The Lake of Shadows
 by Scott Corrales

Doubt of the real facts, as I must reveal them, is inevitable; yet if I suppressed what will seem extravagant and incredible there would be nothing left.

~H. P. Lovecraft


Antarctica has nearly 90% of the ice and 70% of the fresh water on Earth. The third-largest continent, it is one and a half the size of the US. Nations including the United States, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, France and Argentina carry out experiments at bases dotted across the continent.

ALH 84001 was found in Antarctica during the 1984-1985 Antarctic summer. It was found by a team of meteorite hunters from the ANSMET program, which is sponsored by the Polar Programs Office of the U.S. National Science Foundation. ANSMET stands for ANtarctic Search for METeorites, and has been funded since 1977 by the NSF.

It is nearly certain that ALH 84001 is from Mars, even though people have never been to Mars and no rocks have ever been collected on Mars. In fact, there are 11 other meteorites, called the SNCs, that are also almost certain to be from Mars. The strongest evidence for their Martian origin is that they, including ALH 84001, contain traces of gas that is just like the Martian atmosphere. We know the composition of the Martian atmosphere, because the Viking Lander spacecraft analyzed it, on Mars, in 1976. The Martian atmosphere is really different from the Earth’s atmosphere, or Venus’, or any other source of gas that has ever been found.

 To get off Mars, ALH84001 must have left its surface going faster than Mars’ escape velocity, about 5 kilometers per second (about 11,000 miles per hour). The only known natural process that can get rocks moving so fast is meteorite impact--volcanoes can not throw rocks fast enough. If a large enough meteorite or asteroid hit Mars, some rocks nearby on Mars’ surface would be blasted up faster than the escape velocity and could leave Mars completely. The best estimates are that an asteroid bigger than about 1/2-2 kilometers could launch rocks like ALH 84001 off Mars and into space.

After it left Mars, ALH 84001 orbited the Sun on its own, like a small asteroid. It started out with an orbit nearly like Mars’. But its orbit changed each time it passed close to Mars or collided with an asteroid. Also, gravity from the planets (especially from enormous Jupiter) slowly nudged ALH 84001 farther and farther from Mars. By chance, the orbit of ALH 84001 changed enough so that it came near the Earth's orbit. 13,000 years ago, the Earth and ALH 84001 collided.


New Antarctica Mystery

Researchers have uncovered a Martian meteorite in Antarctica, one of only about 30 known Mars space rocks on Earth.

The specimen was found in December (2003) on an ice field about 466 miles (745 kilometers) from the South Pole, by a research team financed by NASA and supported by the National Science Foundation.

Scientists say the mineralogy, texture and oxidized nature of the rock are unmistakably Martian. At this point, there is no suggestion that the meteorite bears evidence of fossilized life.

~USA Today for July 22, 2004
"Piece of Mars found in Antarctica"

This leaves unanswered the question of how this rock crossed 52 million miles of space and arrived on Earth. Maybe a UFO landed on Mars, and the rock became lodged in its landing gear. Later, as the saucer was making its final approach into an alien base in Antarctica, the rock came loose and landed in the ice field. In short, the rock came to Earth the same way the dandelion came to North America--by ship.


The inspiration for this article began in the summer of 1996, when a series of email messages began to appear suggesting the possibility that “someone” or “something” was surreptitiously removing all recent maps of Antarctica. The notion was so outrageous that even die-hard conspiracy theorists found themselves having to clarify the subject—it wasn’t that Big Brother and his henchmen were ripping map pages out of every World Almanac and atlas in the country, it had merely become harder to obtain recent maps on Antarctica.

Intrigued by the electronic statements, I placed a call to Penn-Oh-West Maps in Pittsburgh to check on the availability of Antarctic projections. The storeowner’s response was startling: “Sorry, sir. All our new maps of South Pole are on back order. Must be some kind of problem with the USGS.”

The United States Geological Service, or USGS, produces the most detailed maps available, such as the 7.5-minute series topographic maps at a 1:20,000 scale. Nor is the USGS planet-bound—their expertise extends to detailed maps of the Moon, Mars, and Venus.

Reflecting on the situation, I thought that the changes on the seventh continent are so few that they hardly justify the creation of new maps. If someone desperately needed a map of the South Pole, it would suffice to resort to a National Geographic map or to the nearest Rand McNally atlas. But could the polar conspiracy theorists be onto something?

The matter of polar cartography was soon forgotten—at least for me—until in 1999, the media trumpeted news of a truly sensational discovery: a lake whose waters had never seen the light of day, at least not for millions of years, a few miles beneath the polar icecap. The new body of water was christened with the name of the Russian experimental station located immediately above it: Vostok.

A Truly Stygian Lake

The discovery of Lake Vostok was a source of almost immediate interest for the U.S. space program, whose scientists saw in it the chance to conduct a series of experiments foreshadowing future unmanned missions to Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, whose icy surface contains lakes and deposits similar to Lake Vostok.

In September 1999, a total of 80 scientists from over a dozen countries met at Cambridge University’s Lucy Cavendish College to establish protocols for researching the alleged life forms teeming in what must surely be the blackest waters in the world. In a series of press releases, the assembled scientists reported that the new lake’s micro organisms would have been isolated from the rest of the world for millions of years and therefore represented a possible source of new antibiotics and enzymes.

British microbiologist Cynan Ellis-Evans stressed that the scarcity of food sources, the intense pressure and darkness of the subterranean lake, meant that finding advanced animal life at said depths would be difficult. His comments tabled any hopes of finding Arthur Conan Doyle’s Lost World under the Antarctic icecap.

