cette destruction, d’un déplacement des corps célestes du firmament. . . . Diverses inscriptions dans les temples Égyptiens et des hiéroglyphes . . . me paraissent aussi être des essais de représenter distinctement la catastrophe du déluge et le changement qui alors s’est opéré dans l’ancien ciel.”

As I discuss in my forthcoming book, Polar Wandering and the Cycle of Ages, Klee showed how the traditions of many ancient cultures mention a change in the orientation of the sky, coincident with a shift of the earth’s crust. This may still be a highly unexplored idea, but it promises many years of fruitful research. It should be taken at least as seriously as flood mythology, which many respected scholars have concluded is a recollection of those tumultuous, watery perils at the end of the Ice Age, when the great ice sheets of North America were move southward by the last crust displacement.

Copyright 2011 Kyle Bennett