Search for the Lost City of Atlantis Part 2: The Search

About the search for the lost city of Atlantis, information about the history and background of search.

The Continuing Search for . . . Atlantis

THE SEARCH: Augustus Le Plongeon was the 1st to excavate Mayan ruins in Yucatan, and from his findings, he came up with elaborate mythological theories which tied American civilization to Atlantis. His translations of Mayan manuscripts (the few left by the Spanish) told of an Atlantean queen, Moo, who, as Isis, founded Egypt. Sad-eyed and bearded, with a fierce temper, Le Plongeon and his American-born wife finally went to Brooklyn, where they wrote books putting forth such facts as that Christ spoke Mayan on the Cross--books few people believed.

Ignatious Donnelly had somewhat more solid credentials than Le Plongeon, but he was no less a wild-eyed theorizer. But who would not give some credibility to a man who spent 8 years in the U.S. House of Representatives? His book Atlantis: The Antediluvian World, which he wrote in 1882, went through 50 printings, the last in 1962. Many experts thought that the story of Atlantis had to be untrue because it was impossible for a continent to sink rapidly to the bottom of the sea. Donnelly did not agree. If earthquakes and volcanic eruptions can sink islands, why can't they sink continents, too? Like Le Plongeon, he made a point of similarities between Old and New World cultures and attributed them to Atlantis. He also thought that Sir Francis Bacon wrote Shakespeare's plays, and that a comet had once destroyed the earth.

Dr. Paul Schliemann had an illustrious pedigree. His grandfather was Heinrich S. Schliemann, the famous archaeologist who excavated Troy and Mycenae. Paul, however, did not have much going for him except a story. He sold the story, "How I Discovered Atlantis, the Source of All Civilizations," to the New York American in 1911. In it, he claimed to have been willed the secrets of Atlantis by his grandfather, who left the evidence in an old envelope of papers and an ancient owl-headed vase. One piece of evidence, which was never seen by the public, was a bronze vase inscribed "From the King Chonos of Atlantis." Currently, it is assumed that his story was a hoax.

Fragile James Churchward started his search for Atlantis with a holy source--the mysterious Caacal Tablets, which had been shown him by a Hindu priest. The tablets revealed, he said, that there were 2 sunken continents--Atlantis in the Atlantic and Mu in the Pacific--and that both had sunk when gas-filled chambers beneath them collapsed. He also claimed to have once been attacked by a flying snake.

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