However, undeterred by their colleague, the scientists gathered at Cambridge drew up an ambitious research program for Lake Vostok, including the precautions to be taken to avoid sullying the pristine waters of the hidden polar lake. The use of a “cryobot” was suggested: a ten-foot long device resembling a writing implement with a hot tip. The cryobot would descend the four miles separating the polar surface and the lake and, upon reaching Lake Vostok, would launch a sonar and camera-equipped “hydrobot” to explore the liquid environment. During the ’70s, Russian scientists had managed to drill to a depth of 3,600 meters, almost reaching the lake, whose existence was still unsuspected.

Ice-core samples proved the existence of methane—the predominant gas in the atmosphere of distant Europa.

Scientists and laypersons alike were thrilled by the discovery and its space-related implications, but Lake Vostok was never mentioned again outside specialized circles…until now. 

 A Continent of Magic and Terror

The Antarctic has always represented a source of inspiration for authors of fiction and adventure novels. One of the most memorable passages of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is the moment when his anti-hero, Captain Nemo, unfurls his vast black flag at the South Pole, claiming to be the first to have reached the beckoning goal. But it would be flesh-and-blood characters who would write the real adventure stories of the Antarctic: Shackleton’s heroic attempts to reach the pole in a series of expeditions, none of them successful; the tragic death of Robert Falcon Scott at the pole, following the bitter discovery that Amundsen had beaten him to it by a matter of days, and finally, the efforts made by Vice Admiral Robert Byrd to establish a permanent U.S. presence in Antarctica—the research station known as “Little America.”

But Antarctica always manages to escape the confines of textbooks and appears to be bent on haunting works of fiction. The errant seaman of Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner finds himself in an Antarctic realm filled with ghosts, while master horror writer H. P. Lovecraft, author of At the Mountains of Madness, describes the polar journey made by a scientific expedition. The trek results in the discovery of an unknown mountain range that conceals the existence of a nameless, ancient city built by the “Old Ones.” This primeval, non-human species met its end at the tentacles of its own creations: the huge and terrifying Shoggoths.

The man who seldom ventured away from his hometown of Providence, Rhode Island, delivers a story so convincing that the Antarctic cold chills the reader’s fingertips.

It is precisely in Lovecraft’s works that the purely fantastic becomes uncomfortably mixed with the factual, leading us to confront other polar mysteries of an equally ambiguous nature. Foremost among these is Nazi Germany’s expedition to conquer “Neuschwabenland,” or what had formerly been known as Queen Maud’s Land on most maps. The expedition and its goals have been the crucible for all manner of theories—each more outrageous than the last—regarding intra-terrestrial empires, Nazi flying saucers, and the successful creation of “supermen” in hidden polar bases. Conspiracy theorists seek to bolster their speculation by referring to the sudden display of U.S. military force in the South Pole in the years following World War II, with the supposed aim of combating the forces defending the last Nazi stronghold.

More recently, film spectaculars like John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) and X-Files: Fight the Future (1998) have employed the white continent as a hideout for extraterrestrial forces, whether arrived by accident or as part of a grim conquest operation, and the efforts made by human protagonists to overcome said unknown quantities.

Possibly inspired by this assortment of sources, belief in Atlantis has also found a new “lost continent” in which to nestle itself. After 17 years of intense research, British authors Rand and Rose Flem-Ath completed a work entitled When the Sky Fell (Toronto: Stoddart, 1995). Their book did not seek to ascertain the location of the allegedly sunken continent, but rather of other lands where the survivors of such a catastrophe would have sought shelter. The Flem-Ath’s studies led them to select two regions in separate continents: the environs of Lake Titicaca in the Bolivian highlands and Ethiopia’s Lake Tana, suggesting that both of these areas were particularly suited for the reintroduction of agricultural techniques in the wake of a planetary disaster.

Was Atlantis in Antarctica?

Graham Hancock, author of Fingerprints of the Gods (New York: Crown, 1995), has joined the Flem-Aths and other authors in supporting controversial scientific theories regarding the displacement of tectonic plates. As regards Antarctica, the theory suggests that the southernmost continent was located north of the present Antarctic Circle and could have been inhabited, featuring “a climate and resources suitable for the development of a civilization.” Could these researchers have solved the riddle of the mother culture we have come to identify with Plato’s Atlantis?

Whether Atlantis was located in Antarctica or not, it is worth bearing in mind the prophecies issued by Edgar Cayce, the “Sleeping Prophet.” Aside from performing a number of cures while in a trance state, Cayce also gave us a series of readings regarding Atlantis which are studied to this very day. One of them made mention of an enormous crystal allegedly employed by the Atlanteans as a source of energy. Cayce predicted that said object would be rediscovered in the late 20th century, but without specifying its location. If the Sleeping Prophet’s prophecies coincide with the theories put forth by the Flem-Aths and Graham Hancock, could the Lake Vostok anomaly be connected to the lost power source of the ancient Atlanteans?

The Magnetic Anomaly

Early research into Lake Vostok indicated that the body of water had a depth of 2,000 feet—far deeper than any of the Great Lakes and half as deep as Asia’s Lake Baikal (5,000 feet)—a length of 300 miles and a width of 50 miles. Contrary to what was initially believed, the lake received filtered light. Further investigations also detected the existence of geothermal sources which warmed the lake to an astonishing 50 degrees Fahrenheit, with “hot spots” of up to 65 degrees. Given these new discoveries regarding solar radiation and temperature, scientists suggested the possibility that the lake’s encapsulated atmosphere purified itself through a complex interaction with water, and that the chances for vegetable life forms were very good.

