With this episode, we arrive at the third season finale of America Unearthed, a show that set out to prove that “the history we’ve all been taught in school is wrong” but which has failed over the course of 39 episodes to offer anything more than speculation and assertion in favor of that hypothesis.
I feel like I should have stronger feelings about this season coming to a close, but I find that I do not. I think the reason for that is that my expectations for the series have changed over the last three years. In the first season, I was outraged that a cable channel was airing bizarre conspiracy theories under the guise of a major new history series and presenting them as truth. But since then, I’ve gradually become accustomed to the leaps of logic and the spotty science, to the point that the show no longer truly outrages me because I no longer expect anything better. In the second season, even though the pace of each episode slowed considerably I could still get interested in the individual mysteries the show explored, but in the third season, the plethora of treasure hunts and the search for Bigfoot pretty much ended even that little bit of active engagement. The show was no longer just predictable (so much so that I could write the background section of my reviews a day before the show aired, largely without missing a trick)—it was also boring.
And so we now come to the second half of the second season finale, S03E13 “The Templars’ Deadliest Secret: Evidence Exposed.” As the conclusion of a two-part episode, there isn’t any background to present other than the article I compiled on the Holy Bloodline of Jesus claim and the review of last week’s first part of the episode.
Scott Wolter’s views are the kind of thing that H2 is trying to keep their distance form. “They are not opinions shared by this network,” the disclaimer once again reads as we recap last week’s episode before heading into a reenactment of the French raid on the Templar order in 1307. We see reenactments of the torture of the last Templar Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, followed by his execution at the hands of Philip IV of France. As we head into the opening credits, the on-screen graphics ask what “secret” he refused to reveal.
After the credits, Wolter recaps last week’s rune stone hoax, and then Wolter explains why he believes that the Hooked X® represents the penis of Jesus penetrating the womb of Mary Magdalene and impregnating her with a fetus. An on-screen graphic shows this, with the “hook” on the stave marked as “child.”
Wolter, Steve St. Clair, and Alan Butler are in France looking at the way Italian and French hands tend to fall into a vaguely M-shaped hand gesture, a hand shape not as prevalent among Nordic people. Wolter offer fantasies about the number thirteen—that M is the thirteenth letter of the alphabet (as it has been only since the 1500s, when “j” was added), that America had thirteen colonies—and he says that America’s colonies were planned to honor the end of the Templars on Friday 13, 1307. Wolter looks at a statue of an eagle marked 1776 in France and calls it a Masonic-Templar conspiracy (rather that a perfectly common type of lectern used in churches all the time in that era—my father once owned one just like it), and he asserts that Franklin Roosevelt also makes the hand gesture in the statue of him at the FDR Memorial in Washington, DC, installed in 1997.
After this, Wolter gives a potted history of Jacque de Molay’s torture and execution, and then the Three Musketeers toddle off to Paris to view the spot where he was slowly roasted to death. Steve St. Clair, who last week demonstrated his inability to read French without Google Translate, is somehow fluent in French as he reads a plaque commemorating the execution. Wolter then asserts that “underground” groups continued the Templar ideology after their suppression, though without establishing that they had a unique ideology different from mainstream Catholicism, this is a moot point.
Wolter shows St. Clair and Butler a painting of Columbus’s ships and calls the red cross on the sails Templar. (He used the red cross of Spain, found on all Spanish ships in honor of Their Most Catholic Majesties, Ferdinand and Isabella, who authorized it.) He also asserts that Columbus’s signature contains a “Hooked X®,” even though the hook on the X is simply the curlicue needed to get the ink flowing with a quill. We know this because the “hook” is on the “Y” too. A painting of Columbus shows him making the alleged “Magdalene hand gesture,” making him a Templar.
During the break, we learn that Wolter’s episode on the Superstition Mountains wasn’t enough for H2, and it now has a whole series with deluded treasure hunters engaging in a boring quest for its fantasy gold mine. I know treasure hunting is all the rage, but man, this network sucks.
After a recap, Steve St. Clair and Scott Wolter travel to the Saint-Martin-des-Champs Priory, which St. Clair claims is “direct evidence” that the Sinclair family is a Templar family. He never explains why. At the priory, now a museum, is one of four French copies of the Statue of Liberty, and Wolter declares that the Freemasons are behind the placement of the model. Wolter, foaming at the mouth with excitement, again falsely claims that the Statue of Liberty is holding a “mark master mason’s” symbol (she does not—it’s a Roman tabula ansata, which is different) and that she is making an M-sign, though she isn’t doing that either. “Oh my God,” St. Clair gasps. “What this tells me,” Wolter says,” is that this is all connected to the Bloodline.” The statue is placed at the priory because the building is now a science museum, the Musée des Arts et Métiers. The original sculptor’s widow bequeathed his plaster model of the Statue of Liberty and a sizeable bequest to the Museum (it’s inside), and they cast twelve bronze copies, one of which Wolter is looking at.
