Pauwels & Bergier
Two Atlantises have been proposed by some commentators in order to explain some of the difficulties in Plato’s text. While the concept has been adopted in principle, the locations chosen vary.
Lewis Spence was probably the first to suggest the idea, followed by D. Duvillé, while more recentlyJürgen Hepkehas followed suit. The Russian Atlantologist Vladimir Scherbakov has promoted the idea of one Atlantis in the Atlantic and a second one incorporating major cities in the Eastern Mediterranean. He believed that migrants from the Atlantic original had peopled the second one.
It is clear that Plato describes two Atlantises separated by both time and geography. One was the Stone Age culture, briefly referred to by Plato and the other was the Bronze Age society that he describes in much greater detail. This apparent contradiction is easily explained if we accept that the original Atlantis was preliterate and in common with all very ancient peoples their achievements would have been clouded by the mists of time before committed to writing. Not unreasonably, to make up for a lack of detail, Plato would have overlaid the oral tradition with the attributes of an advanced civilisation of his own era, something that his audience could identify with. Such a literary device would have been within the bounds of artistic licence at that period.
Pauwels & Bergier in their book, The Morning of the Magicians, also proposed two Atlantises, an earlier one at Tiwanaku in the Andes and a later one in the Atlantic destroyed by “waters from the north”, recorded as Noah’s Flood in the Bible!
‘Colonel’ James Churchward (1851-1936) was a British engineer and patentholder. 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. The last volume, Books of the Golden Age,was published as recently as 1997, based on material dating back to 1927.
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 debunking the suggestion that they were some early UFO.
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), makes no reference to 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.
Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937) was an influential author of horror fiction. Although he clearly stated that he did not accept the reality of Atlantis he was quite happy to use elements of Plato’s tale in his own short stories. Nevertheless, his friend Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan the Barbarian, appears to have accepted the existence of an early civilisation and to have incorporated that idea into his novel Atlantis Found.
Some years ago Jason Colavito wrote an article(a) outlining how fictional elements in some of Lovecraft’s books from as early as 1927 appear to have ‘inspired’ much of von Däniken’s ‘ancient astronaut’ ideas! Furthermore Colavito has proposed(b) that Lovecraft’s work had also influenced Pauwels & Bergier, authors of Morning of the Magicians, another book that was plundered by von Däniken.