Research conducted by Russian scientist Ian Toskovoi—who vanished near the Vostok station in March 2000—on “geothermal upboiling” also hinted at an alternative means of purification and replenishment for the subterranean lake’s atmosphere. Toskovoi’s geothermal upboils were located in the so-called “ice dunes,” which appear to be formed by thousands of bubbles of air measuring between several feet to several hundred feet.

However, the most intriguing news coming out of Antarctica had to do with the extremely powerful “magnetic anomaly” located in the northern end of the lake’s coast: a discovery which would give rise to a number of conjectures and would be compared with the fictional TMA-1 (Tycho Magnetic Anomaly-1) in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The electronic newspaper Antarctic Sun, which soon became the main source of information on the Lake Vostok magnetic anomaly, stated that during the initial flight of the SOAR (Support Office for Aero-physical Research), aimed at conducting magnetic resonance imaging over the area, the magnetometer recorded an increase of 1,000 nanoteslas beyond the 60,000 nanoteslas which characterized the Vostok Station. Scientists had expected to find magnetic anomalies in the range of 500 to 600 nanoteslas in areas where volcanic material could be located, but the ranges encountered were simply startling. “This anomaly is so large that it cannot be the product of a daily change in the magnetic field,” stated Michael Studinger, one of the researchers involved in the mapping endeavor.

Also significant was the sheer size of the anomaly: 65 by 46 square miles. According to the mission’s geological team, the anomaly’s size and severity pointed to the fact that geological changes had taken place under the lake, suggesting the possibility that it was a place where “the earth’s crust was thinner.”

Australian geologist Harry Mason summarized the subject thus:

The magnetic anomaly’s sheer size and intensity suggest the presence of a large ultrabase component under this section of Lake Vostok at the surface of the continental crust rock, in other words, on the old surface prior to the ice formation.

Using much less technical language, others noted that Mason’s explanation matched the hypothesis suggested by Prof. Thomas Gold in Australia’s Nexus magazine. According to Professor Gold, the amount of methane and exotic gases such as xenon and argon could represent a direct threat to global climate, since they would come directly from the Earth’s mantle using the geological features under Lake Vostok as “chimneys.” Aside from the danger this could represent for our planet’s embattled atmosphere, the teams of scientists and technicians in charge of drilling through the methane dome would be in the first line of danger, since such an operation would likely result in a catastrophic explosion.

Two Million Nazis

The lunatic fringe didn’t wait too long before chiming in on the Lake Vostok situation. The most outrageous rumors emanated not from the U.S. but from Australia, where a website indicated—or ranted, more properly—that the total population of Nazis in Antarctica now exceeded two million and that many of them had undergone plastic surgery in order to move about with greater ease through South America and conduct all manner of business transactions. Conspiracy theorists stoked the fire by saying that the polar Nazis had successfully stolen an intaglio press to forge dollars, in addition to having forged "virtually undetectable" pounds sterling. The monetary needs of the polar Nazi community were further supplemented by "the gold stolen during the war and their ability to transmute base metals into gold." It was only logical, they argued, that the mystery of Lake Vostok was also directly related to the nefarious activities of the polar Nazis.

The strange writings of the author known only by the surname "Branton" also resurfaced, especially one set of documents alleging that the Nazis had managed to build flying saucers and transfer them to Antarctica in 1944, and that the Nazi bases in the South Pole also included groups of renegade Pleiadans and Men in Black.

A digression becomes necessary at this point: While the odds that Pleiadans and MIB are cooling their heels at an underground Antarctic base are slim to none, there is a factual basis to claims involving Nazi Germany’s interest in the South Pole. In 1938, the hydroplane carrier Schwabenland left the German port of Hamburg for Antarctica, commanded by Albert Richter, a veteran of cold-weather operations. The Richter Expedition’s scientists used their large Dornier airboats to explore the polar wastes, emulating Adm. Richard Byrd’s own efforts a decade earlier. The German scientists discovered ice-free lakes with traces of vegetation and were able to land on them. It is widely believed that the Schwabenland’s subsequent visits to the pole were aimed at scouting out a secret base of operations on the White Continent. A suitable location was found at the Mühlig-Hofmann massif, which was hollowed out into a facility known only as “Base 211.”

In 1947, Admiral Byrd would lead a task force of 13 surface ships and 4,000 soldiers to Antarctica as part of Peration Highjump. Although the expedition’s avowed intention was the testing of military hardware under extreme conditions, the suggestion that it was a combat operation aimed at dislodging Nazi troops from their last redoubt has always floated in the air.

At one point the torrent of email messages regarding Lake Vostok suggested the belief that almost everyone was involved in the mystery (First Lady Laura Bush was allegedly in charge of coordinating shipments of “unknown artifacts” headed for the Antarctic) and that the mystery also involved a UFO. Other remarks indicated that four experts in Antarctic mountaineering had been sent to Lake Vostok as part of a “secret mission.”

In early March 2001, a U.S. channeler known as Lady Kadjina replied to a series of questions regarding the mystery of Lake Vostok. Regarding the nature of the magnetic anomaly, she declared that long before the Antarctic became icebound, the continent had been used as a landing site by extraterrestrials. The ever-benevolent aliens built what we would call an observatory, explained the channeler, equipped with a signalling device capable of broadcasting coded messages. More and more such observatories would be discovered in coming months, and Earth governments would try to seize them. Lady Kadjina added that the observatory contained vast crystals which put forth a certain kind of magnetism, which had been employed as a guidance system so that large spaceships could land at that location.

