Mu is said to be a continent that once existed near the Gulf of Mexico in the western Carribbean. This idea came from an ancient Central American people called the Maya, by way of two French scholars. The first was cleric Charles-Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg. In 1864 he found a reference to a lost continent, Mu, in the text of a never-before-translated Mayan manuscript. According to Brasseur de Bourbourg’s translation of the document, Mu sank into the ocean after a massive volcanic eruption.

When Brasseur de Bourbourg went public with this information, most other scholars dismissed it, saying that his translation was flawed. But French archaeologist Augustus le Plongeon, an expert on the Maya, agreed with Brasseur de Bourbourg’s translation methods. Using the same alphabet key as Brasseur de Bourbourg, he deciphered writings on ancient Mayan ruins and discovered other Mu references.

After studying these references, Le Plongeon developed a theory regarding what might have happened to Mu’s inhabitants. Survivors of Mu’s volcanic disaster, he said, had fled to Central America, where they passed on their knowledge to the Maya. Le Plongeon also believed, again based on his studies of the Mayan text, that prior to its destruction Mu had consisted of ten different kingdoms, and the queen of one of these kingdoms had been driven from her throne by a usurper. This queen, Le Plongeon said, went to Egypt and founded the ancient Egyptian civilization that built the pyramids. The Egyptians’ concept of the goddess Isis, he asserted, was based on a memory of this queen.

Both Le Plongeon and Brasseur de Bourbourg felt that Mu had been destroyed approximately eight thousand years before the Maya had written about it. This was roughly the same time as, according to the writings of Plato, the ancient civilization of Atlantis was destroyed by a volcanic eruption. Consequently, today some people think that Mu and Atlantis were the same continent. During their own time, however, neither Le Plongeon nor Brasseur de Bourbourg could convince many people that Mu ever existed, and after a while the subject was largely forgotten.

Then, a book appeared in 1926 that made the American public interested in Mu: The Lost Continent of Mu by Colonel James Churchward. Churchward, who wrote several subsequent books on Mu, claimed that with the help of an Asian priest, he had translated ancient tablets in India and Mexico that had Mu writing on it. These writings, he said, made it clear that Mu was an advanced civilization even older than Atlantis, and the continent has sunk into the sea after an explosion of gases in caves deep within the earth. According to Churchward, who believed that Mu might have been the biblical Garden of Eden, the survivors of this disaster subsequently travelled to many places, where they left tablets like the ones he supposedly found. Churchward’s writings convinced many people that Mu had once been a real place.

However, Churchward never actually showed anyone else the tablets he claimed to have found, and no one else has ever seen any other tablets like them. In fact, there is no evidence that the lost continent of Mu ever existed.


  • Atlantis


The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena – written by Patricia D. Netzley © 2006 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning

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