One of the newest pieces of the Henry Sinclair-Holy Bloodline mythology is the claim that Sinclair built a castle in Nova Scotia and hid the Holy Grail there. You’ll remember that “castle” from the America Unearthed season finale where we heard that it was not only the resting place of the Grail and possibly the Ark of the Covenant but was also haunted by ghosts. They based these claims on the work of Joan Hope, which they specifically cited on the program. So, since I couldn’t find any real information about the supposed castle—which itself would “rewrite” history, despite the complete noninterest of all involved with the show—I decided to read Hope’s self-published 1997 book to learn why she felt she was sitting on a castle.
I finished her book, and I am dumbfounded.
The short form is this: Joan Hope was apparently delusional and believed her house was built atop the ancient site of a European penis-worship cult dating back thousands of years. This site was guarded by hundreds of ghosts as well as UFOs, all of which menaced her when she got too close to the phallic truth. Henry Sinclair was neither first nor last, just another in the history of people using her home to worship penises.
The long form is even worse.
The background is rather complex, so I’m going to try to simplify this a bit. In some versions of the myth of King Arthur, Arthur was supposedly buried at Glastonbury, sometimes along with the Holy Grail. In the 1930s, a Masonic leader in Nova Scotia developed a pageant in which he created a fictitious story that the Masons spirited away the Grail in 1536 to escape the clutches of the English prime minister. (There were no actual prime ministers before the 1700s.) This leader, Reginald Harris, was also involved in the explorations on Oak Island, which led to the weird idea that the Holy Grail was buried in its famous Money Pit.
Later, in the 1970s, Frederick J. Pohl resuscitated Richard Henry Major’s century-old argument that the Zeno Narrative told of Henry Sinclair’s voyage to America, and he identified the landing site as Oak Island. Joan Hope read Pohl’s book and decided that her backyard, near to Oak Island, must have been where Henry Sinclair built his colony. But that would come a bit later. At first she was looking for penis-worshiping Druids. She began promoting the “castle” in the late 1970s or early 1980s, where other writers picked it up, especially Michael Bradley, the author of Holy Grail across the Atlantic.
In her self-published 1997 book, reporting events from the 1970s, the elderly Hope (then in her 80s) confirmed that the above-ground stones seen on America Unearthed were the remains of a seventeenth-century mansion, though she also found some very scanty evidence that the site might have been visited by the Norse of Vinland, though an ancient Native occupation at the site complicates that claim. (This amounts to some ambiguous stone tools and some wooden handles she had carbon dated to the Middle Ages, at least according to her.)
But Hope, who died in 2007, was a romantic, and she believed the site to be haunted, often seeing phantasmagorical scenes of ghostly visitors, ranging from whole families of the dead to a disembodied ginger-haired head. All told, she encountered several dozen ghosts and was plagued by what she felt was a poltergeist attacking her possessions. One ghost even drew elaborate artwork on her frost-covered windows. Then, of course, she started to be visited by aliens in UFOs.
She imaginatively interpreted older layers of stone on the site as the walls of a vanished castle, following Pohl, and she spun for herself a fanciful history where her backyard was the site of a glorious pageant of history. An ambiguous mason’s mark on a stone was “linked to Stonehenge,” and her yard was once a Neolithic European stone circle from the depths of time! And it was used for penis worship! Leif Erikson built a summer home atop its ruins. A medieval castle stood there next, followed by a colonial-era mansion so wonderful that Massachusetts bought it and carried it off to become the statehouse in Boston. And of course the ghosts of all watched over the site, in their UFOs. “Phoenicians, Celts, Micmacs, Norsemen and other Europeans: all had used our property through the ages, if not to build their homes there, then as a place of worship. When all this began is lost in time; but we can say that the site has been in use, often as an important centre, for at least about 3,500 years.” How lucky for her.
