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Was William Morgan ‘The Man’? By Bruce Walton

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Was William Morgan ‘The Man’?

By Bruce Walton

Hollow Earth enthusiasts, I believe, are unfamiliar with the
fascinating story of “I Am The Man”, as it appears on John Uri Lloyd’s
The original manuscript was allegedly given to a Cincinnati man named
Llewellyn Drury by a mysterious being who materialized in his room on a
cold November night in the mid-1800s over 30 years before the volume was
eventually published by a friend of his, John Uri Lloyd, also of

strange being claimed to have formerly been a freemason who had,
through some unusual encounter with destiny, undertook a remarkable
journey into the center of the earth and eventually into the hollow
interior itself, some 800 miles beneath the outer surface of the earth.
This mysterious being handed Llewellyn a large stack of old, yellowed
paper, which he learned recorded the fantastic story of this strange
visitor known only as “I Am The Man.” The story recounted his
experiences from his early days as a mortal, and a Mason to his fateful
journey into the unknown and eventual transformation into an immortal
being. Llewellyn Drury had promised the visitor that he would hide the
manuscript, and as instructed, he would publish the manuscript after an
interval of 30 years. After the agreed upon interval Llewellyn
uncovered the manuscript and, evading his responsibility, he gave the
manuscript to a friend of his, the author John Uri Lloyd, who, after
hearing his story of the visit by the mysterious man, enthusiastically
set upon the task at hand. Also, as the being instructed, he hired an
artist, J. Augustus Knapp, to illustrate the volume.

after the book was first published in 1896, it became quite popular and
widely read, as well as highly controversial. Most people considered,
and perhaps still do, that the story was the work of the imaginative
mind of John Uri Lloyd. However, due to the descriptions of the earth’s
interior, which parallel so closely with other accounts of the Inner
Earth, Lloyd must have either done a great deal of research on the
various “hollow earth” theories of the day, or the story of the
visitation of “I Am The Man” to Llewellyn Drury was in fact a true

in the book is there a mention of the true identity of “I Am The Man”
or his hometown or state. This may lead some readers to wonder whether
or not the occurrences which are mentioned in the first few chapters did
actually happen.

believe that such a man existed, and that the events mentioned in the
opening pages are based on fact, and I have good reason to believe that
after the readers look at the evidence I am about to present, they will
have to admit that this is the case.

description of his whereabouts before his adventure begins do not
specifically identify his location, but it does provide some clues from
which we may be able to determine his hometown. Page 44 of
Etidorpa, first
edition states as follows: “In a section of the state in which I
reside, a certain creek forms the boundry line between two townships,
and also between two counties. Crossing this creek, a more traveled
road stretches east and west, uniting the extremes of the major state.”

believe the great state he refers to is the state of New York, and the
west-east running road being the one which runs from Buffalo on the
shore of Lake Erie to Rochester N.Y. on the shore of Lake Ontario. On
page 72 we find perhaps the most significant clue. On that page we find
a reference to Seneca Lake, which the young man knew quite well.
Seneca Lake is the name of a body of water in northwest New York. So,
we can assume that this was the state where his story begins, although
in the manuscript it was “forbidden to give the names of the

story begins when he receives a strange letter in the mail. Previous
to this he had done some searching and delving into the mysteries of
life and the Masonic science. A translation of Gerber’s “De Claritate
Alchemiae” by chance came into his possession and afterwards an original
version from the Latin Boerhaave’s “Elementa Cheniae,” published and
translated in 1753 by Peter Shaw. It was these volumes more than
anything else, which introduced him to a brotherhood of adepts, with
whom he eventually gained membership through initiation. But it was
before being initiated that “I Am The Man” received the strange letter.
The letter was from an anonymous source who was apparently well-versed
in masonry; it carried a history of the secret order from ancient times
preceding the days of Hermes Ytismegistus. The letter began with the
following cryptic title;



set forth instructions for the reader, if he be willing, to become a
member of the secret order of masons, if they were not already, and
learn it’s most hidden secrets and reveal what they had learned to the
world, thereby enlightening mankind to the ancient mysteries which have
for so long been guarded by the elect few. He noticed that the letter
had been passed through the hands of many other masons and scholars, but
the very fact that the letter was passed on to him made it clear that
none who received the letter dared to undertake such a dangerous task.

contemplation, he made up his mind that he would be the one to
undertake this task and immediately began writing an expose on the
secret rites of the masons and reveling their inner most secrets.
Shortly after this was begun he found himself being harassed by outside
force, and was sent to prison for failing to pay a ridiculously small
debt. When he regained his liberty the persecutions continues.
Page 47 Etidorhpa states:

arson was resorted to, and the printing offices that held my manuscript
was fired last night, that the obnoxious revelation which I persisted
in putting in print, must be destroyed.”

