Sunday, June 19th, 2011
Don Homuth, a former North Dakota state senator and current resident of Salem, Oregon, will donate the sole complete copy of the Map of a Square and Stationary Earth by Orlando Ferguson to the Library of Congress. Homuth was given the map by his eighth-grade English teacher John Hildreth who had received it from his grandfather. He didn’t realize it was the only one left intact until he contacted the LoC to arrange for the donation.
Robert Morris, senior technical information specialist in the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress, said they searched through 75 to 100 related maps before confirming they didn’t have a similar map in its collections.
“Probably very few copies were printed, and even fewer survived,” he said. [...]
“For years and years I had it folded away,” [Don Homuth] said. “It was a shock to hear it may be the only (map of its kind) in the world.”
The only other copy known to exist is in the Pioneer Museum of Hot Springs, South Dakota, Ferguson’s home town and the city where the map was first printed in 1893 (the same year the building that now houses the museum was built as a school). The museum’s copy, however, is missing the bottom of the map and footer [Edit: No it isn't! The Pioneer Museum's map is almost intact, but its left and right sides appears to have been trimmed and it's in overall poor condition] with Bible verses condemning “the globe theory” and the following irresistible offer from Prof. Orlando Ferguson:
Send 25 Cents to the Author, Prof. Orlando Ferguson, for a book explaining this Square and Stationary Earth. It Knocks the Globe Theory Clean Out. It will Teach You How to Foretell Eclipses. It is Worth Its Weight in Gold.
I have searched high and low but cannot, alas, find a copy of this most excellent book on the Internet. I can’t even find a quote from it, and I’d dearly love to read the explanation of how Ferguson’s earth is supposed to work. Just from looking at it you see that Ferguson espoused not just a flat earth, but a square earth with angels manning each of the four corners; however, the only explanations on the map itself are Biblical rebuttals of a spherical earth (the most adorable of which is a cartoon in the upper right margin depicting men clinging desperately to a swiftly moving globe), not affirmative defenses of Ferguson’s map.
It seems a less than fully honest rendering of the quadri-cornered earth concept. The earth itself, the continents and oceans, are arranged in a circle and only set against a square framework. The northern hemisphere is a convex mound in the middle of a concave bowl of the southern hemisphere, presumably a structure that solves the problem of why the oceans don’t fall off the edge of the flat earth like in that atrocious Pirates of the Caribbean sequel. Of course now there’s a whole new problem: how do you persuade the oceans to properly position themselves up the sides of the bowl to keep sub-Saharan Africa, Australia and South America from being constantly under water?