Like aliens above, the notion that there's life below the Earth's crust is catnip to conspiracy theorists.

A recent Telegraph article recapped a statement made in 2002 by one Dallas Thompson on Art Bell's Coast to Coast AM radio show. After a devastating car accident, Thompson had a vision of a world that could be entered through a hole near the North Pole.

"There are cavern systems and caves that traverse the whole mantle," he told Bell. Because of the special atmosphere in the hole, Thompson explained, living creatures were protected from pollutants and harmful rays. There were herds of mammoth and ancient tribes down there, the members of which lived to be around 1,700 years old.

Thompson, who made some other curious claims and later mysteriously dropped out of sight (coincidence?), may sound a bit nutty, but he's just one of many believers in the Hollow Earth, a concept that's tied into ancient folklore and religious beliefs (Christian hell, for instance). The idea of a subterranean world inspired classic stories by Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and others.

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And it's extended to real-world experimentation, too. Just one example: a few years after Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth was published in 1864, Cyrus Teed founded the Koreshan Unity, a commune devoted to his "Cellular Cosmogony" theory that turned Hollow Earth inside out, suggesting our planet and sky were actually contained within a sphere.

These days, the Hollow Earth theory shows no sign of slowing down, evidenced by its believers' rather robust presence on YouTube (a search returns over 100,000 videos). Boasting over 200,000 views is the Hollow Earth: The Biggest Cover Up, which is even more thorough than its 45-minute running time suggests, and sounds like it's narrated by Siri.

Here's a much shorter video suggesting possible entrance points into the Hollow Earth, including mountains, cave systems, and beneath New York's Cathedral of Saint John the Divine.

At just under three minutes, the title says it all: "Hollow Earth Proof on Google Earth."

And, of course, Hollywood has to add its .02 as well. Come to think of it, has anyone seen Brendan Fraser lately?

Hollow Earth model image via Can of Mystery.