thereafter he again found himself in prison, separated from his wife
and child, due to further minor debts, this time amounting to only
$2.00. This was to be the last time he ever saw his wife and child
again. On august 12
th 1826,
he was abducted from his jail cell and put into a closed coach. In
answer to his queries as to why he was being abducted he was told:
“Have you not bound yourself by a series of vows that are sacred and
should be inviolable, and have you not broken them as no other man
before you? Have you not betrayed your trust, and merited a severe

became aware of a man next to him in the coach, which he soon found to
be a corpse, a drowning victim he was told, who was to be used to
cover-up his abduction, as that upon it’s discovery all outsiders would
believe that the corpse was that of himself, if need be. He was then
taken on a long wide and became totally lost to his surroundings, not
knowing whether he was still in his home state, or in another one
altogether. He was taken out of a boat at night onto a river, along
with the corpse, which he witnesses being dumped overboard by those with
him. After this he has taken to a secluded cabin and subjected to a
fantastic ceremony which suddenly aged the young man into an old, white
haired feeble man by the application of a strange liquid which was
applied to his skin by a group of masked men in robes. He was then
taken back to his home town by another guide in order to prove to
himself that no one could recognize him for who he really was, although
he did not convince them that he had been prematurely aged, they just
looked at him with strange expressions as though they considered him
some kind of lunatic. His guide then guided “I Am The Man” to his final
destination, the Cave of Zoroaster!

comes the evidence I mentioned earlier, which I happened to come across
just a few days prior to the writing of this article. I was in the
process of glancing through the pages of a book titled
No Man Knows My History by Fay M. Brodie. This
boo k is the history of a young man named Joseph Smith, better known as
the founder of the Mormons. On page 63-64 I came upon some paragraphs
that hit me out of the blue. They read as follows:

1827 there was no monarchies or dictators threatening American
democracy, and no invaders on the borders. Yet the country was seized
by a swiftly spreading fear that the Republic was in danger. The terror
began in western New York in September 1826.”

Batavia, on the road to Buffalo, a printing press was burned and it’s
owner beaten by a group of masked men. In the press office were fresh
prints of a new book, an expose of the secret rites and oaths of
Freemasonry. The author, William Morgan, was abducted some days later
and carried to Canandaigua, nine miles from Joseph Smith’s house, for a
mock trial. He was then taken secretly to Fort Niagara on the Canadian
border, where he disappeared.

prominent Masons in Canandaigua were tried for his murder in January
1827. The whole countryside moved in to hear the proceedings. When
three were acquitted and the other two received sentences of less than a
year, the public felt cheated.

trials were held in February and Anti-Masonry spread with each
acquittal. Morgan and the Masons became the standing theme of
conversation in the field and tavern.

dismissed pastors who would not renounce Masonry, and deacons who would
not resign their memberships were forbidden the sacrament.

politicians saw in the rising fever the makings of a political party.
Although the Palmyra newspapers maintained a measure of objectivity for a
time, this eventually broke down and the local lodge was forced to

October 1827 a bloated corpse was washed up on the shores of Lake
Ontario. The turf had scarcely been planted on the grave when someone
suggested that the corpse was Morgan’s. “The whole country thereafter,”
wrote one observer “rang with the exclamation, “Morgan is found!” Mrs.
Morgan had not a particle of doubt that the identity of the body, fully
believing it to be that of her husband. Only one difficulty remained
and that was a mere trifle: there was not a single article of the
clothes found upon the deceased that belonged to Morgan. Since an
election was approaching, the funeral show was delayed until shortly
before the voting. Then hundreds of thousands of people poured into
Batavia to join the obsequies of the great Masonic martyr.

Masons now found evidence in Canada that the corpse was not Morgan’s
but that of Timothy Monroe, who had been drowned some weeks earlier.
For the second time the body was disinterred, and Mrs. Morgan positively
identified it.”

With outstanding evidence like this, we must assume that the events described in Etidorhpa,
at least the first few chapters are true. But what about the rest of
the story? That the readers must decide for themselves, as further
confirmation of facts becomes increasingly difficult as the story

is historical fact that William Morgan lived in Batavia, New York, a
town on the road between Buffalo and Rochester, New York, undoubtedly
the same road mentioned in
Etidorhpa, “a much traveled road stretching east, and west uniting the extremes of the state.

It is historical fact that William Morgan was abducted shortly before September 1826, while Etidorhpa gives the exact date of August 12, 1826.

