WNYC and the Land of Mu

WNYC History Notes Vol. 3, Issue 1

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 11:00 AM

Between 1924 and 1925, world traveler, inventor, geologist, archeologist, metalurgical chemist and researcher James Churchward delivered more than two dozen lectures over WNYC. A former colonel in the British Army, Churchward gave talks based on decades of research that focused on what he called, 'the motherland of man,' the lost continent of Mu.

According to Churchward, some 25,000 years before the common era Mu had been a Pacific Ocean rival to Atlantis, with its northern reach just beyond Hawaii and southern boundary between Easter Island and Fiji. Before its destruction from a volcanic explosion, Mu was home to as many as 64,000,000 people whose culture and inventions, he argued, far surpassed those of the modern era.[1]

Churchward began his quest to prove the existence of Mu in 1868 as a young English officer on famine relief duty in India.  There, he befriended a high priest at a temple school monastery who revealed to him ancient tablets written in Naacal, a language known only to a dwindling few. The priest reportedly taught Churchward how to read this language and the tablets which described the lost continent of Mu. So began Churchward's lifelong project to corroborate the tablets.

In his WNYC talks Churchward discussed his discoveries and findings about Mu as well as lecturing on his travels through the Himalayas and India. Covered too are various natural phenomena such as electricity, lightening, earthquakes and volcanoes. Heading to the fringes scientific and anthropologic inquiry Churchward outlined his firm belief that the sun is actually a cool body and that man was civilized before he became a savage. On December 23 and 29, 1924 Churchward's broadcasts firmly departed for another genre with Jungle Tales for the Kiddies.

"This evening I have nothing to do with grown ups: for, I am going to play with the kiddies at  a game called: 'telling tales,' not any of Louis Carroll's, or any from the Arabian Nights, but jungle tales, where the tiger, the elephant, the rhinoceros, and the other jungle folk live. There is nothing wonderful about these talks, no blood curdling stories, or narrow escapes by  a hairs bredth, [sic] only funny little incidents that occurs [sic] to everyone who devotes much time to hunting..." [2]

Not long afterward Churchward's research and conclusions were detailed in The Lost Continent of Mu: Motherland of Man, published in 1926. This work was followed by The Children of Mu, The Sacred Symbols of Mu, and two volumes on The Cosmic Forces of Mu.


                Eighty-seven years ago today, [1-13-2012] Churchward spoke for 15 minutes about Atlantis, Egypt and Greece.


                                                                                                                              (Andy Lanset Collection)

The above two pages are from some of Churchward's original WNYC broadcast scripts. The surviving manuscript is composed of 251 pages of hand written text (15 lectures), diagrams, paintings and colored maps like the one featured below.

  (Andy Lanset Collection)


The Brooklyn Daily Eagle's radio columnist commented on Churchward's WNYC talks on several occasions. Regarding the May Day, 1925 broadcast, he poked some fun at the colonel:

"Professor Churchward dealt in no topics of today after the manner of Will Rogers. Everything Mu-ish happened over 16,000 years ago, and we just had to believe all he said about those dear old days. Nothing was said about the Mu cows, or any of the other homely things of life in the Land of Mu, but as a hylogriphical [sic] tale it was a first-rater. We learned about cosmic eggs from which the ancients believed life came. We used to know some barnstorming actors that had good reason to share that notion."[3]

Other Mu related broadcasts included, "Mu and Her Ancient Past" and "Life on Mu."  Churchward's WNYC talks also touched on the the origins of pygmy hunting in Central America and what he called "the great magnetic cataclysm."

Churchward's writings have been a source of material and inspiration for many others, including the work of H.P. Lovecraft and the British-based electronic music record label Planet Mu.[4] Jack Churchward, the great grandson of James Churchward, maintains a detailed website aimed at promoting a more complete understanding of James Churchward's writings and theories.

Thanks to Richard Buhler and Jack Churchward for their assistance with this piece.


                     (Andy Lanset Collection)                                           (Andy Lanset Collection)

[1] "Col. Churchward, Author, Dies at 86," The New York Times, January 5, 1936, pg. N10.

[2] Churchward, James, Radio Lectures Given From Radio Station W.N.Y.C. New York, 1924-1925, Lecture No. 6, December 23, 1924, original unpublished manuscript.

[3] "On the Radio Last Night." The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 2, 1925, pg.11.

[4] James Churchward, Wikipedia


Broadcast on WNYC Today in:

1925: Colonel James Churchward discusses Atlantis, Egypt and Greece. (See above)

1931: Rebekah Kohut talks about "The Working Girl in New York."

1958: Henry Kissinger speaks before the New York Herald Tribune books and authors luncheon.

1961: Edward Tatnall Canby reviews The Science of Sound on Recordings E.T.C.

1973: Miriam Gideon is interviewed on Composers Forum.

1998: Grzegorz Olkiewicz, flute, and Gerald Ranck, piano, perform for this Kosciuszko Foundation Concert hosted by John Schaefer.

2002: Wallace Shawn's The Designated Mourner is presented on The Next Big Thing




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Comments [1]

Victor Stabin from far far away

I am always overwhelmed by the idea of the amount of cultural history the WNYC archives are responsible for, the never ending task of organizing and categorizing. But than there is MU a 16,000 year old lost civilation more advanced than science itself vanished somewhere the dustbins of time, it's like trying to figure the universe from the perspective of someone born on a mobius strip Ferris wheel.
Mu please.

Jan. 20 2012 04:09 PM

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