Sunday, December 11, 2011

17th C. Remains Of Three Bodies Found In Rosslyn Chapel

Three skeletons from the 1600s have been discovered beneath the center aisle of Scotland's Rosslyn Chapel, according to an article on the website.

From Rosslyn bones ‘from up to three bodies’

Archaeologists now believe the skeletons were placed there when the chapel was abandoned during the Reformation, in the 17th century, by local people who wanted to bury their relatives on consecrated ground. They lay under the stone for more than three centuries until the slabs were lifted two years ago.

The archaeological team has now released the first pictures of the skeletons in their resting place. Tests are still under way to accurately date the findings.

Colin Glynne-Percy, director of the Rosslyn Chapel Trust, said: “During excavation works to install a new heating system in the chapel, archaeologists found a number of bones just beneath the slabs. Below that, they came across a second skeleton that was fully intact.”

Lindsay Dunbar, from Loanhead-based AOC Archaeology Group, employed to monitor the present conservation project at Rosslyn, was one of those who discovered the bones while extending an old heating duct. “We believe that the first set of bones had been disturbed by workers putting in the original duct, some time around the beginning of the 20th century,” she said.

“The bones at the higher level have been removed and are being examined before being re-interred. A small sample has been taken from the second skeleton, which was recorded and left in situ.”

It is believed there were three burials, although experts can’t be sure because the bones have been scattered over a large area.

“Once we get a full human bone report then hopefully the specialist will be able to give us an exact number of individuals,” said Dunbar.

The renovation is part of a £9 million project to repair the roof, install a heating system, and restore the chapel's interior. Other discoveries since the project began include bone fragments in the chapel grounds, a stone buttress in the roof containing a hidden stone beehive used for producing honey and another roof slab with hearts carved into it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Norwegian Mass Murderer Still Claims Templar Crusade

Confessed Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik is still sticking to his story that he is part of a previously unknown militant order of Knights Templar that was started in Britain. Police have found zero evidence that such a group even exists, and even his attorney is baffled.

From the AP:

The 32-year-old, arrested after a car bombing and shooting massacre that killed 77 people on July 22, claims he was the youngest member of the anti-Muslim militia at its supposed creation in London in 2002, defense lawyer Geir Lippestad told the Associated Press in an interview.

Breivik has told police that many of the other members are war-hardened former fighters from Serbia, the lawyer said.
"Both the police and I are using a lot of resources" to investigate those claims, he said.

Police say they believe Breivik acted alone when he set off the car bomb that killed eight people in Oslo's government district and then opened fire at a Labor Party youth camp on Utoya island, killing 69. However, his claim of a mysterious crusader network puzzles investigators because Breivik appears to have been truthful when explaining other aspects of the attacks.

Breivik has said he carried out the attacks alone. But police prosecutor Christian Hatlo said the main priority of the investigation remains to find out if Breivik had any accomplices and if there are other cells.

"It does not appear very likely, but it is too early to draw conclusions," Hatlo told AP on Friday.

Breivik, who surrendered to police after the massacre at Utoya, has confessed to the attacks but denies terrorism charges saying he is in a state of war. In a rambling manifesto distributed online, Breivik said the Knights Templar will overthrow European governments and expel Muslim immigrants in a civil war culminating in 2083.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Knights Templar Confusion in Mexico

CNN reports on the Mexican drug cartel calling itself the "Knights Templar" and the heartburn it's causing for the Mexican organization of the Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani, aka Knights Templar International and its charitable works.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Templar Grafitti

Author Jeffrey Glover explores symbolism carved by Templar prisoners in the dungeon of Donne castle in southwestern France in the March 2010 issue of Fortean Times.

From "Lost Graffiti of the Templars":

The assumption that first-hand evid­ence of the Templars’ mysteries was erased along with the structure of their organisation has been perpetuated by so many books that most researchers, scholars included, entirely ignore the fact that the Templars actually did leave behind some startling indications of their thoughts in the form of stone-carved graffiti in prisons where they were held following the suppression of 1307.

