Is the Earth flat?

Bombast and Flitterflop investigate

The first in an occasional series of topical investigations with a humorous twist


Those of you who hoped we'd seen the last of that opinionated occultist, Joshua Bombast and his excitable friend, Arthur Flitterflop, may wish to remain in blissful ignorance of their further investigations of the weirder fringes of the colourful world of the occult. Those, on the other hand, who have grown rather fond of these two intrepid investigators through listening to their Astral Conversations, will welcome their return in this occasional series of new articles. We haven't the slightest idea what subjects they may discuss in these further forays into the limitless jungle of human folly, but we feel sure they will not be without interest and amusement!

In this investigation we find them discussing why anyone would believe that the Earth is flat and why these beliefs exercise such a persistent and compelling attraction for so many otherwise sane human beings. Whether the answers Bombast and Flitterflop provide are worth hearing we leave you to judge!

FLITTERFLOP: "Did you know that according to a YouGov poll conducted in February 2018, two per cent of Americans believe the Earth is flat?"

BOMBAST: "That means 98 per cent believe it isn't."

FLITTERFLOP: "Yes, but the two per cent add up to over five million adults if we count all Americans over the age of 18."

BOMBAST: "I'd question whether anyone who believes the earth is flat is an adult!"

FLITTERFLOP: "Good point. The flat-earthers I've crossed swords with on social media display very little sign of grown-up thinking.

BOMBAST (laughing): "I'm amazed they showed any sign of thought at all!"

FLITTERFLOP: "You'd be even more amazed if you heard the arguments they used to counter the facts I put to them."

BOMBAST: "Such as?"

FLITTERFLOP: "Well, I began by pointing out that if you watch vapour trails from airplanes flying at 39,000 feet on a cloudless day with good visibility, they all start off near the horizon, and then climb to the zenith, before descending to the opposite horizon. If the Earth were flat, the trails wouldn't do that; they'd be straight lines."

BOMBAST: "And what did the flat-earthers say?"

FLITTERFLOP: "That it's an optical illusion. Then I asked them if they'd ever watched tall ships—you know—clippers, sailing towards them from the horizon. First you see the tip of the highest mast, then the sails and more masts, until finally the whole ship comes into view. That proves the Earth is a sphere. No, it doesn't, they argued, it's a disc. Make up your minds, I replied, either the Earth is flat or it isn't, you can't have it both ways."

BOMBAST: "Apparently you can and they DO. The one thing these numpties all share is a breathtaking ability to deny scientific facts when it doesn't suit them and accept them when it does."

FLITTERFLOP: "How do you mean?"

BOMBAST: "The current top numpty—sorry, president of the Flat Earth Society—Daniel Shenton, believes in man-made global warming, despite the fact that much of the evidence comes from satellite data gathered by NASA. And NASA, according to flat-earthers, is the prime bogie-man responsible for the prevailing delusion among the rest of us that the Earth is a globe."

FLITTERFLOP: "So what's behind it?"

BOMBAST: "Distrust of science and scientists and a desire to hit back at those whom the conspiracy theorists think are responsible for the mess the world is in. But the underlying causes are a feeling of impotence and low self esteem."

FLITTERFLOP: "I don't follow you."

BOMBAST: That's because you haven't done your research properly. A similar YouGov poll in 2015 asked people whether they believed in UFOs. That prompted a sociologist from the University of Michigan to ask himself: 'Who reports UFO sightings?' According to his research, sightings of UFOs are linked to low self-esteem among predominantly young men stuck in jobs which don't live up to their high expectations who think things will be better on an alien planet!"

FLITTERFLOP: "So how did it all start?"

BOMBAST: "Low self-esteem?"

FLITTERFLOP (laughing): "No, the whole flat Earth fantasy."

BOMBAST: "Samuel Rowbotham started the ball rolling, if you forgive the pun, back in the latter half of the 19th century when he published a pamphlet called Zetetic Astronomy. He later expanded this into a book with the catchy title 'Earth Not a Globe'. Like many flat-earthers who followed him, he based his ideas on the cosmogony in the Bible which, on a literal reading, does favour a flat earth."

FLITTERFLOP: "Really? Why's that?"

BOMBAST: "Because those who compiled the Good Book in the 3rd and 4th centuries knew little about astronomy and less of the secrets of the Greek Mysteries, during which the heliocentric system and real, occult nature of the earth and its place in our Kosmos was compared, contrasted and explained."