But that wasn’t all: the magnetic anomaly also served as a port of entry to other dimensions. Vice-Admiral Byrd had apparently stumbled into one of them and had radioed back reports of seeing a completely different, verdant landscape under his aircraft.

With proper knowledge of this equipment, a human being would be able to travel in time and access information stored in distant places. But we will be kept from doing so until our governments have put aside the arms race and reach a more peaceful level of co-existence.

The Interrupted Press Conference

“Good morning. Could I speak with Debra Shingteller?”

“Of course, one moment,” replied the switchboard operator at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

This was my second attempt at contacting the protagonist of the extremely bizarre press conference allegedly held by NASA regarding its involvement, or rather, the sudden end of its involvement, in the Lake Vostok project. It appeared that the agency’s budgetary cuts had been so severe that not even background music could be heard while I was on hold.

“I’m sorry, sir. She’s not in at the moment.”

“Ah...could you please give me her voicemail?”

“Of course. Hold on, please.”

Although I doubted that the elusive Ms. Shingteller would actually return my message, I thought that it was still worth a try. I was surprised, however, when the voice on the answering machine did not correspond to that of the spokesperson, but to another functionary of the NASA Public Information Office. It would appear that Ms. Shingteller had taken some time off after the conference that would make her a household name in conspiracy circles around the world. My question, in any event, was straightforward: why didn’t the press release regarding the sudden distancing of NASA and JPL with the Lake Vostok project appear among the ones publicly available on the web?

The communiqué which had vanished from the electronic medium would have read thus: “ANTARCTIC CARTOGRAPHIC MISSION INTERRUPTED DUE TO N.S.A. OVERRIDE,” adding that NASA spokesperson Ms. Shingteller had alluded to “matters of national security” which necessitated the termination of both space exploration agencies’ involvement in the research initiatives at Lake Vostok. After saying these words, the spokeswoman was escorted from the podium while her assistant responded to the inevitable questions from the press core with a rote sentence: “The project has been cancelled due to environmental reasons.”

Shortly after this event, JPL’s Frank D. Carsey tried to put an end to the rumors by saying that the wrong acronym had been employed, and “NSA intervention” should have been “NSF intervention,” given the National Science’s Foundation assumption of the NASA’s drilling operations, arising from the fact that the space agency’s funds had been exhausted.

This did nothing to allay the mystery.

Word spread over the Internet that researchers stationed at Norway’s Amundsen base, 150 miles east of Vostok, had witnessed the arrival of a large quantity of equipment and personnel in the study area. Australian sources remarked that the two women who had taken the challenge of crossing Antarctica by skiing from one end to the other had been forcibly evacuated. Apparently both skiers had been transferred to the Australian polar base and from there to Samoa by an elite U.S. Marines unit, despite the protests of Australian personnel. Another rumor held that Russian scientists had been evicted from the Vostok base by U.S. Navy SEALS (what must Vladimir Putin have thought about all this?) while an exodus of personnel from the U.S. bases was underway: Seven individuals, all of them employed by Raytheon, which provides support services for the American polar bases, were evacuated for medical reasons, while another four departed from the McMurdo base voluntarily.

According to statements made on the Art Bell Show, two of departees from the South Pole were suffering from an ailment about which they refused to comment. Much was made about a comment voiced by the physician in charge at McMurdo to the medical officer who was coming in to replace him: “Fill your pockets with salt” —apparently a phrase commonly employed in the nuclear industry referring to the taking of iodine tablets in order to prevent any harm to the thyroid gland in the event of a nuclear crisis.

Even more startling was a statement posted on the Internet and attributed to Mike Bara, who coordinates the Enterprise Mission’s “South Pole Update.” The statement supposedly suggested that the short supply or complete lack of salt at the South Pole at the end of the Antarctic summer, at a time when sufficient quantities ought to be found after seasonal revictualing, suggested the possibility that the salt was being consumed by workers due to high levels of radioactivity—suggesting the possibility that the source of Lake Vostok’s heat could have been radioactive in nature.


Lest the reader be given the idea that the Antarctic has a monopoly on mystery, a visit to the lands surrounding the Arctic Circle may be in order.


Site Meter

In his book Atlantis Rising (Dell, 1976), renowned paranormal and UFO researcher Brad Steiger mentioned a 1965 paper presented by Canadian geophysicist John M. DeLaurier of the Dominion of Canada Observatory. According to this scientist, there was something strange going on beneath the ground at Ellesmere Island, a barren location mostly covered by glacial icecap and roamed by herds of caribou and musk oxen.

Professor DeLaurier’s paper discussed the existence of a structure so vast that it defied imagination—a quasi-cylindrical loaf of an object measuring 65 miles long by 65 miles thick at a staggering depth of 80 miles. The huge structure had been detected by seismic equipment located at Alert, one of the U.S.-Canadian Distant Early Warning (DEW) stations in the Arctic wilderness. Studies showed that the object, which straddled the earth’s mantle and crust, was the source of some sort of disturbance—similar to the situation encountered at Lake Vostok 30-odd years later—affecting the magnetic field at the Alert facility and “inducing a strong flow of electricity.”

Official sources have not provided much additional information regarding the mysterious Antarctic lake, and the controversy rages on across the Internet, while hundreds of different opinions clash over the nature of the goings-on at this remote location.

Nazi Gold, Hitler’s DNA and the Lost Land of Thule

UFOs, Nazis, Atlantis, alien biological weapons, and the quest for the lost land of Thule all sound like a recent episode topics of Stargate SG-1. But these are just some of the stories associated with a sizable military project called Operation Highjump that was conducted by the U.S. Navy in 1946 in Antarctica.

