TREASURE HUNTERS SNIFFING HOLY GRAIL

There's a sudden revival of interest in the Oak Island mystery and new theories about the fabled money pit that has baffled treasure hunters for more than two centuries. Two new books explore the latest speculation and one is a shocker. It suggests Oak Island might hold the lost treasure of the Knights Templar, a trove touted as so fabulous it could contain the Holy Grail.

William Crooker author of a new book on Oak Island, shifts attention away from Triton Alliance, the company that owns the land around the money pit and toward Fred Nolan, a rival treasure hunter who owns the north central part of the island. Nolan discovered a sandstone boulder and cone shaped granite rocks on his land. On a map, lines connecting the rocks create a huge Christian cross more than 250 meters long. The "headstone," as Nolan calls the boulder, lies exactly where the lines intersect. Crooker said 'investigators believe the cross shape is related to the Knights Templar. One theory claims that Henry Sinclair, a Scot believed to a member of the Knights, reached Nova Scotia in 1398. He built or occupied a castle at New Ross, 23 miles inland from Oak Island. His mission could have been to bury the Templar treasure or protect it. The Templars based in southern France, were an order of fighting monk-knights prominent in the Crusades who amassed great wealth. Powerful and loyal only to the Pope, the Templars became a threat to European kings. In 1307, the king of France arrested almost all the Templars. Some who escaped took refuge 'in Scotland and Portugal.

There are reports that 18 galleys took the treasure from New Rochelle, France, and were never seen again.

So begins the latest saga of the treasure of Oak Island. The history of the Knights Templar is very interesting, and includes many treasure tales. Currently the French government has banned any type of excavations around former Templar castles. To this day people still search for the treasure of the Templars. Don't be too quick to dismiss this latest theory."

The Knights of the Temple Mount, known as the Knights Templar, began in 1118 A.D. and ended abruptly 'in 1307 A.D. Their name was taken from the Temple Mount which is said to be the site in Jerusalem where the original Temple of Solomon had been built. During this time thousands of Christians were making pilgrimages to the Middle East to visit the holy sites where Christ had lived and died. Many of these pilgrims became targets for bandits and there was an on going struggle between Christians and Moslems for control of these sites.

The struggle for the control of the Holy Land is what we have come to know as the Crusades. Noblemen from Europe raised armies and set off for the Middle East to seek fame and fortune. Personality conflicts and 'm-fighting caused disunity among the Crusaders. A small group of noblemen, Knights, came together and decided to dedicate their entire lives to the service of the Holy Land. They took the monastic vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Rather than lead a life of contemplation and prayer, the Paupers conumilitones Christi Templque Salomom's, the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and the Temple Solomon, the Knights Templar, choose the sword to defend pilgrims and the faith. When a nobleman would join their ranks, he would surrender his castle and property to the Knights who would use revenues generated from the property to purchase weapons, war horses, armor and other military supplies.

The ranks of the Knights Templar's grew rapidly. Other noblemen and Kings who were not members often gave them gifts of money and land. King Steven of England contributed his valuable English manor of Cress' in Essex. He also made arrangements for high ranking members of the Knights to visit nobles of England and Scotland.

This being the time of the Holy Roman Empire, Pope Eugenius, decreed that the Knights Templar and only the Knights Templars would wear a special red cross with blunt wedge-shaped arms called the cross patee on the left breast of their white robes, so that they could be quickly recognize at any time by Christians and by other Templars on the field of battle. The white robes with red cross became their required dress. The warrior-knights fought bravely 'in the Middle East and were highly respected by their Moslem counterparts for their strategy and bravery. Back in Europe the Templar wealth was growing. They owned over nine thousand manors and castles across Europe, all of which were tax free. Each property was farmed and produced revenues that were used to support the Templar banking system, which was the largest in Europe. The Templar wealth and power caused suspicion and jealously among some members of the European nobility. Slanderous rumors were spread of secret rituals and devil worship.

