Is the Kensington Rune Stone Related to the Masonic Select Master Degree through a Number Code?
I must admit to being a bit surprised by the apparently good news I read today in Bloomberg News about the changes coming to National Geographic as a result of its takeover by Rupert Murdoch. According to the report, the National Geographic Channel’s tabloid trash had long been National Geographic’s profit center, and the crappy taste of cable TV audiences exerted pressure on National Geographic to dumb down in print and online. In fact, the report says that TV executives bristled that National Geographic’s leadership thought the shows should be fact checked and scientifically responsible. But now as part of a larger company, the National Geographic branded media products no longer are the tail wagging the dog after being diluted into the Fox empire, and their new boss, James Murdoch, the son of Rupert and head of 21st Century Fox, intends to transform them into a luxury brand for quality science journalism and entertainment, describing the new vision as “HBO” for science.
I’ll believe it when I see it, but it sounds a lot better than Discovery’s strategy of flooding TV with reality crap and creating whole networks for paranormal pseudoscience
Speaking of pseudoscience, Jerry Lutgen recently posted an article summarizing Scott Wolter’s new claims about Freemasonry and the Kensington Rune Stone to the Kensington Rune Stone International Supporters Club Facebook page in a posting on May 9. Lutgen is a friend of Wolter, a former guest on America Unearthed, and the creator of a Talpiot Tomb website. He is currently working with HistoryTec, a nonprofit corporation dedicating to pursuing Wolterian fringe ideas, namely the Talpiot Tomb and Pre-Columbian European contact with America. His paper summarizes Wolter’s presentation to the Anoka, Minnesota Freemasons last month.
According to Lutgen’s summary, Wolter places particular interest on the numbers that appear in the text of the Kensington Rune Stone:
8 Götalanders and 22 Northmen on an exploring (or acquisition) expedition from Vinland west. We camped by 2 skerries one day’s journey north from this stone. We were a-fishing one day; after we came home we found 10 men red with blood and dead. A.V.M. (= Ave Maria) Save from evil.
These numbers, then, are 8, 22, 2, 1, 1, 10, 10, and 14.
Wolter wants us to see the 22 as referring to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet and therefore to the Kabbalah, even though there is no Kabbalistic material in the text. He assumes that 22 is also related to the Egyptian mystery religions of Isis and Osiris. The number isn’t associated with them so far as I can tell, but it does appear in a tangential way because some New Agers allege that the 22 trump cards of the tarot derive from the Egyptian mysteries. This is mostly due to Antoine Court de Gébelin, a Freemason who helped invent the esoteric interpretation of the tarot in 1781. He alleged that the tarot’s trumps represented the twenty-two letters of the Egyptian alphabet (which he saw as identical to Hebrew—this was before the decipherment of hieroglyphics) and were invented by Hermes Trismegistus, who was, of course, also Enoch, inscriber of the Pillars of Wisdom. Gébelin was a Freemason, so basing any interpretation of ancient history on his Masonic occultism becomes an exercise in circular reasoning.
According to Wolter, as summarized by Lutgen, if we “reassemble” the Masonic story of Hiram Abiff in the Select Master degree in chronological order, the sequence of numbers exactly follows that of KRS. It’s rather lengthy to quote the text in full, so I will instead link you to it. You have to love the internet—all of the secrets are somehow revealed, especially those in the public domain and no longer covered by copyright. Lutgen quotes selectively from the following passage as his example of confirmation of Wolter’s hypothesis. The quoted material is in boldface:
The ninth Arch was erected by our three Grand Masters as a place wherein to deposit a true copy of all the Holy Vessels and Sacred Treasures contain in the Sanctum Sanctorum above; also to meet in Grand Council to confer the Master Mason degree when the Temple should be completed. There were employed on the other eight Arches, twenty-two men from Gebal, a city of Phoenicia, together with Ahishar and Adoniram, all of whom were well skilled in the arts and sciences generally, but particularly in sculpture. Their hours of labor were from nine at night till twelve, the time when prying eyes are closed in sleep.
While the full text is much longer, it is notable for not containing several of the numbers from the KRS, notably 10 and 14. The numbers 1 and 2 are too common to ascribe any significance to, but both appear in both texts. Further, it should easily become apparent that while 8 and 22 appear in both places, several other numbers occur in the Masonic text but not on the KRS: 9, 3, 12. So how does Wolter plead for us to ignore these numbers? He argues that the KRS has 9 lines of text on the front and 3 on the side, so which add up to 12, thus matching the numbers from the story.
