ATLANTIS: Was There A Lost Continent?

By Ikenga Chronicles June 1, 2017

ATLANTIS: Was There A Lost Continent?

— By Segun Fadipe

From the hidden valleys of Tibet and the stunning pyramids of Mexico to the icy waste of the Antarctic and the deepest ocean trenches, our search for Atlantis will take us all across the world to seek out ancient clues of a civilization that perished before history had even begun, an object of endless fascination and relentless obsession. It is a quest through time and space, to pivotal moments in human history, as well as the dark side of man’s longing for perfection. The myth of Atlantis has cast its spell over generations, each trying to find its own unique vision of this lost idyllic paradise. Our journey will take us across oceans and continents and span ten thousand years of human history, a journey to find a magical lost world.The search for Atlantis has captivated some of the most restless minds and original thinkers of every generation. It is a search that begins here, in the most glorious city of ancient Greece, Athens. In the 4th century B.C., Athens was a city preeminent in all the world, the very epicenter of classical civilization and a beacon of cultural and artistic excellence that had shone through the ages right down to the present day. And it was here in the world’s first democracy, that philosopher Plato wrote the story, three and a half centuries before the time of Christ. That is the first account of Atlantis in all literature.

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In the holy shrine of the ancient Egyptian capital, Solon was shown records of unsurpassed antiquity, the secrets of a long lost age when a civilization of incomparable power and prestige had dominated the world 9, 000 years before— the Empire of Atlantis. The description the Egyptian priest gave to Solon of this mighty vanished civilization is the starting point for every search, ever undertaken to find Atlantis. A description which Plato says, has the great advantage of being a fact and not a fiction. Atlantis was said to lie beyond the pillars of Hercules, outside the Mediterranean sea in an ocean we now call the Atlantic.

Plato was very very specific about where Atlantis was and what size it was, and he described it as being larger than the continents of Africa and Asia put together and he located it very carefully outside the pillars of Hercules. The pillars of Hercules are what we know now as the straits of Gibraltar and when you locate something outside the pillars of Hercules, you are locating it in the Atlantic Ocean just to the west of Spain and North Africa.

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Atlantis was dominated by vast, almost perfectly rectangular plain, surrounded on three sides by high very beautiful mountains, possessed of abundant natural resources, rare plants and precious flowers of every description, even elephants and other exotic animals. Atlantis was a land like no other where the people wanted for nothing. That sacred island which then beheld the light of the sun brought forth infinite abundance and blessings of the earth.

Connected to the ocean by an immense canal a hundred feet deep and several miles long, at the very center of the city was the dazzling citadel of Atlantis, which housed the most spectacular treasures that ever graced the earth.

“They had such an amount of wealth as was never before possessed by kings and is not likely ever to be again.” Plato tells us that for long ages the Atlanteans lived at peace with the rest of the world on their beautiful island paradise. Unspoiled by their material possessions and great wealth, they were concerned only with learning, cultivating virtue and living in harmony with nature.

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Yet finally this golden age passed, then the Atlanteans became like other mortals. Human nature got the upper hand, they became tainted with unrighteous ambition and power. Insatiable for wealth and glory, the Atlanteans pushed forward the bounds of their empire, enslaving all before them. Finally only one city stood between Atlantis and world domination–Athens. But here at the hands of the Athenians, the armies of Atlantis suffered a crushing defeat for the first time, a defeat that was swiftly followed by a natural disaster that laid waste to most of the world, completely destroying the islands of Atlantis. Violent earthquakes and floods, and in a single day and night of misfortune, the Island of Atlantis disappeared in the depth of the sea.

The myth of Atlantis would be lost, disappearing into the shadows of the Dark Ages. It wouldn’t be until European explorers inaugurated an age of discovery, that the search for a lost island paradise began with fervor, a search that would begin with a dogged pursuit of the mythical isle by history’s most famous explorer, Christopher Columbus.

The Holy Inquisition of Spain. Men of God scour the land, searching for any sign of deviation from the one true faith. In less than a decade, thousands have already perished, Jews and Moors, lapsed Christians and social outcasts, all consumed by the cleansing fire of religious zeal. In such an atmosphere of terror Spain would seem an unlikely starting point for Christopher Columbus’s unprecedented voyage of discovery. Yet it was the King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, the very people who accepted the inquisition in motion, that Columbus would have to appeal to finance his bold plan to cross the ocean. Long neglected by the history books, the great navigator had a secret reason to undertake such a perilous voyage. Columbus had heard of a lost island paradise of untold riches and wealth, a mythical land called Anthillia, a land that had replaced Atlantis in the Medieval imagination.

Since the collapse of the Roman Empire in the 6th century, much of the learning of antiquity had been forgotten. Suspicious of pagan wisdom, Christianity evolved a very different vision of the world, one defined by the battle between good and evil.

