To most of us, it’s a belief akin to the idea that the moon is made of cheese, but Flat Earthers are suddenly everywhere this year.
A conference in Birmingham last month saw hundreds of Flat Earth believers gathering to discuss their ideas – and organiser Gary John appeared on This Morning.
Meanwhile, a YouGov poll in America found that 5% of people had previously believed Earth is round – but now ‘have doubts’.
Yahoo News spoke to John, a 54-year-old British fitness fan and company director, about his beliefs – and why the idea of a flat Earth is booming in 2018.
John says that in the wake of his appearance on This Morning, an ITV online poll showed that 17% of people thought the Earth was flat.
John says, ‘A lot of people were hearing about the Flat Earth for the first time. I think it’s very positive.’
John says that he feels that the increasingly high profile of Flat Earthers in the media could be a sign that the government is about to ‘come clean’ and admit the Earth is flat.
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Like many Flat Earthers, John believes that all world governments, the scientific community and NASA have conspired together for decades to conceal the truth.
But he says that may be about to change.
John says, ‘I think it’s now clear that a lot of credible, academically minded people are taking this seriously.
‘We think there’s a chance that the authorities know that this will reach critical mass. Are we being steered in this direction?’
‘Are we being steered so that in two years, people won’t be so aghast, when mainstream science suddenly says, ‘Guess what guys, we had to own up.’
John and many other Flat Earthers believe that the 1969 moon landings are faked, and that the entire space programme is a fraud.
John says, ‘Is the Space Station, all that Hollywood studio stuff with wires being pulled – is that a deliberate clue to allow us to jump on it?’
John says that he suspects people in the scientific community are being threatened – or bribed – to maintain the lie that the Earth is a globe.
‘The sixty-four-thousand dollar question is, “What are they hiding?” he says.
Johns says that the ‘doesn’t know’ what the point of the conspiracy is, but it could be to hide the fact that there are lands beyond Earth.
‘Is Earth just one realm among many?’ he asks. ‘Or perhaps the point of the conspiracy is to make people feel that they’re insignificant.’
John says that many Flat Earthers are ‘very religious’ and admits, ‘I think we’ve been created, I don’t think we’re here just by luck.’
A YouGov poll of 8,215 people in America found that 52% of people believe the Earth is flat consider themselves ‘very religious’ – and say that evidence for the Earth being flat is found in scripture.
Johns says that he watched YouTube videos in 2015, and got to the end and thought, ‘I’m a Flat Earther!’
He points to experiments which Flat Earthers use to ‘prove’ the Earth is flat – and claims that governments are concealing something in Antarctica.
He said, ‘We’re not allowed to go there. I spoke to a doctor, who went there in support of Prince Harry.
‘It took two and a half years to get accredited, and you’ve got to pay a lot of money. The authorities are making it very difficult for us to get there.
John says he is now trying to organise another event in Amsterdam, a full-day event with debates on all things Flat Earth.
‘It’s clearly gaining traction,’ he says. ‘Lots want to learn the truth, whatever that means. I guess it’s intriguing to think that the model we have been sold is not the case.’