Hope was a credulous woman, and she believed everything a local Native American told her because she believed Native people were inherently possessed of superior wisdom. One told her that her house had once been a castle completely covered in gold, and he drew her a picture of it. Right after receiving this picture she suddenly “found” evidence confirming exactly this imaginary image of a long-vanished castle. After reading Frederick Pohl’s book Prince Henry Sinclair: His Expedition to the New World in 1398—itself based on Richard Henry Major’s imaginary version of the Zeno Narrative—Hope adopted the most extreme claims for the Zeno text and concluded that Henry Sinclair built her castle, and she decided her castle was also the famous Norumbega, usually assigned to New England.
Sadly, Hope was too credulous for her own good, and playing about in the ruins of a colonial mansion built atop a Native American village, she imagined a glorious Eurocentric world that never was, a romantic fantasy that fit her ghost-haunted, alien-guarded world. There is obviously no reason to privilege the medieval castle above any of her other evidence-free fantasies.
But here’s the best part: She got her ideas from Frederick Pohl, who borrowed them from Richard Major, and applied them to her own house because it felt right to her! Without the preexisting alternative narrative—itself based on fabrications and lies—the “castle” would never have existed at all, and yet today in a stunning bit of circular reasoning the alleged existence of this castle is “proof” of the narrative that inspired its creation!
And so, when Scott Wolter, Steve St. Clair, and Dennis Parada complain about “strange energy” and being “warned” that ghosts haunt the site, they’re just repeating Joan Hope’s bizarre claims about UFOs and ghosts. Holy crap.
3/30/2013 05:01:45 am
Okay, that was great and funny! Frankly, I don't see how you can crank this stuff out day after day, and we get your point.
3/30/2013 06:24:36 am
I'm glad I wrote something you enjoyed!
5/15/2015 09:46:04 am
it is a intersting story about the New Ross Castle
The Other J.
3/30/2013 01:28:21 pm
Circular reasoning = "Life is a circle." (Black Elk...not really an elk)
3/31/2013 09:29:33 am
Good point, and you caught it! Black Elk was neither black nor an elk...his name was totally figurative...a total fantasy and fabrication possibly hinting at skin tone, but who knows? And now, The Other J., here's where we get into the light and dark shades of elks...or not. Chuckle.
The Other J.
4/1/2013 10:56:17 am
The last time I explained a joke, someone told me I needed to go sit in a corner and think about what I did.
3/30/2013 05:02:26 am
Wouldn't that be what's currently known as the newport castle?
3/30/2013 05:04:28 am
Oh yeah! That too...life is a circle....
3/30/2013 05:07:03 am
I believe you're referring to the Newport Tower in Rhode Island, which is not the same as the "Sinclair" "Castle at the Cross" at New Ross in Nova Scotia.
3/30/2013 05:22:44 am
I think like with most modern day concepts, one has to learn to recgonize 'truth' intermingled with the non-truths.
The Other J.
3/30/2013 06:51:15 pm
These sorts of stories about a 'white man' or 'white teacher' or 'white god' seem to pop up in Native American lore quite a bit, and I'm always reticent to take it on face value in terms of how we understand 'white' today (i.e. Caucasian, European). Although I can certainly see some Europeans being seen as teachers and also white, I don't know if it's that simple, or if native tribes would have even had the same concepts of and signifiers for ethnicity as Europeans did before modern Europeans ever arrived in North America.
3/31/2013 07:57:08 am
Excellent comment, thanks
9/19/2015 02:48:24 pm
My greatgreatgrandmother qas Molly Miuse Mi'kmaq woman. Ive been searching info on her, like you and your search. Ive come up cold, but i do believe some myths are actually true events. That is why im going to travel to Nova Scotia.
3/30/2013 05:40:02 am
Do either of you know or have informatiin regarding the Knights of the Golden Circle? I was watching an episode on Decoded a few months ago and it mentions there that Jesse James was a knight of the golden circle but havn't found too much info regarding this group. Thanks in advance. As well, thanks for the newport and new ross castle info.
3/30/2013 09:22:23 am
As a student of etymology, the name "circle clan" surely could have been born out of and influenced by the Knights of the Golden Circle, as some report that group being a progenitor.
3/30/2013 09:59:25 am
Note to self - do not buy Joan Hope's book. Seems like a waste of money.
