Is Lemuria a real place or the fever dream of crackpots, mystics, conspiracy theorists, and Bigfoot hunters?
Below the waters where the Pacific and Indian Oceans lies a lost continent. One of hopes and dreams that housed a race of beings that arrived from foreign planets and from which sprang humanity, religion, civilization, and our modern world. It was called Lemuria and it was all fake.
What began as a theoretical land bridge to explain the mystery of lemurs on Madagascar quickly got hijacked to become the evolutionary home of humankind, the cradle of spirituality, and then the source of cosmological wonders. Abandoned by science as hokum, Lemuria morphed into a land filled with ancient, advanced civilizations, hollowed-out mountains full of gold and crystals, moon-beings descending in baskets, underground evil creatures, and a breast-feeding Bigfoot.
The history of Lemuria is populated with a dizzying array of people from early Darwinists to conspiracy spouting Congressmen, globetrotting madams, Rosicrucians, Hollow-Earthers, sci-fi writers, UFO contactees, sleeping prophets, New Age channelers, a “Mother God”, and a tequila swigging conspiracy theorist. Historian Justin McHenry provides a thoughtful exploration of how pseudo-science hijacked the gentle Victorian-era concept of Lemuria and, in following decades, twisted it into an all-encompassing home for alternative ideas about race, spirituality, science, politics, and the paranormal.
Lemuria: A True Story of a Fake Place is a fascinating history of a land that doesn’t exist. McHenry takes us on a journey explaining how this strange theory materialized, from the rainforests of Madagascar to Madame Blavatsky’s drawing room to the hidden city in Mount Shasta and a plunge into the depths of 4chan. It’s a wild ride!
–Tea Krulos, American Madness
With narrative deftness and compellingly crafted prose, Lemuria traces the birth and evolution of a more than 150-year-old myth. In exploring the forces that have shaped and buffeted the story of a fake place, the book reveals what those forces and the story itself have to do with modern, digitally connected society. McHenry seamlessly weaves in investigations into topics ranging from evolution to spiritualism, from racism to conspiracy culture, all while bringing the real people who promulgated and propelled the myth of Lemuria to life. Whether you’re interested in science, history, the history of science, or how tales are told, Lemuria is a rigorously researched and fascinatingly unfolded book.
–Sarah Scoles, They Are Already Here and Making Contact