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Weird Forgotten History
May 13, 2010 3:51 PM   Subscribe

Before David Koresh, there was simply "Koresh." Cyrus Reed Teed was an eclectic physician from New York who experienced a "divine illumination" (Google Books) in 1869. He recruited over 200 followers to settle a utopian commune in Estero, Florida based on his revelation of a unique hollow-earth theory called the Cellular Cosomogony. Elaborate experiments showed conclusive "proof" that the world's surface was a concave sphere. Despite this, his movement failed to gain traction; relations grew increasingly strained between the Koreshans and the Lee County locals. In 1906, the aging Dr. Teed was severely beaten in a Ft. Myers street brawl (PDF, see pp. 12-14) and died from his injuries on December 22, 1908. His martyrdom sealed, the Koreshans refused to bury the remains (PDF) in the belief that their messiah would be resurrected on Christmas Day. The commune has been preserved as a state historic site where Floridians can learn more about the cult leader in their backyard.

But that's just one part of the story. Word of the Cellular Cosmogony spread to Europe, where the Third Reich's Peter Bender adopted Teed's theory as the Hohlweltlehr, or Hollow World Doctrine. A Nazi engineer discovered Bender's writings and conceived the Magdeburg Project, for which he was granted 25,000 Deutsch marks to launch a rocket straight up from Germany in hopes of impacting New Zealand. After several failed attempts, the project was abandoned in 1933.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis (14 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
world's surface was a concave sphere

I never got past Grade 12 math, but this sounds weird to me. They make spheres concave now?
posted by Kirk Grim at 4:05 PM on May 13, 2010


There are two sided to every sphere: the inside and the outside. The surface of the former is concave, while the surface of the latter is convex. The Koreshans believed that we live on the inside of a hollow earth, with a small sky suspended in the middle.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 4:12 PM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Kirk Grim: "I never got past Grade 12 math, but this sounds weird to me. They make spheres concave now?"

I guess they meant that we were on the inside of a sphere.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 4:13 PM on May 13, 2010


*make that two SIDES. Stupid iPhone keyboard.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 4:13 PM on May 13, 2010


You know who else lived in or on a hollow earth?
posted by battleshipkropotkin at 4:18 PM on May 13, 2010


Thanks! I just had a Matrix 'woah' moment
posted by Kirk Grim at 4:22 PM on May 13, 2010


The Winsome Parker Lewis: "He recruited over 200 followers to settle a utopian commune in Estero, Florida based on his revelation of a unique hollow-earth theory called the Cellular Cosomogony. Elaborate experiments showed conclusive "proof" that the world's surface was a concave sphere. "

Mole Day continues!
posted by Rhaomi at 4:27 PM on May 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


Is there any way to prove we aren't inside a hollow earth? We asked H.S.M. Coxeter, mathematics professor at the University of Toronto and an expert on inversion geometry. "I can't think of any," he said.
posted by empath at 4:37 PM on May 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


He recruited over 200 followers to settle a utopian commune in Estero, Florida (...) the Third Reich's Peter Bender adopted Teed's theory as the Hohlweltlehr, or Hollow World Doctrine

Another game of "Germany or Florida" that ends on a tie.
posted by qvantamon at 5:07 PM on May 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


Hollow Earth in history and theory (wikpedia)
posted by Brian B. at 6:13 PM on May 13, 2010


Dude, Florida is at least 1/4 crazy - in Daytona, when I was living there, there was the old folks, the rednecks, the beach bums, and the crazies. Being an art student, you know where I fit in, hanging out at used book stores and comic book shops... except out in Deltona was where the real crazy action was at, with UFO cults and artist communes. It's been like that since the Seminoles decided to form a tribe from runaway slaves, pirates and Native Americans run out of Georgia... and getting weirder every year.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:43 PM on May 13, 2010


The commune has been preserved as a state historic site where Floridians can learn more about the cult leader in their backyard.

And being Floridians, they're taking notes.
posted by happyroach at 9:06 PM on May 13, 2010


Add me to the chorus of "Florida is nuts". I've lived here nearly 18 years and even though it's technically my home and even though technically when people elsewhere ask where I'm from I should say "Florida", there is NO way I want to claim this state as my place of origin.

I'd rather tell them I'm from New Jersey. Because I am. And NJ nuts is preferable to FL nuts.
posted by grubi at 6:16 AM on May 14, 2010


I spent 18 years of my life in Florida too. But Florida nuts is nothing compared to Santa Fe nuts.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 7:12 AM on May 14, 2010


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