3/30/2013 10:06:48 am
Without examining the site myself, I cannot possibly say for sure, but the fact that Wolter didn't even bother to try to prove the existence of the castle--which would, I remind you, completely rewrite history--speaks volumes.
3/31/2013 03:36:19 am
I thought that myself as I watched that episode. Why not "prove" the prior existence of the castle? That would be enough. Instead they chose to edit a finale show where Wolter fails to find ANYTHING? Bizarre.
3/31/2013 10:54:08 am
"Wolter didn't even bother to try to prove the existence of the castle--which would, I remind you, completely rewrite history--speaks volumes."
3/31/2013 03:47:35 am
Reading any of your Blogs & the comments they inspire is always great fun. I am sometimes blow away by the fervor of some who reply on subjects that are so far reaching and strange . I've thought about this and have concluded that the "love of the mysterious & the unknown" is a powerful trait that runs in all humans to some degree.
3/31/2013 03:54:25 am
Regarding Frederick J. Pohl's archaeological research on the Viking's etc in the North East Corridor.
10/23/2014 06:34:15 pm
I want to get into so many of these discussions but I am on a Kindle and would need. To have to have several screens set up to blob with r
12/13/2014 01:59:16 pm
Jason, it would seem that you did not achieve what Hope did, so you are trying your best to say Hope was a fraud and your are a genious. come on boy, grow up
5/13/2015 01:20:16 pm
So, Mr Colevito, it would appear that you are on the side of those in our society who "exclude" and poke fun at people who have no way to answer or give recourse on their comments.
6/12/2016 01:45:47 pm
Hello John. Would you be so kind and contact me about New Ross and Joan Harris? (Facebook, Twitter.) Thank you!
10/23/2015 09:36:31 pm
Jason, i am a reporter, who has visited the site many a times and have had discussions with Joan. It is easy to speak bull against a person,who is dead and can not defend herself. grow up boy, educate yourself , research and learn something from her writing or may I say simple shut up. Michael Bradley, i understand stole some of her work, without her knowledge and published it for his. own glory
1/18/2016 02:03:31 pm
Not looking for it, it found me... yes the Grail Castle, the two oak islands, the place of the cross in central NS...the two rivers...found it all.
8/30/2019 10:52:37 am
Where is it?
9/22/2016 09:02:20 am
Jason Colavito - She did all this not for profit, unlike Bradley who stole her work for profit. I have a doctorate in historical research. I met Joan Harris nee Hope and have been over the New Ross Site several times and have met many like you who plate out criticism but accept none. Joan is long gone, the burning candle has melted away but the light she gave continues to spread. It is this light that I am here to defend because she can not and people like you take advantage of the dead. Read John Nauss'e comments, meet him, educate yourself, learn to respect others. Criticism for the sake of criticism show you up as an ignorant, illiterate, unreasonable person, which I am sure you are not. You are just trying to use her to make a name for her as did Micheal Bradley. I feel sorry for you.
11/21/2016 07:22:45 pm
you mr jeff smith might do well to know that this researcher Jason Colavito saw fit to make sure your words stayed in this site...I would commend the researcher Mr Colavito for a big heart and an open mind...He is engaging in making sure all views are seen here. I am quite impressed ! And no I never met the man or read this site til this day...
12/11/2016 12:48:26 pm
"Fact of FICTION" When Joan started this story of her findings, most residents here thought it was a tall tale. But she progressed to writing this and she picked up an audience. Anyone can write their thoughts...it is harder to disprove the written word. Joan was smart enough to know this. A New Rosser with (hopefully) Common Sense
6/15/2018 04:58:15 pm
Been to New Ross. Have my own theory. I would like to correct something said here. More than one artifact has been found at New Ross. One is significant not just to New Ross or Oak Island but to all of Nova Scotia. It will be revealed soon enough and it needs to be said that none of us were here back then and we need to piece together the closest thing we can get to the truth with whatever we have. At least it beats sitting at a computer and guessing, or worse, criticizing, with no firsthand knowledge of the situation. Little by little, a story will develop that, though it may lack or be incorrect in some specifics, will be as true as most history is, in general.
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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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