Augustus le Plongeon
Le Plongeon, Alice Dixon
Alice Dixon Le Plongeon (1851-1910) was the wife of Augustus Le Plongeon and the daughter of Henry Dixon a pioneering British photographer. She was a keen photographer herself as well as an amateur archaeologist and author. The Le Plongeons were among the first to study the Maya sites of Chichen Itza and Uxmal. She wrote articles and lectured on the Maya culture and also had an interest in spiritualism and Theosophy. Although they worked together, the Le Plongeons developed slightly theories regarding the origins of the Maya. One of her eye-catching claims was that the Garden of Eden had been located in Central America(a).
(a) Alice Dixon Le Plongeon – Atlantisforschung.de (atlantisforschung-de.translate.goog). Clinch Valley News, August 3, 1888
Landa, Diego de
Diego de Landa (1524- 1579) was the Franciscan bishop of Yucatán who played a significant part in promoting the idea that the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel had migrated to the Americas, citing local Mayan legends that their ancestors had come from the East, aided by divine intervention! Others, such as Brasseur de Bourbourg, seized on this idea and expanded it to link the Maya with Atlantis.
Landa was ‘a nasty piece of work’, showing great cruelty towards the indigenous people and little respect for their culture.>He was responsible for the burning of nearly all of the written documents of the Maya, leaving us only three complete books from before the Spanish invasion.<He is also considered to have produced a truly dreadful decipherment of the Maya script,>in no small way the result of his incorrect belief that the script was based on an alphabet. Shortly after his death his papers were lost and remained so until 1862 when some of them were found by Brasseur de Bourbourg in the archives at the Royal Academy of History in Madrid. Brasseur attempted to build on the translation work of de Landa but also failed. Nevertheless, he announced that the Maya had originally come to Yucatán from Atlantis.
A subsequent attempt by Augustus le Plongeon to decrypt the script was also unsuccessful, but it did not deter him from uniquely claiming that Atlantis had been a colony of the Maya. Regarding the script today (2021), over 90 per cent of the Maya texts can now be read with reasonable accuracy(a).<
(a) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_script *
William Bugby (1852-1928) was an Australian schoolteacher who frequently wrote to his local Daily Post in Hobart, Tasmania on the subject of Atlantis. He was a keen supporter of Le Plongeon’s theories(a)(b)(c), placing Mu (Atlantis) in the Atlantic and that the survivors of its destruction fled to the Yucatan, where they established what became the Mayan civilisation.
(a) https://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/187875670?searchTerm=Atlantis discovered&searchLimits=sortby=dateAsc
(b) https://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/187876598?searchTerm=Atlantis discovered&searchLimits=sortby=dateAsc
(c) https://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/187880760?searchTerm=Atlantis discovered&searchLimits=sortby=dateAsc
Wauchope, Robert (L)
Robert Wauchope (1909-1979) was an American archaeologist who specialised in the prehistory of the Americas. In his Lost Tribes & Sunken Continents, he adopts a softly sceptical view of Atlantology, discussing the consequences of proponents becoming obsessive about their pet theory and often abandoning objectivity in the process. He has some harsh criticism directed at the poorly constructed claims of Churchward and Le Plongeon. Although his book is now out print it is worth obtaining a used copy as it give a good overview of some of the popular ‘alternative’ pre-history theories of six decades ago and a sober assessment of them by a conventional scientist of that era.
The Maya of ancient Mexico and Guatemala have generated much controversy regarding their origins(w). Recent studies indicate that the story of the development of this remarkable civilisation may be more complex than previously thought(k). The demise of the Mayan culture (800-950 AD) has now been definitively shown to be the result of persistent drought, particularly in the southern lowlands(o).
Nevertheless, a recent (Sept.2021) article(ac) with contributions from several authorities, highlights the complexity referred to above, while one area might be collapsing another could be flourishing – “A number of Maya cities rose and fell at different times, some within that 800 to 1000 time period, and some afterwards, according to scholars. For example, while areas in southern Mesoamerica, such as Tikal in what is now Guatemala, declined in the eighth and ninth centuries due to environmental problems and political turmoil, populations rose in other areas, such as Chichén Itzá, in what is now the Mexican Yucatán Peninsula,” and “When Chichén Itzá declined, largely because of a lengthy drought during the 11th century, another Yucatán Peninsula city, called Mayapán, started to thrive.”
