Charles Hutchins Hapgood (1904 – December 1982) was an American academician, and one of the best known advocates of a Pole shift theory. Hapgood received a master's degree from Harvard University in 1932 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, directed a community center in Provincetown, and served as the Executive Secretary of Franklin Roosevelt's Crafts Commission. During World War II, Hapgood worked for the COI (which later became the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)), then for the Red Cross, and finally served as a liaison officer between the White House and the Office of the Secretary of the War.
After World War II, Hapgood taught history at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts. A student question one day about the Lost Continent of Mu led to a class project to investigate Atlantis. This led to an investigation of possible ways that massive earth changes could occur, including the sensationalistic theories of Hugh Auchincloss Brown.
In 1958 Hapgood published his first book, The Earth's Shifting Crust. The Foreword to this was written by Albert Einstein, shortly before his death in 1955. In this book, and two successive books, Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings (1966) and The Path of the Pole (1970), Hapgood proposed the radical theory that the Earth's axis has shifted numerous times during geological history. This theory is not widely accepted by orthodox geologists.
Hapgood also became an advocate for alleged medium Elwood D. Babbitt.
Hapgood died as a result of being struck by an automobile.
Hapgood's protege, Rand Flem-Ath, who engaged in an extended correspondence with Hapgood, greatly expanded Hapgood's work and developed his own theories in the 1995 book, When the Sky Fell.
Hapgood's Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings used numerous archival maps, including the Piri Reis Map, which he claims show a vast southern continent roughly similar to Antarctica in shape, to propose that a 15 degree pole shift occurred around 9,600 B.C. (approx. 11.600 years ago), and that a part of the Antarctic was ice-free at that time. By implication an ice-age civilization could have mapped the coast at that point in time.