In 1943, German Navy Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz stated that the German submarine fleet had "built for the Führer an impregnable fortress at the other end of the world," in the region of Queen Maude’s Land, later renamed Neuschwabenland

According to German naval archives, two months after Germany surrendered to the Allies in April, 1945, the German submarine U-530 left the Port of Kiel bound for Antarctica. Once the submarine arrived at the South Pole, 16 members of its crew were ordered to construct an ice cave in the region of Neuschwabenland. When construction was complete, several boxes of relics from the Third Reich, including Hitler’s secret files, were supposedly stored there. The sub then entered the Argentinean port of Mar-del-Plata and surrendered to authorities. It is also rumored that the submarine U-977 delivered the remains of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun to Neuschwabenland, for DNA cloning purposes. In August, 1945, one month and seven days after the surrender of U-530, U-977 also entered the waters of Mar-del-Plata and surrendered to authorities.

In 1946, U.S. Navy Admiral Marc A. Mitscher appointed Captain Richard H. Cruzen as commander of Operation Highjump, whose purported purpose was to map the frozen continent of Antarctica while looking for uranium deposits in the region. But several conspiracy researchers assert that they were actually looking for the underground Nazi base that supposedly warehoused German treasure and Hitler’s DNA.

Cruzen had expeditionary experience in Antarctica, having served with Rear Admiral Richard Byrd on the U.S. Antarctic Service Expedition from 1939 to 1941. In 1947, Operation Highjump commenced as part of the U.S. Naval Antarctic Developments Project.

Mapping or Reconnaissance

Operation Highjump commenced as part of the U.S. Naval Antarctic Developments Project, organized by Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal. The task force consisted of over 40 ships, including two destroyer class vessels and the aircraft carrier the U.S.S. Philippine Sea, and a number of planes that were outfitted with a trimetricon (a secret spying camera), a magnetometer (to record any magnetic anomalies), and the recently developed jet-assist takeoff bottles (JATO) which helped with takeoffs from the short runway on an aircraft carrier or for takeoffs on hard surfaces such as ice.

According to government documents, members of Operation Highjump took over 70,000 aerial photographs of select inland areas of Antarctica. Yet most of the photographs were declared unusable for mapping purposes, due to the dearth of adequate ground control points (cartographers need these points when creating maps).

It has been long thought by researchers that the Navy’s mapping story was nothing more than a cover to shield the real operation, which was reconnaissance and recovery of Nazi/Alien hybrid technology. It was also rumored that abandoned Nazi buildings and a downed Nazi plane was photographed, but this rumor has never been substantiated.

In 1947, Admiral Richard Byrd said, "the project was necessary for the USA to take defensive actions against enemy fighters which come from the polar regions." Was he referring to potential Soviet aircraft or Nazi Luftwaffe attacking the States from Antarctica? He never clarified this cryptic statement, which has only served to fuel further conspiracy theories.

Shortly after Admiral Byrd’s press conference the Soviet naval journal, Red Fleet, stated that "US measures in Antarctica testify that American military circles are seeking to subject the Polar Regions to control and create permanent bases for their armed forces." In another odd twist, the governments of New Zealand, Australia and Chile asked for their militaries to join the Operation Highjump expedition but were denied participation. Official government sources say the US was doing nothing more than mapping the frozen continent, though looking for uranium deposits seems to have been on the agenda as well. While others insist they were looking for the underground Nazi base that warehoused German Vril flying discs known as flugscheiben and Thule mercury-powered spaceship prototypes also known as jenseitsflugmaschines.

In 1948, a second task force named Operation Windmill was also sent to take photographs of Neuschwabenland, again supposedly for mapping purposes. Although they apparently succeeded in their task, the government has yet to make these photos available to the public and no reason has ever been given for their nondisclosure. Some believe that the reason the photos have never been released is that this military operation was actually a reconnaissance and recovery mission.

In 1949, when James Forrestal began to suffer from a mental breakdown, he was sent to convalesce at Bethesda Naval Hospital. But when he began to discuss Operation Highjump with the hospital staff, talking wildly about UFOs, Atlantis, and an underground Nazi city, he was denied visitors, including his wife. Shortly afterwards, he fell out of his hospital window to his death. The official report said that he committed suicide but persistent rumors say that he was murdered by government agents to keep him from talking further about what was really found in the Antarctica wilderness during Operation Highjump.

The truth of the matter may never come to light, but what is known is that several U.S. military personnel surprisingly lost their lives during Operation Highjump; a supposed mapping operation that should have been an entirely safe endeavor. Also, multiple planes were downed during the operation, including the George One which, according to Naval documents, mysteriously "just blew up" over the ice during its initial flight in Antarctica.

Beyond the legends of Nazi gold and Hitler’s DNA, could the Germans have been hiding advanced technology, or at least the blueprints for such, in Antarctica? Could the Nazis have hidden highly advanced foo fighters or even a nuclear bomb there? According to British Intelligence, we know that advanced, stealth foo fighters and Vril flying saucer-shaped craft were on the drawing board at the German Institute for Aerial Development. We also know that Austrian Viktor Schauberger discovered that physics operates with a dual principle of centripetence and centrifugence, also known as vortex dynamics. One of the experiments headed up by Schauberger included the apparent levitating of aircraft by the use of a water and hydrogen mixture coupled with vortex energy. This could have been a foo fighter prototype. According to records seized by Allies from the archives of the German High Command, the Nazis were also developing a series of A9 and A10 nuclear missiles with the goal of destroying New York City and Washington, DC. It was said that Schauberger’s air ships were the vehicle of choice for the delivery of these bombs. Though we know that such missiles were in the early development stages, blueprints for such weapons were never found. What is known is that these blueprints never fell into British or Russian hands. However, several of Schauberger’s prototype repulsine vortex machines were confiscated both the US and Russian military. After the war, Schauberger lived in the US and was rumored to be employed by the US government working as a consultant on a top secret UFO project in Texas, though his whereabouts also were also placed at Area 51, in the New Mexico desert.

