The people. In India there is an ancient belief, still held by some, in a subterranean race of serpent people who dwell in the cities Patala and Bhogavati. According to the legend, they wage war on the kingdom of Agharta. "The Nagas," according to The Deep Dwellers, "are described as a very advanced race or species, with a highly-developed technology. They also harbor a disdain for human beings, whom they are said to abduct, torture, interbreed with and even to eat."
The entrances. While the entrance to Bhogavati is somewhere in the Himalayas, believers assert that Patala can be entered through the Well of Sheshna in Benares, India. Says William Michael Mott in The Deep Dwellers: "According to herpetologist and author Sherman A. Minton, as stated in his book Venomous Reptiles, this entrance is very real, with forty steps which descend into a circular depression, to terminate at a closed stone door which is covered in bas-relief cobras. In Tibet, there is a major mystical shrine also called 'Patala,' which is said by the people there to sit atop an ancient cavern and tunnel system, which reaches throughout the Asian continent and possibly beyond. The Nagas also have an affinity with water, and the entrances to their underground palaces are often said to be hidden at the bottom of wells, deep lakes and rivers."
THE OLD ONES
The beings. In an article entitled "The Hollow Earth: Myth or Reality" for Atlantis Rising, Brad Steiger writes of the legends of "the Old Ones," an ancient race that populated the surface world millions of years ago and then moved underground. "The Old Ones, an immensely intelligent and scientifically advanced race," Steiger writes, "have chosen to structure their own environment under the surface of the planet and manufacture all their necessities. The Old Ones are hominid, extremely long-lived, and pre-date Homo sapiens by more than a million years. The Old Ones generally remain aloof from the surface peoples, but from time to time, they have been known to offer constructive criticism; and it has been said, they often kidnap human children to tutor and rear as their own."
THE ELDER RACE
The beings. One of the most controversial tales of inner Earth dwellers is the so-called "Shaver Mystery." In 1945, Amazing Stories magazine under the editorship of Ray Palmer ran a story told by Richard Shaver, who claimed he had recently been the guest of what remained of an underground civilization. Although few really believed the story, any many suspect that Shaver may actually have been psychotic, Shaver always averred that his story was true. He contended that the Elder Race, or Titans, came to this planet from another solar system in our prehistoric past. After a while of living on the surface, they realized our sun was causing them to age prematurely, so they escaped underground, building huge subterranean complexes in which to live. Eventually, they decided to seek a new home on a new planet, evacuating the Earth and leaving behind their underground cities populated by mutated beings: the evil Dero - detrimental robots - and the good Tero - integrated robots. It was these beings that Shaver claimed to have met.
The entrance. Despite the enormous popularity of the Shaver Mystery in Amazing Stories - Palmer milked it for all it was worth, and then some - the location of the entrance to this underground world was never divulged.
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Far fetched? Absolutely. Entertaining? You bet. There are still many, however, who believe that these underground civilizations exist and that strange races still populate them. Yet rarely do you hear of anyone mounting an expedition to seek these hidden entrances and confront the inhabitants of the hollow Earth.