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At the centre of this world was Jerusalem surrounded by the three known continents–Europe, Asia and Africa. Beyond these was another world, populated by people who were not descended from Adam and Eve, making them in the minds of many, children of the devil. But some like Columbus had radical ideas about the real geography of the world, ideas that had made them obvious figures of suspicion.

It took Columbus a very long time to convince Isabella and Ferdinand that he ought to be able to find something because for the most part his ideas were ridiculed and this was of course during the Inquisition, so that people who had strange or antithetical ideas were not only ridiculed, they were sometimes burned at the stake. Mocked and abused even by children, it had taken Columbus 8 long years to persuade Ferdinand and Isabella to finance his voyage. They did so for trade.

Muslim conquest of the holy lands had reduced their valuable commerce with the Far East to a trickle. A new route to the riches of the Indies had to be found.

Up until the mid-fifteenth century, all of these precious goods got to Europe by way of overland caravans. But in 1453, when the Turks invaded, they cut off these trade routes, so if the nations of Europe wanted to get these goods, they had to find an alternate way and that would have to be a sea route.

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Above all, maps were the key.

To a European king, a map was treasure beyond anything else in the world because it gave him access to the new world, to treasure, to the future, and everybody kept their maps under lock and key, and to, to steal a map from another country was a great coup.

Armed with the most recent maps of Europe’s best cartographers, Columbus had a better picture of the world than most of his contemporaries. His maps were much like our own, save for one all-important exception, the undiscovered continent of America was entirely absent. These maps also suffered from another dangerous defect: No one knew what lay in the Atlantic itself. The ocean was a…

On August 2nd, 1492, as Columbus finally set off on his epic voyage to cross the Atlantic Ocean, he had not one but two goals in mind–crossing the endless expanse of an uncharted sea, and discovering the mysteries of an island called Antillia. History has recorded only scant evidence of the events of Columbus’s momentous journey. We do know that when his expedition was 12 days out from the Canary Islands and 2, 000 miles from Spain, he ordered his tiny 3-ship fleet to set a northwesterly course in precisely the direction that Antillia was thought to be. Two days later, he ordered the ships to turn west again, and two days after that, they set a course southwest. After 6 days of searching, Columbus abandoned what appeared to have been a frantic search for Antillia. The decision probably saved the expedition. Columbus had made a potentially fatal error. In common with the mapmakers he had estimated the size of the world based on calculations of Arabic scholars.

The problem is that that measurement’s made in Arabic miles which’s much longer than Italian miles with the result that, the, er, all the geographical thinkers take the earth to be much much smaller than it really was.

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On the 12th, October after nearly three months at sea, Columbus and his men finally made landfall. They had crossed the vast ocean and reached the Americas. Returning to Spain a hero, Columbus managed to persuade the King and Queen to support 3 further voyages to colonize the New World. But Antillia and its legendary riches were never found. Its name now lives on in a chain of islands in the Caribbean Sea, the Antilles.

Amid the spectacular ruins of the new world, the story of Atlantis would now take a different turn, becoming the focus for one man’s bold quest to discover the truth about his country and himself. 30 miles from modern-day Mexico City lies Teotihuacan, the spectacular city of the gods. It was already an abandoned ruin long before the time of the Aztecs who regarded it as the birth place of the sun. The Spanish conquistadors had been so overwrought by the city’s majesty. One of their earliest chroniclers had written,

“There is no known cause why we shoot any longer about of Atlantis. The discovery and conquest of the Indies do plainly declare what Plato had written.

150 years after Columbus had discovered America, such sentiments would inspire one man to come to the city of silence and search for physical proof of the lost legacy of Atlantis, a search that was bound up in his own quest to discover himself.

Though much of his story has been forgotten, Don Carlos Sigüenza was among the most brilliant men of his age. A poet, mathematician, astronomer and engineer, Sigüenza was also one of the first archeologists in history. Born in Mexico City, Sigüenza was a Creole and considered inferior by the country’s Spanish rulers.

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Sigüenza was a Creole which means he was descended from Spanish parents, er, although we, we know now that perhaps there were Creoles who had part indigenous blood. They were not at the same level as Spaniards. They were not equal, they were inferior.

Overcoming the prejudices of Mexico-Spanish overlords had become Sigüenza’s self-appointed task from an early age. He was determined to prove that the ancestors of Mexico’s Indians had once forged a culture to rival ancient Rome.

Sigüenza first learnt of Atlantis while studying to be a Jesuit where he came across the work of Athanasius Kircher whose 1665 map of the lost continent was the first in history. Expelled from the Jesuit order for his lack of discipline, Sigüenza turned to science, making groundbreaking studies of eclipses before journeying to Teotihuacan to see the city’s ruins for himself. What he found there overwhelmed him. Carefully measuring and recording everything he could, Sigüenza found Teotihuacan’s layout truly mystifying–a puzzle that appealed to his mathematical talents and would bring him back to this ruined city, time after time. The city bore all the hallmarks of an advanced civilization, and Sigüenza found evidence of astronomy, hieroglyphic writing and pyramid building that was uncannily similar to that of ancient Egypt.

