Wolter begins by telling readers how excited he is that pre-Columbian European colonization of the Americas is “finally” escaping the suppression of mainstream academics, who have been keeping this information hidden since… 1930? 1940? Diffusionism has a long history among scholars from the 1500s down to the twentieth century, and it’s really only the modern period when we see that archaeological fact undercut traditional speculation. As with so many fringe figures, Wolter is angry at his textbooks from the middle twentieth century, and with midcentury American cultural consensus in general.
He goes on to say that he now believes that Christopher Columbus was a double agent in the employ of the Knights of Christ, the Portuguese successors to the Knights Templar, and that the admiral intentionally steered Spain to the Caribbean to keep them away from “Templar” America to the North. His evidence for this is that Columbus’ wife was from the Sinclair family and therefore privy to Henry I Sinclair, Earl of Orkney’s fictitious voyage to America in 1398. I dealt with this claim years ago, and Wolter has learned nothing since:
Wolter claims that Columbus’s wife, Filipa Moniz Perestrelo, was the daughter of a grand master of a Templar successor group, the Knights of Christ. Her father, Bartolomeu Perestrelo, was an Italian who moved to Portugal and became a Knight of the Order of St. James. A century earlier, Henry the Navigator had been master of both the Order of St. James and the Templar successor group, the Knights of Christ. This seems to be the origin point for unsupported fringe claims made by Baigent and Leigh (of Holy Blood, Holy Grail fame) that Perestrelo was a master of the Knights of Christ. Wolter, of course, simply takes the fringe version at face value.
He concludes by expressing his desire that the Templars’ secret knowledge will bring about a new golden age of peace and respect.
Acknowledgements and Introduction
William (Bill) Mann begins his book by acknowledging that he failed as a novelist. He had dreamed of being the next Dan Brown, and he wrote a novel based on Templar conspiracy theories, which he now realizes was overly complex and too loaded with “esoteric knowledge” for a “mainstream” readership. Therefore, he turned his attention back to nonfiction Templar conspiracies, producing this book as the third in a series of volumes on such conspiracies, a place where he says his “complex” writing will be appreciated.
Mann then thanks his friends, the usual team of Templar conspiracy theorists: Scott and Janet Wolter, Alan Butler, Steve St. Clair, Niven Sinclair, and more. Mann states that he believes himself to be a lineal descendant of Henry I Sinclair, Earl of Orkney, and claims that he is working to honor that medieval noble’s imaginary legacy. He claims this descent through his Native American ancestry, believing that Jarl Henry brought the Holy Bloodline of Jesus and Mary Magdalene to America and, to be crude about it, inseminated it across eastern Canada until all of the future Mi’kmaq had Jesus genes, including, now, Mann himself and his children. (One wonders what the Mi’kmaq men thought of this.) Mann claims that Steve St. Clair’s Sinclair DNA Project helped him prove he was a direct descendant of the medieval noble through his Native American side, while conspiracy theory books showed him that his Scottish side was closely involved with Masonry and thus Templars from the 1300s on, privy to special Jesus secrets. He says he feels a personal connection to these Templar/Sinclair-Mi’kmaq “strategic” unions because his own parents were in an interracial marriage.
“Templar Sanctuaries reveals,” Mann writes, “that its author is one of the last remaining, modern-day, native Indian/Templar bloodline guardians left to stand guard over this secret knowledge.” He later adds that his study of fringe history has spiritually transformed him.
I will leave it to the armchair psychologists to draw some rather obvious conclusions. It always amazes me, though, how fringe writers continuously discover that they are descendants of some famous historical figure (even if they have to concoct fame for him) or heirs to a mystical calling.
Anyway, Mann starts the book with an introduction recapping his two previous volumes, which he says are essentially a distillation of Henry Sinclair conspiracy theories. Regular readers will recall that fringe historians believe that the erstwhile Norse jarl decamped for an undocumented voyage to Nova Scotia in 1398, where the Mi’kmaq mistook him for a god named Glooscap. As I have pointed out many times, this fictitious legend lacks any documentary support and derives entirely from an eighteenth century effort to prove that sixteenth century Zeno Manuscript hoax true, identifying the fictitious Prince Zichmni of Frisland with Jarl Sinclair on the basis of the manuscript’s alleged Italian authors having either bad hearing or handwriting. There is not a scrap of evidence, archaeological or documentary, that Henry I Sinclair (or his successor Henry II) ever traveled outside of the North Sea region, which is why Mann accepts that the Zeno Manuscript is a genuine medieval document and not, as its author all but admits, a hoax. (The true author says he wrote the story from memory after destroying the original documents many years earlier, while a little child!)