“We should always remember, the last Maya state, Nojpetén, fell only in 1697 — pretty recent,” said Guy Middleton, a visiting fellow at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at Newcastle University in the U.K. “It is really important to get the message out there that though classic Maya cities and states did collapse, and culture did transform, the Maya in no way disappeared,” said Middleton, adding that “we should pay attention to the story, the state and status of the Maya descendent population in Mesoamerica now.”
The commonly held idea, that the Maya were destroyed by drought is now disputed(ah).
The Maya of Central America today are estimated to number seven million.
Inevitably the Maya have been linked with Atlantis by some writers such as Lewis Spence and E.H. Thompson who claimed that the Maya were descendants of Atlanteans. The maverick, Augustus Le Plongeon, was alone in identifying Atlantis as a colony of the Maya and that their language was in fact Greek! Others, such as Jean-Frédérick Waldeck, included an Egyptian linkage as well.
Richard Cassaro has published a fascinating collection of parallels between the Mayan and Egyptian cultures on Graham Hancock’s website (ag).
>The controversial American politician Charles Gates Dawes was convinced that there had been a connection between Atlantis and the Maya.<
Joachim Rittstieg claimed that the Maya and the Vikings had contact for nearly 500 years (754-1224 AD)(ae).
However, trumping all that is a recent claim that the Maya had contact with extraterrestrials and that a documentary providing evidence is planned(b). In a similar vein is the latest English language publication from Erich von Däniken entitled: Astronaut Gods of the Maya. Semir Osmanagic, of Bosnian pyramid fame, added a twist to this proposed linkage when he claimed that the Maya had come from Atlantis, which in turn had been founded by visitors from the Pleiades!
For some comic relief, I can suggest a 1976 book by brothers Eric & Craig Umland which ‘reveals’ that the Maya ‘are remnants of space explorers whose attempts to colonise our solar system went awry more than 40,000 years ago.’ Nearly every page is full of hilarious nonsense and nearly worth the £0.01 currently quoted on Amazon.co.uk. A website(i) dealing with ‘unreason’ uses extracts from the Umlands as good examples! If you wish to read about the Maya in Antarctica, the Canaries as well as the Moon, this is the book for you.
July 2012 saw a report(j) on the discovery of the largest Mayan manmade dam at Tikal in Guatemala, which was 33ft high and 260ft long and included sand filters.
The Maya had a sophisticated writing system that occupied the attention of some 19th-century writers including Abbe Brasseur de Bourbourg and Le Plongeon. Unfortunately, de Bourbourg followed the work of the 16th-century bishop of Yucatán, Diego de Landa whose interpretation was seriously erroneous. It was Constantine Rafinesque who partially deciphered some of the Mayan numerals in 1832.
A report in 2013(l) indicated that substantial progress has been made in the decipherment of any outstanding difficulties in the translation of the Mayan script through internet cooperation.
July 2012 saw a report(j) on the discovery of the largest Mayan man-made dam at Tikal in Guatemala, which was 33ft high and 260ft long and included sand filters. Ten years later, it was discovered that the Maya had also the ability to engineer a water fountain in their city of Palenque(v) and had advanced water management systems(z). A recent BBC article(ab) took an in-depth look at the remarkable hydrological capabilities of the Maya.
In 2020, the largest and oldest Mayan monument in Mexico was identified. It is in the form of a ceremonial platform that is between 33 and 50 feet tall and is nearly a mile long(x). The structure, dated to around 3,000 years ago and was discovered with the help of LIDAR in the state of Tabasco.
James O’Kon, an engineer, has investigated Mayan technology for decades, including the discovery of a suspension bridge at the ancient Mayan city of Yaxchilan in Mexico in 1995, which is believed to be the longest bridge of the ancient world(r). This and other aspects of Mayan technology he explores in his book, The Lost Secrets of Maya Technology.