King Philip IV of France was responsible for many of these rumors. King Philip fearing the growing Templar power, went to Rome and convinced Pope Clement V that the Knights Templar were not the holy defenders of the faith but were seeking to destroy it. The Pope ordered King Philip to arrest all the Knights 'in France and begin an inquisition. When the King's men went to the Templar castles they found many of them abandoned and the large naval force that had been anchored at the Templar base 'in La Rochelle was gone. Those that were arrested were tried and found guilty of sins against God. Jacques de Molay, the last grand master of the Knights Templar's was burned at the stake 'in Paris in 1314.

A contemporary English poem asked the question that many ask today, where did all Templars and their great wealth go?

The brethren, the Masters of the Temple, Who were well-stocked and ample With gold and silver and riches, Where are they? How have they done? They had such power once that none Dared take from them, none was so bold; Forever they bought and never sold....

This question has plagued historians and treasure hunters for centuries. For hundreds of years there have been rumors that the Knights Templar were not only defenders of the faith, but were also the guardians of the Holy Grail. The Holy Grail is said to be the most holy of religious artifacts. Different versions of the legend exist with the two most prominent being that the Holy Grail is the cup or chalice used by Christ at the Last Supper ; or a piece of the cross that he was crucified on.

The chalice version of the Holy Grail has Saint Joseph of Ariinathea bringing the cup first to France, then England, the cup was used at the Last Supper and at the crucifixion to catch some of Christ's blood.

A Welsh version of the Grail story says Joseph of Arimathea brought the Grail to England with the word of Christ and left the holy relic at Glisten bury, from where it reached King Arthur the knights of the Round Table. The Grail was 'in to many forms and King Arthur saw it 'in it's final form while receiving Commumon with hermits, a bleeding lance. What value would the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper have? What power would the owners of this cup have? The religious significance of such a relic is incalculable.

Legend has long held and recent archaeological finds prove, that many Templars settled in Scotland, after being forced out of France. It is said that the Templars fought along side Robert the Bruce and were instrumental 'in helping him defeat the English anmies sent by King Edward. The Knights were befriended by Prince Henry St. Clair, the Third Lord of Roslin. With the help of Templars, who were expert builders, the Scottish Prince built a new castle, Roslin, meaning the Blood of Christ. The castle, which exists today has hundreds of Templar and Holy Grail symbols etched 'in its stone work, even St. Clair's tombstone has a Templar symbol. Andrew Sinclair a direct descendent of henry St. Clair has researched Ms ancestor extensively and says that St. Clair and the Knights Templar tried to establish a New Jerusalem in the New World, landing first in what is now Nova Scotia (New Scotland) and then in what is now New England.

Enter the mystery of Oak Island and the money pit.

The last Templar Grand Master was officially burned at the stake almost 700 years ago, yet there are so many questions that were left unanswered and new theories, the subject generates 4 to 5 books a year. Many of these books are a re-hash of what has already been written, some add to the body of knowledge and others offer wild theories with little or no documentation. When researching the Knights Templars one thing becomes clear, there are many conflicting accounts of their actions, history and demise. if you look just at the facts and actions of the Templars a picture starts to emerge of calculated actions to achieve a specific goal.

When the Templars went to Jerusalem they went directly to the site of the Temple of Solomon. Here they excavated the site and many believe that they discovered the biblical treasure known as the Treasure of King Solomon. It is also believed that the Templars located the Are of the Convanent, used by the Israelites to carry the Ten Commandments given to Mosses by God. After the inquisition a small group of Templars went Ethiopia. there they built chapels that exist to this day with Templar and grail symbols. It has long been rumored that this group brought with them the Are of the Covenant, which is highly venerated in this country which practices a combination of Catholicism and Judaism. For special events what is claimed to be the Are is paraded in the streets. While taking over existing structures and building fortresses 'in the Holy Land, the Templars seemed to be on a secret mission to collect all religious artifacts associated with the life and death of Jesus Christ.