He saw many parallels between Egypt and the early Mexican culture in the calendar, in the way of dress, in the hieroglyphics, and in the pyramids.

Could the two civilizations have been related?

I have been stimulated by the great love, which I have for my country and in which would be found exceedingly strange information. These data will probably die with me on account of my great poverty.

But fortunately, some of Sigüenza’s works did survive and we know that amid these vast monumental ruins he believed that he had found the answer to the ancient riddle of Atlantis.

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What he was trying to do, I believe, was to connect Atlantis, Plato’s ideas, with the Bible. Sigüenza would have jumped from the myth of Atlantis which would have been kind of a foundation for him to Biblical prophecy of people dispersing across the globe after the Deluge.

Fusing scientific ideas with his deeply held belief in the truth of the Bible, Sigüenza concluded that the destruction of Atlantis and Noah’s flood had actually been one and the same event. A vast deluge which had swept away a forgotten civilization, forcing its survivors to seek refuge in both Egypt and Mexico where they built the pyramids before vanishing from history.

Don Carlos Sigüenza was the first Atlantis seeker to search for physical proof of the lost continent, but he was not alone in wanting to cast new light on an ancient legend. Across the ocean in 17th century England, two courtiers of Queen Elizabeth I were also immeasurably broadening the scope of the quest for Atlantis.

One of the reasons that by the 17th century the Atlantis myth had become reintroduced was because there was much more exploration under Elizabeth I. And there was a renewed interest in science in Elizabethan England. This obviously would have encouraged people to reopen the Atlantis story and therefore people began once again, if not to look for it specifically, certain to… certainly to refer to it specifically.

Francis Bacon was a statesman, playwright and one of the first modern scientists. Eager to promote the merits of science to still a largely unscientific world, Bacon wrote a fable called The New Atlantis, the first reworking of the myth since Plato. The New Atlantis told the story of how survivors from the original Atlantis had founded an idyllic society in the still unknown reaches of the Pacific Ocean and used science to uncover the mysteries of the universe. Like Plato, he left his story tantalizingly incomplete.

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Bacon refers to Plato, so this was the origin of his story, but it is not seriously an attempt to resurrect Plato’s Atlantis, but to create a Utopian society that the British could look at as a way of rewriting the way people could live together.

But Bacon’s linking of Atlantis to advanced technology would stay with the myth ever after, as would Atlantis’ association with a rather different field of human investigation.

When Napoleon invaded Egypt in 1799, he took with him the largest collection of scholars ever to accompany a military campaign. The finds and discoveries made by Napoleon’s archaeologists generated a national obsession with all things ancient, in time inspiring a fellow Frenchman Jules Verne to take the story of Atlantis from the arcane libraries of a few lonely scholars into the imagination of the whole world.

Here were the encrusted remains of an Acropolis, with the floating foams of a Parthenon. Here were the vestiges of an ancient port on the shore of a vanished sea, which had once given shelter to merchant ships and craft of war. Palestine was outlines of crumpled walls and long-lines of wide deserted streets. An ancient Pompeii buried beneath the sea. Atlantis.

Jules Verne’s image of Atlantis in 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea was perhaps the most spellbinding description of the lost city since Plato’s.

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It was published in 1870, enormously popular book, the drawings that actually accompanied the book showed people marching around in Greek, sunken Greek temples and this of course was kind of an interesting concept and probably was the element that got people more and more interested in Atlantis. The idea that under water, you could walk around in sunken Greek temples.

Written in the 1870s as the effects of the industrial revolution and new technologies were rapidly changing the world, Verne’s story of under sea exploration was a prescient guess of the shape of things to come.

It was really a Da Vinci kind of prophecy. The general population of the day had no idea about the oceans really. Most people did not know how to swim; Most people certainly had never been underwater. All they knew was that the ocean was populated by monsters of one kind or another/ that probably ate ships and certainly ate people.

Here in his study in Minnesota, Ignatius Donnelly, a failed politician, wrote one of the greatest best-sellers of his age, making him the founding father of the modern hunt for a real Atlantis. His ideas launched a wave of Atlantis mania that has been with us ever since. A former congressman and lieutenant governor of Minnesota, Donnelly had railed against the tycoons of big business who controlled the politics of the day, choosing to champion the cause of the common man. His idealism, unfortunately, brought only political and financial disaster.

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He started a commune in Minnesota with a man called Nininger, the commune was called Nininger City, it didn’t seem to work very well as an idealistic commune. And by the time it was over, there was exactly one resident there, and that was Ignatius Donnelly.

