The quintessentially anthropocene landscape of Estero, Florida–of highways and housing developments and golf courses and drainage ditches–has a modern history that goes back to 1894 when Cyrus Teed, a self-proclaimed messiah, alchemist, and physician led his followers to settle a 320-acre tract of land. Calling himself Koresh, he preached the doctrine Koreshanity. He and his followers even founded their own political party, the Progressive Liberty Party.
At the core of their belief system, known as the Koreshan Unity, was the belief that the earth was hollow and that they lived on the inner surface. Consequently, Estero did not look out into space, but into the core of the planet. This is how he described it in Cellular Cosmogony, or, the Earth a Concave Sphere, which he published in 1898:
“The sun is an invisible electromagnetic battery revolving in the universe’s center on a 24-year cycle. Our visible sun is only a reflection, as is the moon, with the starsreflecting off seven mercurial discs that float in the sphere’s center. Inside the earth there are three separate atmospheres: the first composed of oxygen and nitrogen and closest to the earth; the second, a hydrogen atmosphere above it; the third, an aboron atmosphere at the center. The earth’s shell is one hundred miles thick and has seventeen layers. The outer seven are metallic with a gold rind on the outermost layer, the middle five are mineral and the five inward are geologic strata. Inside the shell there is life, outside a void.”