"Ferguson was trying to make an updated version of the flat Earth theory to fit the biblical description of the Earth with known facts," Bingham said. Typical of flat Earths, Ferguson's Earth is a rectangular slab, the four corners of which are each guarded by an angel. "What makes his flat Earth different from other theories is his theory holds that the Earth is imprinted with an 'inverse toroid.'" If you were to take a donut and press it into wet cement and then remove the donut, Bingham explained, the rounded impression it left in the cement would be what is known in mathematics as an inverse toroid.
"It's pretty clever because it explains the Columbus phenomenon, where you see ships coming in over the horizon and gradually the mast gets taller and taller until you can see the ship," Bingham said. "By 1893, most people knew about horizons so he had to come up with some way to explain that."
The map also has a picture of a man holding onto the Earth for dear life, with an inscription that reads: "These men are flying on the globe at a rate of 65,000 miles per hour around the sun, and 1,042 miles per hour around the center of the earth (in their minds). Think of the speed!"
These people truly believed that the Earth is not a globe!" Homuth said. "A lot of stuff like this got ignored and swept into history's wastebasket. But at the time people actually believed this stuff!"
Incredibly, some people still do. The Flat Earth Society is an active organization currently led by a Virginian man named Daniel Shenton. Though Shenton believes in evolution and global warming, he and his hundreds, if not thousands, of followers worldwide also believe that the Earth is a disc that you can fall off of.