Churchward, James (1852–1936)
Author of several books about the lost continent of Mu or
Lemuria, the Pacific Ocean equivalent of Atlantis, born in England
in 1852. He stated that he became friendly with a Hindu
priest during a famine in India in the nineteenth century, and
the priest led him to a collection of ancient clay tablets hidden
in a cave and taught him a language called Naacal, by which the
tablets could be deciphered. According to Churchward, these
tablets told the story of the lost continent of Mu, a primitive
Garden of Eden destroyed by volcanic action.
No one ever saw the Naacal tablets, and it is likely that they
never existed. More important in building Churchward’s vision
of Mu were the writings of Augustus Le Plongeon, an archaeologist
who had spent the last decades of the nineteenth century
studying the Mayan remnants in the Yucatán. He believed that
he had deciphered the hieroglyphics that told the story of an
ancient land, Mu. He published his results in a book Queen Moo
and the Egyptian Sphinx (1896). Churchward inherited Le
Plongeon’s papers.
Churchward took Le Plongeon’s speculations into the realm
of pure fantasy. He picked up on the theosophical myth of Lemuria,
which he identified with Le Plongeon’s Mu. His first
book on the subject, The Lost Continent of Mu, the Motherland of
Man, appeared in 1926. It was followed by three additional volumes
expanding upon the theme. Churchward’s Mu was located
in the South Pacific. It extended 500 by 300 miles in area
from present-day Hawaii to Fiji and from Easter Island to the
Mariana Islands. It was believed to be inhabited by a white race
that worshiped the sun, believed in immortality, and built cities.
The continent was home to 64 million people when it was
destroyed 10,000 years ago; only a few survived. Churchward
died in Los Angeles, California on January 4, 1936.
Raymond Buckland, under the pseudonym Tony Earll,
wrote a spoof on Churchward’s books, Mu Revealed (1969).
Sources
Churchward, James. Children of Mu. New York Ives Washburn,
1931.
———. Cosmic Forces of Mu. New York Ives Washburn, 1935.
———. The Lost Continent of Mu The Motherland of Man. New
York Ives Washburn, 1926.
———. The Sacred Symbols of Mu. New York Ives Washburn,
1933.
Earll, Tony [Raymond Buckland]. Mu Revealed. New York
Paperback Library, 1970.
Le Plongeon, Augustus. Queen Moo and the Egyptian Sphinx.
New York, 1896.