The mission of the Flat Earth Society is to promote and initiate discussion of Flat Earth theory as well as archive Flat Earth literature. Our forums act as a venue to encourage free thinking and debate.
History of the Flat Earth Society
The modern age of the Flat Earth Society dates back to the early 1800s, when it was founded by Samuel Birley Rowbotham, an English inventor. Samuel Rowbotham's Flat Earth views were based largely on literal interpretation of Bible passages. His system, called Zetetic Astronomy, held that the earth is a flat disk centered at the North Pole and bounded along its 'southern' edge by a wall of ice, with the sun, moon, planets, and stars only a few hundred miles above the surface of the earth. After Rowbotham's death in 1884, followers of his Zetetic Astronomy founded the Universal Zetetic Society.
Flat Earth theory spread to the United States, largely in the town of Zion, Illinois where Christian Catholic Apostolic Church founder John Alexander Dowie and later Wilbur Glenn Voliva promoted Flat Earth theory. Voliva died in 1942 and the church quickly disintegrated. Flat Earthism remained in Zion, gradually becoming less popular into the 1950s.
The International Flat Earth Society was formally founded in 1956 by Samuel Shenton, a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and the Royal Geographic Society. Shenton died in 1971 and Charles K. Johnson became president of the International Flat Earth Society. Johnson actively and charistmatically promoted the Society and, over time, its membership increased to over 3,000. His wife Marjory took an active role in the Society as well, often contributing articles to the Flat Earth Society Newsletter.
In 1995, a fire destroyed the Johnson's home as well as all of the Flat Earth Society's library, archives and membership lists. Following a long period of poor health, Charles K. Johnson's wife Marjory Johnson passed away in 1996. He vowed to rebuild the society. Sadly, Charles K. Johnson passed away in 2001 at the age of 76, leaving the Society's future uncertain.
After several years of inactivity, the Flat Earth Society was resurrected in 2004 and remains active today at theflatearthsociety.org. The Society officially reopened to new members on 30th October 2009.