Revisited: Was Churchward Right After All?
New evidence suggests
that James Churchward, the man who claimed to have seen evidence
of the lost civilization of Mu, was indeed shown a secret library.
German tour operator Thomas Ritter claims he has been able to
Churchward was a patented inventor, engineer… and a man
who claimed that he had found evidence of a lost civilisation:
Mu. Mu was said to have been the Pacific equivalent of Atlantis,
though Churchward said it was a colony of Mu. The first man to
write about Mu was Augustus LePlongeon, who in archaeological
circles has the distinction of being the first to make a photographic
record of the ruins of Chichen Itza. In his books “Sacred
Mysteries Among the Mayans and Quiches” (1886) and “Queen
Moo and the Egyptian Sphinx” (1896), LePlongeon related
his decipherment of the so-called “Troano Codex”,
which he claimed showed that the Maya were the ancestors of the
Ancient Egyptians. The Mayans had originated from a lost civilization,
Mu, which was on par with Atlantis, and which had been destroyed
by a volcanic eruption. He added that Queen Moo – clearly
linked with Mu – had travelled from this continent to Egypt,
where she had gone down into the history books under her new name
of Isis. Unfortunately, when the Mayan language was deciphered
several decades later, it was learned that LePlongeon’s
interpretation of this document was completely erroneous, sometimes
even using letters that were in fact no such thing. Jack Churchward,
a descendent of James Churchward, states that LePlongeon relied
on the translation of Brasseur de Bourbourg. Jack Churchward received
an email from one of de Bourbourg’s descendants, who stated
that the translation was done by channelling a spirit, which explains
why LePlongeon erred so much when he interpreted the document
based on this translation.
LePlongeon did put the lost civilization of Mu on the books, but
left it to Theosophist Helena Blavatsky to popularize the lost
continent, claiming it was the mystical birthplace of occult traditions.
But the man who brought Mu from theory and speculation to reality
was James Churchward, who claimed to have found hard physical
evidence for the continent’s existence, when he was shown
a secret library in India.
in Britain, Churchward eventually settled in the United States.
But it was years before, while living in Sri Lanka, where he owned
a tea plantation with his wife, that he travelled to India; during
this journey, he later claimed, he found a lost epoch of Mankind’s
history. In India, he befriended a priest who taught Churchward
to read an ancient dead language. Allegedly, only the priest and
two others were the only people in the world able to read it.
The language was written down on numerous tablets, which the priest
allowed Churchward to see and read. Churchward intimates in his
books that he tricked the priest into showing him the tablets,
as well as teaching him the meaning of the dead language. As he
did so, Churchward claimed, he realised that the tablets he saw
were not the complete library. Nevertheless, he was able to create
a homogenous picture of the lost civilisation of Mu by consulting
other sources and people.
These events happened in the late 19th century, even though Churchward
only went public with his Mu material in 1924 – a very long
time to remain silent on such a tremendous existence. Too good
to be true? No, as it is known that Churchward had long been interested
in ancient civilizations. In the 1890s, he personally discussed
the subject of Mu with LePlongeon and his wife Alice. Jack Churchward
states that an unseen publication from his ancestor is “Copies
of Stone Tablets Found By William Niven at Santiago Ahuizoctla
Near Mexico City.” It is known that in 1927, the two exchanged
One of the symbols of Mu,
which Churchward saw on the tablets
discovery became famous when a major article on it appeared on
November 10, 1924 in the “New York American” newspaper.
In it, the central framework of Churchward’s claims about
Mu was put forward. The civilisation was labelled “Empire
of the Sun”. It was once a civilisation that had 64 million
inhabitants, known as the Naacals, the priestly brotherhood, keepers
of the sacred wisdom, who lived 50,000 years ago. All known ancient
civilisations – India, Egypt and the Mayas – were
decayed remnants of its many colonies.
In 1926, at the age of 75, Churchward published “The Lost
Continent of Mu: Motherland of Man”. Where was Mu? It extended
from north of Hawaii to the Fijis and Easter Island. Geologists
find it hard to imagine dry land here, as the area is crossed
by the so-called Andesite Line, making it geologically unlikely
there was a landmass here. As Churchward never produced any evidence
for his visit to the Naacal Library, several people treat his
claims with scepticism.
