Mu, as the name of a sunken Pacific Ocean continent, was first used by James Churchward in his 1926 book, "The Lost Continent of Mu Motherland of Man." From his travels in Asia and the Pacific, Churchward listened to stories, legends and visited many of the megalithic monuments that formed the basis of his theory.
Although Augustus Le Plongeon used the term prior to Churchward to describe a sunken continent, his reference was to Atlantis, which he envisioned was in the Atlantic Ocean.
General acceptance by the scientific community of the theory of plate tectonics ended any scientific basis for the once popular belief in sunken continents. Plate tectonics explains that continental masses are composed of the lighter SiAl (silicon/aluminium) type rocks which float on the heavier SiMg (silicon/magnesium) rocks which constitute ocean bottoms. There is no evidence of SiAl rock in the Pacific basin.
History of the concept
Augustus Le Plongeon
The idea of Mu first appeared in the works of the antiquarian Augustus Le Plongeon
(1825–1908), a 19th century traveler and writer who conducted his own investigations of the Maya
ruins in Yucatán
. He announced that he had translated the ancient Mayan writings, which supposedly showed that the Maya of Yucatán were older than the later civilizations of Greece
, and additionally told the story of an even older continent of Mu
According to his work, "Queen Moo & The Egyptian Sphinx" Chapter VI (page 66), LePlongeon placed his Lost Continent in the Atlantic Ocean:
In our journey westward across the Atlantic we shall pass in sight of that spot where once existed the pride and life of the ocean, the Land of Mu, which, at the epoch that we have been considering, had not yet been visited by the wrath of Homen, that lord of volcanic fires to whose fury it afterward fell a victim. The description of that land given to Solon by Sonchis, priest at Sais ; its destruction by earthquakes, and submergence, recorded by Plato in his " Timaeus," have been told and retold so many times that it is useless to encumber these pages with a repetition of it.
"Queen Moo & The Egyptian Sphinx" Chapter VI (page 66)
Le Plongeon actually got the name "Mu" from Charles Étienne Brasseur de Bourbourg who in 1864 mistranslated what was then called the Troano Codex using the de Landa alphabet. Brasseur concluded that the word 'Mu' (that he thought he had found) referred to a land submerged by a catastrophe. Le Plongeon then turned this into a sunken continent whose Queen Moo fled to Egypt and founded a civilization there. Other refugees supposedly fled to Central America and became the Mayans .
This lost continent was later popularised by James Churchward
(1851–1936) in a series of books, beginning with Lost Continent of Mu, the Motherland of Man
(1926), The Children of Mu
(1931), The Lost Continent Mu
(1931), and The Sacred Symbols of Mu
(1933). Churchward claimed that Mu was the home of the advanced Naacal
civilization. The books still have devotees, but they are not considered serious archaeology, and nowadays are found in bookshops classed under 'New Age' or 'Religion and Spirituality'.
Churchward began his book The Lost Continent Mu with his claim that, “All matter of science in this work are based on translations of two sets of ancient tablets,” which apparently he and a colleague were the only ones who knew how to translate. Churchward’s theory, especially what it would imply, is a complex one that would require more evidence than two texts found out of archaeological context to warrant any merit. In his attempt to create a vivid description of an ancient yet lost civilization capable of explaining the greatness of the “white” race, Churchward connects several civilizations. He includes Egypt, Greece, Central America, India, Burma and others, as well as Easter Island. These are all cultures that are known for their megalithic art and architecture and have been a topic of interest for scholars for centuries. Churchward and others made comparisons of these different cultures in an extremely vague fashion, and his facts were definitely biased according to current knowledge and research of Easter Island.
Churchward claims that the origin of these ancient peoples is the lost continent of Mu. This lost civilization “flourished in the mid-Pacific and then was completely obliterated in almost a single night.” Symbols from throughout the world are used as proof of this lost continent in Churchward’s argument. There is a common theme of birds, the relation of the Earth and the sky and especially the Sun. Churchward claims the king of Mu was Ra and he relates this to the Egyptian god of the sun, Ra, and the Rapanui word for Sun, ra’a, which he incorrectly spells ‘raa.’ These symbols of the Sun which, according to Churchward, prove the existence of Mu, are also found in “Egypt, Babylonia, Peru and all ancient lands and countries – it was a universal symbol.”
