- There is a very strange dimension to works of science
fiction which has never been properly explored.
- What are we to make of instances where someone writes
a work of obvious fiction only to discover that some of the fictional facts
therein are later proven to be true?
- For example, in 1898 Morgan Robertson published a novel
called "The Wreck of the Titan, or Futility." It described how
a transatlantic luxury liner called the "Titan" sank on its maiden
voyage even though it was reputed to be "unsinkable." In the
novel the Titan struck an iceberg and sank with a great loss of life. Doesn't
that story sound familiar?
- The similarities between the fictional Titan of 1898
and the Titanic of 1912 are stunning as the table below shows:-
Month of wreck April April
Passengers & crew 3,000 2,207
Lifeboats 24 20
Tonnage 75,000 66,000
Length 800 ft 882.5 ft
Propellers 3 3
Speed at impact 25 knots 23 knots
- How do we explain this? Perhaps some authors do good
research, and make excellent educated guesses while also having a bit of
luck to boot? Another possibility may be that some authors, while searching
for inspiration, are either consciously or even unconsciously, able to
tap into psychic realms and to write about things which will happen in
- A more subtle question is whether these authors know
that they are psychic, but in order to save themselves from being denigrated
by others, they hide their psychic abilities in works of "obvious
fiction" while privately knowing that there is more realism in their
books than anyone (at the time) would care to believe.
- Consider for example the case of Gulliver's Travels which
is clearly a work of complete fiction about the existence of tiny people
as well as giants. The places mentioned in Gulliver's travels do not exist
- or do they?
- Mars has two small moons orbiting it. They were officially
discovered in August 1877 by the U.S. Naval observatory.
- In Gulliver's Travels, which was published in 1726, in
Chapter III, we find this strange paragraph: "They have likewise discovered
two lesser stars or satellites, which revolve about Mars; whereof the innermost
is distant from the center of the primary planet exactly three of its diameters
and the outermost, five; the former revolves in the space of ten hours,
and the latter in twenty-one and a half."
- Jonathan Swift wrote the above 150 years before the Martian
moons were discovered, The actual facts regarding the Martian moons are
as follows: a) The innermost one, Phobos is at 5,800 miles from Mars as
opposed to 12,300 miles (3 diameters) as Swift said. b) The outermost one,
Deimos, is at 14,600 miles from Mars as opposed to 20,500 miles (5 diameters).
c) Phobos orbits around Mars in 7.2 hours compared to the 10 hours which
Swift wrote of. d) Deimos orbits around Mars in 33.6 hours compared to
his prediction of 21.5 hours.
- Nevertheless, Swift's statements are quite remarkable
if you will consider that these were made 150 years before astronomers
confirmed the existence of these two satellites. The problem with the Martian
moons is that they are extremely small, and that is why they were hidden
from astronomers for so long. The telescopes in Swift's day were just too
primitive to be able to spot these little Martian moons - so how did Swift
know they existed?
- Firstly, there is no known way of inferring beforehand
how many satellites a planet should have. So the mere guess that Mars had
two is of itself quite amazing since the number of moons a planet may have
will vary from none to a dozen or more.
- Secondly, the various measurements given above are not
all that far out. There is no rule which science knows of to predict the
distance of satellites from a planet by theory alone. The orbital times
given are nothing short of staggering. Phobos orbits in 7.2 hours compared
with the 10 hours which Swift wrote of. The time for Deimos's orbit is
also not that bad. If you will consider the distances, then note that he
predicted that the innermost one would be at a distance of 12,300 miles
- which is very close to the distance of Deimos (the outermost), which
orbits at 14,600 miles! His biggest error therefore lies in his prediction
of the distance of Phobos.
- Nevertheless, this is completely amazing and has been
the subject of quite a bit of scientific scrutiny in years past. Nobody
can adequately explain the accuracy of Swift's statements. Some have suggested
that maybe Swift was psychic.
- It has been noted that the book "Empire of China",
in 1737 mentioned that Mars had satellites. The information for this book
came from a Jesuit missionary who had lived in China. But whether Swift
ever had access to this book or information for it is somewhat doubtful.