After the break, Wolter implies that the “church” (i.e. museum) prevented him from viewing the Merovingian tomb beneath the museum. He then travels with Steve St. Clair to Tomar, Portugal, a former Templar stronghold. Wolter claims that the city was founded by the Templars in the twelfth century, which is mostly true. The old Roman city was re-founded in 1160 when the Portuguese gave the Templars a fiefdom after the Reconquista. You would think he would stop to report the actual local legend that the Templars used sacred geometry to choose the site of the city, but somehow he skips this for wackier conspiracies.
Wolter claims that an eight-pointed tower is analogous to the Newport Tower (a round windmill on eight pillars), and he identifies faces on the tower’s clock as Mary, Jesus, and the skull and crossbones of pirates. The pirates, he says, are the fugitive Knights Templar and therefore that the Jolly Roger are the bones of Jesus, that the Templars carry around with them as insurance against the Church! How, pray tell, would anyone have determined whose bones they were before DNA testing? We know for a fact that practically any bones were identified as some saint or another—Mary Magdalene’s bones were “found” in three different places (two in France and one in Ephesus)—which goes to show that no one knew anything about bones back then. Who would believe that the Templars had Jesus’ bones and traveled with them like Weekend at Bernie’s?
Wolter says that the Templars left from Tomar for America, and we go to break.
My, the crazy is coming fast and furious tonight, almost as though Wolter knows this is his last chance to lay out all his wacky ideas to a mass audience.
After a verbal recap of Wolter’s career and Holy Blood, Holy Grail belief system, Wolter covers last week’s hoax again. He asserts that “someone” is afraid of Wolter’s work and is trying to stop him. He then discusses Rosslyn Chapel and the symbol that he feels is a Hooked X® at the site, even though it doesn’t look like the Hooked X® on the Kensington Rune Stone.
At a Templar-built church in Tomar, Wolter and St. Clair see a plaque honoring the Templars and dedicated on October 13, 1895, which they correctly deduce was done to honor the date of the Templar suppression—though they think this a conspiracy. A window in the church is in the form of a star, and Wolter asserts that this star represents the goddess Mary Magdalene (though he also claimed she was a human who gave birth... confusing) and the planet Venus, but the on-screen graphics confuse the apparent path of Venus in the night sky with the orbit of Venus around the sun. It’s laughable that they can’t even illustrate their own craziness correctly. If plotted against the sky, every five periods of 584 days, Venus appears to trace an irregular star- or rose-shaped image in the sky, as seen in the previous link, but the graphics show Venus stopping at five points in its orbit around the sun to draw a pentagram across the solar system.
After spending the first part of the episode freaking out about the number 13, Wolter now claims that the number 8 is more important because Venus “goes around the sun” eight times. This phrase is meaningless, but I am assuming he is referring to its apparent motion over the course of a year. Otherwise, I can’t imagine what the hell he’s talking about since Venus takes 255 earth days to orbit the sun.
After the break Steve St. Clair and Scott Wolter think they see a Hooked X® in an eroded Roman numeral on a pillar in the church, but as they giggle and rejoice, they seem unaware that they are looking at an X made with curves on the upper right and lower left staves, in the style of blackletter (or Gothic) medieval writing, like that seen at left. This is perhaps the stupidest “Hooked X®” ever found. “The importance of this is incredible,” Wolter says. “This is no Da Vinci Code. This is real life!” No, it’s medieval writing. The upper left and lower right staves also have “hooks” on them, but they are facing the other way, outward, since in the letter is clearly in the same typographical style as all the other letters on the pillar, including the “hooked” V visible right next to it. “It’s a symbol of the Bloodline families! … It’s validation of everything I’ve done,” Wolter says. He believes this blackletter X “proves” that America was founded by Templar-Freemasons who worship goddesses.
“Nice going brother,” Wolter says to Sinclair as they hug. “Nicely done!”
After the break and a recap, Wolter is back in the United States to look at the Westford Knight, a carving of a sword handle that some imagine is part of a carving of a knight, either Henry Sinclair or one of his compatriots. I covered the alleged Hooked X® on this carving back in October. Firefighter Dave Christiana, who “discovered” the symbol in scratches and rough patches on the Westford Knight shows Wolter the symbol. Wolter looks at the scratches, which are closer to a Chi-Rho or a five-pointed star than a Hooked X, and he declares it “legit,” and likely the work of the Knights Templar. Strangely, these knights managed to be really bad at carving Hooked X® symbols, making them weird, different, and hard to decipher.
Wolter concludes the season by saying that it’s “more than a coincidence” that all of the artifacts he studies connect back to his overarching conspiracy theories. This is true; it is no coincidence that he imagines everything to be part of a vast conspiracy. The show ends with Wolter promising that “one day” we will know the truth. Just not today. Not so long as there is money to be made for the H2 network by teasing out further revelations.
And that ends the season.
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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