Designing from Bones – Fantastical Realm, Real World

Welcome to Designing from Bones, where we use archaeology, mythology and the artifacts of human history to find and design stories.

The portal keeper beckons us step through the misty portal to a land that is both fanciful and real, at least in the imaginations of those that have sought to use its unseen shores to make sense of things not understood. Come my friends, join me as we seek Lemuria.

The Lost Continent of Lemuria

The Birth of Lemuria

Charles Darwin and his theories of evolution caused many heated debates in the past as they do today. Some of the stranger arguments came about as scientists and non-believers battled over the assessment of real world evidence. One such battleground focused around the exotic lemur which is found in both Madagascar and India but no where in between. This is unusual for a land bound species as the common method is a slow expansion from a single area rather than a sudden appearance in two disparate places.

Hey! Who stole my continent?

To explain the reason for this, in the case of the lemur, a biogeographer named Philip Sclater proposed that a continent once existed, stretching across the Indian Ocean and connecting Madagascar, India and Australia thus allowing for the propagation of species. He theorized that the land bridge had since sunk, taking evidence of the migratory expansions with it. Sclater proposed the name Lemuria for this continent in 1864.

Plate tectonics, the movements of massive slabs of earth that we now know form the surface of the planet, didn’t come on the scene until the late 1950’s, so at the time, Sclater’s theory was not only accepted, it gained significant ground. Many living during that time already dreamed of the hidden beauty of Atlantis and the mysterious lost Pacific continent of Mu, so why not a massive land bridge in the Indian Ocean as well.

Continents do not vanish without a trace and indeed several have sunk beneath the oceans of the planet. Yet each of these left evidence that is still there, sitting on the bottom of the ocean to find. Not so with Lemuria. While a research vessel found evidence in 1999 of a sunken island known as the Kerguelen Plateau this landmass had been submerged for 20 million years and was not large enough to have acted as a land bridge.

The existence of Lemuria proved false but, as we all know, things rarely end as easily as they begin.

The Cult of Lemuria

Humans have a difficult time letting go of concepts once they are accepted. This is part of what makes fictional worlds real to a reader. How many of you have traveled Middle Earth? I’d bet you can smell the pipe smoke, hear the groaning of the Ents, see the blazing glory of Minas Tirith as the sun turns its ivory towers into a vision of heaven. This is the power of accepted belief. Orcs are real because Tolkein made them real to us.

However, real in the mind, for some, becomes reality itself.

Helena Blavatsky

In 1875, only eleven years after the first mention of Lemuria, Helena Blavatsky co-founded a cult known as the Theosophical Society. At the core of the societies beliefs lays the myth of the Root Races, or master races of humanity. The system she designed and its attached dogma was used by a certain megalomaniac to prove the sanctity of the Aryan Race (Root Race number 5). Blavatsky attributed pre-Aryan races to various non-existent but theorized locations. The fourth to Atlantis and the third to Lemuria.

She believed that the Lemurians co-existed with the dinosaurs, were black (the actual color not the modern slang term), reproduced by laying eggs and met destruction when their continent was sunk by a period of excessive volcanic activity. Of course, had there been that much volcanic activity there would be volcanoes or at least remnants to find. There are none.

Designing from Lemuria

The continent of Lemuria provides a ready made world for fiction. Put a space station on it and we have sci-fi. Dragons or even the egg-laying Lemurians and it provides a locale for fantasy or stories set on an alternate Earth.

Lemuria can be attached to other bodies as in the real world myth or it can be detached and alone, an island of adventure waiting to be explored. What if Lemuria floated in the sky, harboring coal black creatures that harvest the power of volcanoes to control the floating continent and look down on humanity as if they were the Greek gods on Olympus? Perhaps it is the remnant of an advanced civilization now inhabited by primitives and the first aircraft of the lower world are about to land and make first contact. Submerge the continent but have civilization continue and it brings a new flavor to the legends of merfolk and societies adapted to the depths. Consider this: Would a mermaid lay an egg?

Add to all of this the cult. Could they be humans that worship Lemurians as divine? What powers would these strange beings possess and how would modern humans interact with them? Powerful ideas are born from the oddities and bizarre beliefs of the past and many abound here waiting for your writers touch.

The portal keeper bids us return through the misty portal. Lemuria awaits your heroes and villains. What adventure summons their travels there is but a thought away in your mind.

Peaceful Journeys!

