Templar Lore

Nail from Christ’s crucifixion found?

A nail dating from the time of Christ’s crucifixion has been found at a remote fort believed to have once been a stronghold of the Knights Templar.
Published: 02 Mar 2010 The Telegraph

The four-inch long nail is thought to be one of thousands used in crucifixions across the Roman empire.

Archaeologists believe it dates from either the first or second century AD.

The nail was found last summer in a decorated box in a fort on the tiny isle of Ilheu de Pontinha, just off the coast of Madeira.

Pontinha was thought to have been held by the Knights Templar, the religious order that was part of the Christian forces which occupied Jerusalem during the Crusades in the 12th century.

The knights were part of the plot of Dan Brown’s best-selling novel, The Da Vinci Code.

Bryn Walters, an archaeologist, said the iron nail’s remarkable condition suggested it had been handed with extreme care, as if it was a relic.

“It dates from the first to second centuries,” he told the Daily Mirror.

While one would expect the surface to be “pitted and rough” he said on this nail the surface was smooth.

That suggested that many people had handled it over the centuries, with the acid on their hands giving it a “peculiar finish”.

Christopher Macklin of the Knights Templar of Britannia said the discovery was “momentous”.

He said the original Knights Templar may have thought it was one of the nails used in Christ’s crucifixion.

The nail was found together with three skeletons and three swords.

One of the swords had the Knight Templar’s cross inscribed on it.


Holy Blood, Holy Grail – by Michael Baigent, Henry Lincoln, Richard Leig

This is the one that started the whole thing off. It began as a simple investigation into the mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau and how an ostensibly impoverished rustic priest, Bérenger Saunière, became rich seemingly overnight. So poor he had to conduct renovations on his rustic parish church himself, he appears to have discovered something hidden in a pillar dating back to Visigothic times that supported the altar. Trips to Paris followed soon after and Bernard Saunières was suddenly a very wealthy man. What did he find ?

Enter the Priory of Sion, an eminence gris that would figure hugely as the formerly localised mystery went global. This shady organisation contacted the authors on several occasions and put obscure hints and clues (or were they red herrings) in their path.

Claiming to be an off-shoot of The Knights Templar and the guardians of a secret that could rock the Christian world to its very foundations, the information provided by these people would take the authors on a roller-coaster ride of investigation and discovery, leading them to a startling conclusion.

And would it be capable of shaking the Christian world to its very foundations. Oh yes. You bet !

– Also published as The Holy Blood & The Holy Grail

The Accursed Treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau – by Gerard de Sede

This is the English translation of the book that got the whole Rennes-le-Chateau show on the road. It’s the book that Henry Lincoln (co-author of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail) picked up in some grotty old bookstore for “holiday reading” and then realised it contained far more than the ramblings of a French journalist down on his luck and after a quick buck by trotting out a sensationalist story of buried treasure. This is the book in which were first printed the copies of the documents supposedly discovered by Berenger Sauniere in the Visigothic pillar of his parish church at Rennes-le-Chateau. Lincoln reportedly spotted the “code” latent in the documents and everything took off from there.

The book itself is quite cute, taking us through the by now familiar story of Sauniere’s discovery and his subsequent (and highly suspicious) meteoric rise from rags to riches. Because it is, in essence, the first book in the Rennes Mystery genre, it is uncluttered with all the other speculation that has since jumped on the bandwagon and is therefore a good opportunity to focus solely on the events surrounding Sauniere at Rennes-le-Chateau.

But be warned ! Cute is deceptive ! It transpires that the author, Gerard de Sede, was put up to publish the book in the first place by none other than that wonderful cloak-and-dagger mob, the Prieure de Sion. According to de Sede, he published the book under the Prieure’s instructions in the hope that “someone like Lincoln” would spot the clues that lay scattered through its pages and bring the mystery of Rennes to the eyes of the world. A strange way of going about it ? I’ll say ! Read the book and make up your own minds.

Cracking The Da Vinci Code – Simon Cox

The huge success of Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” will come as no surprise to anyone whose quest has taken them to study the events surrounding the enigma of Berenger Sauniere and Rennes-le-Chateau. Although a work of fiction, the book has served to bring to the public arena the issue of the Magdalene Deception perpetrated by the Catholic Church. Many other themes are woven into the fabric of the story that will be familiar to any visitor to this website genuinely interested in its content.

Simon Cox, the editor-in-chief of Phenomena a magazine dedicated to challenging accepted dogma, has produced one of the many books spawned from the Da Vinci Code’s success, attempting to enlighten any interested party as to the facts behind the fiction.

Cox’s book is laid out alphabetically (it starts with “Adoration of the Magi” and ends with “Vitruvian Man” with roughly a page or two on each subject in between) and although a little short on really meaty detail it does serve as a good reference source and contains an extensive bibliography for further reading.

