The Lost Treasure of the Knights Templar:
Solving the Oak Island Mystery
Author: Steven Sora
reviewed by Theresa Welsh
Steven Sora's book covers a lot of ground, taking the reader on a journey from Oak Island's
"Money Pit" to the places where the medieval Knights Templar controlled the secret of the
holy grail to France's Rennes-le-Chateau and on across the English Channel to recount the
bold deeds of the Scottish Sinclair (St. Clair) family. Borrowing heavily from the all-time
favorite alternate history classic, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, the author postulates
that it is the fabulous Templar treasure, which was never found after the Templars were
rounded up and many executed in 1307, that lies beneath the booby-trapped pit on Oak Island.
This book takes you through history, from the time of Jesus to the present, in search of
the answer to an enigma that has eluded explanation for over 200 years. On an island joined
to the Nova Scotia mainland by a causeway lies the mystery, a pit first discovered in 1796,
when three young boys discovered what appeared to be a shaft and attempted to excavate it.
It was known that in earlier years pirates had raided ships along this coast and some had
buried their treasure. These three would spend their entire lives trying to get at the
treasure they presumed to be there, but turn up nothing. The hole they cleared seemed to
go down forever, and they encountered oak planking and other obstructions at regular intervals.
As they grew old, other searchers took over and discovered that as the hole reached a certain
depth it filled with water that could not be pumped out. Over the years, well-financed
syndicates continued the search, discovering a sophisticated and obviously well-planned
system of underground trenches that bring in sea water to the central shaft. Despite
millions of dollars being spent and lives being lost in the effort, the "Money Pit"
(as the author calls it) has not given up its secret.
What could that secret be? In looking for an answer. the author ranges far afield,
necessarily going back in time to a period when Oak Island and Nova Scotia were fairly
uninhabited, the only time period when such an extensive system could have been built
undetected. The author puts this period from the late 1400s to the late 1700s. Dating on
items brought up from the pit, including a strange tablet written in cypher, supports this.
So who built the pit and what is in it? The author reviews the usual suspects:
the Vikings, Spanish pirates, Sir Francis Drake, Captain Kidd and others. But he has
his own theory, and it was for his reasoning that I bought the book. I saw many references
in The Lost Treasure of the Knights Templar to my all-time favorite alternate
history book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail. (Incidently, I'm not alone in my asessment
of this book; in a poll taken at dailygrail.com, Holy Blood, Holy Grail was voted
the favorite alternate history book). I have always been eager to find any follow-up to
the fascinating ideas in that book. Mr. Sora draws on those ideas a great deal in
presenting his thesis that the treasure on Oak Island is the lost treasure of the
Knights Templar. For those merely interested in information about Oak Island and past
efforts at finding the treasure, the diversion to tales of the history of the Templars,
the story of Rennes-le-Chateau, the history of the Sinclair/St. Clair family, and the
question of the bloodline of Jesus may seem way off topic. But for anyone who's been
on this trail, Mr. Sora adds some interesting points.
The author waffles on whether he buys into the idea that the "holy grail" was really
the bloodline of Jesus and his wife, Mary Magdalene. He does make a point of explaining
the importance of geneologies to the people of medieval Europe and he presents evidence
that the Merovingian kings of France did claim ancestry through the Jewish Davidic
bloodlines. The "Christian Jews," those who did not believe in the divinity of Jesus
or that he died on the cross, remained a force, but had to be underground or find ways
of appeasing the great power of the papacy. It was they who perpetuated the
"underground stream" of forbidden knowledge. The author shows us that science and
seeking of truth were dangerous pursuits that could lead to excommunication and death.
The power of the pope is aptly illustrated by the fate of the Templars, who could only
be rounded up and executed if the pope declared they were guilty of heresy. The mass
killing of the Cathars, whose beliefs threatened the papal doctrine, is another example.
Knowledge that contradicted the teachings of the Catholic Church had to be hidden.
