Churchward, James (1852-1936)

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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).


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.

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Churchward, James (1852-1936)

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