Northwest Passage to the Hollow Earth

It will probably take several posts to fully understand the scope of the links established in Mark Frost’s new book (The Secret History of Twin Peaks) to various elements that can be grouped under the general notion of “Hollow Earth Theories”. Of course, there were already hints of this in the original Twin Peaks series and film – the Owl Cave, for instance. But it has recently taken on a new “dimension” through new details provided by Frost.

The idea that Twin Peaks is a privileged and auspicious spot from which to  access other dimensions (whether physical or spiritual) has always been present. After all, the series was originally slated to be called “Northwest Passage”. Perhaps that would have revealed too much right away.

Although it is principally the forest that is designated as the source of all the evil surrounding the town of Twin Peaks, reminiscent of fairy-tales, underground realms are also present and are currently expanding their importance. There were already references to Greek mythology in the original series, such as the association between Laura Palmer and vegetation goddess Persephone, abducted by Hades to his underworld realm. However, The Secret History of Twin Peaks takes these links to the underworld to a new level entirely by referencing Hollow Earth theories.

The idea that the earth has a hollow interior which might be inhabited was first proposed by Sir Edmond Halley in 1691. This idea has known several waves of success since then, among various utopian novelists and religious zealots.

Edmond Halley with a drawing of Earth’s interior spheres

The links woven by Frost to the mythology of the Hollow Earth function in a syncretic manner. They take elements from a variety of sources – from classical mythology to contemporary conspiracy theories – to create a network of associations that keep the mystery wide open. There are references to Lemuria and Richard Sharpe Shaver novels, with their Ancient Aliens connecting what’s above (UFOs) and what’s below (underground realms); links to Agartha and Tibetan underworlds; connections to Hinduism too, especially with the notion of Patala (in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me); as well as many other links to Hollow Earth literature, from Edgar Allan Poe to Jules Verne, from Alice in Wonderland to Under Pike’s Peaks, from Etidorhpa to the books written by Rampa.

Beyond this, it is also important to understand the Hollow Earth symbolically from a psychoanalytical point of view. “Be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought” (Henry David Thoreau, Walden). This idea that one needs to dive within in order to access unexplored realms is deeply ingrained in Twin Peaks, right from the moment Dale Cooper appeared onscreen, with his premonitions and Red Room dreams.

As always with Mark Frost, the Freemasons are not far, and neither is their link to alchemy. Here is their motto: “V.I.T.R.I.O.L. = Visita Interiora Terrae. Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem”, which can be translated as “Visit the interior of the earth and rectifying (i.e. purifying) you will find the hidden/secret stone”. The Earth must be understood both as a physical realm and as a psychological one. Contrary to Mulder’s motto in the X-Files, we could say: “The Truth is in here”. More than astronauts, it does seem that Frost and Lynch might really be psychonauts and that the final frontier, according to them, lies within, not without.

V.I.T.R.I.O.L. – Alchemical diagram from Daniel Stolz von Stolzenberg, Theatrum Chymicum, 1614

During the next several weeks, I will explore the various elements listed above in relationship with Hollow Earth Theories, so as to see to what extent they can be connected to the mysteries of Twin Peaks.

Follow Unwrapping the Plastic:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s