Mann states that his evidence came from previous conspiracy theory books, particularly those of Frederick Pohl, Andrew Sinclair, and Michael Bradley, the last of whom relied on Charles Hapgood’s Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings. He also derived his knowledge of Jesus conspiracies from Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, another debunked conspiracy book. Mann adds that he drew also from Alan Butler and Janet Wolter’s recent America: Nation of the Goddess and the collected works of Barry Fell, and even the ancient astronaut writer Robert Charroux! The lack of primary sources is disappointing, but expected. In the first fifty pages, not a single ancient text or document is cited, only other fringe writers.
It is perhaps unsurprising that Mann later confesses that he read Fredrick Pohl’s books about Henry Sinclair as a small child, along with other midcentury conspiracy theories claiming transatlantic voyages for everyone from the Phoenicians to the Argonauts to St. Brendan, and has never lost his love for them.
Given that Mann concedes that he has done no original research to confirm the earlier authors’ debunked hypotheses, it strains credulity that his book will somehow prove these unsupported ideas true. Nevertheless, I soldier on.
Within a few paragraphs, it became painfully clear that Mann isn’t practicing historiography in any traditional sense; rather, he is strip-mining conspiracy theories to give grandeur to his family history and thus to make himself feel more important. The first chapter starts with him discussing even more of his ancestors and their role in the Canadian fur trade and Freemasonry, hanging from this skeleton any number of Mason-Templar conspiracies whose origins in other fringe history books (rather than primary sources) he does not bother to hide. The whole of the story he plans to tell, he says, is about “some hidden Native/Masonic connection to my family lineage.” More or less the argument is that Henry I Sinclair colonized America to establish “sanctuaries” for Holy Bloodline descendants to protect them from rampaging Catholics, and he did so by following an old Templar network of longitudinal “rose lines” laid out by using mystical means associated with worship of Venus in her forms as Ishtar, Astarte, etc., since (but of course) the truth about Jesus is that he was a goddess worshiper whom the Church tried to present as favoring a male Father instead. He concludes that the Vatican dispatched the Jesuits as a sort of hit squad to invade Canada and assassinate all true descendants of Jesus.
I frankly have no idea how to review Mann’s spaghetti against the wall style of conspiracy mongering. It would take paragraphs just to list the number of conspiracy theories he links to his family, often with little more than an assumption that the reader is already well-versed in Holy Bloodline claims, and every last one of them comes from another book of conspiracy theories, which in turn rely on either misinterpreted, nonexistent, or fabricated evidence. If the whole of the book reads like these opening pages, it will be an unreadable trash heap of other people’s ideas thrown together in service of self-aggrandizement. We have Norumbega, Mystery Hill, the Zeno Map, the Newport Tower, Hermes Trismegistus, Freemasons, anti-Catholic conspiracies, and more, just in the first chapter!
To give but one example of how far down the rabbit hole this book is, Mann notes that in the eighteenth century the word “Ancient” was spelled “Antient.” The considers this to be a conspiracy, too, for it is for him acknowledgement of sacred geometry (!) because the letter “t” “has played an intimate part in the conveyance of this knowledge throughout the ages.” (This is only important to him because Freemasonry retained the archaic spelling.) Further, the “t” symbolizes God! In reality, the spelling, popular from the middle 1600s to the early 1800s, took on the unusual spelling from the habit of Latinization. Our word “ancient” derives from the Middle English auncyen, which was later corrected against its French origin, ancien. (It gained a final “t” in the 1400s.) During the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, when Latinizing English was all the rage, this was further back-corrected against the Latin origin in the preposition ante (“before”). But this Latinized spelling didn’t really catch on, and the French-inspired spelling returned during the 1800s.
I was, though, amused that my dictum about fringe history being inseparable from the myth of the Watchers proved true: On page 24, Mann discusses the tradition of the Enochian Pillars of Wisdom, intimately tied to the story of the Watchers, even though he knows the story only from Freemasonry’s late and simplified version, and even then from a summary given in the Royal Masonic Cyclopedia.
I have barely scratched the surface of the many, many, many claims Mann makes for the Templars and the Freemasons in this chapter. He uses them to announced that through “logic and reason” he and he alone will fulfill a semi-fictitious Algonquin prophecy allegedly made in 1600 that the “true” history of the world would only be revealed 400 years later. Mann says he knows where Henry Sinclair is buried, and the location of the last Templar community in America.
But can I last for nearly 300 more pages to find out?