The Templar treasure, along with many of the Knights who were apparently tipped off,
went to Scotland where they joined forces with Robert the Bruce, the rebel leader whose
victory at Bannockburn gave Scotland an uneasy independence from England. Scotland was
frequently allied with France, to which Joseph of Arimathea was said to have fled with
Mary Magdalene after the crucifiction. The Kinghts Templar morphed into Scottish
Freemasonry and the Sinclair family became hereditary Grand Masters. Their French kin,
the St. Clairs, apparently preserved the knowledge that had been part of the legacy of
the Templars. So we have a French-Scottish connection that becomes important because
it leads us to Nova Scotia ("New Scotland").
The Sword and the Grail
Few people know that there was a successful expedition
to the New World in the 1390s, led by Henry St. Clair and members of the prominant Zeno
family of Venice. I have another book, The Sword and the Grail by Andrew Sinclair,
which Sora liberally quotes. The Sinclair book is out of print, but was a revelation to me
when I first read it. The trip across the Atlantic is well-documented, and later items that
turned up on Oak Island seem to corroborate the presence of Scottish Knights.
The St. Clair family, involved in the founding of the Masons, were very wealthy,
controlling the Orkney Islands and owning extensive lands in northern Scotland.
They may also have controlled the treasure of the Kinghts Templar, which was never
recovered by their enemies.
Apparently, the Sinclair family, which owned a fleet of ships, made a number of voyages
across the Atlantic. They could have brought the treasure and built the Money Pit, undetected.
The author ventures into new territory is alleging that Leonardo Da Vinci could have been
the source of the design of the Money Pit.
Sora takes us on journeys through Rennes-le-Chateau, with its still open question as to
what Berenger Sauniere discovered inside the church that led to his becoming wealthy.
Was it related to the secret kept by the Templars? He also takes us to Roslyn Chapel,
with its strange carvings and depictions, including plants from the New World.
The Andrew Sinclair book is a much better source for information on Roslyn Chapel.
Built by the Sinclairs, the chapel is steeped in Masonic lore and myths that precede
or were found alongside orthodox Christianity. I found a lot of these side trips
difficult to fit into the main thesis, although they interest me. I think some kind
of diagram showing the relationships would have helped, and for those readers with no
other knowledge of the various mysteries touched on, these side trips could be confusing
or simply boring. But overall, it seems to me that the Templars are the glue that holds
these diparate mysteries together.
The author mistates or misunderstands some of the ideas of Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh
(the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail). They do not, as Sora says, take the
position that at some time the current descendants of Jesus (and the House of David)
will come forward and claim rulership of Europe. That is a ridiculous notion and could
not be the purpose of the secret society that supposedly maintains the "secret" that
Jesus had offspring. More likely, they believe in the power of the bloodline and they
seek to control events behind the scenes. In fact, since the publication of Holy Blood,
Holy Grail, we've seen Europe unite in a Common Market and a common currency.
In their follow-up book, The Messianic Legacy, Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh assert
that the Prieure de Sion seeks a united Europe, and hopes to accomplish this
through infiltration of powerful families and bringing to power a popular leader.
Revealing the bloodline would only be a trump card.
The book also blurs the lines between actual treasure, as in jewels and gold,
and the value of the "secret" maintained by the Templars and its offshoot,
the Prieure de Sion. Could the Money Pit contain only geneologies?
That seems unlikely, since we know the Templars had actual treasure that was
never found. But Holy Blood, Holy Grail asserted that the mysterious Grail
was actually the bloodline of Jesus. Did the Templars, a religious order of men
who pledged poverty, chastity, and obedience to the Church of Rome, actually value
the most the secret knowledge that Jesus did not die on the cross, but survived
and had children, and that those children merged with the Merovingians, and
that the bloodline continued to exist? If so, the bloodline exists today.
For some, the story of the possible gold and jewels in the ground is the main story,
but for others (myself included), the other part of the story is the real treasure.
See a related review, for The Hiram Key.
Buy The Lost Treasure of the Knights Templar: Solving the Oak Island Mystery at amazon.com.