Wolter calls this the “Ritual Code” and argues that accepting the numerological importance of the KRS eliminates the need to interpret the text literally, and he says that there is now no reason to interpret it allegorically either. Under this new interpretation, the text is irrelevant except for the coded numbers. Unfortunately, Lutgen’s summary does not indicate how or if Wolter squared this with his earlier assertion that the translation of one particular phrase as “taking up land” (or “acquisition”) was essential to interpreting the KRS as a Templar land claim. Are the words relevant or not?
All told, there is much less to Wolter’s alleged correlation between the KRS and the Select Master degree than he implied. It might be the case that the numbers 8 and 22 were meant to reflect the Masonic numbers, but it isn’t necessarily so. The numbers aren’t exactly important to Masonry (the reference is to 8 of the 9 Arches, which is the important number), or rare. Here’s Daniel Defoe using the same numbers in Robinson Crusoe: “In the middle was another, not above twenty-two paces round, but built stronger; being eight-square in its form…” Prior to that, William Dampier, in his Voyage around the World, reported that on night in 1699 he measured “at Eight in the Evening, twenty-two” fathoms off the coast of New Guinea. Here’s a line from the Domesday Book of 1086 that includes four of Wolter’s numbers: “There are two ploughs in the demesne, and twenty-two villains with ten bondsmen have eight ploughs” (trans. Henshaw and Wilkinson).
Even Lutgen recognizes that the connection requires “speculation” in order to accept, but he says that Wolter has an explanation for any discrepancies: The two texts are not directly related to one another but instead both derive from a secret stream of occult numerology. “Therefore, he is claiming that both the KRS and the Masonic stories are actually derived from material available to a 14th century Cistercian monk.” Unfortunately, Lutgen adds that Wolter cannot provide a plausible path for this material to have arrived at its alleged end points. Lutgen further asks whether a Freemason of the nineteenth century could have been responsible for creating the KRS, and his only argument against that hypothesis is Wolter’s own geological work, which even he recognizes is not sufficiently conclusive.
5/18/2016 11:57:30 am
Scott Wolter should write fiction. In the field of science, he doesn't amount to much. This is another good example of speculation that's not firmly rooted in science. In this way, anybody can claim anything.
5/18/2016 12:24:27 pm
Please, do not accept that Scott Wolter could write even passable fiction. A good fiction author knows how to write and assemble ideas so as to make sense and produce something that people would want to read. Scott Wolter babbles on (both verbally and in print, see one of the prior posts about his presentation) beating his one and only real idea about the Kensington Rune Stones.
5/18/2016 12:43:41 pm
Clete, your doubts only harden his resolve. Of course he's going to beat it!
5/18/2016 05:16:07 pm
Scott Wolter is not writing fiction but pseudo-history.
5/18/2016 05:18:29 pm
Snow much on "Know it all Mountain".
5/18/2016 12:07:06 pm
I'll be interested to see how the "Ritual Code" can also be applied to Wolter's inclusion of the Newport Tower, the other two of his "Big Three" rune stones and Oreo™ cookies. I mean, it's all interconnected and he has all the answers, right?
5/18/2016 05:12:54 pm
I'll be interested to see how the "Ritual Code" can also be applied to Wolter's inclusion of the Newport Tower, the other two of his "Big Three" rune stones and Oreo™ cookies. I mean, it's all interconnected and he has all the answers, right?
5/18/2016 01:58:21 pm
By Wolter's logic, or better put... lack thereof, one could conclude from his same points that the Kensington Rune Stone was a Masonic hoax.
5/18/2016 03:10:54 pm
Yes, apart from the year of creation, Wolter has essentially arrived at the same conclusion I did after the finding of the Larsson papers a decade ago.
5/18/2016 05:14:38 pm
The year of creation is what Scott Wolter says it is.
5/18/2016 07:36:50 pm
Interesting point. If I had been cocksure enough to get my own TV series, would my arguments become more valid?
5/19/2016 11:31:08 am
I checked out your third way site Mr. Bradbury. One grave error is presupposing the 40 year age of the tree that allegedly grew over the KRS. When the phenomenon was investigated by Winchell's committee more than ten years after the fact, only one vague account had the trees at the location at 40 years growth. Most estimates had them between 10 to 30 years, with the more reliable at 10 years tops. The actual witnessing of the stone being discovered at the point when the tree was toppled was also vague. Ohman was there, but there is a question as to when the three others arrived (two of Ohman's very young children and a neighbor). Again, recollections were recorded more than ten years after the fact. Then you have the strong likelihood that if a tree grew over this stone in such a manner for forty years, the acids and CO2 from its roots would have broken it down to rubble; and at the very least would have worn down the runes carved in the calcite portion making them illegible.
