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Atlantis: Where is the Lost Continent?
Some say it's in the Caribbean, some say at the South Pole, while others say it never existed at all. But an astonishing recent discovery off the coast of Cuba just might solve the mystery of the great sunken civilization
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• Atlantis Background

The legend of the lost civilization of Atlantis comes to us primarily from an account recorded by Plato, the great Greek philosopher and author, around 370 B.C.E. He described it as a beautiful continent-sized island that existed somewhere to the west of the Mediterranean, by most interpretations. It was a peaceful land, prosperous from its flourishing commerce, highly advanced in knowledge and technology, and powerful in its governmental influence. After many years of prosperity, however, the gods looked unfavorably upon the island nation because of its arrogant rulers and complacent citizenry, and they condemned it. In just one dreadful day and night, Plato tells us, Atlantis was completely destroyed by catastrophic flooding and disappeared beneath the sea.

Plato's description of the exact location of Atlantis is vague at best, giving us only its general direction. People have been searching for it ever since.

The idea that such a marvelous lost world may have once existed - and about which we know so little and have even less evidence - is compelling. People have devoted their lives to studying, researching and hunting for Atlantis. A lucrative cottage industry has grown around the legend, producing countless books, articles, websites and movies - all speculating on the true fate of the doomed land.

Did Atlantis really exist? If so, where was it and can we find evidence of the once-great civilization today? Not surprisingly, there are many theories as to the precise location of Atlantis. Whenever underwater ruins of any kind are found, it seems, someone tries to link them to Atlantis.

Here are some of the more popular theories, plus the latest information on a recent remarkable discovery that just might shed light on the legend of Atlantis.

Nowhere
Many historians and mainstream scholars consider the story of Atlantis just that - a story. This point of view is explained in an article entitled "Atlantis, Again" on N.S. Gill's Ancient/Classical History section of About.com. "Given Plato's concern for good government and an ideal image of Athens of old," writes the article's author, Aulus, "it is very clear that this is a parable regarding the need for virtuous government and rulers. Of the few other ancient mentions of Atlantis, all are but commentaries on Plato's tale... We all would like to think that somewhere, some time there was or is or will be a nice utopia. Unfortunately, that's all Atlantis ever was, a tale of utopia."

The West Indies or Bahamas
The Bahamas is an independent state in the long string of beautiful islands known as the West Indies just east of Florida. This area is favored by many as the last remnants of Atlantis primarily due to a 1932 "reading" by Edgar Cayce, the famous "Sleeping Prophet." In this reading, Cayce said that evidence for Atlantis could be found as far east as the Pyrenees and Morocco and as far west as the Yucatan, in Mexico. The Bahamas, however, might be the best place to look:

There are some protruding portions... that must have at one time or another been a portion of this great continent. The British West Indies, or the Bahamas, are a portion of same that may be seen in the present. If the geological survey would be made in some of these especially, or notably in Bimini and in the Gulf Stream through this vicinity, these may be even yet determined.

One of the most often-cited "proofs" of the accuracy of Cayce's prediction was the discovery in 1969 of enigmatic stone formations beneath the ocean at Bimini in the Bahamas. Although skeptics claim that the geometric, adjoined stone slabs are completely natural formations, believers suspect that the stones were once part of a great Atlantean roadway or temple.

Atlantis and the Bermuda Triangle Crystal relates one incredible story about a discovery made by Dr. Ray Brown in 1970 while scuba diving near the Bari Islands in the Bahamas. Brown claims that he came upon a pyramid-like structure with a smooth, mirror-like stone finish. Swimming inside, he found the interior to be completely free of coral and algae, and was illuminated by some unknown light source. In the center was a sculpture of human hands holding a four-inch crystal sphere, above which was suspended a red gem at the end of a brass rod. Brown says he took the crystal, which allegedly has strange, mystical powers. "People have felt breezes or winds blowing close to it," the article says. "Both cold and warm layers surround it at various distances. Other witnesses have observed phantom lights, heard voices or felt strange tingling sensations surrounding it." Brown's story, of course, has yet to be corroborated or verified.

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