It is historical fact that William Morgan had a wife, which is also confirmed in Etidorhpa.

was probably the city where William Morgan was imprisoned before being
abducted. John Smith, leader of the Mormons, and believed by many
researchers to also been an initiate as a Freemason, lived just 9 miles
away. There are unconfirmed reports that the widow of William Morgan,
Lucinda Pendleton Morgan Harris, after her husbands death remarried,
first to George Washington Harris, and then to Joseph Smith. In 1838,
becoming one of the Mormon leaders’ first wives, who witnessed the
martyrdom of Joseph Smith in 1844. Ironically, Joseph Smith was a firm
believer in “the land beyond the pole” as in one of his first assemblies
in Kirkland, Ohio, he gave the whereabouts of the “Lost Ten Tribes,
revealing that they lived in a land “contiguous to the north pole,
separated from the rest of the world by impassable mountains of ice and

is believed that William Morgan was last seen in Fort Niagara next to
the Niagara River on the New York-Canadian border, and just a short ways
above that river’s joining of Lake Ontario, the lake which the body of
“I Am The Man”, was found.

“I Am The Man”, or rather William Morgan mentioned in Etidorhpa the
great stir that his disappearance caused throughout the whole area, and
also all of the anti-Masonic activity that his disappearance created
and it’s effect on the politics of the day, as it was well know that the
Democrat Andrew Jackson was a Mason of high rank.

In Chapter XI of Etidorhpa,
“I Am The Man” becomes more specific in naming the route of travel
which he and his unusual guide, a mason of extraordinary standing,
travel on their way to their final destination in Kentucky. From the
description their starting point would most likely have been in western
New York, as was stated previously. From Fort Niagara he was taken in
closed carriage for nearly two days travel, though the exact route here
is hard to trace. He was then subjected to the mysterious ceremony
mentioned earlier which caused him to prematurely age, thereby removing
all signs of his former identity.

he could not recognize the route that was taken because of the windows
in the carriage, which were draped to exclude any light, his guide told
him that they took a round about route from Fort Niagara to Wheeling
Virginia. From there they went to the Ohio River, where they boarded a
keelboat and made their way down to Cincinnati. They stayed in this
city for several days, eventually taking passage on the steamer “George
Washington,” leaving Shipping-Port Wednesday, December 13, 1926. They
landed in Smithland, Kentucky and made their way east along the north
side of the Cumberland River. On their way they passed two bluffs on
the northern shore of the river, the second one being a large, dark
outcropping which was at that time called Bissell’s Hill. (On
topographical maps of the area the name ‘Bissell’ bluff is given to the
second hill located on the northern most point of the Cumberland. It is
most likely the same hill). After passing this second bluff they
turned north and headed into the heart of Livingston County, Kentucky.
All along the way they noticed several sinkholes, most of them largely
unexplained. After approximately three days travel on foot northward
from the Cumberland River. Although he is not too specific in his
description of the cave through which he enters into the underworld, the
descriptions that he does give may be of help in finding it’s general
Pages 93-93 of Etidorhpa states the following:

“ … After a few
days of uneventful travel, we rested, one afternoon, in a hilly country
that before us appeared to be more rugged, even mountainous. We had
wandered leisurely, and were now at a considerable distance from the
Cumberland River, the aim of my guide being, as I surmised, to evade a
direct approach to some object of interest which I must not locate
exactly, and yet which I shall try to describe accurately enough for
identification by a person familiar with the topography of that
section. We stood on the side of a stony, sloping hill, back of which
spread a wooded valley.

just remember to have passed along a creek in a valley,” I remarked
looking back over our pathway. “It appeared to rise from this direction,
but the source ends abruptly in this chain of hills.””

stream is beneath us,” he answered. Advancing a few paces, he brought
to my attention, on the hillside, an opening in the earth. This
aperture was irregular in form, about the diameter of a well, and
descending perpendicularly into the stony crust. I leaned over the
orifice, and heard the gurgle of water beneath,”

was here that he met a strange being from the earth’s interior, who was
to become his new guide. They went a short ways down the hill until
they came to a cave from, which flowed the water of the subterranean
stream he had heard beneath the opening higher up the hill. Here they
entered and “I Am The Man, William Morgan, left the world of sunlight
for good. It would not be until many years later that he would see the
light of day again. I will not go into details of his journey into the
depths of the earth, but suggest you read the book
(Etidorhpa) your self.

those interested in seeking the entrance used by William Morgan to go
into the underground, Bruce Walton narrows your search area with this
information, Look on a Geographical map for the Lola quadrangle of
Livingston County, Kentucky. This is the quadrangle just north of the
Burma quadrangle that indicates the location of Bissell bluff and north
Cumberland River. The Lola map shows a large field of sinkholes about
where I calculate the entrance to the Cave of Zoroaster to be. Some
investigation of the stream sources and of springs in this area may turn
up some very interesting things. Perhaps one day some young adventurer
will discover this cave and follow in the footsteps of William Morgan,
The Man Who Did It!

Etidorhpa Home Page

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  I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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