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Experimental Evidence

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The following sections contain experimental evidence in favor of a Flat Earth.

Water Convexity Experiments

The Bedford Canal Experiments

The classic Flat Earth water convexity experiments were described in the book Earth Not a Globe by Samuel Birley Rowbotham. Rowbotham lives near the canal and performs the experiment numerous times over a long period of time. The Bedford Canal is a man-made canal which was selected as the most ideal location for the types of experiments performed due to the narrow passageways and low disturbance of the water's surface.

Of special interest, and in regards to the popularized subject of refraction, we look at the second experiment in the text.

Experiment Two

From Experiment Two of Earth Not a Globe we read:

  “ Along the edge of the water, in the same canal, six flags were placed, one statute mile from each other, and so arranged that the top of each flag was 5 feet above the surface. Close to the last flag in the series a longer staff was fixed, bearing a flag 3 feet square, and the top of which was 8 feet above the surface of the water--the bottom being in a line with the tops of the other and intervening flags, as shown in the following diagram, Fig, 4. ”


  “ On looking with a good telescope over and along the flags, from A to B, the line of sight fell on the lower part of the larger flag at B. The altitude of the point B above the water at D was 5 feet, and the altitude of the telescope at A above the water at C was 5 feet; and each intervening flag had the same altitude. Hence the surface of the water C, D, was equidistant from the line of sight A, B; and as A B was a right line, C, D, being parallel, was also a right line; or, in other words, the surface of the water, C, D, was for six miles absolutely horizontal.

If the earth is a globe, the series of flags in the last experiment would have had the form and produced the results represented in the diagram, Fig. 5. The water curvating from ”


  “ C to D, each flag would have been a given amount below the line A, B. The first and second flags would have determined the direction of the line of sight from A to B, and the third flag would have been 8 inches below the second; the fourth flag, 32 inches; the fifth, 6 feet; the sixth, 10 feet 8 inches; and the seventh, 16 feet 8 inches; but the top of the last and largest flag, being 3 feet higher than the smaller ones, would have been 13 feet 8 inches below the line of sight at the point B. ”

On analysis of this experiment, if the earth were a globe, one important remark would be that it is quite the coincidence that the flags all experienced the Flat Earth refraction effect, one by one, all the way down to the end, which projected each flag into the air at the exact height they needed to be at in order to make things look flat in accordance with the distance looked across and the height of the observer.

Other ENAG Experiments

Experiment 1 - Boat Unsunken, 6 miles (Two Point)
Experiment 3 - Theodolite Between Bridges (Three Point)
Experiment 4 - Theodolite-Flag-Cross (Three Point)
Experiment 5 - Bridge Notice Board (Two Point)
Experiment 6 - Receding Boat (Duration type, Multiple Points)
Experiment 7 - Horizontal Curvature - Long Board
Experiment 8 - Horizontal Curvature - Crosshair
Experiment 9 - Boat Between Lighthouses (Three Point)

The English Mechanic

From The English Mechanic, a scientific journal:

  “ Bedford Canal, England. A repeat of the 1870 experiment

"A train of empty turf-boats had just entered the Canal from the river Ouse, and was about proceeding to Ramsey. I arranged with the captain to place the shallowest boat last in the train, and to take me on to Welney Bridge, a distance of six miles. A good telescope was then fixed on the lowest part of the stern of the last boat. The sluice gate of the Old Bedford Bridge was 5ft. 8in. high, the turf-boat moored there was 2ft. 6in. high, and the notice board was 6ft. 6in. from the water.

The sun was shining strongly upon them in the direction of the south-southwest; the air was exceedingly still and clear, and the surface of the water smooth as a molten mirror, so that everything was favourable for observation. At 1.15 p.m. the train started for Welney. As the boats gradually receded, the sluice gate, the turf-boat and the notice board continued to be visible to the naked eye for about four miles. When the sluice gate and the turf-boat (being of a dark colour) became somewhat indistinct, the notice board (which was white) was still plainly visible, and remained so to the end of six miles. But on looking through the telescope all the objects were distinctly visible throughout the whole distance. On reaching Welney Bridge I made very careful and repeated observations, and finding several men upon the banks of the canal, I called them to look through the telescope. They all saw distinctly the white notice board, the sluice gate, and the black turf-boat moored near them.

Now, as the telescope was 18in. above the water, The line of sight would touch the horizon at one mile and a half away (if the surface were convex). The curvature of the remaining four miles and a half would be 13ft. 6in. Hence the turf-boat should have been 11ft., the top of the sluice gate 7ft. 10in., and the bottom of the notice board 7ft. below the horizon.

My recent experiment affords undeniable proof of the Earth's unglobularity, because it rests not on transitory vision; but my proof remains printed on the negative of the photograph which Mr.Clifton took for me, and in my presence, on behalf of J.H.Dallmeyer, Ltd.