5/19/2016 02:50:26 pm
I only "presupposed" the 40-year age of the tree in the sense that there was an obviously relevant historical situation which would be consistent with the tree being up to 40 years old (but if the Stone was made around 1867 and buried beneath a tree which was easily moved, then we're probably looking at more like 33 years old).
5/20/2016 11:42:02 am
Once again, witness interviews were done over ten years after the alleged discovery. There were discrepancies in regard to the size of the roots and which ones went which way. Though there was an allegation of flattened roots, Winchell's conclusions in this regard were more like "no one was found... who questioned the flatness of the roots caused by long contact on the stone." Here's where an arborist might have helped them, because flattening of tree roots would have limited oxygen flow through them and the tree likely would not have grown to ten years, let alone forty.
5/20/2016 03:18:05 pm
But "back in Europe" lie the keys to the whole saga, because it was concocted by people who were at most a single generation from Scandinavia. We know the runes and numbers came from Sweden, and probably the version of Freemasonry too.
5/18/2016 07:46:45 pm
Do any of you realize that S.Wolter joined Freemasons not too long ago, and he was in Attelboro Massachusetts at an open meeting inside Masonic Hall, selling his books with his wife, David Brody, British writer Alan B., Newport Tower Museum curator too.
5/19/2016 07:47:53 am
Yes, we are well aware Scott Wolter joined a local Masonic lodge in Minnesota. It's been covered on this blog before, and acknowledged more than once on Wolter's blog.
5/19/2016 11:20:36 am
There is no doubt that Wolter joined the Freemasons to further his fringe industry; the commercial nature of which is actually forbidden by the organization itself. But today's Masons are probably enamored and seduced by his distorted version of history, as if they're part of some secret circle above all. That's how he's getting away with such an otherwise obvious commercial ploy.
5/19/2016 05:13:45 pm
Joe Scales - Much as I think that you've hit the nail on the head regarding Mr. Wolter's interest in becoming a Freemason, I don't think it's fair to characterize contemporary Masons so broadly. We heard, for example, firsthand evidence from a Minnesota Mason just a few weeks ago that Mr. Wolter's ideas have generated real tension in the Lodges of Minnesota:
5/20/2016 07:57:04 am
A very astute observation by the Bothers of Freemasonry.
5/20/2016 11:48:59 am
JJR, that's just my read on human nature. Wolter has already clearly demonstrated untoward commercial ambitions through his membership, both in writing and action, which never would have been tolerated in the past. Of course this is abhorrent to some members, yet it is so far being allowed by others. This to me acts to discredit the organization. Wolter is a fraud.
5/23/2016 01:34:50 pm
@Clint Knapp: You are right on all counts on this. I've sat in tyled (closed) Masonic meetings with Wolter and have been a part of several discussions with him about Masonry, including his odd interpretation of the numerology Jason posted about on May 18.
5/18/2016 09:54:37 pm
Maybe natgeo can hire you and I to debunk the ancient astronauts claims. We can do a show together.
5/18/2016 11:21:23 pm
Jason, you wrote: "According to Wolter, as summarized by Lutgen, if we “reassemble” the KRS story in chronological order, the sequence of numbers exactly follows that of the Masonic legend of Hiram Abiff in the Select Master degree."
5/19/2016 09:54:26 am
Jerry, if you've come here expecting any kind of journalistic integrity, I'm afraid you will be disappointed. Jason has a clear agenda--he is a debunker. As such, he is not above misquoting, parsing, twisting, etc. This is not a site for a fair and open discussion (though, to be honest, I have recently been treated fairly and with courtesy here). This is a site where people gather to, again, debunk. They are free to do so, though I wish Jason were more transparent in his agenda rather than couching himself as some kind of investigative journalist searching for the truth.
5/19/2016 11:53:30 am
May I reenter this notorious venue only to suggest that it is my own learned opinion that the inscription on the Kensington Runestone is certainly not the result of medieval numerology?
5/19/2016 03:01:33 pm
Has the claim that the Erdahl Axe had the mark of a manufacturer near Versailles, France, c1800, been debunked?
