One of the strangest conspiracy theories to come along in quite some time has electrified Flat Earth fans and intrigued outsiders who are amazed by its appeal.
The bizarre hypothesis appeared online last August by way of an 80-minute film on YouTube titled simply 'There are no forests on Flat Earth Wake Up.'
The central argument proposed by the movie, which was created by a Crimean researcher, is that the forests we have on Earth today are merely tiny remnants from a world which once boasted enormous trees that grew to epic proportions.
The video suggests that the evidence for these 'true' forests can be seen in the form of sites such as the famed butte known as 'Devil's Tower.'
Throughout the film, the audience is shown a barrage of arboreal sights such as a stump or rotting tree juxtaposed against geological formations that look eerily similar.
For example, one image compares the rugged outline of a mountain range to the seemingly random shape of a rotted tree stump as proof of the theory.
The movie contends that there is no actual difference and that massive rock formations found throughout the world are actually a glimpse of a distant past where the planet boasted giant forests.
As for what caused the demise of the mighty forests, the film weaves a complex narrative surrounding advanced ancient technology gone awry due to greed and war as well as a desire by the 'powers that be' to conceal the truth about the Earth being flat.
Skeptics who have been made aware of the fringe theory have scoffed at such an idea and largely dismissed it a ridiculous concept on par with the Flat Earth conspiracy.
However, it is has been proven to be shockingly popular with the original film garnering nearly 500,000 viewers, while an 'English translation' of the movie, which aims to work around the narrator's thick accent, has been watched by almost 750,000 people.
And, since bursting onto scene months ago, the film has created a firestorm in the Flat Earth community with countless videos and blog posts examining any manner of minutiae surrounding how the 'no forests' concept fits into the framework of the much-maligned conspiracy theory.
While scientists may say that the 'revelations' found in the film are laughable, sociologists no doubt will see a goldmine of insights to be found in the way that the movie has resonated so deeply with so many people.
Indeed, despite its outrageous premise, the lengthy presentation has a way of planting a small seed of doubt in the minds of imaginative viewers that has managed to spawn a veritable forest of speculation akin to the mighty ancient trees described in the film.
In fact, either as an ironic statement about the nature of truth and facts in today's world or as a genuine testament of belief, the film has even inspired t-shirts and other merchandise declaring that, like the film says, 'there are no forests on Flat Earth.'
Although it may never reach the heights of the Flat Earth theory, it appears that the 'no forests' hypothesis has only just begun to grow and is only going to get bigger as word of the wondrous idea continues to spread.
Source: YouTube / The Atlantic