Capt. John Symmes, John Quincy Adams, and the Hollow Earth Expedition.
Captain John Cleves Symmes was a retired military man and veteran of the War of 1812. After retiring from military duty, Symmes devoted his life to science and geography. In 1818, after much study and thought Symmes published a pamphlet describing his new theory of the Earth,
To all the world. I declare the earth is hollow and habitable within, containing a number of concentric spheres and that it is open at the poles 12 or 16 degrees. I pledge my life in support of this theory.”
Symmes was very certain of his theory that the earth was hollow and habitable, with entrances at the north and south pole. He was not the only one who expounded such theory, but he certainly was the most vocal, holding public speakings on the matter and gathering support. His son even believed that the Lost Tribes of Israel had migrated to the center of the earth.
Symmes was so dedicated to his theory that for eleven years he tried to find supporters for an expedition to find the opening at the north pole and explore to the inside of the earth. He lobbied Congress, the Assembly of Ohio, and even the Russian Government to fund an expedition to prove his theories. All rejected him. Then in 1829 he found a supporter in the most unlikely of places.
President John Quincy Adams, son of the founding father John Adams, was an ardent believer of the hollow earth theory. Upon meeting Symmes Adams drew up plans to mount an expedition to the north pole to find the entrance to the hollow earth once and for all. He even allocated a large sum of money to fund the expedition. Yes, that’s right, John Q. Adams was willing to spend taxpayers money to fund an expedition to the center of the earth, and you think politicians waste money today! However it goes even further, Adams gave instructions to Symmes to make diplomatic contacts with the Boese, a race of mole people he believed to be living inside the earth. Adams believed that the expedition could really pay off if trade relations could be established with the mole people. (This is not a joke, Adams really believed this)
Unfortunately for Symmes, the expedition never got off the ground… or under it. Before details could be finalized, monies arranged, men recruited, and equipment purchased, President Adam’s term of office ended. John Quincy Adams had lost the election to the famed war hero Andrew Jackson. Upon taking office Jackson scoffed at the idea of an expedition to explore the hollow earth and cancelled the expedition immediately.
John Symmes died unexpectedly after the cancellation of the expedition, aged 49. Today his grave marker features a hollow globe with an opening on the north pole.