L. Sprague deCamp (1907-2000) is probably better known as a science fiction writer with over 120 books to his credit, including two non-fiction titles, Citadels of Mystery (First ed.: Ancient Ruins and Archaeology)  and Lost Continents , in which he was extremely sceptical of the reality of the Atlantis described by Plato. He offers the blunt declaration that Plato concocted the whole story, basing the tale on a mixture of the wealth of Tartessos in Spain, the destruction of the Greek island of Atalanta all intermingled with the mythology of Atlas. Although his criticism is harsh, it should be said that deCamp does display a reasonable degree of objectivity. It is probably because of his perceived integrity that other Atlantis sceptics continually trot out his views in support of their own position.
>A few years after Lost Continents was published, Nikolai Zhirov wrote a critique of the book(c), rejecting both its style and content. He notes that “the work shows a bad one-sided knowledge of geology and oceanography which is not counterbalanced by a critical examination of the published geological and oceanographical facts, although it is only by a study of these last that the Atlantis problem can be fully resolved.” Personally, I think that Zhirov’s comments are a reflection of his own bias towards an Atlantic location for Atlantis and ignore many other aspects of the Atlantis question, such as the date when Atlantis existed, as well as the identity of the Atlanteans.<
One of deCamp’s most quoted extracts is that “you cannot change all the details of Plato’s story and still claim to have Plato’s story.” While I fully endorse this comment, I must point out that there is a difference between changing and interpreting. For example when Plato refers to Asia or Libya, even deCamp accepted that in Plato’s day ‘Asia’ was not the landmass we know, stretching from the Urals to Japan, but a much smaller territory [0194.27]. In fact the term ‘Asia’ at one point was just applied to a small region of modern Turkey. Similarly, ‘Libya’ was not the country we know by that name today, but the term was often employed to designate all of North Africa west of Egypt. There are a number of other details in Plato’s narrative that require explanation or interpretation and so as long as any such elucidation is based on evidence and reason they cannot be glibly dismissed as substantive ‘changes’.
He scathingly refutes the more outlandish Atlantis theories that have deviated dramatically from Plato’s narrative, commenting that without matching the “date, location, size and island character” with the text we do not have Atlantis.
DeCamp also considered Alfred Wegner’s theory of continental drift as “very doubtful”, but corrected this statement in a 1970 edition of his book. Immanuel Velikovsky also received the sharp end of deCamp’s pen, describing his catastrophic theories as ‘mad’. Further information on deCamp can be found on the internet(a) where excerpts from his Lost Continents are also available(b).
Henry Eichner drew attention  to the fact that in three books relating to Atlantis authored by deCamp he describes a ring found by Adolf Schulten at the site of Tartessos, but slightly differently in all three! In Lost Continents it is plain, in Lands Beyond it is copper, while in Ancient Ruins and Archaeology it became gold!
Frank Joseph incorrectly claimed in the July/August 2011 issue of AtlantisRising magazine that DeCamp “formerly a staunch disbeliever in Atlantis, was later convinced it did indeed exist in south-coastal Iberia.”
(a) https://www.lspraguedecamp.com/ (offline August 2016)
>(c) Atlantis, Volume 11, No.5, July/August 1958<
Donald W. Patten (1929-2014) was an American researcher and keen supporter of catastrophism. He was also a dedicated creationist. His cosmological theories were comparable to those of Velikovsky, who claimed that some of the planets in our Solar System were rearranged within the memory of man. This reorganisation involved a number of damaging close encounters by some planets with the Earth. While Velikovsky was to a great extent focused on the movements of Venus, Patten was more concerned with the activities of Mars.
Stuart Harris noted in a 2017 paper(c) that “Donald W. Patten modeled flybys of Mars as a fIxed sequence that alternated spring and fall, spaced 108 years apart. He sequenced flybys from 701 to 1404 BCE using historical records. Flybys altemated between the night of March 20-21 on odd years, and during the day of October 24 on even years.”
Harris’ paper “extends Patten’s methodology to March 7137 BC by recognizing that the 108-year interval was not constant but occasionally increased in increments of four years. Two important milestones are March 3161 BC, the Biblical Flood, and March 3761 BC, the start of the Hebrew calendar.”
Patten wrote a number of books and papers, two of which were with Samuel R. Windsor entitled The Recent Organisation of the Solar System, and The Mars-Earth Wars, which are also available online(a)(b).>One of the consequences of this ‘reorganisation’ and encounters with our neighbouring planets was a lengthening of our solar year from 360 to 365+ days(d)!