Another rumor associated with Nazi involvement in Antarctica and Operation Highjump is that Antarctica was the lost Aryan homeland of Thule. While Antarctica has been linked to the lost continent of Atlantis, the linkage to Thule is less apparent. Thule (also known as Thula, Thyle, Thila, Tila, Tyle, or Tylen, among other cognates) was first written about by the Greek explorer Pytheas after his travels between 330 BC and 320 BC. In 150 AD, Greek writer Antonius Diogenes wrote The Wonders Beyond Thule, a most likely fictional account of adventurer’s tales. While of literary interest, this work did little to reveal any secrets about Thule. Based upon writings by the Roman poet Virgil and by Roman Historian Pliny, scholars traditionally believed that Thule was most likely a reference to either Iceland, Greenland or Scandinavia. In medieval geographies Thule was referred to as distant place located beyond the "borders of the known world."

Nazi mystics believed in historical Thule (also referred to as Hyperborea) as the ancient origin of the Aryan race. The Thule Society or Thule-Gesellschaft was founded in 1918 by German occultist Rudolf von Sebottendorff to pursue research on Thule. The Nazis utilized the Thule Society as a focus point for all sorts of "black ops" projects. This is where the basis for Antarctica not only being a secret UFO base, but the lost land of Thule first originated. Legends and urban myths about Nazi-driven Thule Society exploits have persisted into the 21st century.

Just what was the US military doing in Antarctica in 1946 and 1947? Were they searching for uranium deposits or were they engaging remnant Nazi fighters in a battle for hidden alien/Nazi technology? Did the Nazis truly bury military secrets in the Antarctic or hide vast amounts of gold there in hopes of funding a future effort to resurrect the Fourth Reich. Or did they, as some claim, discover the lost land of Atlantis or Thule?

We may never know for sure but in 2001, the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the Support Office for Aerogeophysical Research confirmed the existence of a magnetic anomaly on the eastside shore of Lake Vostok in Antarctica, consistent with a man-made construct. Could this anomaly be part of an underground Nazi base that U.S. agents searched for during Operation Highjump?

Currently several organizations including U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the Support Office for Aerogeophysical Research (SOAR), the Earth Observatory of Columbia University and the British Antarctic Survey are performing research in Antarctica. In fact, the British Antarctic Survey is researching the magnetic anomaly, as well as other Antarctic phenomenon including the recently discovered subglacial lake, as part of the multinational task force mission known as the Antarctic Magnetic Anomaly Project. This project also involves research teams from Ohio State University, the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), NASA and various members of the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy as well as the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics. The Russian Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) is also currently performing magnetic and subglacial like research projects in Antarctica.

Something has indeed been discovered in Antarctica. One of the questions that begs to be asked is did the Nazis find, whatever it is, first? Did we send our military to Antarctica in 1946 to seize this discovery, thus laying claim to it before any other government could do so? In his groundbreaking bestseller Map of the Ancient Sea Kings, Charles Hapgood (1904-1982), History Professor at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts, first put forth the theory that Atlantis resided in Antarctica and was destroyed by crustal displacement. In his bestseller, When The Sky Fell: In Search of Atlantis, Rand Flem-Ath furthered this idea that under the ice of Antarctica exists the remains of Atlantis. Could they be right?

Additional Notes

In 1999, with assistance of the Freedom of Information Act, I requested and was able to obtain a sizable file on Operation Highjump. Nothing too startling existed in the dossier but it did contain declassified military documents, ship manifests, official communiqués, etc. But in 2005 when I sent in a second request for information on Operation Highjump I received much less documentation than before. I guess in a post 9/11 world, information has become more restricted than before, though with this particular project it’s difficult to imagine why that would be the case.

One scientific discovery that was made during Operation Highjump was quite possibly the first evidence of global warming. Researchers on the expedition discovered that a region of Antarctic glacier had melted and came to the conclusion that it was due to the negative impact of pollution on the environment.

More recently, in October 2006, the Scripps Institute of Oceanography reported that they discovered several previously unknown lakes of water underneath the vast ice sheet of Antarctica. These lakes lie beneath 2,300 feet of compressed snow and ice. To detect the subglacial lakes the Scripps Institute used data from NASA’s ICESat, which sends laser pulses down from space to the Antarctic surface and back, much as sonar uses sound pulses to determine underwater features. The satellite detected descended anomalies in the surface that moved around as the hidden lakes continuously drain and fill beneath the surface glaciers. The Scripps Institute made observations from 2003 through 2006 of the Whillans and Mercer Ice Streams, two of the fast-moving glaciers that carry ice from the Antarctic interior to the floating ice sheet that covers parts of the Ross Sea. This project was conducted as part of a global warming assessment. This melting and draining was not because of global warming but of natural processes. Their report made no mention of the magnetic anomaly.

About Michael Lohr:

Michael Lohr is a professional journalist, outdoorsman, music critic, treasure hunter and adventurer. His writing has appeared in such diverse magazines as Rolling Stone, Esquire, The Economist, National Geographic Adventure, Cowboys & Indians and Men’s Journal, to name a few.