FLITTERFLOP: "How do you mean?"

BOMBAST: "Simply that there are two Kosmos'. One is the visible solar system we all know within which nine planets orbit the Sun, and the other consists of the invisible realms of light and darkness which surround our Earth."

FLITTERFLOP: "That scheme is described in The Quest of Ruru, isn't it?"

BOMBAST: "Yes, and in other books, such as The Secret Doctrine, though not even Madame Blavatsky revealed the complete scheme which has always remained a closely-guarded secret known only to the Initiates. Nonetheless, what Narada tells Ruru in chapter 17 is correct and well worth repeating. He says: 'The lowest rung of the Seven Spiritual Spheres is the Earth, which to some is Hell, true enough, peopled with a host of evil beings who want to destroy them; but this is not the full truth. There are six Spheres of Darkness and Sin below the Earth, as well as Six Spheres of Light and Goodness above it. The Earth, therefore, occupies a central position, partaking of the spheres above and below to a certain extent.

'The Earth is at the same time the highest of the seven lower spheres and the lowest of the seven higher. But you should understand that the term 'lowest spheres' does not mean that these are inside the Earth; nor are the Higher Spheres necessarily above it. The term 'Sphere' really means 'condition,' or 'rate of vibration.' It is possible for some of the spheres to mingle or mix with that of the Earth, or with each other, the Earth thus forming part of them as far as their different octaves of vibration are concerned, for these may overlap, as it were. This is one of the reasons that one may 'sense' good or evil beings, conditions, or vibrations if one is more 'sensitive' than the average person."

FLITTERFLOP: "So this esoteric scheme of 13 realms with the earth at the centre, is what has been misinterpreted and misrepresented by the flat-earthers?"

BOMBAST: "Not exactly, no. Bits of this secret knowledge leaked out and bits of it formed the foundation of the Biblical cosmogony that Rowbotham and others borrowed to concoct their silly theories of a flat earth. If you look at the diagram I have here (Bombast produced a picture which we reproduce below) you'll see what I mean."


FLITTERFLOP: "That's medieval, isn't it?"

BOMBAST: "Yes. There are countless similar diagrams, some of which give different names to the invisible spheres above and below the earth and vary in the arrangement of them, but all place the Earth at the centre shown as a flat surface."

FLITTERFLOP: "So the 'firmament' is simply the more spiritual realms above the earth and the 'underworld' the more material realms below it, whilst the 'primeval ocean' is the astral light, or fluid, from which all the manifested worlds, both visible and invisible, have arisen?"

BOMBAST: "Exactly."

FLITTERFLOP: "Why haven't the flat-earthers made this obvious connection?"

BOMBAST: "Because they are neither occultists nor scientists and insist on interpreting the Bible and Biblical cosmogony literally. Even those who do know something about occultism or astronomy can't be bothered to examine the historical evidence or consult the books, such as The Secret Doctrine, in which all this is explained."

FLITTERFLOP: "When did the flat-earth theory begin?"

BOMBAST: "In the early centuries of the Christian era. Opinion was sharply divided between those who knew something of the Mysteries, such as the Church Father Origen, who knew the earth was a sphere, and his ignorant opponents, such as Lactantius. In the 6th century we find Saint Augustine saying that the Earth was 'as flat as a stove lid and that it floated on water like half of a sliced orange."

FLITTERFLOP: "That's bang up to date! The flat-earthers will love that. How long did these arguments continue?"

BOMBAST: "They've never really stopped. Lactantius' notions were ridiculed by Copernicus in the 16th century and by Galileo and William Herschel in the 17th and 18th centuries. Not that this will convince the modern flat-earthers, who probably believe that Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Sir Isaac Newton, Edmund Halley, Herschel and Albert Einstein were all members of the mysterious 'illuminati' who ate babies for breakfast, lunch and dinner and sacrificed virgins to the Devil on Sundays. Nor are most flat-earthers aware that as long ago as the 2nd century B.C., the Greek mathematician and astronomer Eratosthenes used the sun to measure the circumference of the round Earth. His calculation of 24,660 miles was only 211 miles short of the true measurement we know today."

FLITTERFLOP: "You're forgetting that Eratosthenes never existed. He was invented by NASA scientists in the pay of the New World Order."