One of those technological secrets was the unusual acoustics found at Mayan sites, particular Chichen Itza(ad). In 1931 Leopold Stokowski, the renowned conductor, spent four days at the site to determine the acoustic principles that could be applied to an open-air concert theatre he was designing. He failed to learn the secret.
More recently, Lorraine Stobbart has written Utopia: Fact or Fiction, which suggests that the ‘Utopia’ of Sir Thomas More was inspired by the Mayan culture although his text was written before Mexico was ‘officially’ discovered. Stobbart recently revealed that she is now revising her views.
However, a more serious claim relates to the idea that Mayan inscriptions revealed that a global catastrophe was to occur in 2012. This nonsense(g) turned into a minor publishing industry. Some even tried to link this daft idea to Atlantis. Fortunately, May 2012 saw evidence from excavations in Guatemala that shows the Mayan calendar extending well beyond 2012(h).
The Mayan calendar has provoked speculation and controversy ever since its discovery. Its origins are obscure, but one interpretation is that the world we live in was created on this day in 3114 B.C. A quite different view was proposed over seventy years ago by Georg Hinzpeter of the German Hoerbiger Society who claimed that our Moon was captured by the Earth in June of 8498 BC and that it became the zero date for the Maya.(y)
Aloys Eiling, the German researcher, commented on the accuracy of the Mayan calendar with “The Mayan calendar even surpasses the precision of the Gregorian calendar in use today. Not only did the Mayan calendar measure the duration of the Earth’s orbit around the sun more accurately than our current calendar, but the Maya gave an even more precise value for the average duration of the Moon’s orbit around Earth. The precision achieved is all the more remarkable as the Moon in deserts or regions with clear skies may have played an important role in everyday life as a nightly source of light. But of what use is its dull light in the rainforest or cloudy regions of the world?”(af)
The late David H. Kelley, a Harvard-educated archaeologist and epigrapher at Canada’s University of Calgary, had been investigating ancient links between Asia and pre-Columbian America. In that regard, he published a paper outlining similarities between the Mayan and ancient Chinese calendars that were too numerous to be explained by independent development(p). A more sceptical view is offered(q) by Jason Colavito, who traces the idea back to Alexander von Humboldt.
In a paper entitled On the Mayan Chronology, Emilio Spedicato offers several ideas regarding ancient Meso-American chronologies. For example, he proposes that the large numbers used by the Maya and Toltecs record days rather than years. Many of his ideas stem from the work of Immanuel Velikovsky, John Ackerman and the Tollmans.
The work of Teobert Maler at the end of the 19thcentury was invaluable in the advancement of Mayan studies. Subsequent researchers have seized upon his discovery of a frieze at Tikal, which he interpreted as a depiction of the destruction of Atlantis, as evidence of the existence of Atlantis in the Atlantic. Apart from Maler’s conjectural ideas, no tangible link has been found between the Maya and Atlantis apart from the use in their glyphs of elephants, an animal that features in Plato’s narrative.
The authenticity of the photo of the frieze has been called into question by Jason Colavito and his related blog(n) is worthy of consideration.
Otto Muck overstated it somewhat when he wrote “If Atlantis had not existed there would be no way of explaining the origins of the Maya civilisation”[098.243]
In late 2011 controversy erupted when it was claimed that the Itza Maya had migrated to North America, more specifically Georgia(c). It was also suggested that earthen pyramids in Georgia and Florida can be attributed to the Maya(e). Among their other accomplishments is the claim that the Maya were capable of predicting meteor showers(s).
Gene Matlock, the well-known advocate of Atlantis in Mexico, is certain that the Maya were originally Tamils from Sri Lanka(a)!
Kurt Schildmann’s 2003 book , was reviewed by Dr Horst Friedrich who commented that “One of the provisional results of Schildmann’s decipherment of the Maya script, and study of the Maya language, is the rather sensational discovery that words from several Old World languages (Sumerian, Accadian, Indo-Iranian, Phoenician, Hebrew and Basque) have somehow found their way into the Maya language.”(aa) I’m sure this will be disputed!
A recent article(f) gives an interesting firsthand account of encountering the important Mayan city of Calakmul deep in the Yucatan jungle. Potentially even more important are recent LiDAR surveys carried out in Guatemala that have revealed an astounding number of previously unknown Mayan structures. The number of additional Mayan sites identified through the use of LiDAR continues to grow at an incredible rate(u).