There are Templar graffiti in the dungeon at Warwick Castle in England and at Chinon Castle in France, but by far the strangest and most intriguing examples are to be found at the guardhouse at Domme, in south-western France – traces of the order that have been unaccountably overlooked in the thousands of pages written about the Templars. These wall carvings are as close to first-hand Templar writings are we are ever likely to get, [1] so when the opportunity arose to take a close look at them I seized my camera and sallied forth. Little did I suspect that what I was to find would leave me astonished and engulf most of my spare time in the following months as I became driven by the need to comprehend what the Templars had left behind on the walls of this terrible place.

Read the whole article here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Indiana's Levant Preceptory in August Knight Templar Magazine

My article about Levant Preceptory, Indiana's Masonic Knight Templar medieval period recreation group, appears in the August 2011 issue of the Knight Templar Magazine, which arrived at Hodapphaüs today. Many thanks to editor and Sir Knight John Palmer.

Read it online here.

Levant is planning a trip to confer the Order of the Temple at the Detroit Masonic Center tentatively on March 24th, 2012. The combination of Sir Knights clad in chainmaille, broadswords and helms, on the floor of Detroit Commandery No. 1's exquisite medieval asylum will be the perfect combination. Details coming soon—don't miss it!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Templar Ruins Discovered Beneath City of Acre

A Templar tunnel under the city of Acre.

Passages built 700 years ago by the Knights Templar in the famous final Templar stronghold Acre, on Israel's Mediterranean coast, are about to be unveiled to public visitors. The city was captured by King Baldwin I of Jerusalem in 1104 during the First Crusade and it quickly became the principal seaport in the Holy Land.

After Jerusalem fell to Saladin, the Crusaders retreated to Acre, which became the new capitol of Outremer. The invading Mamluks destroyed the city in 1291, and the Templars and Hospitallers fled to Cyprus.

From "Archaeologists Uncover Ruins of Crusader City":

Off the track beaten by most Holy Land tourists lies one of the richest archaeological sites in a country full of them: the walled port of Acre, where the busy alleys of an Ottoman-era town cover a uniquely intact Crusader city now being rediscovered.

Preparing to open a new subterranean section to the public, workers cleaned stones this week in an arched passageway underground.

Etched in plaster on one wall was a coat of arms -- graffiti left by a medieval traveler. Nearby was a main street of cobblestones and a row of shops that once sold clay figurines and ampules for holy water, popular souvenirs for pilgrims.

All were last used by residents in 1291, the year a Muslim army from Egypt defeated Acre's Christian garrison and leveled its remains.

The existing city, built by the Ottoman Turks around 1750, effectively preserved this earlier town, which had been hidden for centuries under the rubble.

"It's like Pompeii of Roman times -- it's a complete city," said Eliezer Stern, the Israeli archaeologist in charge of Acre. He called the town "one of the most exciting sites in the world of archaeology."

The newly excavated area, part of a Crusader neighborhood, is set to open later this year.


Acre has existed for at least 4,500 years, but reached the height of its importance with the Crusader conquest in 1104.
Under Christian rule, the city became an unruly trading hub home to combative orders of soldier-monks, European factions that distrusted each other and sometimes fought in the streets, competing merchants from cities like Genoa, Venice and Pisa, and small populations of Jews and Muslims, all sharing an enclosed area that at its height was barely the size of two football fields.

AP Photo by Ariel Shalit from Archaeologists Uncover Ruins of Crusader City

Monday, June 20, 2011

Knights Templar and the Oreo Cookie

The Edible Geography website explores the secret symbolism of the iconic Oreo cookie. You can't have a conspiracy without Templars lurking nearby:

See The Unsung Heroes of Biscuit Embossing:

As it turns out, online Oreo-obsessives have spent as much time decoding the design as they have speculating on the identity of the designer. The circle topped with a two-bar cross in which the word “OREO” resides is a variant of the Nabisco logo, and is either “an early European symbol for quality” (according to Nabisco’s promotional materials) or a Cross of Lorraine, as carried by the Knights Templar into the Crusades. Continuing the Da Vinci Code-theme, the Oreo’s geometric pattern of a dot with four triangles radiating outward is either a schematic drawing of a four-leaf clover or — cue the cliffhanger music from Jaws — the cross pattée, also associated with the Knights Templar, as well as with the German military and today’s Freemasons.