By 1880 Donnelly was out of office and down on his luck. And so he retired to his study to begin the work for which he is now most famous, a book entitled Atlantis–the Antediluvian World. Donnelly had studied Plato as a boy and the story of Atlantis had always intrigued him. With time on his hands, he decided to read everything and anything he could to find out once and for all, the truth about Atlantis. Donnelly had been galvanized in his quest to find the location of the sunken continent, by an archeological find that had thrown all preconceived ideas about the myth of the ancient world into chaos. Ten years earlier, a German businessman-turned-archeologist Heinrich Schliemann uncovered on the coast of Turkey the ruins of the city of Troy and many of the treasures from the mythical war between the Greeks and Trojans.

When Schliemann discovered Troy, it completely changed the way people looked at mythology and archeology. Before Schliemann, people had thought that what Homer had written was fiction. He made this up, there wasn’t really a city of Troy. But what Schliemann did was he read Homer carefully and he figured out correctly where Troy would be located if you performed a literal translation of Homer.

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It was this astonishing find that persuaded Donnelly that if Schliemann could discover Troy by carefully rereading Homer, then he too might discover Atlantis by rereading Plato. Obsessed in his quest, Donnelly tirelessly searched for Atlantis in everything around him until a thesis slowly began to emerge. Donnelly found evidence of Atlantis having existed in the similarity of plants, animals and ancient cultures on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

Letters of congratulations arrived from all over the world, including one marked only Ignatius Donnelly, America. To Donnelly’s astonishment, it came from William Gladstone, prime minister of the British Empire.

“Though much pressed by public affairs, I have contrived to read an already appreciable portion of your book, and I’m much disposed to believe in Atlantis. ”

Gladstone sent this letter and addressed it to Ignatius Donnelly Esquire, America. And Ignatius being an Irish man and not wishing to be outdone, decided to reply to him and his reply said: The Right Honorable William Ewart Gladstone, the world.

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I could not but smile. I was corresponding with a man whose word was fate anywhere in the British Empire. I could have uttered a whirlpool of exultation.

Because his book was so popular, people tended to believe that it was / fact. A good parallel, I think , is with Peter Benchley’s book Jaws. What Benchley has the white shark doing in Jaws does not actually happen, but think about how many people read this book and became absolutely terrified to swim in the ocean. It is possible for people to take what is essentially a work of fiction, but if it’s presented cleverly enough and if it has enough science woven into it, to believe that it’s absolute fact.

Flushed by the overwhelming success of his book, Donnelly, now a wealthy man, turned his attention to the truth behind other ancient myths. But none of his other books ever came close to matching the success of Atlantis, the Antediluvian world. Disappointed, he returned to politics again without success. He died in 1901.

In many ways, politics was his undoing. This, a quote, from the obituary, which says, the memory of Donnelly the politician will die. It is for Donnelly the author as we weep, which sounds bitter.

Donnelly’s book began a tradition of armchair exploration that has accompanied the search for Atlantis ever since. The father of Atlantology, Donnelly was the first man to convince the public that Atlantis really could be found. Little did he realize that his work would prompt a search for the lost continent that is literally out of this work.

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With her air of cultivated mystery, her almost incomprehensible Russian accent, and her outlandish behavior, Madam Blavatsky soon became one of the stars of the New York seance scene, revealing to her guests through a series of bizarre spiritual contacts that she was in communication with mysterious forces–mysterious forces from Atlantis. Although exposed as a trickster on numerous occasions, somehow Madam Blavatsky’s appeal just kept on increasing. Before long, Madam Blavatsky attracted the attention of Colonel Henry Olcott, a former member of the committee that had investigated President Lincoln’s assassination. The two soon moved in together.

They called each other Jack and Melanie which doesn’t suggest a sexual relationship. But they did live together, they lived together perhaps as pals, chums, friends. Mysterious letters soon began appearing all over the apartment. Written in her own handwriting, Brobasky claimed these materialized letters had been dictated to her by cosmic masters who were eager to inform Olcott of their shared mission. The messages told them he had been admitted into the secret order of these cosmic masters whose ranks included such great spiritual teachers as Christ, Buddha, Confucius, Solomon, and Plato.

Very few people are admitted to this wisdom and the knowledge of Atlantis is part of that wisdom, because of course the continent of Atlantis was the original settlement of these arriving cosmic masters coming from a different part of the universe to set up, as it were, human life or what was to become human life. After Atlantis’ destruction, the cosmic masters had retreated to hidden valleys in the Himalayan Mountains, venturing out only rarely to monitor the progress of the human race. Blavatsky claimed she had first encountered these cosmic masters when she herself had been traveling in Tibet many years before. Now after an apprenticeship of 20 years, the cosmic masters wanted her to bring about a new age of spiritual enlightenment with Olcott’s help.