So was Churchward a liar, or someone with genuine experiences?
To understand the man better, it is noted that some aspects of
the Mu legend are original to Churchward, some aren’t. It
was LePlongeon who had first written about the “Nacaal”,
in 1896, where he identifies them as Maya adepts and missionaries,
with the word Naacal meaning “the exalted”. But LePlongeon
therefore identified their homeland as Central America, not Mu
in the Pacific Ocean, which was specific to Churchward.
What about his relationship with Blavatsky? They both claimed
that in India, they had been exposed to “lost knowledge”.
In the case of Blavatsky, her source of lost knowledge was the
“Book of Dzyan”, supposedly written in Atlantis and
presented to her by the Indian Mahatmas.
Indeed, though it could be argued that Churchward merely copied
from the likes of Blavatsky and LePlongeon in his exploit of Mu,
at the same time, it could be said that his story is totally true
and that it confirms Blavatsky’s assertions and that Churchward
spent several decades cementing his case before he went public
and wrote his series of books on the subject.
Churchward was living in India in the 1880s, before he moved to
the United States in 1889. It is during his time in India when
he allegedly made contact with these Indian adepts – allowing
for a period of roughly a decade where he could befriend, learn
and study the language – more than sufficient time. Churchward
said he studied the language which was said to be Mankind’s
original language, which had labelled “Naga-Maya”,
for more than two years
After having read the Naacal documents, he continued his searches
for further information. In Burma, he visited an ancient Buddhist
temple in search of the missing records, carrying letters of introduction
from the Indian high priests with whom he studied.
what is lacking from Churchward’s account is any verifiable
information. His story truly hinges on whether or not he acquainted
an Indian priest and saw numerous rare tablets. As a result, for
years, the story of Churchward therefore remained a legend, while
his books were reprinted. But never, anything new was found that
might change the status quo. That changed when the German independent
researcher, author and travel agency manager Thomas Ritter claimed
he had entered a “secret library” underneath Sri Ekambaranatha
temple in Kanchipuram, India in which he has found evidence of
the lost civilisation of Mu.
He claims that on July 23, 2010, he was contacted by one Pachayappa,
who invited him to enter the underground complex – and even
allowed him to photograph some of its contents! Ritter states
how “at chamber no. 4 the priest only allowed me to take
pictures from two tablets, not from all this books there. The
two tablets he showed me, are a little bit damaged. But you can
see clearly the inscriptions.”
These two tablets are the so-called Naacal tablets, which James
Churchward claimed to have seen many decades before. When Ritter
published the material, there was immediately a torrent of disbelief,
not helped by the realization that what Ritter apparently showed
was a tablet unearthed in Byblos (Lebanon), discovered by French
archaeologist Maurice Dunand. Because of the small amount of writing
on the tablets, they have so far not been deciphered, though the
script is identified – Proto-Byblian – and therefore
not related to India. Indeed, the tablet presented by Ritter is
in the Beirut Museum (Cat. 16598) and not a secret library in
Ritter claims that in July 2010, he was not welcomed by the usual
young priest Narjan, whom he knew well, but an elder man, Pachayappa,
who unlike Narjan, did not speak English. Pachayappa took him
down into the underground structures of the temple complex. Ritter
states: “Before an iron-bound door he stopped and pointed
with some gesture to the bottom: ‘Rishi place!’"
Then he opened the door, behind which the Nacaal library was located.
Whether Ritter is lying or not, he has at least specifically identified
a temple as the location of the library: the Sri Ekambaranatha
Temple in Kanchipuram, in the state of Tamil (India). The gate
of the temple complex measures more than sixty metres tall, making
it the largest temple tower in Southern India, and is made from
granite, decorated with the images of gods, goddesses and heroes.