But even if he did, there is another problem. The Chinese didn't have astronomical
telescopes at that time or even before then, so how did they know that
Mars had two moons? Chinese astronomy consisted completely of naked-eye
- Not all knowledge or speculation was accurate either.
For example, in 1744, a booklet was published by E. C. Kindermanns stating
that Mars had a single satellite with a diameter of 1,600 miles. This figure
is completely wrong since Phobos and Deimos are no more than 20 miles in
diameter. So we must still wonder at how Swift managed to get his information
so close to the real facts.
- One possibility is that Swift obtained some educated
guesses from an astute astronomer and then applied some knowledge of gravity
and of Keplers laws of planetary motion to arrive at his conclusions. This
is still highly unlikely because of the extremely small size of the Martian
moons and the backwardness of the telescopes of the day.
- Voltaire, another satirist, mentioned in Chapter 3 of
his "Micromegas" in 1752, that Mars had two moons. What makes
Voltaire's statement even more interesting is that in his book he claimed
that the fictional SPACE TRAVELLERS in his book had seen this! Was he just
copying from Swift or was this another lucky guess?
- There are more questions than answers in this area.
- Probably the greatest science fiction writer of the past
was Jules Verne. He wrote about people travelling to the Moon. He wrote
"20,000 leagues under the sea" which was all about submarines
and undersea cities. But his most famous book was "Journey to the
Centre of the Earth" which was all about the Hollow Earth. Not many
people realise that this book was actually based on the ideas of the Scottish
physicist Sir John Leslie who believed the Earth was hollow.
- Some years ago, Dennis Crenshaw, author of "The
Hollow Earth Insider" wrote a most interesting piece about Jules Verne
possibly being a prophet of some kind. Apparently an unpublished manuscript
written by Verne had been discovered in France. This manuscript was all
about the future of France. It described many things about the France of
the future which was different to the France of Verne's day. It mentioned
there being lots of foreigners in France, and it generally described France
in rather dismal terms. Apparently it was this negative view of the future
which caused them not to publish this manuscript. And yet, the France of
today is very much like the France which Verne described.
- If one looks at everything Verne wrote then we notice
that all of it has come true, except for "Journey to the Centre of
- For example, submarines are commonplace. Although we
don't have undersea cities yet, they will probably still come. The science
to build them is already there. The only reason this has not yet been done
is because there is no pressing need for them yet. But this could still
- More prophetic was his writing of a journey to the Moon.
It has been noted that there are a great number of similarities between
the Moon trip he described and that which was actually took place in 1969.
He even got the speeds and times relatively close to the actual times taken.
Quite a bit has been written about the similarities between his science
fiction and the actual events.
- This brings us to "Journey to the Centre of the
Earth." This is, to my knowledge, the only work by Jules Verne which
has never come true. Yet, quite a lot of what Verne wrote might actually
be true. For example, in Chapter 14 of Hollow Planets, I mentioned Lake
monsters, such as the Loch Ness monster. I pointed out that real scientists,
like Prof Roy Mackal, had actually been within a few feet of this creature.
Various evidence exists to show that this creature is a plesiosaur - a
remnant of the dinosaur age. But why are these creatures never caught?
I went on to suggest that a herd of such creatures may exist in subteranean
caverns and lakes and that they have several underground feeding places.
From time to time one or more of these creatures may wander out into Loch
Ness for a time before returning to their normal habitat.
- This idea is very consistent with the facts. At times,
one, two or more of these creatures have been seen on sonar in Loch Ness.
At other times the entire Loch has been scoured and not a single animal
could be found. The secret would be to find the underwater passageway through
which they enter and exit.
- I found various evidence to suggest that Verne's ideas
of underground lakes and perhaps even oceans is quite possible. So we may
already have the beginnings of the evidence which will show that Verne's
writings are more prophetic than we may at first appreciate.
- It makes me wonder whether, in the next century or so
we might see him being proven correct once more. If so, it would be completely
uncanny. I can't help wondering if Verne was psychic, but perhaps, to prevent
himself from being ridiculed, maybe he wrote everything as science fiction.
It would indeed have been a wise course of action.
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