In1875 the two companions set up an organization dedicated to universal brotherhood, investigation of man’s latent psychic powers and spreading the wisdom of the east to the west. They called it the Theosophical Society. Incredibly within a decade, they had branches all over the world including India where Mahatma Gandhi would become a member.

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In 1888, Blavatsky wrote a book called the Secret Doctrine, in which she attempted to establish the principles of Theosophy or God Wisdom that the cosmic masters had imparted to her. Blavatsky cited most of Donnelly’s theories about Atlantis with approval, but she had one major disagreement. In her opinion, Donnelly’s belief in Darwin was a grave error. And in one corner of her room sat a stuffed baboon as a constant reminder of how wrong she thought the Theory of Evolution was. Instead Blavatsky proposed that the cosmic masters of Atlantis had been the real progenitors of the human race.

Occultism rejects the idea that Nature developed man from the ape, tracing the origin of the species to the Third Race man of the early Atlantean period.

Blavatsky argued that while some peoples notably the Aryan-Hindus had retained the Atlantean purity of their ancient ancestors, others had not.

The Aryan- Hindu belongs to the oldest race now on earth, the Semite-Hebrew to the latest. There was a day when the Israelites had beliefs as pure as the Aryans, but now Judaism has become a religion of hate and malice.

Blavatsky’s linking of Atlantis to ideas of racial superiority would later be seized upon by the most sinister forces of the 20th century. Madam Blavatsky died in 1891, and true to form, the grandmother of the new age refused to go quietly.

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Her last years alas were fraught with endless dramas, because although she had officially retired from the Theosophical society, she couldn’t stop meddling. And being a hell-raiser, she took every possible opportunity to stir the pot, so she died rather sadly, really, because she was in the middle of a maelstrom of anger and scandal when she died. But somehow that’s entirely appropriate one feels she rather enjoyed it.

Madam Blavatsky’s ideas cast a long shadow over the story of Atlantis, providing fertile ground for the myth-makers of new age spirituality. But ironically it would be the propagandists of the Third Reich who would first seize upon her theories of a pure Atlantean race. The year’s 1933 and in Central America, one of the forgotten chapters in the story of Altantis is about to unfold. Deep in the Guatemalan jungle, a German archeological expedition believes it’s unearthed finds which challenge many of our most cherished ideas about human evolution. Buried deep in the earth are the mortal remains of a people who don’t even appear to be human, remains which local people believe to be the forgotten race of Atlantis.

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From the moment the Nazis seized power in Germany in1933. They inaugurated a series of quests in search of fabulous objects and places from mankind’s earliest myths. The lost Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail, the Spear of Longinus which pierced Christ’s side, and the lost continent of Atlantis.

For Adolph Hitler, such places and objects held a dark promise of secret knowledge and limitless power. If the Nazis could find them, their armies would be invincible. Missions were dispatched all over the world from Wewelsburg Castle, the sinister heart of the Third Reich. Built on the intersection of 4 prehistoric pathways called lay lines, Wewelsburg was believed to lie in a zone of magical earth power, and thus a fitting place for the home of the Nazi’s most elite troops- the dreaded SS.

Never forget we are a knightly order, from which we cannot withdraw, to which we are recruited by blood.

Headed by Hitler’s trusted lieutenant – Henrich Himmler, the SS modeled themselves on an order of Knights. The purist members of the Aryan race, they were the only men considered fit enough to pursue such ancient secrets as Atlantis.

The search for these sorts of objects had a dual purpose. On the one hand it made for great publicity, I mean, this kind of stuff just looks good in the headlines, you know, with the archeologists out looking for the Ark or have found the Spear of Longinus and it’s coming to Berlin. And, you know, the archeologists actually were out there in teams looking for these types of objects, that’s in fact an accurate element in Spielberg’s films. In fact there was a major concern within the profession that German archeologists were going to become the laughing stock of their colleagues outside of Germany because of this, this type of lunatic fringe research.

How and why German archeologists became so obsessed with pursuing these mythical objects and places has its roots in the disaster of World War I and its terrible aftermath. In which the myth of Atlantis played a fateful role in the Nazi’s rise to power.

Published in the 1930s, the novels of Edmund Kiss told the story of how in the long forgotten past, an ice moon from deep space had collided with the earth, bringing with it the seed of Aryan man. Naturally superior to the ape man of the earth, this Aryan race had established the world’s first civilization on islands in the Atlantic Ocean- Atlantis. Most incredible of all, Kiss’s novels were not meant to be purely fantasy. They were based on ideas which many Germans actually believed to be fact.

Edmund Kiss published a series of novels, at least 4 that I know of- the Glassy Sea, the Spring in Atlantis, the Last Queen of Atlantis, and then there is a sort of Diaspora novel that talks about the eventual migration to South America. And this seemed to be quite popular, certainly Hitler was a big fan, and Hitler believed that they were true to life, if fictionalized, representation of what actually happened.