Muddying the waters further is an Islamic site that claims that the Maya were Atlantean(m).
(m) https://mashiyah.blogspot.ie/ (offline 1/8/14)
(r) The Lost Secrets of Maya Technology (archive.org)
(v) https://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2010/03/maya-pyramid-plumbing-unearthed-by-archaeologists/1#.Xm-Nb2BFBVc (link broken) *
(w) Mexico and atlantis | Truth Control (archive.org)
(y) Atlantean Research, Vol 3, No.1, May, 1950
(z) Maya Water System Discoveries Show the Ancient Civilization in a New Light | Discover Magazine
(ab) The Maya’s ingenious secret to survival – BBC Travel
(ag) The Ancient Egyptians and Mayans: Ten Unexplained Parallels – Graham Hancock Official Website
(ah) Ancient Maya lessons on surviving drought: Huge variety of plant foods made their starvation unlikely — ScienceDaily
Linguistic Connections (t)
Linguistic Connections have been frequently advanced between Europe and the Americas as evidence of either an ancient sea link between the two or an intermediate landmass, Atlantis. Some of these supposed connections have been demonstrated as being totally without substance and merely coincidences resulting from the limited number of sounds that can be produced by human speech. Unfortunately, many of these purported links are still referred to in some books and even more frequently on websites, as credible evidence for the existence of Atlantis. Quite frankly the whole matter of similarities between languages is a complete red herring in the search for Atlantis. While it is perfectly possible that prehistoric Europeans and Africans travelled to the Americas and brought their languages with them, it does nothing to prove that Plato’s Atlantis existed.
The Basques, frequently linked with Atlantis, call their language, Euskara, which is a seemingly unique tongue, unrelated to any Indo-European speech. Strangely, Euskara shares some affinity with Finno-Urgic Patumnili (allegedly spoken in ancient Troy), Etruscan (belonging to the pre-Roman civilizers of western Italy, traditionally descended from the Trojans), Guanche (spoken by the early, supposedly Atlantean, inhabitants of the Canary Islands) and Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. These long-dead languages are themselves only very imperfectly understood today but the fact that Basque Euskara contains legitimate cognates with the languages of four arguably Atlantean peoples may not be without significance.
To add further confusion, in the middle of the last century, Dr. Yoshitomi drew attention to similarities between the Basque and Japanese languages.
Following the work of Dr. Pierre L. Collignon, Egerton Sykes supported the view that a number of North American place names have a possible Egyptian origin.
Tennessee – Ta-N-Ese meaning ‘Land of Isis’
Kentucky/Quantuck named after the Egyptian Anubis
Missouri – Mesu-Ra meaning ‘Children of the Sun’
Kansas/Arkansas named after the Third Great God of Thebes
Massachusettes –Mesu-Tchesert refers to ‘Children of the Red One’
Niagara – Nga-Ra equates with ‘Bull of Ra’, bull being another title of the Nile.
All that can be said to readers is to tread warily and generally speaking take all that is read on this subject with a grain of proverbial salt. Nevertheless, those interested in recent developments in language studies the website below(a) should be of interest.
Also See: Augustus le Plongeon, Brasseur de Bourbourg, Ignatius Donnelly
Lemuria was a name invented in 1864 by the English zoologist Philip Lutley Sclater (1829-1913) to describe a hypothetical landmass in the Indian Ocean that was used to explain the isolation of lemurs on Madagascar while related fossils were spread across Africa and South-East Asia. The name has also been credited to the English geologist, William Thomas Blanford (1832-1905). It is further claimed that Ernst Heinrich Haeckel (1834-1919), the German professor of zoology and ardent supporter of Darwin, had made a similar suggestion regarding a sunken continent before Sclater without attributing a particular name to it.
Sir John Murray (1841-1914), a renowned British oceanographer, claimed(d) to have identified traces of this lost continent in the Indian Ocean.
