Charles Hutchins Hapgood (May 17, 1904 – December 21, 1982) was an American college professor and author who became one of the best known advocates of a pseudo-historical claim of a rapid and recent pole shift with catastrophic results.
Hapgood received a master's degree from Harvard University in 1929 in medieval and modern History. His Ph.D. work on the French Revolution was interrupted by the Great Depression. He taught for a year in Vermont and directed a community center in Provincetown, also serving as the executive secretary of Franklin Roosevelt's Crafts Commission.
During World War II, Hapgood was employed by the Center of Information (which later became the Office of Strategic Services and then the Central Intelligence Agency) and the Red Cross, and also served as a liaison officer between the White House and the Office of the Secretary of the War. After the war, Hapgood began a twenty-year teaching career in the humanities through faculty appointments at Keystone College (1945–1947), Springfield College (1947–1952), Keene State College (1956–1966), and New England College (1966–1967), where he lectured in world and American history, anthropology, economics, and the history of science.
Hapgood married Tamsin Hughes in 1941. They divorced in 1955. In later years he resided in Arizona and Richmond, New Hampshire. While living in Greenfield, Massachusetts, he was struck by a car and died on December 21, 1982. He is survived by two sons, Frederick (born 1942) and William (born 1944), and two grandsons.
While at Springfield College, a student's question about the Lost Continent of Mu prompted a class project to investigate the lost continent of Atlantis, leading Hapgood to investigate possible ways that massive earth changes could occur and exposing him to the literature of Hugh Auchincloss Brown.
In 1958, Hapgood published The Earth's Shifting Crust which denied the existence of continental drift and featured a foreword by Albert Einstein. In Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings (1966) and The Path of the Pole (1970), Hapgood proposed the hypothesis that the Earth's axis has shifted numerous times during geological history. In Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings he supported the suggestion made by Arlington Mallery that a part of the Piri Reis Map was a depiction of the area of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land. He used this to propose that a 15 degree pole shift occurred around 9,600 BCE (approx. 11,600 years ago) and that a part of the Antarctic was ice-free at that time, and that an ice-age civilization could have mapped the coast. He concludes that "Antarctica was mapped when these parts were free of ice", taking that view that an Antarctic warm period coincided with the last ice age in the Northern hemisphere, and that the Piri Reis and other maps were based on "ancient" maps derived from ice-age originals.
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