The lance of Longinus, which pierced the side of Christ while on the cross, was discovered by the Templar's at Antioch. This spear or Holy Lance has long been held to have special powers, kings, emperors, dukes, generals, princes, saints and Caesar's have all sought to own the Holy Lance. The following account of the discovery of the Holy Lance was written by Raymond of Aguilers a Templar chaplain; "At that time there were many revelations to our brothers, and we saw a miraculous sign in the heavens. A very great star stood all night above Antioch, and then divided into three parts and fell on the Turkish camp. Our people were comforted by this for a little while. Then on 15 June 1098, having made the necessary preparations, twelve of us went to the church of St. Peter with the man who had told the story of the lance. When everyone else had left the church, we began to dig. Among the Twelve present were the Bishop of Orange, Count Raymond's chaplain who wrote this history, and the Count himself.

One of the earliest documented uses of the Holy Lance is credited to Attila the Hun, who acquired it as he cut his path of destruction through Europe. When his army was weaken from famine and pestilence 'in Italy, he galloped his horse to the gates of Rome and hurled the lance at the feet of the officers who had been sent out to surrender the city. "Take back your Holy Lance," he said, "it is of no use to me, since I do not know Him that made it holy." Stories, of the power of the Holy Lance have persisted for centuries. The Holy Lance after being used by the Holy Roman Emperors was put on display 'in the Hofburg Palace in Austria. Hitler seized the Lance in the 1930's and held on to it until shortly before his death in 1945. From this point on the history of the Holy Lance becomes clouded with rumor and heresy. The story is told that a fake lance was constructed and returned to the museum, with the real Holy Lance being held by a secret group 'in Germany, the Knights of the Holy Lance. This is another story for another time, back to the Knight's Templar.

Before their destruction the Templar's had established the largest banking system 'in Europe, they owned thousands of castles and tracts of land. Along with this great material wealth the Templar's has also amassed a great spiritual wealth, seeking to acquire all religious artifacts associated with the life and death of Jesus Christ. While the Arc has no connection to Christ there is no doubt that it has great religious significance. What went on behind closed doors between European royalty, church hierarchy and the Templar's is unknown, but one thing is certain the Templar's were a very powerful force, which no doubt threatened the rulers of Europe at that time, which eventually led to their destruction. Much of the Templar wealth was never discovered, and many of the other religious artifacts they recovered from the Holy Land remain unaccounted for.

Many of these artifacts, said to posses secret powers, may have spawned secret societies which venerate these relies. It is also rumored that the Knight Templar were not completely destroyed in 1307 AD, but rather went underground, and still exist to this day. If this is the case, the rumors of the secret Grail societies may well be true. One thing is certain; the Templar's could not have escaped with all their wealth, and some of it no doubt has been found over the centuries, but much of it probably remains hidden to this day. Searches for the lost Templar wealth became wide spread in France, that several years ago all digging at old castle sites was banned. This is not the end of our stories on the Knight's Templar, but just the beginning, as we explore the legends of their lost wealth and their role in history.

"Faith of our fathers, living still In spite of dungeon, fire and sword ... "

References:

  •     Addison, C.G., The Knights Templars History. New York; 1875
  •     Barber, Richard, The Knights and Chivalry. New York; 1982
  •     Bunnan, Edward. The Templars, Knights of God. London; 1986
  •     De Rosa, Peter. Vicars of Christ. New York; 1988 Gies, Frances.
  •     The Knight in History. New York; 1984.
  •     Howarth, Stephen. The Knights Templar. New York; 1982.
  •     Martin, Edward. The Trial of the Templars. New York; 1978.
  •     Partner, Peter. The Murdered Magicians. Vermont; 1987.
  •     Robinson, John. Dungeon, Fire and Sword. New York, 1991.
  •     Seward, Desmond. The Monks of War. St. Albans; 1974.
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