It is interesting to compare Patten’s ideas with the the 366 day year proposed by Alan Butler in The Bronze Age Computer Disc , based on his interpretation of the Phaistos Disc. His explanation has been endorsed by Sylvain Tristan(e).<
Victor Clube & Bill Napier are two British Astronomers, who published The Cosmic Serpent . in 1982, which was later revised as The Cosmic Winter ,>which was also the title of a lecture given by Clube(b).<
They have promoted what became known as ‘Coherent Catastrophism’, which envisions encounters between our Earth and large comets, events that are recorded in ancient history and mythology. They claim, for example, that the biblical Exodus story contains an early reference to Halley’s Comet! Among other encounters, they date the story of Phaëton, mentioned by Plato, to 1369 BC and also discuss catastrophic close encounters with Encke’s Comet or a proto-Encke.
Although Clube & Napier do not refer to Atlantis, from time to time, some commentators have claimed some connection between the demise of Atlantis and encounters with comets named and unnamed.
Philip R. “Pib” Burns has an extensive overview(a) of Clube and Napier’s work on his excellent website.>It is argued by some that Clube & Napier should have given greater recognition to the theories of Immanuel Velikovsky(c).<
Tanit was a Carthaginian and Phoenician goddess. Immanuel Velikovsky claimed that the name of modern Tunis, near the site of Carthage, is a cognate of Tanit. She was also adopted by the Berbers and claims have been made that Tanit was also a Hyksos goddess.
The Egyptian city of Sais where Solon first learned of Atlantis had it principal temple dedicated to the goddess Neith, whom the Egyptian priests identified with Athene. In turn, Neith is also associated with the Libyan goddess Tanit.
The whole matter of the relevance of Saïs to the Atlantis story has been challenged by the theory(a) that Saïs and Tanis, named after Tanit, were in fact the same location. A starting point is the fact that the current village of Sa el Hagar adjacent to the ruins of Saïs has a counterpart at Tanis where there is a village called San el Hagar. Drawing on the writings of Strabo, Herodotus and the Bible some have concluded that the two cities were one. Velikovsky also proposed this idea in his Ramses II and His Time[0832.209], noting that “Tanis is mentioned in Scriptures as the capital of Egypt when. according to both the conventional plan and this reconstruction, Saïs was the capital.”
The island of Es Vedra off the west coast of Ibiza, the third largest of the Balearics, has had a number of imaginative myths, old and new, associated with it, including one that it is supposed to be the birthplace of Tanit!
The Moon has little connection with Plato’s Atlantis story apart from the more extreme speculations of some writers. One of the wildest is that the Atlanteans had established a research facility on the Moon(a), an idea rivalled by that of Alan Butler & Christopher Knight in their book, Who Built the Moon, in which they propose that the Moon was ‘constructed’! This idea has now been revived by Rob Shelsky. In 1965, the Umland brothers proposed that the Moon was a communications relay station for the Maya to make contact with their home planet!
In 1970, Michael Vasin and Alexander Shcherbakov, of what was then the Soviet Academy of Sciences, advanced a hypothesis that the Moon is a spaceship created by unknown beings.(k) These ideas inspired the title of Don Wilson’s 1976 book, Our Mysterious Spaceship Moon .
The idea that the Moon was to some extent hollow was given impetus in the 1970’s, when a study of moonquakes revealed that the Moon ‘rang like a bell’ (i). Now, nearly half a century later, Wallace Thornhill, a leading Electric Universe proponent, has endorsed the hollow Moon idea and seems sympathetic to the idea of a hollow earth. This was expressed at a recent EU conference and be viewed at the 40-minute mark of a YouTube video.(j)
Neal Adams, a respected graphic artist(s), probably best known for his work on the DC Comics characters Batman and Green Arrow. He is a vocal supporter of the Expanding Earth Hypothesis(t), but, he has gone further and also proposed a growing Moon as well(u)(r). Not content with that, he has extended his expansion investigations to other bodies in our Solar System, such as, Mars, Ganymede & Europa(v). Adams considers the term “Expanding Earth” a misnomer and has named his proposed expansion process ‘pair production’!
The origins of the Moon have also been the subject of extensive controversy with one side claiming that it had been ‘captured’ by the earth, while the other extreme argues that it had been ‘expelled’ from our planet. The expulsion theory posits(b) that a collision with another celestial body tore material from the Earth, which in time became our Moon(h). Nils Olof Bergquist writing in the 1940’s supported the expulsion scenario and had his original Swedish book on the subject translated into English as The Moon Puzzle.
The most radical of the captured moon school was Hanns Hörbiger, who proposed that there had been a series of Moon captures. Many of his ideas were adopted by H.S. Bellamy, who added that the capture of our current satellite had caused the destruction of Atlantis. Nikolay Bonev, the astronomer, caused a stir in 1961 when he expressed the view that our Moon had once been an independent planet(d) that had experienced violent volcanic eruptions that were powerful enough to have produced a ‘recoil’ effect, which nudged it towards our Earth’s orbit and was eventually captured as our satellite.