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Kiss’s Atlantean city closely resembled Plato’s. But in the place of a fantastic temple in the center of the city, Kith put a vast war office, echoing plans for the Nazi’s rebuilding of Berlin. From here the purest and most noble Atlantean leaders ruled an empire that spanned from the first cities of South America to the classical civilization of Greece. As Kiss wrote: only time will tell where the limits of our power lie, we must build a community that will demonstrate to all the visible signs of our Nordic blood- The whiteness of our skin, the blueness of our eyes, our freedom of spirit uncorrupted by the base superstitions of religion.

Yet , just as an ice moon from deep space had brought the Atlanteans to earth, so many ages later, another would bring about their doom, colliding with the earth and destroying their continent. Kiss tells us that Atlanteans returned to the arctic north seeking safety in the ice and snow, which had once given birth to them. Far away from inferior races that might tarnish their noble bloodlines, the Aryans of Atlantis rejuvenated, purified by the icy environment of the North and here they were reborn as the Germans awaiting the day when a leader would emerge to resurrect the Aryan empire of Atlantis once more.

This documentary film lost in the German archives played to packed audiences in German movie theaters in 1933. Not wanting to dispel the illusion of a great find, the archeologists remained evasive about what they had really discovered. These misshapen skulls were actually the result of an ancient native American practice, in which the heads of young children are bound and deformed for religious reasons. But the third Reich’s obsession with Atlantis and other myths went much further than appeasing the German public’s appetite for mystery.

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In 1934, a year after this film about Atlantis was made, Himmler formed the Ahnenerbe, a specialist division of the SS recruited from some of the country’s best universities. Though many members didn’t yet know it, the Ahnenerbe’s aim was no less than the reinvention of German history. The academics and archeologists who joined the Ahnenerbe soon found their leader to be a difficult and troublesome taskmaster.

He had a habit of getting, you know, three o’clock in the morning, getting a sudden inspiration, jotting down a memo, find out why butterflies migrate or find out why crows tend to sort of gather at places of execution and he’ll send this off to the appropriate unit, you know, imagine the sort of appearing on someone’s desk, and they are looking at it thinking where did that come from. And If you were luck, he’d forget about it.

When war broke out in 1939, and German army swept across Europe, the scientists of the Ahnenerbe followed in their wake using archeology to claim that the Nazis weren’t conquering territory, they were merely reclaiming land that once belonged to the Aryan race.

As the war progressed, the myth of Atlantis began to assume a far more malign role, the lost racially pure homeland of Atlantis now became the model for the new Nazi Germany.

Nazi propaganda had harnessed the myth of Atlantis for a deadly intent. But across the Atlantic, myth makers of an entirely different thought were also reinventing Atlantis as pure fantasy – Hollywood. Most famous of all Atlantis movies is probably the 1961 Atlantis, the Lost Continent, in which a humble Greek fisherman called Demetrios saves the beautiful Princess Antillia from the evil masters of Atlantis. But the Lost Continent was only the most memorable of a whole genre of B movie adventure films and serials that have continued to reinvent Atlantis.

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There’s something about the Atlantis series that everybody loves. And even now, or in recent times, people have used it in movies, they’ve used it in novels. There are serials made in the 1930s about Crash Corrigan and the Undersea Kingdom of Atlantis. And they are wonderful kind of idea–Crash on a horse riding through Atlantis which looks very much like the Monument Valley in the American west, because I think they just happened to be there, and they said:”Well, why don’t we make an Atlantis movie, ok, you put the saucepan on your head and we’ll do that.”

From The Man from Atlantis who sought to help the US navy protect the free world, to The Warlords of Atlantis who wanted to enslave it, Atlantis has been portrayed in almost every conceivable way except as a real place. Astonishingly, that would all suddenly change. In the late 1960s, archeological discoveries would bring Atlantis hurtling from the realm of fantasy in Hollywood B movies onto the front pages of newspapers around the world. Hidden in volcanic rock on the Greek island of Santorini, scientists unearthed the lost city of a forgotten people destroyed in an unimaginable catastrophe. All the elements finally seemed to fit and the great city of legend would now make the world of science sit up and take notice.

Santorini, once called Thera, is a beautiful collection of small Mediterranean islands encircling a central volcanic hub With its breathtaking views and stunning sunsets, Santorini is a magnet for tourists from all over the world who visit to sample the unique culture of the Greek islands. But Santorini is much more than a picturesque holiday retreat. Hidden under layers of volcanic rock are the remains of a once proud city that perished in a terrible calamity over 35 centuries ago, a city whose destruction many people believe gave rise to the myth of Atlantis.