5/20/2016 05:50:00 am
Would you say that if a disinterested observer read everything you've put online in, say, the last year, they'd think you might be guilty of "having a clear agenda" too?
5/20/2016 07:13:21 am
From David Bradbury: "Has the claim that the Erdahl Axe had the mark of a manufacturer near Versailles, France, c1800, been debunked?"
5/23/2016 02:26:23 pm
"Such mistreatment to a person's memory is rather deplorable, I'd say"
5/19/2016 12:03:12 pm
Thank you for pointing out that I wrote the sentence backward. I have rewritten it to correct the error. David Brody may think I intentionally falsify material, but I do take seriously making sure that I summarize material as accurately as possible. That said, the mistake in how I wrote the sentence (it was a writing error, not a reading error) does not change my conclusion that the numbers do not imply the existence of a secret conspiracy dating back to ancient Egypt. Brody may fume about my skepticism, but he offers no argument for why we should suspect those numbers had any meaning before Freemasonry gave them one.
5/19/2016 12:41:13 pm
Jason, I would appreciate you answering a simple question, which I believe proves my point: When you first read Jerry Lutgen's summary of Scott Wolter's theory, was your first reaction (a) Wow, what an interesting theory, I wonder if he's on to something? or (b) I can't wait to knock this one down!
5/19/2016 02:43:14 pm
There is no inherent contradiction between thinking something a good story and concluding that it cannot be true. The medieval Arabic pyramid myth is a very interesting story, but also utterly untrue. This particular story managed to be both untrue and uninteresting.
5/20/2016 12:26:34 am
Colavito wrote, “David Brody may think I intentionally falsify material,…”
5/20/2016 12:32:13 am
And now the man (or more likely, woman) nicknamed Only Me will be among the first to pile on, defending his/her lovely Colavito with incredibly weak arguments or mere smears.
5/20/2016 01:07:57 am
Steve, disagreeing with you doesn't constitute a "pile on", except in your world. Don't concern yourself overly much with my gender; your obsession with fecal sandwiches is weird enough.
5/20/2016 06:17:47 am
Dammit, given away my gender with my username! Ah well.
5/20/2016 10:27:31 pm
Mark L (or whoever you are), you are precisely the kind of acolyte Colavito loves. You can easily look at the link I put in the comment above, and then go look at the page Colavito is “quoting” and then you will understand that he put a statement from my website in quotes and THEN added words to it. Mark, separate yourself from your desire to fit in here and look at the facts. Jason Colavito knowingly lied and added information within those quotes to fit his agenda.
5/20/2016 10:44:26 pm
I read the conversation when it happened. Time has changed nothing; you failed to provide an answer.
5/21/2016 11:25:36 am
Princess Only Me, have you ever won and argument? Everything you’ve said is to duck and dodge my point which I’ll repeat the critical parts here to save you the exertion of scrolling up to read it:
5/21/2016 12:38:12 pm
I think you'll find the key is the word "whether".
5/21/2016 03:39:20 pm
"Princess Only Me, have you ever won and argument?"
5/18/2016 11:45:39 pm
Once more I must draw upon my savior in these dark times, Douglas Adams and quote the last thought of the bowl of petunias as it fell into Earth's atmosphere....
5/19/2016 05:56:31 am
Generate exciting adventures that we wish to be true!
5/19/2016 10:23:11 am
Jason, I've got a question for you: what do you think is the weirdest and/or most interesting fringe theory you've ever heard?
5/19/2016 02:49:10 pm
This is the first time I've heard of there being some kind of axe, but it is not related.
5/23/2016 11:38:08 pm
...no...no, sweetie. No VIKINGS ever reached Minnesota. For one, "viking" was a verb that meant "raider," and the Viking era ended WELL before the 1300s, so even the KRS doesn't support that VIKINGS made it to Minnesota. And SCANDINAVIANS didn't reach there until well after the colonization from Europe, either, so far as we have proof. It is, after all, nearly 3,000 miles from the only known pre-Columbian settlements of Scandinavians to Minnesota. 3,000 miles that is mostly moving INLAND, away from the ocean that was the primary source of transportation and food for that culture. NOT likely to have been something they did BEFORE colonizing the rest of the coastal areas. And DEFINITELY not somewhere they went to wage piracy on the high seas while viking.
5/20/2016 08:51:17 am
At the Freemason lecture in Atteboro, Massachsuetts that David Brody was one of the numerous speakers his own words will come back to haunt him.
