I’m happy to announce that my book on the first season of America Unearthed is now for sale! The print edition of Unearthing the Truth: A Critical Companion to America Unearthed Season One runs just about 300 pages and covers all thirteen episodes of the series’ first season. All of the reviews have been expanded and revised for this edition, and most have appended to them completely new essays on the historical background of each episode. The book contains an exclusive essay on the history of America Unearthed as well as an expanded and revised version of my parody, “America Unhinged: Unicorns in America.” The book retails for $9.99, and I hope to have an eBook edition available by this time next week. (Unfortunately, Kindle Direct Publishing is giving me trouble with importing my files, so the eBook is running a bit behind schedule.)
You can order your copy of Unearthing the Truth here.
I thought it might be helpful for everyone, Steve St. Clair included, to have a brief outline of the history of the Zeno-Sinclair myth since it is the essential and only evidence for the Sinclair-Holy Bloodline-Templar myth. St. Clair asked for information about how the myth “became attached to [his] family name,” and here it is:
A Sinclair Myth Timeline
1558. Nicolò Zeno the younger publishes a hoax narrative and map claiming his ancestors, the brothers Nicolò and Antonio Zeno, traveled to the North Atlantic in the 1380s where they met Prince Zichmni, a powerful warlord. Nicolò sailed to Greenland, and later Antonio and Zichmni also sailed to the other side of Greenland. Zichmni established a colony beneath a volcano in Greenland, and the story ends with him still there. No documented evidence for this voyage exists from before this date.
c. 1566. Marco Barbaro claims in an undated manuscript that the voyage to Greenland continued on to North America. He apparently confuses the hoax narrative’s story of sailors who found an island beyond Greenland and reported this to Zichmni with the two Greenland voyages of the Zeni. No claim for Zichmni reaching North America exists before this date.
1570s-1780s. Explorers accept the Zeno map and narrative as genuine and use it to explore the North Atlantic, leading to false identifications and non-existent lands on early maps. Knowledge of the true size and shape of Greenland is retarded for several centuries by attempts to fit it into the Zeno paradigm.
1700s. The Zeni story becomes fodder for Italian political rivalries. Venetian writers, accepting the story’s truth unanimously, begin to claim that the Zeno narrative gives the Zeni pride of place over Columbus, from Genoa, and Amerigo Vespucci, from Florence. According to Vicenzo Formaleone in 1783, “Cosi l’ardito F’iorentino, Americo Vespucci, rapi al Colombo la gloria di dare il nome al Mondo nuovo: gloria per altro nom sua; poiche rapita anch’essa ai nostri Zeni” (“So the bold Florentine, Americo Vespucci, seized from Columbus the glory of giving his name to the New World: glory meant for another name, since it was raped from our Zeni.”)
1784. John Reinhold Forster, a German from a dispossessed Scottish noble family, proposes that Zichmni is Henry Sinclair, Earl of Orkney, because he believes “Zichmni” looks like “Sinclair” as written with really bad handwriting and because Sinclair became earl in 1379, a year before the 1380 date given in the narrative. No connection between Zichmni and Sinclair exists prior to this date.
1808. Cardinal Placido Zurla writes the most sustained defense of the Zeno narrative. Zurla’s and Foster’s claims are repeated by many other authors. After this, Italian writers continue to promote the Zeni cause while northern European writers begin expressing doubts.
1833. Admiral Zarhtmann offers the first sustained skeptical criticism of the Zeno narrative. His skepticism is later confirmed by the discovery of a 1539 map by Olaus Magnus that was almost certainly the source for Nicolò Zeno’s fictional geography.
1873. Richard Henry Major adopts Foster’s identification of Zichmni with Sinclair, although he rejects the handwriting claim, instead basing his version on a distorted account of the “similarities” between the real and fictional man. Major concludes that Sinclair sailed to Greenland and received reports from other explorers about European settlements surviving in North America. After Major’s book, subsequent authors transferred to Sinclair the claims originally made for the Zeni about the voyage, supposing this Scot to be worthier of the honor than what Major described as irrational, hot-blooded Italians. No claim that Sinclair should be awarded priority over Nicolò Zeno occurs before this date.
1892. A series of works tied to the anniversary of Columbus’ voyage attempt to replace Columbus with Sinclair on the strength of Major’s argument. Several remain in print for a century. The most important, though least read, is that of Thomas Sinclair, who asserts on the authority of Barbaro, Major, and others that Henry Sinclair (II, not I) discovered America and should replace Columbus in the American pantheon, all the better to stick it to Italians, whom he views as racially contaminating white society. This is the starting point for the “Sinclair discovered America” theory.
1898. Fred W. Lucas debunks the Zeno map and narrative. Over the next few decades, an academic consensus forms that the document is a hoax as new evidence for Zeno’s sources comes to light. Lucas’s book goes out of print, and the public has little access to academic discussion prior to the Internet age, leaving Major’s book as the main source of information.
1900-1950s. Many alternative books reference Major’s in support of the Zeno narrative, though only as one of many alleged pre-Columbian voyages from Europe to America.
1959. Frederick J. Pohl adopts Major’s conclusions and expands upon them by proposing that Zichmni-Sinclair did not travel to Greenland as Major and the Zeno narrative state but instead traveled to Nova Scotia based upon a misreading of pitch flowing from an imaginary burning mountain (volcano) in Greenland (based on Olaus Magnus’ description of Iceland) as the burning bitumen of a well-known Nova Scotia coal mine prone to fires. He then identifies Zichmni with Glooscap, a local Mi’kmaq deity, based on fabricated reasons. Pohl’s work, expanded in a series of books through the 1970s, becomes the foundation for all later Sinclair-America theories. No claim that Sinclair colonized Canada appears before Pohl.
1970s-1980s. Joan Hope reads Pohl’s work and believes that her Nova Scotia home is built atop a castle built by Henry Sinclair during his voyage. There is no evidence for a medieval castle on her land, only a colonial-era mansion. Her view is popularized in several 1980s and 1990s books capitalizing on the growing Sinclair myth. No claim for a Sinclair castle in America precedes Joan Hope.
1992. Andrew Sinclair adopts all previous speculation and weaves it together with the Knights Templar and the Holy Bloodline of Jesus from the infamous Holy Blood, Holy Grail alternative history book from the 1980s. Sinclair’s work creates the final form of the Sinclair myth as it is known today. As far as I can find, no claim of a Sinclair-Templar-Bloodline connection exists prior to Andrew Sinclair.
2006-2009. Scott F. Wolter proposes that Henry Sinclair was involved in a Templar-Cistercian scheme to encode a hidden message in the Kensington Rune Stone (putatively dated to 1362) claiming all of North America for the Sinclair/Templar/Bloodline Grail Kings because Sinclair allegedly built the Newport Tower to “align” to the Rune Stone. Thus, the United States “belongs” to the Sinclair-Templar-Bloodline-Freemason elite. Wolter appears to be the first to connect Sinclair to the Kensington Rune Stone via the Templars.
Thus, we can see that each step of development of the Sinclair myth was built at known points in time and by known individuals upon preceding layers of speculation, with this fact freely admitted by each speculator. Since the foundation was false, the subsequent extrapolations from that false foundation hold no water and cannot be assumed to be true without some sort of external confirmation from outside the Sinclair-Templar-Bloodline alternative ecosystem.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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