Updated in September 2019 with info about new attractions!
According to the Flat Earth Society, Brimstone Head on Fogo Island is one of the Four Corners of the World. Really.
That Flat Earth Society is a group of people that claim to believe the Earth is flat. Pretty straightforward. I mean, if the earth’s surface looks and feels flat, shouldn’t it be…flat?
Here’s what Wikipedia has to say: “The Flat Earth model is an archaic belief that the Earth’s shape is a plane or disk. Most ancient cultures have had conceptions of a flat Earth, including Greece until the classical period, the Bronze Age and Iron Age civilizations of the Near East until the Hellenistic period, India until the Gupta period (early centuries AD) and China until the 17th century.”
Even Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism pokes fun at it. Mostly because “flat earth” is so incroguent with the rocky, hilly topography of the entire Fogo Island.
The full list: Papa New Guinea, the Bermuda Triangle, Fogo, and Hydra (Greece).
Riley, Corbin, and I went in search of the trail that would take us to Brimstone Head. But as things are in rural Newfoundland, the signage was a bit off. We ended up in the wrong end of town, at Fogo Head.
The view was intimidating. A straight staircase into the sky. But dammit, the promising view from the top was too irresistible…and so we began our climb.
It was windy. Windy and steep and exhausting. Our thighs burned and our ears ached with the wind whistling between them. We passed overturned benches and broken stairs, and yet we kept climbing.
The view at the top, as you can see, was definitely worth it. I’m amazed by the colours of Central Newfoundland…the electric yellow and neon green flora is a shock to the system.
BUT we still had to conquer Brimstone Head. We couldn’t come all the way to Fogo and NOT do it, even if we had to catch our ferry in an hour.
We arrived at the base of the trail, and groaned. I don’t know why we were expecting flat trails in Newfoundland. Maybe because of the whole “Flat Earth Society” thing.
Up, up, up we went! Until we passed this ominous sign.
I love that the zero is in quotation marks. Are they lying?
This trail is a bit rougher, rockier, and less trodden. We watched our step carefully. The wind was even more fierce here than at Fogo Head, but again, worth the view at the top.
We did it!
The thing is, do Flat Earthers really believe the earth is flat? Since my last trip, a few new businesses have popped up: the Museum of the Flat Earth, and the Flat Earth Cafe and Roastery. (The latter no longer seems to be in existence, although it could have a different name. Unclear.)
The Museum of the Flat Earth is, I THINK, tongue-in-cheek. You’re invited to abandon all judgments and expectations as you enter — to question everything you know. And this tiny little spot does a good job of it. There’s 10 years of research and information represented here, including artifacts from the original Flat Earth Society of Canada.
It’s basically an art museum.
The owner, an eccentric and delightful mainlander named Kay Burns, will pointedly avoid the question: “Do you believe the Earth is flat?” Instead you’re invited to think critically about what you know, and leave your pretenses behind.
I still want my society t-shirt though.
(The museum is only open in the summer months, and Burns carries out summer programs focussing on all things flat earth. Check it out if you’re in town!)