We’d probably recommend reading the Da Vinci Code first though.

The Second Messiah – Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas

This is Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas’s second co-authored book in which they investigate the origins of Freemasonry, a discipline in which they are both actively involved and of which they are practising, high-ranking members.

In The Second Messiah, the authors re-visit Rosslyn Chapel in southern Scotland and also bring into play the Turin Shroud.

The nub of the whole thing is that following the failed revolt in Judaea headed up by Yehoshua ben Joseph (better known to us as Jesus Christ), an anointed descendant of the royal house of David, many members of the Jewish aristocracy were forced to flee the Roman held province. They landed up in Septimania, a Jewish Kingdom that had been established on the shores of the Mediterranean in what is now South-western France. Welcomed as high-ranking nobility, these refugees eventually married into the French aristocracy over the centuries and spread into many illustrious families throughout France and Flanders.

But what they didn’t tell anyone was that before taking the last boat from Palestine and in an attempt to preserve it in the event of total disaster, they had committed their corpus of hidden knowledge to scrolls and hidden the lot beneath the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This fact was handed down through the descendants of these families until such time as they were able to return to Jerusalem to reclaim their birthright. The opportunity to do this was presented when the First Crusade recaptured the Holy City and some even consider the descendants of the Jewish refugees responsible for engineering the Crusade in the first place. Oh what a tangled web we weave!

Anyway, to cut a long story short, this little secret society became the Knights Templar whose Grand Master at the time of its dissolution was Jaques de Molay whose burning at the stake in 1314 kind of mirrored the crucifixion of Jesus. As a descendant of one of the exiled Jewish families, it is suggested in the book that Jaques de Molay was the natural successor to Jesus (possibly even ultimately descended from the line of David). As head of a society (the Knights Templar) whose rituals were based on the scrolls reclaimed from Jerusalem and ultimately passed down into Freemasonry, de Molay would indeed have been seen as a Messiah in the Davidic tradition.

Well, what do you think about that little lot ! We’re not even going to start on what the Turin Shroud’s got to do with all this but rest assured, it’s as well researched and plausible as everything else these two come up with. A great read!

The Hiram Key – Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas

This is the first of three books co-authored by these two active Masons dealing with the origins of Freemasonry and a corpus of hidden knowledge that occasionally rears its head as the centuries drift along.

The authors suggest that the rituals of modern Freemasonry have their origin in ancient Egypt, whence they came down through the years via the king-making rituals of the Hebrews and then fell into the hands of the Knights Templar who rediscovered them on scrolls retrieved during excavations under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem between 1118 and 1127. As precursors of what we know nowadays as masons, the Knights Templar bequeathed this body of knowledge to their successors. All well and good and a case well researched and presented, but what on earth does it all mean ?

Messrs. Knight and Lomas think they can trace the rituals back to a murder in ancient Thebes and they then take us forwards in time through the Exodus, the time of David and Solomon and eventually to the events depicted in the New Testament. Are some of the events in the Bible depictions of the Jewish version of ancient Egyptian king-making rituals? Was the esoteric knowledge that went hand-in-hand with these rituals (i.e. the science jealously guarded by the select few) recorded on scrolls and buried under the Temple Mount and did the Knights Templar retrieve these scrolls and use the knowledge contained in them to construct Europe’s great cathedrals amongst other things?

Well, the answer is nobody knows for sure, but this book is brilliantly researched and lent credence by the fact the authors are high-level practising Masons and, as such, can be presumed to have access to material you won’t find down your local public library.

So, if you’re a mason yourself, or just intrigued by what the grand pooh-bar and his mates get up to behind their closed doors, this book’s for you.

Masterpiece of insinuation and supposition

The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail The popularity of books about the so-called Da Vinci Code show the attraction of conspiracy theories.

Holy Blood, Holy Grail By Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln
Reviewed by Laura Miller, New York Times

The ever-rising tide of sales of The Da Vinci Code has lifted some pretty odd boats, none odder than the dodgy yet magisterial Holy Blood, Holy Grail, by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln.

A best seller in the 1980s, “Grail” is climbing the paperback charts again on the strength of its relationship to Dan Brown’s thriller (which has, in turn, inspired a crop of new nonfiction books coming out this year, from Breaking the Da Vinci Code to Secrets of the Code: The Unauthorized Guide to the Mysteries Behind The Da Vinci Code).

The Da Vinci Code is one long chase scene in which the main characters flee a sinister Parisian policeman and an albino monk assassin, but its rudimentary suspense alone couldn’t have made it a hit.

The book emits pellets of information concerning a centuries-old conspiracy that purports to have preserved a tremendous secret about the roots of Christianity.

