Charles Hutchins Hapgood (May 17, 1904 – December 21, 1982) was an American college professor and author who became one of the best known advocates of the pseudoarchaeological claim of a rapid and recent pole shift with catastrophic results.
Hapgood received a master's degree from Harvard University in 1929 in medieval and modern History. His Ph.D. work on the French Revolution was interrupted by the Great Depression. He taught for a year in Vermont and directed a community center in Provincetown, also serving as the executive secretary of Franklin Roosevelt's Crafts Commission.
During World War II, Hapgood was employed by the Office of the Coordinator of Information (COI, which became the Office of Strategic Services in 1942) and the Red Cross, and also served as a liaison officer between the White House and the Office of the Secretary of the War. After the war, Hapgood taught at Keystone College (1945–1947), Springfield College (1947–1952), Keene State College (1956–1966), and New England College (1966–1967), lecturing in world and American history, anthropology, economics, and the history of science.
While at Springfield College, a student's question about the Lost Continent of Mu prompted a class project to investigate the lost continent of Atlantis, leading Hapgood to investigate possible ways that massive earth changes could occur and exposing him to the literature of Hugh Auchincloss Brown.
In 1958, Hapgood published The Earth's Shifting Crust. It denied the existence of continental drift, an idea that was not supported by mainstream science for another decade. The book included a foreword by Albert Einstein. In Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings (1966) and The Path of the Pole (1970), Hapgood proposed the hypothesis that the Earth's axis has shifted numerous times during geological history. The Path of the Pole was meant as a replacement for The Earth's Shifting Crust after corrections were suggested to him. Hapgood writes in Voices of Spirit (1975): "In later discussions we discussed the theories of my book ‘Earth’s Shifting Crust’, and he [Einstein] suggested that one of them was wrong; as a result of this I revised my book, which subsequently was republished as ‘The Path of the Pole’. My own further research confirmed the truth of his observation, which involved technicalities of geophysics.”
In Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings he supported the suggestion made by Arlington Mallery that a part of the Piri Reis Map was a depiction of the area of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land. He used that to propose that a 15° pole shift occurred around 9,600 BCE (approx. 11,600 years ago) and that a part of the Antarctic was ice-free at that time and that an ice-age civilization could have mapped the coast. He concludes that "Antarctica was mapped when these parts were free of ice" and took the view that an Antarctic warm period coincided with the last ice age in the Northern hemisphere and that the Piri Reis and other maps were based on "ancient" maps derived from ice-age originals.
Later research concerning the paleoclimatology and ice sheets of Antarctica have discredited the interpretations by Hapgood that an Antarctic warm period coincided with the last glacial period in the Northern Hemisphere and that any part of it had been ice-free at and prior to 9,600 BCE (approx. 11,600 years ago).
However, that leaves Hapgood's original question still unanswered (and arguably more perplexing): if the Piri Reis map, created in the 1500s, shows an accurate depiction of the Antarctic landmasses 400 years before only 20th century modern technology could detect it through the ice, who mapped it and when was it was without ice, if it has been covered for all of recorded human history?
Hapgood also examined a 1531 map by French mathematician and cartographer Oronce Finé (aka Oronteus Finaeus). In Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings, he reproduces letters that he states he received from the chief of a U.S. Air Force cartography section stationed at Westover AFB in 1961. These letters say that at Hapgood's request, they had studied both Piri Reis and Oronce Finé maps during their off-duty hours, concluding that both were compiled from original source maps of Antarctica at a time when it was relatively free of ice, supporting Hapgood's findings. Hapgood concluded that advanced cartographic knowledge appears on the Piri Reis map and the Oronteus Finaeus map, and must be the result of some unknown ancient civilization that developed advanced scientific knowledge before other civilizations such as Greece.
According to historians Paul Hoye and Paul Lunde, while Hapgood's work garnered some enthusiasm and praise for its thoroughness, his revolutionary hypotheses largely met with skepticism and were ignored by most scholars. In the book The Piri Reis Map of 1513 Gregory C. McIntosh examines Hapgood's claims for both maps and states that "they fall short of proving or even strongly suggesting that the Piri Reis map and the Fine map depict the actual outline of Antarctica."
Hapgood's unorthodox interpretations such as “Earth Crustal Displacement” were never accepted as valid competing scientific hypotheses, but his ideas have found popularity in alternative circles. Librarians Rose and Rand Flem-Ath and author and former journalist Graham Hancock base portions of their works on Hapgood's evidence for catastrophe at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum. Hapgood's ideas also figure prominently in the 2009 sci-fi/disaster movie 2012.
Hapgood and Erle Stanley Gardner thought the collection of clay artifacts known as the Acambaro figurines were created thousands of years ago. The date estimate as well as the notion the artifacts were made by some undiscovered culture was rejected by archeologists and paleontologists. The figurines, which most archaeologists dismiss as an elaborate hoax, depict oddities such as dinosaurs coexisting with men and horned humans. In the introduction to later editions of Hapgood's 1973 book, Mystery in Acambaro, David Hatcher Childress wrote that Hapgood and Gardner thought the figurines were genuine and were evidence that orthodox understandings of dinosaur extinction were wrong.