In 1948, an amateur astronomer, L.C. Suggars, endorsed the idea of the Moon as captured planet, based on its diameter/density ratio, which was consistent with that of the other minor planets (Mercury, Mars, Venus & Earth).(w)
More recently Emilio Spedicato expressed similar ideas(c), claiming that material taken from another large extraterrestrial body around 9450 BC became our Moon, but that the event also led to the destruction of Atlantis. Stuart L. Harris has proposed(m) that the planet Nibiru had a close encounter with our Earth in 9577 BC that resulted in the destruction of Atlantis, followed by another visit in 9417 BC during which it lost one of its satellites, which became our Moon!
John Ackerman, a keen follower of Immanuel Velikovsky claimed that there were two catastrophic events related to “the capture of the Moon into its current orbit,” marking both the beginning and the end of the Younger Dryas period(p). Although Ackerman was an admirer of Velikovsky’s work, he was also critical of some of his conclusions(x).
The Moon controversies continue with the recent suggestion by Erik Asphaug, a professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who claims that originally the Earth had two moons that coalesced into a single satellite (n)!
Gary Gilligan, the catastrophist, also supports the concept of moon capture but dated this event to as recent as 2000 BC(f) and then later advanced it to 1200 BC(g). Researcher, Mark Andrew commenting on Gilligan’s claims wrote that “Although Gilligan promises more evidence to come, his theory has to contend with the varied evidence of an earlier Moon, including the earliest known written myth of the Moon’s death and rebirth, the epic poem Descent of Inanna (dating from 1750 BC), and also the oldest known map of the moon (dating from 2800 BC).”(l)
Ticleanu, Constantin & Nicolescu in their paper delivered to the 2008 Atlantis Conference very briefly touched on the origin of the Moon. They claim that our Moon, a former planet, was captured by our Earth sometime within the last 40,000 years [750.368].
>A variation on the Moon capture idea was recently offered by the German researcher Aloys Eiling in a lengthy illustrated paper(y) on the Graham Hancock website. The additional element is his claim that in the process of capturing the moon, its arrival generated the biblical Deluge and was recent enough to be witnessed by Homo Sapiens and remembered in their mythologies.<
Unexpectedly, the orbital speed of the Moon appears to vary on its trip around the Earth(e).
Some of the ideas above regarding the origin of the Moon are clearly extremist and are far more radical than a recent theory regarding the Sun proposed by Ev Cochrane, a comparative mythologist, in a YouTube clip(o), where he offers evidence that the Sun as observed in ancient times seemed quite different to how we see it today. This is borne out by the related mythologies and petroglyphs from our ancient past and show a global consistency that cannot be explained by imagination.
Professor Neil F. Comins of the University of Maine challenged his students with the question ‘what if the Moon didn’t exist?’ The responses were interesting (no eclipses) and amusing (a new word for ‘lunatic would be required), but not always correct (no tides). One important consequence would be an eight-hour day(q).
(a) See: Archive 3334
(w) Atlantean Research, Vol.1, No.2, September/October 1948
Robert S. (Bob) Fritzius is a retired electrical engineer. He is also a Velikovskian catastrophist and additionally is the author of a short article on his website apparently supporting the Atlantis opinions of Olof Rudbeck(a) with the comment that “I see no fault with his thesis, and so far, no contradiction with what is known of Swedish ancient history and Baltic geography.”
Fred Warshofsky is an American science writer and film director. In 1977, he published Doomsday: The Science of Catastrophe in which he reviews the catastrophist literature of his day, particularly the work of Velikovsky. He also fleetingly touches on the subject of Atlantis[1146.87] noting “the increasing evidence that Atlantis was an island city in the Aegean”, namely Santorini, which matches Atlantis “in startling detail.”
Ralph Franklin Walworth (1921-2000) was English geologist and author of Subdue the Earth, which gives an overview of catastrophism not too long after Velikovsky had generated a storm of controversy with the publication of his Worlds in Collision. Walworth covers subjects such as plate tectonics, mountain building and ice age theory. Perhaps inevitably, he devotes a section of his work to the subject of Atlantis and considers the Atlantic as its most likely location.
Klimasturz(e) is a word, coined by Rutger Sernander (1866-1944) a Swedish botanist and archaeologist, meaning a ‘plunge’ in climate that leads to major or minor ice ages. It is a term used by some writers to describe a rapid climate deterioration such as the Younger Dryas.
Immanuel Velikovsky entitled chapter 11 of his Earth in Upheaval ‘Klimasturz’ as it is concerned with evidence of rapid climate changes resulting from the global catastrophes that he claims occurred in both the 15th and 8th centuries BC.