This “nonfiction” material gives The Da Vinci Code its frisson of authenticity, and is lifted from Holy Blood, Holy Grail, one of the all-time great works of pop pseudohistory. But what seems increasingly clear is that The Da Vinci Code, like Holy Blood, Holy Grail, is based on a notorious hoax.

Both narratives begin with a mystery that leads sleuths to vaster and more sinister intrigues. In Brown’s novel, it’s the murder of a curator at the Louvre; in “Grail”, it’s the unusual affluence of a priest in a village in the south of France.

In the late 1960s, Henry Lincoln, a British TV writer, became interested in Rennes-le-Chateau, a town that had become the French equivalent of Roswell or Loch Ness as a result of popular books by Gerard de Sede.

De Sede promulgated a story about parchments supposedly found in a hollowed-out pillar by the town priest in the 1890s, parchments containing coded messages that the priest parlayed into oodles of cash.

Lincoln worked on several documentaries then enlisted Baigent and Leigh for a more in-depth investigation.

What eventually emerges from the welter of names, dates, maps and genealogical tables crammed into Holy Blood, Holy Grail is a yarn about a secret and hugely influential society called the Priory of Sion, founded in Jerusalem in 1099.

This cabal is said to have guarded documents and other proof that Mary Magdalene was the wife of Jesus (who may or may not have died on the Cross) and that she carried his child with her when she fled to what is now France after the Crucifixion, becoming figuratively, the Holy Grail in whom Jesus’ blood was preserved.

Their progeny intermarried with the locals, eventually founding the Merovingian dynasty of Frankish monarchs.

Although deposed in the eighth century, the Merovingian lineage has not been lost; the Priory has kept watch over its descendants, awaiting an auspicious moment when it will reveal the astonishing truth and return the rightful monarch to the throne of France, or perhaps even a restored Holy Roman Empire.

All the usual suspects and accoutrements of paranoid history get caught up in this 1000-year jaunt: the Cathar heretics, the Knights Templar, the Rosicrucians, the Vatican, the Freemasons, Nazis, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the Order of the Golden Dawn – everyone but the Abominable Snowman seems to be here.

Holy Blood, Holy Grail is a masterpiece of insinuation and supposition, employing all the techniques of pseudo-history to symphonic effect, justifying this sleight of hand as an innovative scholarly technique called “synthesis”, previously considered too “speculative” by those whose thinking has been unduly shaped by the “so-called Enlightenment of the 18th century”.

Comparing themselves to the reporters who uncovered Watergate, the authors maintain that “only by such synthesis can one discern the underlying continuity, the unified and coherent fabric, which lies at the core of any historical problem”.

To do so, one must realise that “it is not sufficient to confine oneself exclusively to facts”.

Thus liberated, Lincoln et al concoct an argument that is not so much factual as fact-ish. Dozens of credible details are heaped up in order to provide a legitimising cushion for rank nonsense.

Unremarkable legends (that Merovingian kings were thought to have a healing touch, for example) are characterised as suggestive clues or puzzles demanding solution.

Highly contested interpretations (that, say, an early Grail romance depicts the sacred object as being guarded by Templars) are presented as established truth.

Sources – such as the New Testament – are qualified as “questionable” and derivative when they contradict the conspiracy theory, then microscopically scrutinised for inconsistencies that might support it.

The authors spin one gossamer strand of conjecture over another, forming a web dense enough to create the illusion of solidity. Though bogus, it’s impressive.

Finally, the legitimacy of the Priory of Sion history rests on a cache of clippings and pseudonymous documents that even the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail suggest were planted in the Bibliotheque Nationale by a man named Pierre Plantard.

In the 1970s, one of Plantard’s confederates admitted to helping him fabricate the materials, including genealogical tables portraying Plantard as a descendant of the Merovingians (and, presumably, of Jesus Christ) and a list of the Priory’s past “grand masters”.

This patently silly catalogue of intellectual celebrities stars Botticelli, Isaac Newton, Jean Cocteau and, of course, Leonardo da Vinci – it’s the same list Dan Brown trumpets, along with the alleged nine-century pedigree of the Priory, in the front matter for The Da Vinci Code, under the heading of “Fact”.

Plantard, it came out, was an inveterate rascal with a criminal record for fraud and affiliations with wartime anti-Semitic and right-wing groups. The actual Priory of Sion was a tiny, harmless group of like-minded friends formed in 1956.

Plantard’s hoax was debunked by a series of (as yet untranslated) French books and a 1996 BBC documentary, but curiously enough this set of shocking revelations hasn’t proved as popular as the fantasia of Holy Blood, Holy Grail, or, for that matter, as The Da Vinci Code.

The only thing more powerful than a worldwide conspiracy, it seems, is our desire to believe in one.