Piri Reis Map


In 1929, during renovations of the old Imperial Palace in what is now Istanbul (formerly Constantinople), a painted, parchment map, drawn on a gazelle skin.was found, dated in the month of Muharrem, in the Moslem year 919 (A.D. 1513), and signed by an admiral of the Turkish navy, Piri Ibn Haji Memmed, known as Piri Re'is.

Research showed that it was a genuine document drawn in 1513 by Piri Reis in the sixteenth century.

His passion was cartography. His high rank within the Turkish navy allowed him to have a privileged access to the Imperial Library of Constantinople.

Piri Re'is own commentary indicates that some of his source maps were from the time of Alexander the Great (332 B.C.)..

The Controversy

The Piri Reis map shows the western coast of Africa, the eastern coast of South America, and the northern coast of Antarctica. The northern coastline of Antarctica is perfectly detailed. The most puzzling however is not so much how Piri Reis managed to draw such an accurate map of the Antarctic region 300 years before it was discovered, but that the map shows the coastline under the ice. Geological evidence confirms that the latest date Queen Maud Land could have been charted in an ice-free state is 4000 BC.

On 6th July 1960 the U. S. Air Force responded to Prof. Charles H. Hapgood of Keene College, specifically to his request for an evaluation of the ancient Piri Reis Map.

6 July, 1960

Subject: Admiral Piri Reis Map

TO: Prof. Charles H. Hapgood

Keene College

Keene, New Hampshire

Dear Professor Hapgood,

Your request of evaluation of certain unusual features of the Piri Reis map of 1513 by this organization has been reviewed.

The claim that the lower part of the map portrays the Princess Martha Coast of Queen Maud Land, Antarctic, and the Palmer Peninsular, is reasonable. We find that this is the most logical and in all probability the correct interpretation of the map.

The geographical detail shown in the lower part of the map agrees very remarkably with the results of the seismic profile made across the top of the ice-cap by the Swedish-British Antarctic Expedition of 1949.

This indicates the coastline had been mapped before it was covered by the ice-cap.

The ice-cap in this region is now about a mile thick.

We have no idea how the data on this map can be reconciled with the supposed state of geographical knowledge in 1513.

Harold Z. Ohlmeyer Lt. Colonel, USAF Commander

The official science has been saying all along that the ice-cap which covers the Antarctic is millions of years old.

The Piri Reis map shows that the northern part of that continent has been mapped before the ice did cover it. That should make think it has been mapped million years ago, but that's impossible since mankind did not exist at that time.

Further and more accurate studies have proven that the last period of ice-free condition in the Antarctic ended about 6000 years ago. There are still doubts about the beginning of this ice-free period, which has been put by different researchers everything between year 13000 and 9000 BC.

The question is: Who mapped the Queen Maud Land of Antarctic 6000 years ago? Which unknown civilization had the technology or the need to do that?

To draw his map, Piri Reis used several different sources, collected here and there along his journeys. He himself has written notes on the map that give us a picture of the work he had been doing on the map. He says he had been not responsible for the original surveying and cartography. His role was merely that of a compiler who used a large number of source-maps. He says then that some of the source-maps had been drawn by contemporary sailors, while others were instead charts of great antiquity, dating back up to the 4th century BC or earlier.

In his book, Fingerprints of the Gods, Graham Hancock presents strong evidence that Antarctica was charted long ago by unknown people, when temperatures were much warmer.

He cites a number of old maps, such as the one drawn by Oronteus Finaeus in 1531, reproduced here. Experts examined the original and its age was verified. It was made in the 1500s--three centuries before Antarctica was allegedly even sighted, much less documented. The map is startlingly accurate, depicting ice-free mountain ranges, a South Pole that's just about dead on and the Ross Sea as it would look without the ice shelf.

You can even see Ross Island.

How could someone draw such a map more than 200 years before Capt. James Cook even sailed south of the Antarctic Circle?

Hancock's answer is that it was actually mapped long ago, perhaps thousands of years earlier, and Finaeus merely copied those ancient sources.

Dr. Charles Hapgood, in his book Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings (Turnstone books, London 1979, preface), said that:

It appears that accurate information has been passed down from people to people. It appears that the charts must have originated with a people unknown and they were passed on, perhaps by the Minoans and the Phoenicians, who were, for a thousand years and more, the greatest sailors of the ancient world. We have evidence that they were collected and studied in the great library of Alexandria (Egypt) and the compilations of them were made by the geographers who worked there.

Piri Reis had probably come into possession of charts once located in the Library of Alexandria, the well-known most important library of the ancient times.

According to Hapgood's reconstruction, copies of these documents and some of the original source charts were transferred to other centers of learning, and among them to Constantinople. Then in 1204, year of the fourth crusade, when the Venetians entered Constantinople, those maps begun to circulate among the European sailors.

Most of these maps - Hapgood goes on - were of the Mediterranean and the Black sea. But maps of other areas survived. These included maps of the Americas and maps of the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans. It becomes clear that the ancient voyagers travelled from pole to pole. Unbelievable as it may appear, the evidence nevertheless indicates that some ancient people explored Antarctic when its coasts were free of ice. It is clear too, that they had an instrument of navigation for accurately determining the longitudes that was far superior to anything possessed by the peoples of ancient, medieval or modern times until the second half of the 18th century. [...]

In 1953, a Turkish naval officer sent the Piri Reis map to the U.S. Navy Hydrographic Bureau. To evaluate it, M.I. Walters, the Chief Engineer of the Bureau, called for help Arlington H. Mallery, an authority on ancient maps, who had previously worked with him.

