Our story begins in 1864. Diego de Landa, Bishop of Yucatán, Mexico, publishes an alphabet that can be used to translate the hieroglyphics of the three Mayan codices. Enter the translators. The Abbé Charles-Etienne Brasseur interprets the Troano codex to be about a land called Mu, tragically destroyed by a volcano. Augustus de Plongeon’s version is similar, although he sees much more about Mu in the codex. He comes to believe it is a lost continent in the Caribbean Sea.
In reality, de Landa’s alphabet is wrong, so the codices cannot be translated this way.
The year is 1926. James Churchward writes his magnum opus, The Lost Continent of Mu. In his opinion, Mu was not only real but it sank in the Pacific Ocean. His evidence? He visited a Tibetan temple and became friends with its priest, who happened to show him some ancient tablets: the so-called Naacal tablets. By staring very, very hard at these, Churchward was able to translate them.
The year is 2005. Sound of Mu, a drinking space to be used for the musical and visual arts, opens in Oslo. I am working on its opening night, and wonder where Mu really is. I stare very, very hard at some hieroglyphics and conclude it must be right here. It’s also online.
Pictured: thirsty Norse gods, emerging from the shadowy lost continent of Europe, drift towards Mu’s bar counter to get served.
North will be on hiatus for one week. Next episode: 8 January 2006.