Today I present the book description for a new self-published volume, unread by me, that bills itself as the first in a ten-volume (!) collection of the alleged journals of Henry I Sinclair, Earl of Orkney, the medieval Norse-Scottish prince who gained fame when a German from a Scottish expatriate family identified him as the fictitious Prince Zichmni from the sixteenth century hoax Zeno manuscript, and Richard Henry Major argued that the name was a corruption of “Sinclair” due to bad handwriting. Despite the many problems with the narrative—not least, in reality one of its main characters was in Greece in 1392 and on trial in Venice in 1394 before dying in 1402 while the narrative has him journeying to Greenland in 1393 and dying in 1394—the story has become a touchstone for the alternative history community. Since the late 1800s, a grab-bag of Scottish nationalists, white nationalists, conspiracy theorists, and Templar fetishists have raised Henry Sinclair to a demigod (literally—Frederick Pohl declared him the Micmac demigod Glooscap) and imagine him as the founder of a fabulous colony in the Americas a century before Columbus.
The book under consideration, The Lost Templar Journals of Prince Henry Sinclair Book 1 - 1353-1395 comes to us from the pen of Diana Jean Muir, who previously produced a self-published two volumes tracing the ancestry of onetime America Unearthed host Scott F. Wolter back to the Knights Templar and a plethora of dispossessed European royals.
She claims to have discovered more than a dozen (!) of Henry Sinclair’s secret journals in Tennessee.
Here is the description:
The Journals of Prince Henry Sinclair and his descendants (20 books and a lambskin map) were found by accident in 2005 in a dusty dirty basement in Greeneville, TN. They then lay in a trunk in the back of the closet for almost 9 years before the author realized what she had. Translating the 20 journals from Latin, Old English, and modern English she soon learned the story of her own 17th great-grandfather, Prince Henry Sinclair of Orkney and Scotland. Join the author and her great-grandfathers on a voyage of discovery as you learn about the covenant made between the St. Clair/Sinclair and Wemyss family, the Templars, the Native Americans, and the Freemasons. Travel with us as we try to find archaeological evidence that the story is true.
Future volumes will cover Sinclair’s alleged voyage with the Brothers Zeno.
The story is implausible—though not entirely unprecedented. The manuscript for a rough draft of Solomon Spaulding’s “Manuscript Found,” which some speculated was a secret source for the Book of Mormon, was found in a trunk in Hawaii even though Spaulding had written the book decades earlier in Ohio. This isn’t quite the same thing, and there was a chain of custody showing how Spaulding’s text had gotten there, but it goes to show that books can travel. There is no plausible way I can imagine that twenty volumes of medieval records traveled to Tennessee without anyone noticing, or that these valuable relics survived the humid Southern climate undamaged. Also suspicious is the fact that Muir self-published her own translation without presenting the originals for preservation and analysis by professionals. After all, if they are what she says they are, every scholar would reach the same conclusion and “prove” that Sinclair traveled to America.
So where are the texts?
A second self-published book out this week, by Donald Ruh with a foreword by Scott Wolter, claims to be a discussion of the so-called Cremona Document, which regular readers will remember from an earlier book by Zena Halpern (my review: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3) alleging that the Knights Templar took Old World treasures to the Catskills. The new book, selling for a painful $50 (!) and therefore unread by me, promises to be more of the same:
From the ancient city of Jerusalem to the mountains of New York, the Scrolls of Onteora, known as the Cremona Document, tell the story of the Knights Templars who found the scrolls beneath the western wall and how they were transported to the Americas hundreds of years before the Americas were populated by European settlers.
I could not say why the authors chose to go the self-publishing route, but one would imagine that if there were any evidence to support the wild claims made in these books, mainstream publishers would have been open to spreading the word. At the very least, you would think the authors would have priced the books to sell.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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