Baalbek, situated in the Bekka Valley in Lebanon, undoubtedly presents us with what I consider to be one of the greatest mysteries of the ancient world. It was the site of a most impressive Roman temple complex dedicated to Jupiter. However, the very name Baalbek suggests an earlier connection with the Caananite/Phoenician god Baal.
>Peter Mungo Jupp has suggested that the original temple at Baalbek had involved Holy Prostitution in the service of Baal(z), while another commentator has even suggested a link with Indian yogis!(t)<
Although the Roman remains are still impressive, it is some blocks in the lower and presumably earlier courses(d), that have continued to stump archaeologists, three of which are of cut limestone and are estimated to weigh up to 800 tons(c). (compare with content of link(k))
An article(q) by Gian J. Quasara regarding this strange masonry is worth a read.
Even more disturbing is a block still lying in a nearby quarry, where it was cut, and which has been calculated to exceed 1000 tons and named The Stone of the Pregnant Woman. Another block, in the same quarry, was only discovered in the 1990’s and is thought to be even heavier at 1200 tons(g).
In 1997, Andrew Collins ventured to suggest that Baalbek because of its high elevation “hints at the fact that it once served as some kind of platform for the observation of celestial and stellar events”(v). Collins expanded on his views in two later papers on his website(w)(x).
While the Baalbek monoliths are astoundingly impressive, they would appear to be outshone by the unfinished stele in the quarry at Yangshan in eastern China. Its estimated weight has been put as high as over 6,000 tons. Its creation is attributed to the reign of the Yongle Emperor in the early 15th century. However, others claim a much greater antiquity, insisting that “although it is a limestone quarry, the stones were not cut and shaped with hammer and chisel, as you will see. They were machined.(y)!
Hugh Newman, a self-described ‘megalithomaniac’(r), has produced a paper(s) on the enormous Baalbek monoliths, in which he cites Graham Hancock speculatively dating the Baalbek megaliths at 12,000 years or more old.
In March 2014, it was widely reported(e) that even heavier megaliths had been identified on Siberia’s Mount Shoria. However, the images I have seen suggest to me a natural origin(f). A short video clip is available(j).
We do not know how such huge objects were made or moved in ancient times. I often think that the bigger question is why did they bother to cut such large blocks! An online article(b) tells how the ingenuity of our ancestors produced the most powerful hand crane in history which multiplied the force of its operator 632 times. However, just because we do not yet know precisely how the Baalbek blocks were manipulated, does not justify wild claims that they were moved by high-tech Atlanteans or extraterrestrials. I may not know how stage magicians saw ladies in half, but that does not compel me to label them Atlantean or alien.
The most persistent question relating to all megalithic structures is “how did they manage to build them using such large heavy rocks and blocks”? Many ingenious solutions are on offer, but perhaps the most remarkable is that proposed by W. T. Wallington who has demonstrated that using basic materials, which were available to the Egyptians, one individual can manipulate a 4500kg stone block. His website includes a remarkable video clip of his method. A review(n) of this video is worth a read. Another or comparable technology may have been used by Edward Leedskainin when he single-handedly built Coral Castle in Florida City(o). What is certain is that Leedskainin had no help from intergalactic visitors.
The late Alan Alford wrote an extensive paper on Baalbek(a). Immanuel Velikovsky and others have supported the idea that Baakbek was in fact the location of the biblical city of Dan, recorded as the most northern city of ancient Israel. Furthermore, the earlier notes on the subject by Velikovsky are also available online(i) in which he suggested that Baalbek was the temple built by Jeroboam in the north of the former Kingdom of Israel to compete with Solomon’s temple in Jeusalem in the south.
December 2014 found the latest estimate for the weight of the largest dressed stone found at Baalbek calculated to be 1650 tons(h).It is clear that some explanation is required, hopefully, something better than the implication of extraterrestrial intervention. I would like to think that if we had alien visitors that their technology would be in advance of the ‘stone’ age. Surely they would have something better to produce than enormous foundation stones, which to my puny mind does not smack of the best that a civilisation capable of travelling across the cosmos would have to offer! I find the claims of Graham Hancock or Erich von Dániken equally unconvincing in this instance.
A sober well-referenced article outlining the arguments in favour of identifying the megaliths as Roman is available online(k) as well as supportive blogs from Frank Dörnenburg(m).
A UNESCO sponsored hitech survey of the Baalbek site as part of a Risk Preparedness Strategy is now proposed so that the most appropriate remedial action can be taken in the event of natural deterioration or even war damage(l).
Brian Foerster’s website(p) has some remarkable images of the Baalbek masonry.
There are a number of YouTube videos featuring the Baalbek ruins(u).
(a) See: Archive 3414
(k) See: Archive 2653
(s) See: Archive 3409