Henriette Mertz (1898–1985) was an American patent attorney and ancient history researcher from Chicago. During World War II, she worked as a code-breaker for the U.S. government's cryptography department. She published several controversial works during the 1960s and 1970s relating to the early discovery and settlement of America.
Bat Creek Stone
In 1964, Mertz suggested that a photograph of the Bat Creek inscription had been published upside down. Later Cyrus H. Gordon suggested that the inscriptions were derived from a Hebrew alphabet from the 1st century AD but today mainstream archaeologists consider it to be a fraud.
In her work entitled The Wine Dark Sea, Mertz argued that Odysseus sailed through the Straits of Gibraltar and into the North Atlantic. Moreover, Mertz believed that Odysseus faced Scylla and Charybdis when he arrived at the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia. Mertz also proposed that the Argonauts travelled across the Atlantic Ocean, down the east coast of South America, past the mouth of the Amazon and Rio de Janeiro to the Rio Plata of Argentina. From Rio Plata, Jason went to the altiplano of Bolivia and to Tihuanaco where the Golden Fleece was located.
In her work entitled Pale Ink (self-published c. 1958), Mertz proposed that two accounts of Chinese travels to Fusang—one found in the Shan Hai Jing (which Mertz dates to 2250 BC) and the other by Buddhist missionary Hui Shen in 499 AD—describe visits to the American continent. As supporting evidence she proposed that the Milk River inscriptions were Chinese glyphs made by one of the exploration parties. According to David Hatcher Childress, Mertz also interpreted Fusang as meaning "fir trees" in Chinese, and ruminated that they might refer to the fir trees of British Columbia. The hypothesis had long been rejected by academic sinologists having been first advocated in English by Charles Godfrey Leland in 1875, but apparently Mertz was unaware of these facts. In her book, Mertz also proposed that Quetzalcoatl was Hui Shen, the 5th century Buddhist traveler to Fusang. About Mertz's hypotheses, Joseph Needham writes in a footnote that "the proposed identities in general require a heroic suspension of disbelief".
In her work entitled Atlantis: Dwelling Place of the Gods, Mertz proposed that the eastern section of the United States (i.e. eastward from the Mississippi river and Ohio river) was where Atlantis was located as described in Greek mythology. Mertz used as proof a 1436 map belonging to Andrea Bianco that showed the Atlantic island of Antillia. However, her theory was ultimately rejected on account of Plato's dates, the fact that Atlantis sank, and the fact that "Antilla" was most likely a cartographic depiction of either Hispaniola or Cuba.
- 1986: The Mystic Symbol: Mark of the Michigan Mound Builders. Global Books, ISBN 0-9617235-0-5.
- 1976: Atlantis: Dwelling Place of the Gods, ISBN 0-9600952-3-3.
- 1974: Gods from the Far East: How the Chinese Discovered America. Seattle, Washington: Ballantine Books, ISBN 0-345-23964-4.
- 1964: The Wine Dark Sea: Homer's Heroic Epic of the North Atlantic, ASIN: B0006CHG68.
- 1958, 1972: Pale Ink: Two Ancient Records of Chinese Exploration in America. Swallow Press, ISBN 0-8040-0599-0.
- 1957: The Nephtali: One Lost Tribe, ASIN: B0007EYTXS.
- The Wine Dark Sea p.130
- Mainfort & Kwas "The Bat Creek Stone Revisited: A Fraud Exposed" American Antiquity 69.4 (Oct 2004): p761
- Childress, Lost Cities of Atlantis, Ancient Europe & the Mediterranean, p. 142. "In The Wine Dark Sea Mertz takes a scholarly look at the voyage of Odysseus (Ulysses to the Romans) from Homer's epic and tracks the voyage of the legendary sailor through the North Atlantic. According to Mertz's detailed itinerary, Odysseus sails through the Straits of Gibraltar *[and into the North Atlantic, eventually arriving at the dangerous Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, the area she identifies as the "monsters" of Scylla and Charybdis. Homer has Odysseus attacked by Charybdis; being "sucked down into the salty sea - we could see within the swirling cataclysm of the great vortex and at the bottom the earth appeared black with sand while round about the rock roared terribly..." He is in reality (according to Mertz) caught in the deadly tidal bore of the Bay of Fundy."
- Childress, Lost Cities of Atlantis, Ancient Europe & the Mediterranean, p. 143. "Similarly, Mertz gives a detailed account of how the story of Jason and the Argonauts is actually a story of a trip across the Atlantic, down the east coast of South America, past the mouth of the Amazon and Rio de Janeiro to the Rio de Plata of Argentina. Jason and the Argonauts then go up this river to the altiplano of Bolivia and to Tihuanaco, the location of the Golden Fleece."
- Joseph Needham; Ling Wang; Gwei-Djen (1971). Science and civilisation in China: Vol. 4, Physics and physical technology. Pt. 3, Civil engineering and nautics. Cambridge University Press. pp. 540–542. ISBN 978-0-521-07060-7.
- Childress, Lost Cities of North & Central America, p. 565. "Other ancient inscriptions on the Milk River include the Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park carvings south of Lethbridge. Here can be found all kinds of "writing" though no one may ever decipher these strange glyphs. Henriette Mertz in her book Pale Ink, about two Chinese voyages to the Americas, mentions the Milk River inscriptions by name, and claims that they are Chinese glyphs made by one of the exploration parties. The book "Fu-Sang," traditionally said to have been written in 499 A.D. is said to mean "Fir Tree" when translated from Chinese. Asks Mertz, Did the ancient Chinese know British Columbia as the land of the fir tree?"
- Childress, Lost Cities of Atlantis, Ancient Europe & the Mediterranean, p. 143. "Mertz actually proposed in her book Atlantis: Dwelling Place of the Gods that the eastern section of the United States, from the Mississippi and Ohio rivers east, was the Atlantis of Greek myth. It is a fascinating and well-thought out book, but Mertz relies too heavily on the 1436 A.D. Andrea Bianco map which includes the Atlantic island of Antilla as proof. She demonstrates a similarity between the map of Antilla, "Atlantis" as far as she is concerned, and the eastern portion of North America, using the Mississippi as the western shore of this "island." It is a theory that is fun to consider, but it is easily rejected because of Plato's dates, his statement that Atlantis actually sank beneath the ocean, and the fact that the 1436 Andrea Bianco map depicting Antilla most likely shows Cuba or Hispaniola."
- McNeil, William F. Visitors to Ancient America: The Evidence for European and Asian Presence in America Prior to Columbus. McFarland, 2005. ISBN 0-7864-1917-2
- Childress, David Hatcher. Lost Cities of Atlantis, Ancient Europe & the Mediterranean. Adventures Unlimited Press, 1996. ISBN 0-932813-25-9
- Childress, David Hatcher. Lost Cities of North & Central America. Adventures Unlimited Press, 1992. ISBN 0-932813-09-7