No wonder the Oreo has become the most powerful cookie in the world, with more than 491 billion sold to date.

See, the black and white Oreo manifestly represents the beauceant, the battle flag of the Templars. So it's clearly a Templar cross in the center. Clearly.

And the "Or" in Oreo is the French word for gold. As in Templar treasure.

All hiding in plain sight.

H/T: Paul Maglinger

Monday, June 6, 2011

Templars Will Cause New World War?

Words absolutely fail me in the wake of this breathless "report" from the website.

See "World War Nears After Vatican-Knights Templar Talks Fail" by Sorcha Faal:

A shocking report prepared by the Russian General Staff to President Medvedev is warning today that World War III is “all but inevitable” after the Knights Templar spurned an initial payment offer of over €22.5 million against their €100 billion claim for the return of their seized assets filed in Spain against Pope Benedict XVI in 2008.


Now the titanic battle currently underway in this century’s long war between the Knights Templar and the Vatican began in August, 2008 when this secretive, but very powerful, religious order filed a suit in Spain against Pope Benedict XVI for the return of the assets seized from them in 1307 by Pope Clement V that included more than 9,000 properties as well as countless pastures, mills and other commercial ventures and estimated to be worth today over €100 billion .

The main basis of the Knights Templar suit against Pope Benedict XVI was information contained in what is called the Chinon Parchment discovered in the Vatican archives proving that Pope Clement V secretly absolved the last Grand Master Jacques de Molay and the rest of the leadership of the Knights Templar from charges brought against them by the Medieval Inquisition. [The parchment is dated Chinon, 1308 August 17 - 20th; the Vatican keeps an authentic copy with reference number Archivum Arcis Armarium D 218, the original having the number D 217]

Spearheading the Knights Templar suit against Pope Benedict XVI was their UNESCO recognized branch located in Switzerland named the Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani, though this Russian General Staff reports the American “factions” of this order was the main cause behind this unprecedented attack on the Vatican.

In early September, 2008, this report continues, the Vatican filed a counter-claim against the Knights Templar’s suit in Spain seeking its dismissal, which was denied and set off the current global economic crisis after the Knights Templar began a ‘wholesale’ withdrawal of billions, if not trillions, of their hidden assets from both American and European banks causing many of them to collapse.

By June, 2009, the collapse of the global banking system was nearing catastrophic proportions that even the might of the United States could not forestall and leading the new US President, Barack Obama, to ‘order’ the Vatican to the negotiating table with the Knights Templar that he would personally oversee during his July, 2009 meeting with Pope Benedict XVI.

Obama further ordered to the negotiating table between the Vatican and Knights Templar a “secured payment” against the religious orders claim against Pope Benedict XVI of $134 billion in US Treasury Bonds in a move he believed would quell the growing crisis.

Unfortunately for Obama, however, the $134 billion in US Treasury Bonds bound for the meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and the Knights Templar were seized on 15 June under orders from the Vatican by Italian police and prosecutors and the two Japanese Jesuit couriers carrying the 249 US Federal Reserve bonds, each worth $500 million, plus the ten Kennedy bonds with face values of $1 billion were arrested too...

Guess it's time to lay up some dehydrated food and start digging the bunker.

Oh wait.

As a Knight Templar myself, I guess I'll be in line for a cabinet post when the shooting war is over.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

"Four Myths About the Crusades" by Paul F. Crawford

An outstanding article by Paul F. Crawford, "Four Myths about the Crusades" appears in the Spring 2001 issue of the Intercollegiate Review.

The verdict seems unanimous. From presidential speeches to role-playing games, the crusades are depicted as a deplorably violent episode in which thuggish Westerners trundled off, unprovoked, to murder and pillage peace-loving, sophisticated Muslims, laying down patterns of outrageous oppression that would be repeated throughout subsequent history. In many corners of the Western world today, this view is too commonplace and apparently obvious even to be challenged.

