The idea of the hollow earth was made popular by Jules Verne’s novel “Journey to the Center of the Earth”. However a doctor in New York would propose an idea that took the hollow earth theory one step further. Dr. Cyrus Teed was a physician who had a very unique view of the earth. According to Teed the earth was hollow, however we were living inside of the concave hollow earth, with the sun, atmosphere, stars, and moon located in the center. Needless to say, Dr. Teed was a very odd man, who also performed very odd experiments involving mysticism, alchemy, and subjecting himself to high voltage electrical shocks.
After subjecting himself to one such shock in 1869 Dr. Teed was visited by a divine spirit who revealed to him that he was the Messiah, and that Teed needed to use his scientific knowledge to save humanity. Dr. Cyrus Teed changed his name to “Koresh”, the Hebrew name for Cyrus. He founded a new religion called “Koreshanity” which revolved around the ideas of communal living, utopianism, celibacy (no sex), reincarnation, the non-existence of gravity, and his particular version of the hollow earth theory. Many people flocked to join his new religion, and communes were formed in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.
In 1894 Teed declared the creation of a “New Jerusalem” in Estero, Florida. The 250 Koreshans built a prosperous small town complete with a bakery, a general store, concrete works, power plant, and a Koreshanity College. The Koreshans even created their own political party, unsuccessfully running candidates for local government positions. Teed’s death in 1908 led to the withering of the movement. The last Koreshan was Hedwig Michel, an immigrant who fled the Nazi’s during the 1930’s. In 1964 she deeded the colony to the State of Florida, which made it into the Koreshan State Historic Park.