While reading the works of my great-grandfather James Churchward, one may be surprised by how closely some of his material resembles that of Augustus Le Plongeon. Actually, their theories were quite dissimilar; LePlongeon placed his cradle of civilization in the Yucatan with the Mayas whereas Churchward wrote it was in the Pacific. On the other hand, James used Le Plongeon’s ‘Naacal’ and quite a few of the references from his books, such as Queen Moo and the Egyptian Sphinx (1896) and Sacred Mysteries Among the Mayas and the Quiches. In my book, Lifting the Veil on the Lost Continent of Mu Motherland of Men, I point to the passages copied from LePlongeon, but reinterpreted by Churchward to fit his narrative.
Augustus Le Plongeon (1825-1908)
It was no accident James copied Le Plongeon’s works; James biographer, Percy Tate Griffith, wrote in My Friend Churchey and His Sunken Island of Mu
both men were part of the weekly meeting in his parent’s sitting room on Sunday afternoons in the 1890s. One rumor insists Le Plongeon left all his materials to Churchward; however Augustus’ wife Alice maintained his works and even published more.
According to the written works of both men, the Maya were the first people in Central America. LePlongeon wrote they were born there and spread civilization across the planet. James wrote the Maya were adventuresome people who left Mu to civilize the world. Both believed the ‘original’ Maya were an advanced race, eventually driven out by savages from their great cities. For Le Plongeon, Queen Moo escaped, spread civilization to Atlantis (which the people renamed Moo in her honor,) and eventually established the Egyptian civilization. For James, it was the Mongols bringing their civilization to an end (see Synopsis of the Earliest History of Central America and Yucatan.)
Unfortunately for Churchward and Le Plongeon’s theories, later archeological efforts indicate an earlier civilization existed. The archeological evidence unearthed by Matthew Stirling in his 1938 visit to Tres Zapotes demonstrated an earlier civilization named the Olmec. Some folks insist the Olmec represent an African migration due to the colossal carved basalt heads. Scholarly studies show the features on the carved stone faces still survive in the indigenous people and reject the theory. The reader can decide whether or not the colossal heads represent the Mongols as posited by Churchward.
According to James Churchward in Children of Mu (1931):
All who left the Motherland in any direction were called Mayas. Colonization must have started at least 70,000 years before Mu sank, for there are Naacal writings in the Orient stating that the Holy Brothers carried the religion and the sciences of the Motherland to the colonies “over 70,000 years ago.” One of these colonies was said to “have a population of 35,000,000 people.”
The formative Mesoamerican civilization was the Olmec (1600–400 BCE,) how can the Maya be the first colonists?
One might wonder about the following discrepancies:
* How can what we call the Maya today, be the same as written in the Children of Mu?
*When LePlongeon and Churchward interpret (what we call) Mayan symbols, how does the interpretation relate to their theories? If they are not the same ‘Mayas’ what is the real interpretation?
*According to Churchward, the Holy Naacal Brothers carried religion and science to the colonies. How/why did a colony of Mongols decide to visit and take over Central America? If they had the same religion and science, why would they drive out their own people?
*Are there any other sources for the ‘Oriental Naacal’ writings? Naacal in the Yucatecan Maya language means “to climb, to raise up.” Does the same word occur in any Asian languages with the same meaning?
Well before the discovery and identification of the Olmec as the font from which Mesoamerican civilization arose, Augustus Le Plongeon created a tale to explain what he had found in his years of exploration and excavation in the Yucatan. Focused on the Mayan ruins in Chichen Itza, Le Plongeon and his wife spent years in the Yucatan unearthing treasures he speculated predated the Egyptian civilization. His writings also influenced Blavatsky and Donnelly in the formation of their works. Since Percy Griffith outed the Sunday afternoon discussion occurring the 1890s, we know James Churchward was familiar with him personally. James also wrote he was allowed to copy some of Le Plongeon’s notes. It isn’t a stretch to think James created an ancient undiscovered tome (like Blavatsky) from his past experience. He then borrowed ideas from Le Plongeon and others for a scholarly appearance to create his masterwork. Also, according to Percy Griffith in My Friend Churchey:
Of course, as I have sufficiently indicated before, there were no such Naacal tablets. The claim about them he had admitted to me was simply pure fiction. It was irrelevant, superfluous, and extraneous at best.
His story in the main was the same as Le Plongeon’s. It was what we discussed with the old professor Augustus Le Plongeon and his young wife Madame Alice Dixson Le Plongeon in my home in those early days when I had introduced them both to my friend Churchey, to King Gillette and others.