The very idea of a Hollow Earth hypothesis is conventionally agreed to be as hollow as the Flat Earth theory falls flat. Even to consider it is seen as being not just non-scientific but anti-science. But let’s not forget that Earth science was in its infancy a hundred years ago when Etidorhpa was first published, and occult scientific study was de rigueur. Nor that there are competing ideas about what “hollow” constitutes.
The original manuscript of Etidorhpa (that’s “Aphrodite” spelled backwards) was reputedly given to a Cincinnati man, Llewellyn Drury, by a mysterious stranger who materialised in front of him in his room one cold November night in the mid-1800s. It told of the man’s early years as a mortal being, of his Masonic transformation, of his incredible journeys into hidden recesses of the Earth’s interior and his encounters with strange beings. Drury was told to hide the manuscript for 30 years, and when the time came, a friend, author John Uri Lloyd, had to step in, getting the first edition into print in 1896 with J. Augustus Knapp’s paintings and drawings highlighting specific scenes.
One of the problems, of course, is that Etidorhpa may well be just fantasy, or so fantastic it could be true. Whatever the case, it is a classic in the Hollow Earth genre which continues to attract borderlands researchers.