The story of this momentous archeological find began in the 19th century on another Mediterranean island 70 miles south of Santorini, an island called Crete. In 1899, the British archeologist Arthur Evans had begun unearthing on Crete the remains of a mysterious civilization, which seemed to have been completely forgotten by history. Based on Knossos Evans uncovered the remains of a powerful sea trading people who worshiped the bull and built large labyrinthine buildings. Factors which encouraged him to name this unknown culture the Minoans after King Minos, a mythological figure from ancient Greek history said to have been the father of the Minotaur.

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The Minoans are probably the single greatest mystery in all of classical history. We don’t really know where they came from, and certainly don’t know what happened to them. But they were building these elaborate palaces and making these fabulous frescos, long before anybody else was doing. This was 1500 BC and remember that Parthenon and Plato himself existed around 350 BC. It was while excavating a Minoan Villa on Crete some 35 years after Arthur Evans that a Greek archeologist called Spyridon Marinatos discovered evidence of a huge volcanic explosion.

When he reached the foundations, my father found quite a large quantity of volcanic pumice. So he thought, what is going on here? Where’s the volcano? He looked at the map and he thought, well, the closest volcano is the volcano of Santorini, when did this erupt?

Based on provisional calculations, Marinatos estimated that the volcano of Santorini had erupted in around 1500 BC. It was a cataclysmic explosion, equivalent to 150 hydrogen bombs. The center of Santorini was ripped open as 50 cubic miles of rock vaporized. Debris was hurtled as far afield as Egypt and Israel. Gigantic Tsunamis overwhelmed coastlines everywhere in the Mediterranean. And aftershocks were felt all over the world. The island of Santorini was shattered into fragments of its former self.

Entombed by a 30-foot layer of volcanic pumice for more than 3,500 years, the city was clearly related to the ruins of Minoan Crete. Hundreds if not thousands of years ahead of its time, among the city’s ruins was evidence of complex drainage systems, showers, flushing toilets, even hot and cold running water. Here too, were exquisite wall paintings, their rich colors preserved by the centuries of confinement, their subject matter unlike anything previously discovered in the region.

We look at the frescos and we see very free flowing, beautiful art. And it’s made scholars think of them as gentle people, people without any violence in them, we find that the cities and palaces on Crete are not fortified, so again we get this vision of a, sort of Utopian society.

Clearly the Minoans have been an exceptional and artistic people, far ahead of their contemporaries in many fields, but were they really the Atlanteans of legend? There were both many similarities and many differences between Plato’s story of Atlantis and the discoveries on Santorini and Crete. Like the Atlanteans, the Minoans had been in contact with the earliest Greeks as well as the Egyptians. But the Minoans disappeared from history near 900-9,000 years before Plato’s time. And even though only a fraction of the city of Acroteria has been excavated, so far, it bears little resemblance to the city of Atlantis described by Plato. It is certainly nowhere near the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Academic opinion remains divided.

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What Marinatos has found was very important, he was able to produce evidence which could form the base for at least part of the story of Atlantis. Maybe not the whole thing, but part of it. And that was the crucial thing.

There’s no comparison whatsoever between the Minoans and the Atlanteans. The Minoans had a high level of culture, but nothing extraordinary. It was a very open society, and they had an empire but it was run by a fleet, none of which seems to fit the description of Atlantis at all.

Nevertheless, there’s one group of people who stick firmly to the belief that Santorini was Atlantis, the islanders themselves.

In the summer of 1968, the occupants of a small plane flying off the coast of Bimini near Florida spotted beneath them mysterious shapes in the clear waters. The site quickly attracted huge interest, especially when fragments of ancient monuments were also found in nearby waters. Known as the Bimini road, could these strange misshapen rocks be the corroded ruins of ancient Atlantis? Their sudden dramatic appearance had been foretold by one of America’s most famous clairvoyants, Edgar Casey. Called the sleeping prophet because of the trance-like state in which he delivered his prophecies. Casey had predicted that Atlantis would rise again in 1967 or 1968. But the circumstances of the discovery cast a shadow of doubt on the risen Atlantis. Not only had the Bimini road been discovered by followers of Casey, it also turned out that Casey himself had been sponsored by a wealthy businessman to locate gold, oil, or other mineral deposits in the Bahamas. Unfortunately on this occasion, Casey’s power seemed to abandon him.

Edgar Casey was in the employ of a businessman who believed that he could actually find gold. And he, Casey, then decided to produce Atlantis as some kind of a substitute for that.

The fragments of ancient monuments also have another explanation that is far removed from the ruins of Atlantis. They are almost certainly the remains of a ship’s ballast, dating back to the time of Columbus when ships needed to take on board and later dump extra weight.

You don’t want all that ballast in ship, you want buoyancy, you get rid of the stone. And there all the sudden is a Corinthian capital from Rome, or from whatever have you, in the, in the Caribbean.