Hapgood spent ten years working with New England medium Elwood Babbitt (b. 1922), attempting to make contact with notable figures from the past. Babbitt, a retired carpenter and World War II veteran, had studied trance mediumship at Edgar Cayce's Association for Research and Enlightenment. Hapgood audiotaped and transcribed a number of Babbitt's "trance lectures" which purported to come from Jesus, Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, and the Hindu god Vishnu, using the material to publish his final three books:Voices of Spirit, Through the Psychic Experience of Elwood Babbitt (1975), Talks with Christ and His Teachers Through the Psychic Gift of Elwood Babbitt (1981), and The God Within: a Testament of Vishnu, a Handbook for the Spiritual Renaissance (1982).  During this time Babbitt and Hapgood's cousin, Beth Hapgood worked closely with the nearby Brotherhood of the Spirit New Age commune. After Charles Hapgood's death, Beth Hapgood, assembled a final volume of Babbitt's trance lectures, Dare the Vision and Endure (1997).
- Hapgood, Charles Hutchins; Earth's Shifting Crust: A Key to Some Basic Problems of Earth Science (1958, foreword by Albert Einstein)
- Hapgood, Charles Hutchins; Great Mysteries of the Earth (1960)
- Hapgood, Charles Hutchins; Piri Reis map of 1513 (1962)
- Hapgood, Charles Hutchins; Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings: Evidence of Advanced Civilization in the Ice Age; 1966; 1997 Paperback Reprint Edition, Adventures Unlimited Press, ISBN 0-932813-42-9
- Hapgood, Charles Hutchins; The Path of the Pole; 1968; 1999 Paperback edition, Adventures Unlimited Press, ISBN 0-932813-71-2
- Hapgood, Charles Hutchins; Mystery in Acambaro: An Account of the Ceramic Collection of the Late Waldemar Juisrud in Acumbaro, GTU, Self Published: Mexico, 1972.
- Hapgood, Charles Hutchins; Voices of spirit : through the psychic experience of Elwood Babbitt, 1975, Delacorte Press, ISBN 0-440-05983-6
- Babbitt, Elwood D., with Charles Hapgood (editor); Talks with Christ and his teachers : through the psychic gift of Elwood Babbitt, 1981
- Babbitt, Elwood D., with Charles Hapgood (editor); God Within, A Testament of Vishnu
- Hapgood, Charles Hutchins; Mystery in Acambaro: Did Dinosaurs Survive Until Recently?, 2000, Adventures Unlimited Press, ISBN 0-932813-76-3.
- "Charles H. Hapgood Papers". Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library: Yale University Library. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
- Full text of Earths Shifting Crust, archive.org.
- Charles H., Hapgood (1966). Maps of the ancient sea kings: evidence of advanced civilization in the ice age. Adventures Unlimited Press. ISBN 978-0-932813-42-8.
- Ingolfsson, O., C. Hjort, and O. Humlum (2003) "Glacial and Climate History of the Antarctic Peninsula since the Last Glacial Maximum." Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research. v. 35, no. 2, pp. 175–186. The abstract of the source concludes as follows: Detailed reconstructions of the glacial and climatic history of the Antarctic Peninsula since LGM are hampered by scarcity of available archives, low resolution of many datasets, and problems in dating samples. Consequently, the conﬁguration of LGM ice sheets, pattern of subsequent deglaciation, and environmental changes are poorly constrained both temporally and spatially.
- Anderson, J. B., S. S. Shipp, A. L. Lowe, J. S. Wellner, J. S., and A. B. Mosola (2002) "The Antarctic Ice Sheet during the Last Glacial Maximum and its subsequent retreat history: a review". Quaternary Science Reviews. v. 21, pp. 49–70.
- Ingolfsson, O. (2004) Quaternary glacial and climate history of Antarctica. in: J. Ehlers and P. L. Gibbard, eds., pp. 3–43, Quaternary Glaciations: Extent and Chronology 3: Part III: South America, Asia, Africa, Australia, Antarctica. Elsevier, New York.
- Hoye, Paul F; Paul Lunde (1980). "Piri Reis and the Hapgood Hypotheses". Saudi Aramco World. 31 (1): 18–31. Retrieved 3 November 2010.
- McIntosh, Gregory C. (2000). The Piri Reis Map of 1513. University of Georgia Press. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-8203-2157-8.
- McIntosh, Gregory C. "The Tale of Two Admirals: Columbus and the Piri Reis Map of 1513". Archived from the original on 2011-07-16.
- Brass, Michael (2002). "Tracing Graham Hancock's Shifting Cataclysm". Volume 26.4, July / August 2002: The Skeptical Inquirer. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
- Mayor, Adrienne (2005). Fossil legends of the first Americans. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-11345-6.
- Hapgood, Charles H. (1999). Mystery in Acambaro. Adventures Unlimited Press. ISBN 978-0-932813-76-3.
- "Elwood Babbitt Papers". Special Collections & University Archives. University of Massachusetts. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
- Flem-Ath, Rand; When the Sky Fell, 1995, St. Martin's Press
- Flem-Ath, Rand, and Colin Wilson; The Atlantis Blueprint, 2000, Time Warner, Little, Brown and Company
- Cuoghi, D., 2002, Mysteries of the Piri Reis Map
- Hoye, P. F., with P. Lunde, 1980, Piri Reis and the Hapgood Hypotheses. Aramco World Magazine. vol. 31, no. 1 pp. 18–31.
- Heinrich, Paul, 1996, The Mysterious Origins of Man: Atlantis, Mammoths, and Crustal Shift, TalkOrigins Archive.
- Mewhinney, S. 1999. Charting Imaginary Worlds: Pole Shifts, Ice Sheets, and Ancient Sea Kings, Catastrophism web page