Citing W.J. Johnson as his opinion of the best authority on Easter Island at the time , Churchward notes the pukao found on top of some Moai (statues) on Easter Island, and incorrectly describes these cylindrical stones as “spheres” that “show red in the distance.” Churchward claims that symbols of the sun are found “depicted on stones of Polynesian ruins” such as on top of the giant statues of Easter Island. He asserts that the pukao “represent the Sun as Ra.” Pukao, however, are widely accepted to be a representation of a ceremonial headdress. Another anomaly is that he considered that some pukao are made of "red igneous rocks, and some are red sandstone". All pukao known today are made from red scoria which is indeed an igneous volcanic stone, but there is no sandstone or other sedimentary stone on the island.
The Ahu of Easter Island are described by Churchward as being “platform-like accumulations of cut and dressed stone,” and were left in their current positions “awaiting shipment to some other part of the continent for the building of temples and palaces.” Interestingly, in Churchward’s discussion of other architectural evidence of the great civilization of Mu, he cites the pillars “erected by the Maoris of New Zealand” as an example of this lost civilization’s handiwork. Churchward accredited all megalithic art in Polynesia to the people of Mu. He also stated that any Polynesians left there after the cataclysm were merely the survivors of Mu that adopted “the first cannibalism and savagery” in the world, and were not the original members of the lost civilization of Mu, responsible for these great works. Churchward and Graham Hancock both date this cataclysm to have occurred around 10,000 B.C., and authors such as Bramwell and Scott-Elliott claim the cataclysmic events began 800,000 years ago and persisted until the last catastrophe dating to precisely 9564 B.C. However, all scientific dating methods indicate that humans did not inhabit Easter Island until 300 AD or later.
Mu is identified with Lemuria
in Robert Shea
and Robert Anton Wilson
trilogy, in Martin Gardner
's Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science
, and in the Hungarian Jeno Csicsaki's Mu, az emberiseg szulofoldje
The Morien Institute
has suggested that underwater structures located off the coast of Yonaguni
are possibly ruins of Mu. In a video news report, CNN
mistakenly referred to the site as the "ruins of the lost world of Muin".
Alfred Metraux visited Easter Island in the 1930s and subsequently made the following rebuttal of the theory that the island was a mountain top of a submerged continent.
- The island's ahu (platforms for Moai statues) are concentrated on the current coast of the island, which implies that the island's shape has changed little since they were built.
- Easter Island is a volcanic island of recent origin rising from the deep ocean (1,770 Fathoms deep twenty miles from the island).
- The "Triumphal Road" that Pierre Loti had reported ran from the island to the submerged lands below, is actually a natural lava flow.
Mu in the arts and entertainment
Books and comics
- H. P. Lovecraft (1890–1937) included Mu in his Cthulhu mythos.
- In Robert E. Howard's Kull stories, Mu was a large continent with many great cities, and when it sank, the tops of mountain peaks became the isles of Lemuria.
- Robert A. Heinlein's story Lost Legacy describes Mu as a magnificent "mother of empires" that sank without a trace during a war with its breakaway colony, Atlantis.
- V. T. Hamlin's Alley Oop comic strips (1932). "Moo" and "Lem" (after Lemuria?) are rival prehistoric nations.
- Henri Vernes's albums:
- Andre Norton novel Operation Time Search (1967). Mu and Atlantis are rival nations.
- W. Murphy and R. Sapir's book Coin of the Realm (1971). Features Mu. "James Churchward" used as a pseudonym.
- Tom Robbins' novel Still Life with Woodpecker (1980) makes extensive reference to Mu.
- Oscar Loyo's comics magazine Karmatron (1986–1991). Mu is a base city for some of the characters.
- M. Kurumada's manga Saint Seiya (Knights of the Zodiac) (1986-1990). Mu is said to be the birthplace of a character called Mu. Mu is one of the 12 gold saints under Greek goddess Athena's command. Mu presides over the zodiac temple of Aries.