Mu on the other hand is the name given to a fictional continent that was supposed to have existed in the Mid-to-Southern Pacific Ocean and was given popular recognition by the writings of James Churchward who promoted it as the Atlantis of the Pacific. However, many writers continue to use the two words interchangeably. Frank Joseph links the destruction of ‘Lemuria’ with the Plagues of Egypt.
Paul Heinrich described the reincarnation of Lemuria in the following terms –
“Lemuria was reincarnated as a lost continent by Madame Blavatsky, the greatest of the modern occultists. Madame Blavatsky incorporated this concept of Lemuria, in a confused form, together with Atlantis and a bizarre mixture of scientific, occult, and Hindu religious material, including the Rig-Veda in her book, The Secret Doctrine. In this book, Lemuria became a lost continent, although still in the Indian Ocean, populated by ape-like hermaphroditic egg-laying creatures. Later writers of the occult, lost-continent tales, e.g. Annie Besant, and W. Scott-Elliot added their own detail and embellishment to the story of Lemuria, including dinosaurs and 12 to 15-foot bronze humanoids. The final event in the reincarnation of Lemuria occurred when writers of occult books moved the location of Lemuria from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean (de Camp 1954). Since then, mystics and psychics have written innumerable books about Lemuria and either tuned into the spiritual essence and vibrations or channelled for the spirits of long-departed Lemurians who never existed to begin with.” (a)(f).
It is disturbing that presumably intelligent people such as Egerton Sykes could have dared to describe the inhabitants of a non-existent country in the following terms – “The Lemurians were short, squat, with square faces and large ears, relatively ugly to Western eyes”(e).
Katherine Folliot in her Atlantis Revisited  has an interesting passage on Lemuria which I shall quote in full;
“Several Atlantologists have claimed that Lemuria was none other than the lost island of Atlantis, and although their theory has generally been considered to be fanciful, it may well be based on true facts. The word Lemuria is a bastardization of the Arab word ‘al amur’ which means ‘the West’, or ‘the western land’, and one may surmise that this was the name given by medieval Arab scholars to the ‘western land’ mentioned in the surviving Egyptian archives in Alexandria, which was stated to have disappeared under the sea. When Arabia lost its cultural predominance at the end of the Middle Ages, ‘al Amur’ became distorted into ‘Lemur’, and later into ‘Lemuria’, but the land this inaccurate name designated was in all probability the same as that described by the Egyptian priest of Sais to Solon, the ‘western land’ of Atlantis.”
Even more bizarre was a report in the 30th October 1955 edition of the San Francisco Examiner, which linked the American ‘Bigfoot’ or Sasquatch with a sunken Lemuria, suggesting that he was a highly developed survivor of that lost continent!
On a more serious note, February 2013 saw a report(b) of the discovery of an ancient continent in the Indian Ocean. At first sight fans of the Mu/Lemuria concept must have been quite excited until it was realised that this sunken landmass was dated as being many hundreds of millions of years old.
In a September 2014 interview(c) Graham Hancock echoed my views regarding Lemuria and Mu when he responded to a question on the subject with, “Well, let’s get Lemuria out of the way first. Lemuria is actually a 19th-century idea and there is no ancient text that refers to Lemuria. Lemuria is about the fact that fossils of a species of animal, the lemur, are found on both sides of the Indian Ocean. The suggestion was that there must have been some joining continent at one point between Madagascar and India. At any rate, I repeat, and this is my point – there’s no ancient testimony for the existence of a place called “Lemuria”. The ancient testimony from Mu is also extremely dubious since it rests on a 19th-century mistranslation of a Mayan text popularized by Augustus Le Plongeon and then subsequently elaborated by James Churchward in the 1920s and 1930s. But never mind the names, the fact is that we do have genuinely ancient traditions of lost civilisations and lost lands all around the world. That’s why I find Lemuria and Mu a bit of a distraction because Mu rests on a mistranslation of an ancient text and Lemuria is entirely a 19th-century idea.
