Two books that challenge orthodox theories of who came to America, and why.

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.

Treasure from the Old World Hidden in the New World

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 found 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 the original discoverers grew old, other searchers took over and it became apparent 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.

Searching for the Answer

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 hardly 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, 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 Holy Grail — Bloodline of Jesus?

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.

Connecting Templar Diaspora to the New World

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

Author: Andrew Sinclair

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 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 its enemies.

The Importance of the Sinclair Family

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 in 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 Secret Society and its Purpose

Author Sora 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.

About Money...Or Something Else?

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 continues 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.

Both of these books are excellent reading, if have an interest in these fascinating theories of the true history of the Western World.

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