- Hugo Pratt's comics album Mu (1988-1989). A Corto Maltese adventure.
- S. Komatsuzaki's illustrated story The Undersea Kingdom. Mu goes to war with the modern world.
- Margit Sandemo book series Häxmästaren and Legenden om Ljusets rike . Mu and Lemuria are advanced civilizations.
- James Rollins's novel Deep Fathom, in which one of the characters is the great-granddaughter of James Churchward.
- Nathaniel Mackey's National Book Award winning book of poems Splay Anthem (2006) which contains his serial poem "Mu".
- Michel Desmarquet's controversial book Thiaoobua Prophecy (1993) contains a detailed description of the continent Mu, allegedly experienced by the author himself while guided through what is believed to be the Akashic Records.
- In The Areas of My Expertise, John Hodgman humorously claims that Mu was an advanced civilization that used hovercars and educated its children to be warrior-poets using books on tape, and that Hawaii is the last remnant of Mu.
- In Shaman King (manga only), the quarter finalist travel to Mu for the final round of the tournament.
- In the novel Masters of Atlantis (1985), by Charles Portis, the character Cezar Golescu is a self-described expert on the lost continent of Mu.
- In Book 3 of the Conversations with God series by Neale Donald Walsch, the mythology of the Land of Mu is mentioned as true.
- In Stephen Pressfield's "The Legend of Bagger Vance" the land of Mu spanned all of the continents 20,000 plus years ago. An ancient battleground is located in present-day Savanna, Georgia, on the site of the modern golf tournement.
Movies, TV serials, and animations
- Atragon (1963) and Super Atragon (1996), based on S. Oshikawa's novel The Undersea Battleship and Komatsuzaki's short story above.
- Brave Raideen (1975–1976). (1975) The inhabitants of Mu, left a giant robot to defend Earth when the devils of space returned. This Giant Robot was unique, it was "intelligent" as it picked its own pilot.
- The Mysterious Cities of Gold (1982). Character Tao is a descendant of the Empire of Mu. Changed to the Empire of Hiva for the English dub.
- Dai Sentai Goggle V (1982-1983). Mu is represented by the opal on the forehead area of Goggle Yellow's helmet.
- Super Dimension Century Orguss (1983.) The Mu Empire is a race of intelligent robots apparently connected with the legendary civilization. They turned on their creators and seek to destroy all other forms of intelligent life.
- Space Sheriff Shaider (1984). The Fuuma Empire, the alien empire fought by Shaider, played by Hiroshi Tsuburaya, came originally from Mu 12,000 years ago.
- Saint Seiya (1986) The inhabitants of Mu created the cloths for Athena's Saints. The last three lemurians are known to be Shion of Aries, Mu of Aries (both capable of repairing the cloths) and Kiki, Mu's student.
- RahXephon (2002). The Mulians are a race who look like other humans but have blue blood. They come from an alternate dimension into which the continent of Mu accidentally disappeared and in which it continues to exist; Mu is thus not a sunken continent, though still a lost one.
- Rebirth of Mothra II (1997) . Mu is the place where the monster Dagarla was created.
- Shaman King (1998-2004) . Mu is where the Shaman King ceremony happens.
- Gamera: Guardian of the Universe Mu is briefly mentioned in conjunction with the legend of Atlantis during a discussion of Gamera, Gyaos and other legendary sunken continents. Mu is referenced as possibly being another name for Atlantis.
- In episode 20 of Gintama, the main character, Gintoki, admitted he believed in the Mu Continent, to avoid admitting he believed in ghosts.
- In episode 16 of Night Head Genesis, the continents of Atlantis, Lemuria and Mu are mentioned. It was said that these highly advanced civilizations capable of both space and time travel fell due to the impact the Minus Energy had on the Earth.
- Gantz, In episode 2 Joichiro Nishi mentions killing aliens, Masashi Yamada explains if it has resemblance with the Lost continent of Mu.