>Jaime T. Licauco has written a number of papers about psychic surgery in the Philippines, including the question “Why are our faith healers and psychic surgeons concentrated in Pangasinan, the Ilocos region and Central Luzon?” He explains that “some people have advanced the theory that is is because Pangasinan and the Ilicos region were once centres of Lemurian civilization, referring to the ancient, lost, advanced civilization believed to have sunk in the Pacific Ocean 150,000 years ago!” (g)<
(d) https://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/71147253?searchTerm=Plato Atlantis&searchLimits=sortby=dateDesc
(e) Atlantis, Vol.16. No.2, April 1963
(g) https://lifestyle.inquirer.net/305657/sumeria-origins-man/ *
Churchward, ‘Colonel’ James
‘Colonel’ James Churchward (1851-1936) was a British engineer and patent holder. However, his most famous invention was ‘the land of Mu‘, an imaginary counterpart of Atlantis, supposedly situated in the Pacific. He wrote six books +++++ between 1926 and 1935 to promote this brainchild. Although based on material dating back to 1927 the last volume, Books of the Golden Age, was not published until 1997.
He also gave more than two dozen radio lectures on New York’s station WNYC between 1924 and 1925(q).
Churchward claimed to have gained his knowledge of Mu from the so-called Naacal Tablets which were translated for him by an Indian priest. Jason Colavito has recently expanded on this matter in a recent blog(i).
Readers might be interested in reading a newspaper report from 1932 in which he claimed the existence of flying machines in ancient India(k). This idea was subsequently adopted by Pauwels & Bergier, copied by Von Däniken and more recently stolen by Hatcher Childress. Colavito has written a valuable piece(l) on the origin and evolution of the story of vimanas in ancient Indian literature and debunked the suggestion that they were some early UFO.
On April 23, 1933, The New York Times described “Mr Churchward is an authority, the only authority there is, on the Lost Continent of Mu. It is, in fact, his continent, by all the rights there are of discovery, invention, evidence, conviction of reality that deal with intangible things.”
The kindest thing that I can say is that Churchward’s most valuable contribution to literature was A Big Game and Fishing Guide to Northeastern Maine, published in 1898. Two of the many gems offered by Churchward are (1) “Christ’s last words on the cross were in the language of Mu” and (2) “the sun is not a superheated body; it is a cool body but highly magnetic”(b) !!!
Fortunately, geological knowledge today clearly demonstrates that Churchward’s vast island of Mu is as impossible as Donnelly’s Atlantic Atlantis. However, although Churchward also accepted that Atlantis was a mid-Atlantic continent, I am tempted to think that he invented Mu in the Pacific in the hope of emulating Donnelly’s publishing success with Atlantis. A critical review(h) of Churchward’s theories, in French, is available on the Internet.
James Churchward’s younger brother, Albert (1852-1925)(right), was a Masonic writer, who was the author of The Origin and Evolution of the Human Race. It is interesting that this book, now available online(j), does not refer to either Mu or Atlantis.
An extensive paper written by his god-daughter, Joan Griffith, about his life and work is available online(a). Churchward’s great-grandson, Jack, also has a website(d) dedicated to telling his story. This includes an acceptance(c) that the rank of ‘colonel’ used by his great-grandfather was, on balance, another invention. Jack also admitted(m) the unreliability of James’ translation of the Troano Manuscript, influenced as it was by the earlier seriously flawed attempts by Bishop Diego De Landa (1524-1579), de Bourbourg and LePlongeon. Jack has also written a couple of articles comparing the ideas of Churchward and LePlongeon(o).
Some years ago Frank Joseph wrote an article for Atlantis Rising magazine #30 in which he claimed that Churchward had been ‘corroborated’! In fact, the article title is misleading and in my opinion, its content is just blather padded with waffle(p).
>Most of Churchward’s Mu books can be read or downloaded online using the links below.<
+Sacred Symbols of Mu Index (archive.org) *
+ https://archive.org/details/cosmicforcesofmu00chur_2/page/10/mode/2up *
(f) Wayback Machine (archive.org)
(h) http://ukko.free.fr/mu.htm (French)
(k) https://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/73524361?searchTerm=Atlantis discovered&searchLimits=
(o) Reconciling the Evidence Part 1 : My-Mu Blog
(p) Atlantis Rising magazine #30 http://pdfarchive.info/index.php?pages/At
Brasseur de Bourbourg, Charles Etienne
Charles Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg (1814-1874) was born in Bourbourg, near Dunkirk, France. He entered the priesthood and in 1845 he left for Canada and was for a short time professor of ecclesiastical history at Quebec. He worked as a missionary in Mexico and Central America where he developed an intense interest in the native South Americans and their origins. In 1859 he published a history of the Aztecs.