A photograph can not 'imagine' nor lie!" ”

From "The Flat Earth: another Bedford Canal experiment" (Bernard H.Watson, et al), ENGLISH MECHANIC, 80:160, 1904

Weather and Wave Conditions

In the chapter On the Dimensions of Ocean Waves, Rowbotham explains that the above is affected by wind and water conditions. The reproduction woks best in fine weather:

  “ It is well known that even on lakes of small dimensions and also on canals, when high winds prevail for some time in the same direction, the ordinary ripple is converted into comparatively large waves. On the "Bedford Canal," during the windy season, the water is raised into undulations so high, that through a powerful telescope at an elevation of 8 inches, a boat two or three miles away will be invisible; but at other times, through the same telescope the same kind of boat may be seen at a distance of six or eight miles.

During very fine weather when the water has been calm for some days and become as it were settled down, persons are often able to see with the naked eye from Dover the coast of France, and a steamer has been traced all the way across the channel. At other times when the winds are very high, and a heavy swell prevails, the coast is invisible, and the steamers cannot be traced the whole distance from the same altitude, even with a good telescope.

Instances could be greatly multiplied, but already more evidence has been given than the subject really requires, to prove that when a telescope does not restore the hull of a distant vessel it is owing to a purely special and local cause. ”

The Bishop Experiment

California Monterey Bay is a relatively long bay that sits next to the Pacific Ocean. The distance between the extremes of the Monterey Bay, Lovers Point in Pacific Grove and Lighthouse State Beach in Santa Cruz, is just over 23 statute miles.

Distance between the two points, courtesy of Google Earth

On a very clear and chilly day it is possible to see Lighthouse Beach from Lovers Point and vice versa. With a good telescope, laying down on the stomach at the edge of the shore on the Lovers Point beach 20 inches above the sea level it is possible to see people at the waters edge on the adjacent beach 23 miles away near the lighthouse. The entire beach is visible down to the water splashing upon the shore. Upon looking into the telescope I can see children running in and out of the water, splashing and playing. I can see people sun bathing at the shore and teenagers merrily throwing Frisbees to one another. I can see runners jogging along the water's edge with their dogs. From my vantage point the entire beach is visible.

IF the earth is a globe, and is 24,900 English statute miles in circumference, the surface of all standing water must have a certain degree of convexity--every part must be an arc of a circle. From the summit of any such arc there will exist a curvature or declination of 8 inches over the first statute mile. Over two miles the fall will be 32 inches; by the end of the third mile, 72 inches, or 6 feet, as shown in this chart.

Correcting for the height of the observer of about 20 inches, when looking at the opposite beach over 23 miles away there should be a bulge of water obscuring objects up to 300 feet above the far beach. There isn't. Even accounting for refraction, the amount hidden should be around 260 feet - seeing down to the shoreline should be impossible.

Suppose that the earth is a sphere with a radius of 3,963 miles. If you are at a point P on the earth's surface and move tangent to the surface a distance of 1 mile then you can form a right angled triangle as in the diagram.

Looking over a distance of 1 mile, we can use the theorem of Pythagoras:

a2 = 3,9632 + 12 = 15,705,370

and when we square root that figure we get a = 3,963.000126 miles

Thus your position is 3,963.000126 - 3,963 = 0.000126 miles above the surface of the earth.

0.000126 miles = 12 in * 5,280 ft * 0.000126 mi = 7.98 inches

Hence after one mile the earth drops approximately 8 inches.

"Whenever I have doubts about the shape of the earth I simply walk outside my home, down to the beach, and perform this simple test. Provided that there is no fog and the day is clear and calm, the same result comes up over and over throughout the year."
Tom Bishop

Ergo, looking across 23 miles the Pythagorean theorem becomes:

a2 = 39632 +232 = 15,705,898

and when we square root that figure we get a = 3,963.06674 miles

Thus your position is 3,963.06674 - 3,963 = 0.06674 miles above the surface of the earth

0.06674 miles = 5,280 ft/mi * 0.6674 mi = 352.3872 feet

Hence after 23 miles the earth drops approximately 352 feet.

There are a number of different methods to calculate the drop of the Round Earth. Go ahead and look a few up to try out. You will find that the drop while looking over 23 miles is on the order of 300-400 feet.

Why I'm a Flat Earther... 37 Must-See Experiments

The Flat Earth movement performs continuous validation and checks of Earth Not a Globe by Samuel Birley Rowbotham. The following is a good collection of experiments which demonstrate a Flat Earth (Runtime: 2 Hours).

Sinking Ship Effect

The Sinking Ship Effect is often used as evidence of the earth's rotundity. It was one of the first proofs of Aristotle and other philosophers. It was based primarily upon this phenomenon that the earth was declared by the ancients to be globular. It has been found that when the phenomenon is studied with modern methods, such as through long period time-lapse photography, that the Sinking Ship Effect is not consistent. The effect appears to come and go over time. See: Sinking Ship Effect Caused By Refraction

Further Flat Earth Evidence

  • A woman named Lady Blount was among the first to peer review Rowbotham's work: Lady Blount Trials