- Kyouran Kazoku Nikki (2008). Kyouka-sama decides she wants to go on a honeymoon, but when she attends a tourist office she tells the staff that she wants to go to Mu.
- Bioware's RPG Mass Effect features mass relay named the Mu Relay which, prior to the events in the game, was lost for four thousand years.
- Webzen's MMORPG Mu Online. The play is set in Mu.
- In Square Enix's Star Ocean, the characters find an ancient map of earth, showing an unknown continent labeled as Mu. It was struck by a meteor, which created a wormhole that transported the continent and all of its inhabitants to the planet of Roak, the game's main planet setting. In the third title in the series, Star Ocean: Till the End of Time - one of the teams in the arena "Soldiers of Mu" has a brief reference to Mu "sitting on the bottom of the Mediterrean".
- Namco's Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse has a reference to Mu as the protagonists travel on a lost planet, Miltia, as an enigmatic character chaos compares the state of the planet to the lost continent.
- The NES game DuckTales 2 features Mu as one of the stages.
- Game Boy Advance's game Astro Boy: Omega Factor (2004). Mu is an Aztec-like land.
- City of Heroes and City of Villains. Many humans with magical abilities are said to be descended from the people of Mu. The villain group known as the Circle of Thorns is made up primarily of the ghosts of their ancient enemies, the Oranbegans. Also, the villain group Arachnos has a division made up entirely of Mu descendants.
- Civilization II: Fantastic Worlds features a city called Mu on at least two different scenarios.
- Mega Man Star Force 2 features a version of Mu that is instead a floating continent; for thousands of years it has remained cloaked with the use of electromagnetic waves. Dr. Vega, the main antagonist of the game, means to use certain OOPArts to revive the continent.
- In Viewtiful Joe, Mu is mentioned after defeating the second level boss, Hulk Davidson.
- Age of Empires 3 The Asian Dynasties features three treasures which are the remnants of the lost continent of Mu.
- A part of the Super Nintendo game Illusion of Gaia takes place at Mu, an ancient city in the middle of the ocean. A passage under the ocean leads from Mu to the continent on which what could be China, Africa, and Egypt.
- In the SNES game Terranigma, the third game in the loosely related Gaia series series (of which Illusion of Gaia is the second, see above) you can resurrect Mu. Later in the game, you can sail to this island, as well.
- MU, a '70s American psychedelic rock band.
- The Thirteen Cryptical Prophecies of Mu, song from the album The Power Cosmic by Bal-Sagoth.
- The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu (later known as The KLF), a British techno band very fond of Mu.
- Glassjaw, A rock band from Long Island, NY. The second track on their album 'Worship and Tribute' is called "Mu Empire."
- "Lemuria", song from the album Lemuria by symphonic opera metal band, Therion.
- Don Cherry's 1969 records with Ed Blackwell, Mu, Part I and Mu, Part II
- Brewer & Shipley's 1968 record Down In L.A. included a song titled "Incredible State of Affairs" that mentions Atlantis and Mu.
- "Mu", a track on the 1967 album Atlantis by jazz musician Sun Ra. Other tracks include "Lemuria", "Yucatan", "Bimini", and the title track, "Atlantis". The album features the Hohner clavinet.
- Robert Plant, of the rock group Led Zeppelin, claimed his symbol on the band's fourth album (a feather inside a circle) represents the Mu civilization. He said, "My symbol was drawn from sacred symbols of the ancient Mu civilisation which existed about 15,000 years ago as part of a lost continent somewhere in the Pacific Ocean between China and Mexico. All sorts of things can be tied in with Mu civilisation—even the Easter Island effigies. These Mu people left stone tablets with their symbols inscribed into them all over the places. And they all date from the same time period. The Chinese say these people came from the east and the Mexicans say they came from the west...obviously it was somewhere in between." (From the book Talking, by Dave Lewis.)
- Planet Mu, a British electronic music label, has released albums titled The Sacred Symbols of Mu, The Cosmic Forces of Mu, Children of Mu and Amμnition. It is owned by Mike Paradinas, who publishes his own work as μ-Ziq, as well as other aliases.The Queen was also know as Romy Ellich of the third dynasty