Casey also prophesied that a long lost haul of Atlantean records would be discovered under the Egyptian Sphinx in 1999. Unfortunately these records have so far failed to materialize, further discrediting Casey’s prophecies that Atlantis would rise again.

The Atlantis legend, if you like, has become a new religion. It’s a new age religion. It’s for all those people who are dissatisfied with what the conventional churches have to offer. I think modern people looked to want to find something, something they can believe in even if it’s not reachable, not attainable, so they search for Utopia, a fabulous land, and they’re trying believing in that even though they can never really find it.

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But hope’s spring’s eternal. Using a dazzling array of high-tech and low-tech equipment and spurning the skepticism of conventional experts, a new breed of fringe researcher continues to search for Atlantis.

Is it a search without end? Or would advances in new technology finally reveal the location of lost Atlantis?

Based in Tobay, England, Jim Allen is a former aerial photography analyst for the British Royal Air Force. And it is by analyzing aerial photography that Jim Allen believes he has discovered one of the lost continent’s most distinctive landmarks-the vast irrigated flood plain of Atlantis.

Many people talk about Atlantis, a lost continent city, whatever you want to call it. But nobody bothers to talk about the rectangular plain and the large part of Plato’s story is, is a very geographic description of this actual area.

Jim Allen believes the continent of Atlantis was actually South America. High upon the rugged flood plain in Bolivia called the Alti Plano, Jim thinks he has found the plain which Plato described.

There was a plain said to have been the fairest of all plains and very fertile. It was smooth and even, and of oblong shape, and canals of a hundred feet were cut through it.

Could the Alti Plano of Bolivia really have been the plain of Atlantis? Despite several expeditions, Jim has found concrete proof elusive. And academic experts refuse to even examine his ideas.

Though some time ago I wrote to the leading archeologist in Cambridge who is head of a Cambridge College. And he returned all my material unexamined and he wrote ‘Atlantis is a subject in which I have never been interested.’ And I think that reflects the archeological opinion around the world.

Skepticism is normal in science and ice is a very good preserver, and in the location that we are looking at, we are hoping that there is still something there, but who knows, ten thou…twelve thousands years is a long time.

Only time will tell if technology will prove the ideas of 21st century Atlantis seekers like Ran Flanma or Jim Alan correct.

Throughout the ages, Atlantis hunters have diligently followed the clues laid out in Plato’s 2000-year old description. But is it a description of fact or fiction?

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“I think Plato used real characters, so that people would accept it as truth. I think, however, that Plato knew he was writing fiction, and Plato intended to write fiction. I don’t think that Plato believed the word of it.”

But what might have inspired Plato to invent such a story? In 399BC, Plato’s revered tutor, the great philosopher Socrates was arrested in the dead of night. Dragged before an open court, he was charged with corrupting the morals of Athens, with his outspoken philosophical ideas, and sentenced to death, a fate he accepted without bitterness or regret.

Men of Athens, I honor, and love you. But understand that I shall never alter my ways, not even if I have to die many times. For if you kill one such as I, you will injure yourselves more than you will injure me.

Surrounded by his closest friends and disciples, Socrates calmly drank poison, and passed away into history as one of the great figures of western civilization. But Plato could not be consoled.

“Plato thinks of Socrates as the best and kindest and justest man ever lived. And he sees Athens the city he loves, turn against him and kill him. That I believe was devastating for him. So a lot of Plato’s work is an effort to imagine alternative political and social organizations in which the horrible injustice that he sees having been done in the case of Socrates could never happen again. He would like ideally to create a world in which philosophy, in the person of Socrates will be forever safe.

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“You remember only one deluge, though there have been many..You and your fellow citizens are descended from the few survivors that remained, but you know nothing about it because so many succeeding generations left no record in writing. The change in the rising and setting of the sun and the other heavenly bodies, how in those times they used to set in the quarter where they now rise, and used to rise where they now set… Of all the changes which take place in the heavens this reversal is the greatest and most complete ..There is at that time great destruction of animals in general, and only a small part of the human race survives.” – Critias by Plato 360 B.C.E

Findings from the African angle led us to the following fact. It is the teachings of occultists that the first race of Atlanteans was called RMOAHALS, according to Lt. Col. Arthur E. Powell, ‘the race was first mahogany black in colour, they were about 10ft to 12ft in height. The Rmoahal race was born about Lat 7 degree N and 5 degree E. This spot is the exact location of Ife on the map of Nigeria. If the RMOAHAL, or the first men of Atlantis, were born at Ife, is it not probable that the name Orunmila is a CORRUPTION of RMOAHAL? Leo Froebenius, that German archaeologist of international repute, declared at the conclusion of his researches in Yoruba land that ‘YORUBA IS ALTLANTIS.’ There is no disagreement between Lucas and Froebenius, because the Egyptians (we call them TURANIAS) were also Atlanteans.

While the search continues, then shall we say: “Only the deep can call unto the deep.”

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