Some believers in the theory that Earth has a hollow (Hollow Earth), inhabitable core sometimes also believe in evil creatures called the Deros, which were supposedly created through genetic engineering.
Resembling demons, these creatures supposedly visit the surface of the earth to kidnap human beings, whom they then become subject to a variety of tortures. They also supposedly wreak destruction on the inhabitants of Earth’s surface by using technologically advanced machines hidden in caves to alter weather, alter brain waves to cause mental illness, and cause industrial, traffic, and other accidents.
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The idea of the Deros originated with Richard Sharpe Shaver. In 1943, Shaver wrote a letter to Amazing Stories magazine. He claimed to have discovered an ancient language he called “Mantong”, a sort of Proto-Human language that was the source of all Earthly languages.
In Mantong, each sound had a hidden meaning, and by applying this formula to any word in any language, one could decode a secret meaning to any word, name or phrase. Editor Ray Palmer applied the Mantong formula to several words, and said he realized Shaver was onto something.
According to Palmer (in his autobiography The Secret World), Palmer wrote back to Shaver, asking how he had learned of Mantong. Shaver responded with a document entitled “A Warning to Future Man”. Shaver wrote of extremely advanced prehistoric races who had built cavern cities inside the Earth before abandoning Earth for another planet due to damaging radiation from the Sun.
Those ancients also abandoned some of their own offspring here, a minority of whom remained noble and human “Teros”, while most degenerated over time into a population of mentally impaired sadists known as “Deros”—short for “detrimental robots”. Shaver’s “robots” were not mechanical constructs, but were robot-like due to their savage behavior.
According to Shaver, the creators of the Deros, whom he called the Titans, were beings as tall as 300 feet (91.4m) who had originally come from an ancient yet highly advanced civilization called Lemuria.
12,000 years ago Deros were forced to escape into great caverns under the earth to avoid deadly radiation from the sun. (Some Titans, however, stayed on the surface, adjusted, and became the present human race. Others fled to distant planets.)
Deros–demons in all but name and close to it even there-were sadistic idiots who had access to the advanced Titan technology, which they used to increase sexual pleasure during the orgies to which they were addicted.
These Deros still lived in the cave cities, according to Shaver, kidnapping surface-dwelling people by the thousands for meat or torture. With the sophisticated “ray” machinery that the great ancient races had left behind, they spied on people and projected tormenting thoughts and voices into our minds (reminiscent of schizophrenia’s “influencing machines” such as the Air loom).
Though generally confined to their caves, Shaver claimed that the Deros sometimes traveled with spaceships or rockets, and had dealings with equally evil extraterrestrial beings. Shaver claimed to possess first-hand knowledge of the Deros and their caves, insisting he had been their prisoner for several years.
Amazing Stories editor Raymond A. Palmer published many tales based on Shaver’s supposed adventures in the hollow-Earth realm, not only in Amazing Stories but in its sister publication, Fantastic Adventures, as well.
Palmer insisted that he did not alter the main elements of Shaver’s story, but that he only added an exciting plot so the story would not read “like a dull recitation”. Retitled “I Remember Lemuria!”; it was published in the March 1945 issue of Amazing.
The issue sold out, and generated quite a response: between 1945 and 1949, many letters arrived attesting to the truth of Shaver’s claims (tens of thousands of letters, according to Palmer). The correspondents claimed that they, too, had heard strange voices or encountered denizens of the Hollow Earth.
One of the letters to Amazing Stories was from a woman who claimed to have gone into a deep subbasement of a Paris, France building via a secret elevator. After months of rape and other torture, the woman was freed by a benevolent Tero.
Another letter claiming involvement with Deros came from Fred Crisman, later to gain notoriety for his role in the Maury Island Incident and the John F. Kennedy Assassination. “Shaver Mystery Club” societies were created in several cities.
During 1948, Amazing Stories ceased all publication of Shaver’s stories. Palmer would later claim the magazine was pressured by sinister outside forces to make the change: science fiction fans would credit their boycott and letter-writing campaigns for the change. The magazine’s owners said later that the Shaver Mystery had simply run its course and sales were decreasing.
Even after the pulp magazines lost popularity, Palmer continued promoting the Shaver Mystery to a diminishing audience via the periodical The Hidden World. Lanier describes the magazine as “Shaver in the raw” with little of Palmer’s editing. Shaver and his wife produced the Shaver Mystery Magazine irregularly for some years.
Until the end of his life, he said that everything he said was true.