Monday, May 18, 2009

Hollow Earth

Hi all,
I've decided to take a bit of a breather, what with that last story being finished and all. I wrote a second version which changes how the ending is portrayed, but keeps the same basic concept.

Below is an analysis I did last year for a lady who found what she thought was a diary kept by Richard E. Byrd, Rear Admiral and the first person to fly over the North Pole, among other things.

This journal supposedly was written as he flew over the North Pole for the second time. The man was a navigator rather than a pilot, so he had someone flying the plane for him while he took notes presumably.

My job was to compare it to the official diary of Richard E. Byrd and decide whether or not it was genuine. The work, which you'll find in the title of this post's link, was supposed to give some credence to the Hollow Earth Theory. Personally I don't believe in the theory, but I wasn't even aware of it until after I finished reading the journal and started looking for inconsistencies.

In any case, read and enjoy:

Richard E. Byrd was a child born to a prestigious Virginia family in 1888. He was raised in the utmost privileged company of the genteel south, attending Shenandoah Valley Academy as a young boy, eventually moving on to join the navy and training in Annapolis.

He spent several years prior to World War 1 as a navigator for the navy’s newly acquired seaplanes, pioneering the many uses of aircraft in a military support capacity. Unfortunately a serious injury received during his time in college made him unable to stand the long watches required of all naval personnel, severely hampering his chances of promotion. As a result he requested early retirement and was discharged with honors in 1916. Unfortunately as the United States was gearing up for war, he was not allowed to rest long. As a retired naval officer he was charged with the administration and overseeing the training of the Rhode Island militia.

He did so well that he was commissioned to do the same with several other New England states.
After the war he was free to engage in his real passion, exploration. A trip to the Philippines at the age of 12 had sparked a burning wanderlust in the young man, which drove him to seek out others with similar inclinations. This led to several expeditions, for which he was most famous. He was the first successful man to head an expedition and navigate a plane over the North Pole. He attempted to cross the Atlantic in a similar model plane and was beaten by Charles Lindbergh in this triumph by a matter of days.

He continued these expeditions, both public and government funded, for the remainder of his life. At the time of his death he left numerous notebooks and diaries, and a paper trail of his exploits numbering over 1.5 million documents. However there is one discrepancy that has historians stumped. He left no information regarding the government funded Operation Highjump in 1947, a year long mission of exploration into Antarctica which brought over 4,700 men occupying 13 well supplied vessels. Curiously this expedition was ended six months early with no official explanation of why or what their findings were. Conspiracy theorists propose that it was an attempt by the US government to hunt down a secret Nazi stronghold located beneath the ice of Antarctica.

A diary has recently been published which is supposedly that of Richard Byrd, who by then had been given the navy title of Rear Admiral. It’s been published under the simple name of The Missing Diary of Admiral Byrd. It is the goal of this document to assess the possible validity of this diary based on differential analysis with the proven diaries of Admiral Byrd from previous expeditions. These methods include comparisons in writing style, prose, grammar, as well as psychological inferences based on what is actually known about the man.

The most immediate discrepancy that jumps out from the first page of the unofficial diary is the introduction. There should not be one. This is supposed to be a personal diary and has no need of an introduction to the reader. This is not in keeping with Byrd’s solemn and businesslike demeanor, which is so well portrayed in his verified diaries from previous expeditions, all of which lack introductions.

The overall feeling in this diary is inconsistent with the mindset of his previous journals. He was known to be an intelligent, detail oriented, man of action. Though not particularly religious, he was somewhat superstitious, looking for patterns in the world around him. Above all, he had faith in the basic good of the human race. The introduction was written from the point of view of someone who does not have this faith. It also charged certain words for dramatic effect by capitalizing them, such as Faith, Greed, Exploitation, and Truth. This is obviously not in keeping with him, as he lacked a sense of dramatic altogether.

Certain details which Byrd would, as a habit, include are missing. The rest of the diary is apparently written during Byrd’s flight over the South Pole, a flight which officially does not exist according to any of the personal journals or diaries of those who were a part of the expedition. Byrd’s previous flight logs always included the date, time, place, weather conditions, names of other passengers in the plane, as well as the type of plane that was being flown. No such information is given in this log.

A serious discrepancy involves Byrd’s place in the plane. The log later suggests that Byrd was flying the plane, despite the fact that he was navigating, as well as writing in his log at the same time. Historically he was a navigator who had not flown a plane since his first attempts as a junior naval officer. In truth, would not have been flying the plane, which would’ve accommodated a separate pilot. Even if he had, he would not have been able to fly while performing the necessary navigational calculations. Also he mentioned a radioman with him, whom he once referred to as Howie. The duty roster of Operation Highjump, which has since been made public, does not include a radio operator by the name Howie or Howard.

Aside from all this, both the content and the structure of the individual log entries arouse the most suspicion in regards to their validity. Byrd was in the habit of shortening his sentences by cutting out such words as “I, We, They, It, etc”. Even then, he was very sparing with what he wrote, using one or two sentences in an entry to convey the facts and let one draw their own conclusions. The sentence structure of the unofficial log is both whole and far too excessive, using whole paragraphs to convey meaning and including emotional content. The presence of emotion was not something seen in any of his previous diaries. Being raised in rural Virginia around the turn of the century, it was likely he was well trained in equipoise, a sublime mixture or balance as well as an iron grip over one’s emotions that allow one to hold fast against all disasters. It may be a bit dated, but the best example of a master of equipoise is Confederate General Robert E. Lee. As such emotion would have no place in this log.

Furthermore, Byrd was very sparing in his use of punctuation, particularly exclamation points. In all of his official diaries combined, he used only three exclamation points. Again this is indicative of his businesslike demeanor. Often a life threatening situation or even the triumph of having reached the North Pole was not sufficient for him to use an exclamation point. While the contents of the unofficial diary are fantastical and far fetched in the extreme, it’s likely he would’ve faced them with the same stalwart demeanor. In this log there are upwards of fifty exclamation points, not at all in keeping with his personality.

Based on this evidence it’s only logical to conclude that this unofficial diary is just that. Unofficial. The use of prose, sentence structure, punctuation, and mindset is far too different from works which are known to have been written by Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd to validate the claim that he wrote this diary. In fact, the inconsistencies with his modus operendi as well as the facts known about him compared to the erroneous details in the diary suggest he most definitely did not write it.

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