But unanimity is not a guarantee of accuracy. What everyone “knows” about the crusades may not, in fact, be true. From the many popular notions about the crusades, let us pick four and see if they bear close examination.

Myth #1: The crusades represented an unprovoked attack by Western Christians on the Muslim world.
Nothing could be further from the truth, and even a cursory chronological review makes that clear. In a.d. 632, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, North Africa, Spain, France, Italy, and the islands of Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica were all Christian territories. Inside the boundaries of the Roman Empire, which was still fully functional in the eastern Mediterranean, orthodox Christianity was the official, and overwhelmingly majority, religion. Outside those boundaries were other large Christian communities—not necessarily orthodox and Catholic, but still Christian. Most of the Christian population of Persia, for example, was Nestorian. Certainly there were many Christian communities in Arabia.

By a.d. 732, a century later, Christians had lost Egypt, Palestine, Syria, North Africa, Spain, most of Asia Minor, and southern France. Italy and her associated islands were under threat, and the islands would come under Muslim rule in the next century. The Christian communities of Arabia were entirely destroyed in or shortly after 633, when Jews and Christians alike were expelled from the peninsula.6 Those in Persia were under severe pressure. Two-thirds of the formerly Roman Christian world was now ruled by Muslims.

What had happened? Most people actually know the answer, if pressed—though for some reason they do not usually connect the answer with the crusades. The answer is the rise of Islam. Every one of the listed regions was taken, within the space of a hundred years, from Christian control by violence, in the course of military campaigns deliberately designed to expand Muslim territory at the expense of Islam’s neighbors. Nor did this conclude Islam’s program of conquest...

Read the rest of the article here.

According to the California University of Pennsylvania website,

Dr. Paul F. Crawford is a specialist in the history of the crusades and of the military-religious orders (such as the Knights Templar, Knights Hospitaller and Teutonic Knights). He has published a number of works on these subjects, including the first English-language translation of a 14th-century crusader chronicle known as The ‘Templar of Tyre'; several articles and book chapters; a number of encyclopedia entries on crusade-related subjects; and several popularly oriented essays. Along with Helen Nicholson (University of Wales) and Jochen Burgtorf (California State University-Fullerton), he has edited a collection of scholarly papers on the trial of the Templars, and he is currently working on general history of the Templars and Hospitallers.

He has assisted in the preparation of several television programs on the crusades and the military orders, and has appeared in three: "History's Mysteries: The Children's Crusade" (2000), "The Crusades: Crescent and the Cross" (2005) and "Lost Worlds: Knights Templar" (2006), all first aired on the History Channel.

H/T to Sir Knight Nathan Brindle

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Last Stand of the Templars" on NatGeo 4/4/2011

The National Geographic Channel will air "Last Stand of the Templars" beginning this Monday, April 4th, at 10PM.

From the website:

The Templars were considered the pope's private army, protecting Jerusalem for more than 50 years. But their legacy came to a sudden end casting them from the heights of wealth and power to the dark corners of history. Now, on the ruins of a 12th century castle near the border between what are now Israel and Syria, a team of archaeologists peel away centuries of sediment, uncovering signs of a six-day siege that could have led to the Templars' demise.

The program was created by Arcadia Productions from Nova Scotia. The company has released a story about the show here.

Unfortunately, the original show as produced for Canadian TV was 2 hours long, and the NatGeo airing has been hacked down to an hour, or more likely, 47 minutes, with commercials. I have a feeling that the scenes of Levant Preceptory, Indiana's medieval Masonic Templar group, wound up being cut out. The crew came to Indianapolis and spent two days shooting us in Indiana Freemasons' Hall and the Indianapolis Scottish Rite Cathedral. Hopefully, the entire program will be made available to the public for purchase, since more than half of it will be unseen on NatGeo.

Here we are in all of our helmeted and mailled glory.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Knights Templar" Enter Mexican Drug Wars?

The western Mexican state of Michoacan has a new drug gang to deal with: a group calling itself the Knights Templar. I suppose it was only a matter of time, but irony can be woefully depressing in the hands of ignoramuses.

