Created on: March 21, 2010
With news items proclaiming in 2009 that Google Earth may have discovered the island continent of Atlantis (don't hold your breath, folks!) it's maybe time to give kudos to the humble 'sleeping prophet' Edgar Cayce, who did much to bring Atlantis into public consciousness in the 20th Century.
Cayce, born in Kentucky in 1877, was no academic, but he did have a reputation as a healer, and with clairvoyant skills he would often speak of the magical, legendary place of Atlantis.
Atlantis has captured people's imaginations for centuries, right back to the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, who was convinced that Atlantis had disappeared under the Atlantic Ocean over 10,000 years ago, and that that area of the ocean was so dangerous that it was impossible to search for any evidence of the Atlanteans fate.
Edgar Cayce concurred with Plato's view that Atlantis was an island which had lain between the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, but Cayce would give detailed descriptions of Atlantis, which, if true, would have put the Atlanteans as advanced, technologically, as 20th Century humans. Cayce would talk of firestone, a substance the Atlanteans used to generate energy. This firestone seems to have been the Atlantean equivalent of nuclear power.
Obviously, positive proof of Atlantis does remain elusive, but it is a fascinating legend/myth, like King Arthur. The human race, in different areas of the world, has certainly had big gaps in technological advancement, so for a nation in the distant past to be so advanced is not quite so fanciful. For instance, the Romans had a level of technology, which wasn't really matched until the onset of the Industrial Revolution.
Even if the legend of Atlantis has been distorted, and the Atlanteans were primitive people, the fact that an island, reckoned to be the size of a continent, may have collapsed into the ocean - if proved - would be the biggest archaeological find in human history.
The legend of Atlantis has intrigued people since ancient times. Did it really exist? Was, as has been said, Atlantis occupied by humans for thousands of years before it disappeared and sank into the Atlantic Ocean so suddenly? Edgar Cayce died in 1945, but he did suggest that part of Atlantis would reappear around the island of Bimini in the Caribbean. In 1968, divers found some curious blocks of stone, which looked like they had been put in place to make a roadway. Radio-carbon dating proved them to be around 12,000 years old. The road to Atlantis - maybe?
As for Google, a spokeswoman said: "What users are seeing is an artefact of the data collection process.... Bathymetric (or sea floor terrain) data is often collected from boats using sonar to take measurements of the sea floor.... The lines reflect the path of the boat as it gathers the data. The fact that there are blank spots between each of these lines is a sign of how little we really know about the world's oceans." So, no luck there, then...
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