About Gene Lempp

Gene Lempp is a writer blending elements of alternate history, the paranormal, fantasy, science fiction and horror for dark and delicious fun. He unearths stories by digging into history, archeology, myth and fable in his Designing from Bones blog series. “Only the moment is eternal and in a moment, everything will change,” sums the heart of his philosophy. You can find Gene at his Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, WANATribe, Google+, Pinterest and StumbleUpon.
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25 Responses to Designing from Bones – Fantastical Realm, Real World

  1. I just LOVE these “lost continent” stories. Soooo fascinating.

    And yes. Mermaids DO lay eggs. Sparkly purple ones. EVERYONE knows that. 😉

  2. K.B. Owen says:

    Really cool stuff, Gene! I didn’t know about the “root races” theosophy. Since it’s 19th century (they had a “club” for everything back then, it seems), I’ll have to check it out. Might connect up with my spirit mediums!


  3. Awesome as usual. Ah the endless potential of a lost continent, how I do love thee. Once again you have brightened my Wednesday.

  4. Kerry Meacham says:

    I love your DWB series. There’s always so much imagination involved. Keep ’em coming, ROWbro.

  5. EllieAnn says:

    This is super interesting to me! I read a whole book (!) on ancient mythical cities and Lemuria was a big one. The things I find most interesting about ancient civilizations (whether historically verified ones or not) is the ancient technologies they had–like how did they move such huge stones? And create such exact calendars? Definitely fun to study about.

  6. ralfast says:

    Lemuria already has a long literary tradition. It has been used or mention by authors such as Lin Carter (Wizards of Lemuria), Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard. Of course among the secret/missing continents Atlantis still rules but each one has it’s own interesting story to tell, which speaks more about those telling the stories than the locations themselves.

  7. Whoa! It takes all kinds, right? Ha! The premise would make for a great story, though. As I’ve said before, I enjoy your designing from bones series a great deal.
    Hope you have a wonderful start to 2012 and many successes as the year unfolds.

  8. Totally fascinating. Love this Designing from Bones epi, Gene!!

  9. Loved this about the Lemurs, perhaps shipping is what transported them between these places. I can imagine an incident with someone’s private zoo being let loose by accident, animals and chaos ensue.

  10. Jane Sadek says:

    One of your best. Loved it!

  11. Ahhhmazing! I loved it and totally got swept away in the magic of Lemuria. What a spectacular back-drop. Great work Gene!

  12. Marcia says:

    I love so much about this series of yours, Gene! You take all this research material and turn it into a chronological series of events that’s an easy read for eveyone. Then you use your imagination to create story ideas for your readers. Yours is really one of THE best blogs out there today! I don’t write in the genres this info is geared to, but I still love reading about it. Sometimes there’ll be an element of info that I can include in my writing, but that’s not why i come here. I love being entertained in a quality way. Thanks for all you do!

  13. Fascinating post, Gene! I feel like drifting off to Lemuria… Maybe it’s an escape place for under-slept, over-worked writers?? (Kidding. Just having one a those days.) I watched a movie about Darwin recently… loved it, but of course the name escapes me—maybe to Lemuria! 😉

  14. Catie Rhodes says:

    Very interesting. It made me think of Last of the Dogmen with Tom Berenger. This movie functions on the idea that there is a modern day colony of Native Americans living in Montana. It was a really cool idea (if you’re like me and love hidden and forgotten places). I like the idea of Lemuria for the same reason–hidden, forgotten.

  15. New follower, but I already know I’ll like your posts as I was an anthro major in college who loved the archaeology and linguistics branches the best… Didn’t know this about the cult and its influence on He Who Shall Not Be Named…

  16. Lynn Kelley says:

    This is all so fascinating, and those ideas you suggest are great! Thanks for another awesome Designing from Bones post. Your profile rocks. I love that you added your quote, “Only the moment seems eternal and in a moment everything will change”.

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  18. Very fascinating and so much fun! The ‘what ifs’ are truly delightful to ponder. I love reading your posts and always find something that sparks more questions in my mind.

  19. Jenny Hansen says:

    I just love this series, Gene. My first thought is always, “Wow!!!”

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  22. Fascinating and educating at the same time. I’ve read about Lemuria in the past but I have never come across Helena Blavatsky or the Theosophical Society. Thank you for sharing these facts.

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  25. J Holmes says:

    Interesting stuff Gene. Thanks.

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