Thursday, 24 October 2001
by Andrew Collins
Last week we reported that The Daily Grail, the world's premiere on-line news service for ancient and modern discoveries, was running a poll to establish what visitors considered to be the true location of Plato's Atlantis. Well, the poll has now been archived (although votes can still be cast) and the results are plain to see.
According to comments posted on The Daily Grail by poll organiser Bill of Amazon UK on Wednesday, 23 October, some of the suggested locations of Atlantis not included in the poll included Mars (is that in the Atlantic?), the northern sky and Malta (?? why?).
Over 84 postings were made on The Daily Grail with respect to the poll, a great many of them sympathetic to the idea that the discoveries made by Advanced Digital Communications (ADC) off the west coast of Cuba in July 2000, and announced only in May 2001, constituted the best possible evidence of Atlantis we have to date. This suited me as I exclusively predicted in GATEWAY TO ATLANTIS (Headline, London, 2000; Carroll and Graf, USA, 2000) that Cuba was the flagship of Plato's Atlantic empire, and that the sunken kingdom would most likely be found in or close to Cuba's coastal waters. This was summed up in a posting made on The Daly Grail on 11 October by one Belgarath which read, simply, `A[n]drew Collins wins'.
My vote for the best suggestion for the site of Atlantis came from Old Nick on 12 October with `Disney World' and Anonymous of 18 October with `Other', followed by `Right next to the Snack Bar and Gift Shop'. These were welcome moments of amusement amid a plethora of different discussions using extraordinarily diverse means of coming up with reasons to locate Plato's Atlantis here, there and everywhere.
The significance of the Daily Grail poll cannot be underestmated, for it shows for the first time in around two years a swing of interest away from Antarctica, which was the public's leading contender for Atlantis at this time. In a poll done by Eden when GATEWAY TO ATLANTIS appeared in 2000, the ice-bold southern continent had overtaken the central Atlantic as the preferred location of Atlantis, which had now been batted into second position. In third place was the academic's favourite, Cret/Santorini, a theory which should have died years ago.
Antartica's elevation to the top of the Atlantean charts had been caused through the concerted efforts of Graham Hancock in his 1995 book FINGERPRINTS OF THE GODS, which borrowed from the research of Canadian researchers Rand and Rose Flem-Ath. Their own book WHEN THE SKY FELL: IN SEARCH OF ATLANTIS, first published in 1995, used the work of Charles Hapgood to help compound their theory that Antarctica was Atlantis. However, as I have pointed out elsewhere on-line there are serious flaws in the Antarctica-Atlantis theory and I had a running debate with Rand Flem-Ath over this subject.
The mid-Atlantic as the site of Plato's Atlantean `continent' (oddly enough, Plato never describes Atlantis as a continent, simply as an island, kingdom and empire) has been a popular theory ever since the appearance of Ignatius Donnelly's ATLANTIS: THE ANTEDILUVIAN WORLD in 1882. The idea of a mother continent from which diffused not simply a global prehistoric culture, who left traces on both sides of the Atlantic, but also flora and fauna, appealed to the world. We now know that much of Donnelly's evidence has either been disproved or attributed better to transatlantic contact with the Americas in ancient times. However, Donnelly's legacy lived on, helped immensely by the inspired readings of American psychic Edgar Cayce, who envisioned an Atlantean continent spreading from the Bahamas to the west coast of Africa.
The announcment of the discovery of underwater features of possible archaeological evidence beneath the shallow waters of the Bahamas back in the late 1960s helped focus attention on the search for Atlantis in the Bahamas, especially a small twin island in the north of the archipelago named Bimini. However, a lack of supporting evidence forced Atlantis enthusiasts to abandon the search in this region in favour of more topical locations, such as the Azores islands on the mid-Atlantic ridge. During the 1970s there were frequent announcements to the effect that some oceanographic survey team, usually from the Soviet Union, had detected underwater walls or carved steps in rocks in the vicinity of the mid-Atlantic. Yet never were these claims ever followed up by scientific reports. Just a few blurry blue pictures would appear in pulp books on the subject, and then nothing more.
Atlantis went off the boil during the 1980s and early 1990s, and we have Graham Hancock to thank for bringing it back into popular imagination with his book FINGERPRINTS OF THE GODS in 1995. Overnight, he created a whole new solution to the mystery of Atlantis, stealing the fire away from Rand and Rose Flem-Ath, who had sent Hancock their preliminary research on the subject (duly credited in Hancock's book).
Thus by the year 2000 Antarctica was king of Atlantis, but not for long. My own GATEWAY TO ATLANTIS attempted to upset the apple cart, and certainly succeeded in offering a plausible new alternative to the true location of Atlantis in Cuba. It set the tone, but it was the announcement in May 2001 that underwater features of possible archaeological interest had been found off the west coast of Cuba which has really set the world alight. Even though I have personally remained cautious regarding the significance of these discoveries, they are by far the best chance we have of confirming the reality of Plato's Atlantis, even though I feel ADC might not have what I was looking for in the region. As stated by me elsewhere, we wait with baited breath for future developments in this area, possibly even a National Geographic underwater survey in 2003.
For the moment, it is all eyes towards Cuba for a hoped conclusion to the Atlantis mystery, and I for one hope that it does not let us down.