The complex is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one
of the five major Shiva temples, each of which representing a
natural element. The Sri Ekambaranatha Temple represents the element
earth. The temple’s history dates back to at least 600 AD,
though could be older and is notorious for its “hallway
with a thousand pillars”, as the temple's inner walls are
decorated with an array of 1,008 Shiva lingams, a symbol of the
But Ritter has drawn attention to the subterranean system of this
complex, where he claims there are ten chambers. In nine of these
chambers, they stored the tablets. Each room measured 25 meters
long and 15 meters wide, with the ceiling quite low – he
could touch it when he stretched his arm out. Pachayappa claimed
that the inscriptions detailed the Rishi Puranas, the lives of
the culture bringers of Ancient India. Inside were black granite
tables, and there were tens of thousands of stone tablets. Ritter
notes that “both sides of such postcard-sized stone tablets
engraved with tiny lines were narrow characters covered in an
unfamiliar script. Other plates showed fine geometric patterns
on running, technical drawings, maps and astronomical images.”
When he asked what they contained, he said it was the legacy of
the Seven Sages.
In the first three chambers, the tablets are made from black granite,
in the next three from gold. Each golden tablet was fourteen by
ten centimeters, and about two to three milimeters thick and were
bound like a book.
In the final three rooms, he found silver and bronze tablets that
were hard to read, so Ritter used a handkerchief to polish the
tablet, restoring it to its original state.
Ritter claims he was only allowed to photograph two tablets. All
of these chambers have inscriptions, describing the lives and
deeds of the rishis, and has produced photographs of these inscriptions.
The tenth room was located at the end of the corridor. In the
middle of the room rose a column of about 1.50 m high from a solid
black material, and according to Pachayappa, the material was
not stone. Behind the lingam were statues of the Seven Rishis,
placed in a semi-circle, and were made from a shimmering metal,
which Ritter thought could be gold or silver-plated. One of them
he was able to identify as Aghasthiya, who is always depicted
as a dwarf.
Sri Ekambaranatha Temple
the rooms, Ritter also saw rolls of metal foils, one of which
Pachayappa opened. He claimed they were easy to unroll and that
the material was very thin, reminding him of titanium, as it did
not tear or wrinkle. The characters inscribed on it were equally
etched, rather than engraved, and Ritter realized that he had
seen one of these rolls before: in Churchward’s book.
At the back of this room was another door, but Pachayappa indicated
that he would not open this for Ritter. He did learn that the
door led to a large underground tunnel system, some of which are
said to connect to towns several tens of miles away..
Ritter states that non-Hindus and foreigners normally find the
library closed to them, and even access to the central part of
the temple is forbidden. But it is Ritter’s conviction that
it was here, that Churchward was shown the Naacal tablets and
that he, more than a century later, stepped into Churchward’s
footsteps. Jack Churchward has studied the material of his ancestor
in detail and remains sceptical of Ritter’s material. Ritter
claims that some of the scrolls he found, were the same Churchward
found. Jack Churchward, however, adds: “If James was there,
then the tablets would have been wrapped and put away in what
James referred to as ‘chatties,’ and therefore not
visible. James said as much in his books. Ritter does not say
anything other than he saw a symbol, he doesn't know that the
tablets James saw were unfired clay or that the tablets would
have been packed away. Just my two cents.”
1993, Ritter has done extensive research in the so-called palm
leaf libraries, which were scattered across the entire subcontinent.
He also located the presence of such a library in Kanchipuram.
The original copy of these palm leaves was said to have been created
and kept by the Rishis, who are said to have lived around 5000
BC. The palm leaves are a system of divination. It is believed
that each palm leaf contains one incarnation of a human being
and there are therefore millions of these leaves. The majority
of the palm leaves focuses on India and only ten percent of the
library is said to contain information of non-Indian lives.
During a visit to the centers, a priest will guide you in picking
some of your past and future incarnations, and interpret the leaves
for you. As they are written on palm leaves, they are subject
to decay and therefore have been copied numerous times. It is
said that the original library, created by the Rishis, was made
of more durable material, either engraved stone slabs, or metal
Ritter explains how his palm leaves “contained information
and detailed data about the past, some even from previous incarnations
and of my future in this life, and statements about very personal,
even intimate matters, which, as far as they concerned the past,
are well verifiable, and corresponded to the truth.”
Jack Churchward has been asking Ritter for more evidence, including
photographs, to back up his extraordinary claims, but so far,
Ritter has not been forthcoming, including missing a deadline
upon which he promised he would deliver such material. My own
two attempts to contact Ritter equally received no reply.
more information on Jack Churcward, visit jack.churchward.com
appeared in Atlantis Rising, Issue 91 (January - February 2012).