Hubert H. Bancroft (1832-1918), the American historian, noted[1319.125-132]+ that initially, Brasseur was highly sceptical of the reality of Atlantis, but as his studies deepened he became an enthusiastic believer.
Brasseur de Bourbourg’s ability to track down rare manuscripts was legendary. In 1865, he discovered some of Bishop Diego de Landa‘s lost documents. He studied the thoroughly flawed interpretation of Mayan hieroglyphics by de Landa, produced in the 16th century and proceeded to develop his own faulty translation. While working on the Maya texts, he thought he had discovered the word Mu, which he claimed was the name of an inundated land with other features similar to Atlantis and proposed that they were the same. He wrote copiously on this association, without any real evidence except his own deluded ideas.
He concluded that the Maya were originally from Atlantis, based on Plato’s description of Atlantean culture. This view was expressed in his 1868 book, Quatre Lettres sur le Méxique+.
In an 1866 offering+, he recorded his study of the Mayan monuments, particularly Palenque. The illustrations for this book were executed by Jean-Frédérick de Waldeck.
Brasseur also translated local languages into Roman script and perhaps his most important contribution was a French translation of the Popul Vuh, the sacred book of the Quiché branch of the Maya, which was published in 1861. An English translation is now available on the Internet(a).
Nigel Davies has revealed that Brasseur, as well as Lord Kingsborough (1795-1829), concluded that the native Americans were the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. Kingsborough spent a £40,000 fortune publishing The Antiquities of Mexico in nine huge volumes, an extravagance that landed him in a Dublin debtor’s prison for non-payment of bills relating to publication costs and sadly, he died there.
This idea of the Lost Tribes in America had been suggested centuries earlier by Diego de Landa (1524- 1579), the Franciscan bishop of Yucatán.
In the mid-19th century, Brasseur proposed that Atlantis had existed on a large landmass in the Atlantic of which Hispaniola is a remnant. He believed that this vast peninsula extended to the vicinity of the Canaries. This idea was based on his own, largely incorrect, interpretation of Mayan glyphs. The American Hyde Clarke and the Guatemalan doctor Paul Felix Cabrera shared similar location theories.
Jason Colavito has pointed out that Brasseur was probably the first to suggest the possibility that some form of Pole Shift led to the destruction of Atlantis(b). This idea was published in 1873 and is available in an English translation by Colavito(c).
After what he thought was a reference to a flooded land called Mu, one of his last conclusions was that Mu and Atlantis were the same and that Mu was the correct name for the flooded land. This fantasy led Augustus le Plongeon to revise this theory, suggesting that refugees from both Mu and Atlantis were the founders of the Mayan civilisation.
[1319.125-132]+ https://archive.org/details/nativeraces05bancrich (Vol.V) *
+ https://archive.org/details/quatrelettressur04bras *
+ http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k130466g *
Phelon, William P.
William P. Phelon was a noted Theosophist, who, in 1903, together with his wife, Mira, wrote Our Story of Atlantis in which they predicted that the continent of Atlantis would reappear above the Atlantic waters, within the following century and stretch from the coast of Africa to the southern U.S.A. So far Atlantis has failed to surface.
Phelon claims that the ‘wisest scientists’ of his day supported the possibility of the existence of an island continent in the neighbourhood, if not directly over the great West Indian Archipelago. Phelon cites the now discredited Augustus Le Plongeon, who claimed that the inscriptions on the Mexican pyramid at Xochicalo were partly Egyptian. This foray into the word of fantasy may explain why it was Mr and Mrs Phelon who recommended the admission of L. Frank Baum(b), the author of The Wizard of Oz, into the Ramayana Theosophical Society in 1892.
It seems that Atlantis was mentioned in another of Baum’s many Oz books, Dorothy and the Wizard.
Phelon’s book was republished in 2009 but the original can also can be read online(a).