5/20/2016 10:26:02 am
A lawyer joke, Annie. I thought that was something everyone could appreciate. "Come back to haunt" me? A joke? Really? This is too silly for words...
5/20/2016 12:07:06 pm
I can't imagine anyone falling for Wolter's flawed historical pronouncements and serial fallacious reasoning to ever have passed a state bar exam.
5/20/2016 12:22:15 pm
Perhaps, Joe, it is time to expand your imagination.
5/20/2016 01:42:30 pm
Which state bar(s) was it then? Could you also clarify what you do concur with. How about the Pirate Treasure of the Knights Templar television show? Was that convincing for you? Or any episode of America Unearthed. Would it be easier to state which episodes swayed you, or which ones did not?
5/20/2016 02:21:28 pm
Joe, I graduated Georgetown Law in 1987, passed the Massachusetts bar that same year, have been practicing law in Mass. ever since. Not sure I want to give out much more personal info on a site where many people don't even use their real names.
5/21/2016 11:26:55 am
Well then, please accept my belated congratulations for such accomplishments. No small feat there. Take comfort then that I do not consider you to be a complete imbecile, but instead a willing coconspirator to the poisoning of the well of knowledge; and all for pure profit from those unfortunate to posses the former qualification. History on the other hand, will not be so kind given the sort of record you are leaving behind.
5/21/2016 12:14:50 pm
It must be nice, Joe, to live in your world. Everything is so black and white, good and evil, right and wrong. The world I live in is more nuanced. What you call poisoning I think of as open-minded questioning. Some of our history will turn out to be correct, other aspects will need to be rewritten. It has always been so. I am truly sorry if this seems threatening to you.
5/21/2016 01:05:06 pm
Please Mr. Brody. Spare me such characterizations. If you wish to truly have a rational discussion, then let me summarize what we have so far. You claim to be convinced of Mr. Wolter's scientific take on objects long found to be modern day hoaxes by those with vastly superior academic credentials. I'm all for open-mindedness when it comes to questioning history, but rationality must prevail. Wolter's scientific work has not been peer reviewed nor submitted to scientific academic journals. Instead it is self-published and for sale. I could walk you through the slipshod methodology, the fallacious reasoning and suspect conclusions, but given your legal training, I believe it to be a given that you already know this to be true. That is why I see you as a co-conspirator in this regard. If you were simply a legal advocate, it could be excused and even understood on my part. However, you've gone beyond this. So I don't know who you are bothering to appeal to at this point with your posturing.
5/21/2016 01:16:07 pm
Joe, I don't wish for this to turn personal. We have an honest difference of opinion: I find much of Wolter's scientific work to be compelling, you believe it to be slipshod. I very much doubt either of us will have any luck convincing the other otherwise, so I think we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one. Have a nice weekend.
5/22/2016 07:39:01 am
Let's be clear: Wolter's scientific work is geology - not the bullshit he spews on television about Templars, his KRS fantasies, and Jesus Bloodline rants.
5/22/2016 08:28:25 pm
5/22/2016 10:59:55 pm
I do hope Clint doesn't mind if I step back in here for a bit Mr. Brody. Though I'm certain one can take great pride in an award from a local civic association, I don't see the MSPC as having the final say on the validity of claimed historical artifacts. Now as to the 9/11 Pentagon study, I did hear that Mr. Wolter was consulted due to his expertise with the structural integrity of building materials. Again, a far cry from competency when dabbling in matters of history, archaeology, anthropology and linguistics.
5/20/2016 11:28:42 am
Give me a break. It's over! You are much too intelligent and creative to continue to rant and rave about Scott Wolter. His TV show is cancelled. Get another topic. How about Curse of Oak Island?
5/20/2016 11:58:16 am
Visit Richard Joltes' site for all you need to know in regard to debunking Oak Island:
5/22/2016 09:42:01 am
Having met Scott Walther and listened to several of his lectures, I find him to be one of the 21st Century classic hucksters. At this point of human evolution and science, I don't think anyone doubts the pre-Colombian presence of European discovery and exploration of North America.
5/22/2016 10:59:19 pm
I came across this about qualifications of a Forensic Geologist, I was very surprised it was from "How to become a Forensic Scientist" CSI work needs Masters, but....
5/23/2016 03:28:41 pm
And for those that wish to see what a real Forensic Geologist looks like (rather than someone who plays one on TV), see here:
9/5/2016 10:36:59 am
Very nice post. It is very informative. Thanks
12/1/2016 11:34:52 am
Good post. Thanks for uploading this details.
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