BOMBAST: "They must have employed teams of undercover agents working around the clock and tramping all over the globe—sorry, 'flat earth'—to fake hundreds of records and writings to achieve that."

FLITTERFLOP (chuckling): "Unbelievably clever of them, wasn't it?"

BOMBAST: "Unbelievable sums up the whole flat-earth fantasy."

FLITTERFLOP: "It gets even more unbelievable. Are you ready for a quick tour around the average flat-earther's mind? It won't be pleasant."

BOMBAST: "I'll risk it. Go on—amaze me."

FLITTERFLOP: "The leading theory says that Earth is a disc with a wall of ice 150 feet high all around the rim. NASA employees guard the wall to prevent people from climbing over and falling off the disc."

BOMBAST: "I see a tiny little flaw in this theory."


BOMBAST: "Assuming the circumference of the Earth is roughly 25,000 miles, each NASA employee would need to be stationed at a minimum distance of about half-a mile apart—preferably atop a very fast snowmobile to do the job effectively. That means 50,000 guards and 50,000 snowmobiles, plus a few over in case they break down. Assuming they are not alien lizards and have to eat and sleep, we can safely double that number to 100,000 employees to ensure 24/7 vigilance. You'd think that someone in the US Treasury would have noticed the immense cost of such an operation, not to mention the use of so many snowmobiles."

FLITTERFLOP: "You are so naïve. The US Treasury is in on it."

BOMBAST: "I should have guessed. Do carry on."

FLITTERFLOP: "The flat-earthers believe that the Sun and Moon are spheres that move in circles 3,000 miles above the Earth——"

BOMBAST (interrupting): "——did you say 'spheres'?"


BOMBAST: "So the flat-earthers believe the Sun and Moon are round, but the Earth is flat? It nice to know they're not inconsistent in their reasoning."

FLITTERFLOP: "They also believe that Mars is round, an invisible "anti-moon" explains the phenomena of lunar eclipses and that gravity is an illusion."

BOMBAST: "Really?" So what prevents them from flying off to bump their heads on the spherical Sun and Moon floating above them?"

FLITTERFLOP (conspiratorially): "Dark energy."

BOMBAST: "How very convenient!"

FLITTERFLOP: "Not nearly as convenient as the most prevalent explanation for this half-baked fantasy."

BOMBAST: "That NASA is the culprit, you mean?"

FLITTERFLOP: "Adobe actually."

BOMBAST (scratching his head): "How does mud brick figure in this?"

FLITTERFLOP: "Not mud brick building material, Adobe Photoshop. Flat-earthers believe photos of the Earth taken from Space are photoshopped. They claim that NASA has hacked GPS devices to make airplane pilots think they're flying around a sphere."

BOMBAST: "Why should NASA go to all this trouble?"

FLITTERFLOP: "Flat-earthers say that it would cost much less to fake a space programme than to actually have one, so those in on the secret make piles of cash from the funding NASA squeezes out of the US Government."

BOMBAST: "So the thousands of spacecraft launched during the last 60 years and the 4,000 odd satellites currently orbiting the Earth have all been photoshopped?"


BOMBAST: "Despite the fact that Photoshop wasn't invented until 1988, by which time over 2,000 rockets had been fired into Space?"


BOMBAST: "Astonishing."

FLITTERFLOP: "The flat-earthers also believe the Bible proves the earth is flat and that NASA are trying the hide it from people."

BOMBAST: "Well they would, wouldn't they? Just as other lunatics have used the Bible to support their belief that the Earth was created in 7 days in 4004 B.C., conveniently ignoring the fact that both Egypt and China were flourishing civilisations long before then."

FLITTERFLOP: "Perhaps it would have been better if the Bible had never been translated into English."

BOMBAST: "Pope Gregory VII said so in unequivocal language that anticipated the lunatic theories of the flat-earthers by over 1000 years. 'If the Bible were perfectly clear to all,' he said, 'it might be vulgarised and subjected to disrespect or be so misunderstood by people of limited intelligence as to lead them into error."

FLITTERFLOP: "Truer words were never spoken!"


If Bombast and Flitterflop have encouraged you to think about the conclusions they reached in this investigation, or even just THINK, their labours will not have been in vain. You can find a list of their further investigations on our Homepage.

© Copyright Article published 10 June 2018. Updated 21 June 2021.

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