According to an Associated Press story today, a series of banners appeared across the state on Thursday announcing the group, less than a month after the La Familia drug cartel supposedly disbanded.

From the AP story:

The signs said the "Knights" will replace the cartel, which is considered Mexico's leading trafficker of methamphetamines, and fend off any other gangs looking to make inroads in Michoacan state.
"To the people of Michoacan, we inform you that starting today we will be carrying out here the altruistic activities previously realized by La Familia Michoacana," read one sign, hung on the fence of a school.

"We will be at the service of the people of Michoacan to attend to any situation that threatens the safety of Michoacanos," it continued. "Our commitment is to: keep order; avoid robberies, kidnappings, extortion; and protect the state from possible (interventions) by rival organizations. The Knights Templar."

There was no immediate comment from police, who quickly removed the banners hung from footbridges, in a public square, on a monument and elsewhere in cities including the state capital of Morelia, as well as in Zitacuaro and Apatzingan.

Such signs are commonly used by drug gangs to threaten rivals, to deny responsibility for crimes or to send messages to authorities.

It is the first public mention of a group by that name, and the authenticity of the banners could not immediately be confirmed. The name alludes to a Christian order of knights founded in 1118 in Jerusalem to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land after the First Crusade.

Somehow I suspect their "altruistic" motives will be anything but.

More than 35,000 people have died across Mexico in drug-related violence since December 2006.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"Ironclad" Opens Friday 3/4/11

Medieval seige fans, take note. Ironclad opens this Friday, March 4th. The story takes place in England in 1215 following King John's signing of the Magna Carta, and his first attempt to renege on those pesky rights he agreed to. The film features James Purefoy as a Knight Templar recruited by Baron William de Albany (Brian Cox) to lead a rag-tag group to defend Rochester Castle against the appropriate screaming tantrums of Paul Giamatti's King John.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ancient Jerusalem Temple Road Excavated

A 1st century A.D. road for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem's Second Temple was discovered by archeologists in the 1830s, but after being uncovered, recovered, and fought over by Muslim, Israeli and Orthodox Christians, a long section of the road has been excavated...carefully.

From a story on, "Archaeologists Discover Ancient Pilgrim Road Through Jerusalem's Old City":

Israeli archaeologists discovered an ancient road used by pilgrims travelling to Jerusalem’s Old City 2,000 years ago, the Israel Antiquities Authority said in a press release e-mailed today.

The road was found during excavations on a water channel from the Second Temple period, the statement said. The road went from the ancient City of David, today the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, into the Old City and passes by the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site.

Neither the road nor the channel pass underneath the Temple Mount, known to Palestinians as Haram al-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary, a compound that houses the al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third-holiest site, the statement said. The area is also the site of the ancient Jewish temple destroyed by the Romans.

Archaeological digs in the area of Jerusalem’s Old City and Temple Mount have set off riots in the past. Palestinians seek the eastern sector as the capital of a state. Israel captured the area from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war in a move never recognized internationally.

From "Archeologists find main J'lem street from Second Temple period":

According to the dig director, Prof. Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa, this was Jerusalem's main street, by which pilgrims ascended from the southern part of the ancient town, where the Pool of Siloam was located.

"There is practically no doubt that this was the focus of pilgrim traffic. We know this both from Jewish and Christian sources. The Pool of Siloam provided water for hundreds of people simultaneously and could be used for purification before ascending to the Temple Mount.

From the Pool of Siloam, the road continued for 600 meters to the Temple Mount. Although only two meters of the street's width have so far been excavated, it is believed to have stretched eight meters across.

The excavation is taking place in a limited area, because the land on one side belongs to the Greek Orthodox Church, and on the other to the Waqf, the Muslim religious trust. Neither of these bodies permits excavation on their property. Another excavation of the same road system was halted by order of the High Court of Justice in January 2008 following a petition by Palestinian residents of Silwan, who claimed the dig was undermining the foundations of their homes.

The road now uncovered opens a window onto the Second Temple period, one of the most opulent in the city's history. Jerusalem in those days, with a population of some 25,000, was considered a regional metropolis. Reich says that number doubled during the pilgrimage festivals.