After a long study, Mallery discovered the projection method used. To check out the accuracy of the map, he made a grid and transferred the Piri Reis map onto a globe: the map was totally accurate. He stated that the only way to draw map of such accuracy was the aerial surveying: but who, 6000 years ago, could have used airplanes to map the earth??

The Hydrographic Office couldn't believe what they saw: they were even able to correct some errors in the present days maps!!

The precision on determining the longitudinal coordinates, on the other hand, shows that to draw the map it was necessary to use the spheroid trigonometry, a process supposedly not know until the middle of 18th century.

The way the Piri Reis map shows the Queen Maud land, its coastlines, its rivers, mountain ranges, plateaus, deserts, bays, has been confirmed by a British-Swedish expedition to Antarctic (as said by Olhmeyer in his letter to Hapggod); the researchers, using sonar and seismic soundings, indicated that those bays and rivers etc, were underneath the ice-cap, which was about one mile thick.

Charles Hapggod, in 1953, wrote a book called Earth's shifting crust: a key to some basic problems of earth science, where he made up a theory to explain how Antarctic had been ice-free until year 4000 BC.

The theory summing up is as follows:

The reason Antarctic was ice-free, and therefore much warmer, it is to be found in the fact that, at one time, its location wasn't the south pole. It was located approximately 2000 miles further north. Hapgood says this "would have put it outside the Antarctic Circle in a temperate or cold temperate climate.

The reason why the continent moved down to its present location has to be found in a mechanism called "earth-crust-displacement". This mechanism, not to be confused with the plate-tectonics or the continental drift, is one whereby the lithosphere, the whole outer crust of the earth "may be displaced at times, moving over the soft inner body, much as the skin of an orange, if it were loose, might shift over the inner part of the orange all in one piece".

This theory was sent to Albert Einstein, which answered to Hapgood in very enthusiastic terms. Though geologists did not seem to accept Hapgood's theory, Einstein seemed to be as much open as Hapgood saying:

In a polar region there is a continual deposition of ice, which is not symmetrically distributed about the pole. The earth's rotation acts on these unsymmetrically deposited masses, and produces a centrifugal momentum that is transmitted to the rigid crust of the earth. The constantly increasing centrifugal momentum produced in this way will, when it has reached a certain point, produce a movement of the earth's crust over the rest of the earth's body...

~Einstein's foreword to "Earth's shifting crust"

In fact Piri Reis himself admitted he based his map on way older charts; and those older charts had been used as sources by others who have drawn different maps still of great precision.

Impressive is the "Dulcert's Portolano", year 1339, where the latitude of Europe and North Africa is perfect, and the longitudinal coordinates of the Mediterranean and of the Black sea are approximated of half degree.

An even more amazing chart is the "Zeno's chart", year 1380. It shows a big area in the north, going up till the Greenland; Its precision is flabbergasting. "It's impossible" says Hapgood "that someone in the fourteenth century could have found the exact latitudes of these places, not to mention the precision of the longitudes..."

Another amazing chart is the one drawn by the Turkish Hadji Ahmed, year 1559, in which he shows a land stripe, about 1600 Km. wide, that joins Alaska and Siberia. Such a natural bridge has been then covered by the water due to the end of the glacial period, which rose up the sea level.

Oronteus Fineus was another one who drew a map of incredible precision. He too represented the Antarctic with no ice-cap, year 1532.

There are maps showing Greenland as two separated islands, as it was confirmed by a polar French expedition which found out that there is an ice cap quite thick joining what it is actually two islands.

When human beings were supposed to live in a primitive manner, someone "put on paper" the whole geography of the earth. And this common knowledge somehow fell into pieces, then gathered here and there by several people, who had lost though the knowledge, and just copied what they could find in libraries, bazaars, markets and about all kind of places.

Hapggod made a disclosure which amazingly lead further on this road: he found out a cartographic document copied by an older source carved on a rock column, China, year 1137. It showed the same high level of technology of the other western charts, the same grid method, the same use of spheroid trigonometry. It has so many common points with the western ones that it makes think more than reasonably, that there had to be a common source: could it be a lost civilization, maybe the same one which has been chased by thousands years so far?


The Piri Re'is map is often exhibited in cases seeking to prove that civilization was once advanced and that, through some unknown event or events, we are only now gaining any understanding of this mysterious cultural decline. The earliest known civilization, the Sumerians in Mesopotamia, appear out of nowhere around 4,000 B.C. but have no nautical or maritime cultural heritage. They do, however, speak reverently of ancestral people who were like the "gods" and were known as the nefilim.

Here is a summary of some of the most unusual findings about the map:

Scrutiny of the map shows that the makers knew the accurate circumference of the Earth to within 50 miles.

The coastline and island that are shown in Antarctica must have been navigated at some period prior to 4,000 B.C. when these areas were free of ice from the last Ice Age.

The map is thought to be one of the earliest "world maps" to show the Americas

Early scholars suggested that it showed accurate latitudes of the South American and African coastlines - only 21 years after the voyages of Columbus! (And remember, Columbus did NOT discover North America - only the Caribbean!)

Writing in Piri Re'is own hand described how he had made the map from a collection of ancient maps, supplemented by charts that were drawn by Columbus himself. This suggests that these ancient maps were available to Columbus and could have been the basis of his expedition.

The "center" of the source map projected from coordinates in what is now Alexandria - the center of culture and home of the world's oldest and largest library until its destruction by Christian invaders.