The Curse of Oak Island is technically the name of a TV show, but it is also a description of the albatross the History Channel has hung around its own neck. After that reality series about two brothers’ obsessive search for a fictitious treasure on the titular island garnered record ratings, officials at History misread this as the audience embracing bonkers historical conspiracies when instead they were reacting to the brothers’ personalities, however much they failed to affect me. In short, Oak Island was secretly closer to American Pickers than Ancient Aliens. But due to its misreading, History and its dying spinoff H2 tried to duplicate the success of Oak Island with a slate of zany pseudohistorical reality shows that doubled down on the crazy and failed to replicate the character-based storytelling that audiences apparently embraced. Thus, we ended up with Search for the Lost Giants, Legend of the Superstition Mountains, Missing in Alaska, and now Pirate Treasure of the Knights Templar. The first three were, to judge by ratings and press coverage, failures. The last is being burned off in double-run episodes on the least-watched night of History’s week. In other words, they seemingly have set it up to fail.
It’s a bit of a challenge to review a TV show that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has already condemned and debunked. Undoubtedly, this is why History is trying to burn of the show as fast as possible, and launched the series with minimal publicity. The story of UNESCO’s involvement is already fairly well known, but for those who aren’t familiar, a brief overview is in order.
History teamed up Barry Clifford, a controversial underwater explorer, with Scott Wolter, a controversial geologist and conspiracy theorist who hosts America Unearthed on H2. Clifford had had previous success finding shipwrecks, but his interpretations of them—notably as pirate ships and even Columbus’s Santa Maria—were quickly revealed to be mistakes and hype. This time, Clifford claimed to have found the treasure of Capt. Kidd off Madagascar, but UNESCO sent investigators who determined that the shipwreck claimed to be Kidd’s Adventure Galley was actually a collapsed construction from the old port, and the “silver” treasure was in fact lead. They further determined that another ship off Madagascar that Clifford claimed was the Fiery Dragon, a European pirate vessel belonging to “Billy One-Hand” Condent, which he associated with Templar activity, was in fact an Asian ship Condent had sunk after looting. More seriously, UNESCO accused the History team of inhibiting real research and violating a 2001 UN convention on exploration, to which Madagascar is a signatory:
The work of the film team and its lead‐explorer [i.e., Clifford], undertaken in spring 2015, as well as prior work by the same explorer, was distinguished by a media‐led approach, which has not respected the regulations of the 2001 Convention, and which jeopardized the scientific understanding of the sites concerned and the preservation of the artefacts recovered.
The full report is available here, and ought to be read, since it pre-debunks parts of this series.
Clifford, Wolter, and their History Channel producer Sam Brown all condemned UNESCO and accused them of scientific incompetence, bias against Americans, and hatred of successful explorers. “To be blunt, this is nothing more than personally-driven, negative propaganda,” Wolter said on his blog. “UNESCO will attempt to discredit Barry Clifford by whatever means they can,” Brown told the AFP. The scandal made headlines around the world and humiliated the History Channel, which has been working to expand its footprint beyond television as a trusted history brand, launching a college course in American history earlier this year.
Wolter contacted me by email earlier this week and said that if I were truly unbiased I would investigate UNESCO’s bias against him and Clifford, including what he claims was improper investigation. He and the Pirate Treasure team assert that UNESCO investigators did not spend enough time in the water to be able to correctly identify a ship from a collapsed construction, or a European vessel from an Asian one. The report is available for you to read and decide for yourself, but for my money the diagnostic criteria the UNESCO team identified seem fairly convincing, especially set against Clifford’s record of misidentifying finds. But the more telling point is that the Pirate Treasure team’s only real argument breaks down to “they didn’t do a thorough enough job proving a negative,” which is hardly the same as offering evidence that they are in fact right.
And how could they offer such evidence? The premise of their investigation is built on a lie—literally. The Templar conspiracy theory is one I’ve outlined here, but the foundation for the entire claim that the Templars survived their 1307 suppression by escaping from France by ship to escape to Scotland, the New World, or parts unknown comes from a specific lie told by the Templar brother Jean de Châlons in June 1308 while under torture at the papal court in Portiers. After telling demonstrable lies about Templars killing initiates who refused to deny Christ—a claim not even Catholic propagandists of the time believed—the papal interrogator recorded the following:
Then he [Jean de Châlons] said that, learning beforehand about this trouble [i.e. the 1307 arrest of the Templars], the leaders of the Order fled, and he himself met Brother Gerard de Villiers leading fifty horses; and he heard it said that he set out to sea with eighteen galleys and that Brother Hugues de Châlons fled with the whole treasure of Brother Hugues de Pairaud. When asked how he was able to keep this fact secret for so long, he responded that no one would have dared reveal it for anything, if the Pope and the King had not opened the way, for if it were known in the Order that anyone had spoken, he would at once be killed. (Vatican Secret Archives, Registra Avenionensia 48, f450r, my trans.)
In context, this is clearly a lie, but it is the sole historical basis for the vast edifice of Templar conspiracy theories, and as I confirmed in an email exchange with Wolter earlier this week, he had never read it. This passage stands behind Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh’s claims about the lost Templar fleet in The Temple and the Lodge and David Childress in Pirates and the Lost Templar Fleet (2003). As I discussed in 2013,
Childress follows Michael Bradley—an alternative author who believes many strange things, including that modern Jews are sexually frustrated Neanderthal hybrids—in asserting that the Templar fleet (these imaginary eighteen boats) carried the descendants of Jesus and/or the Ark of the Covenant to Scotland to avoid the Pope, where they adopted the Jolly Roger as their symbol and fell into the service of the Sinclair family! The logic here is that gravestones in northern Scotland were marked with a skull and crossbones; therefore, they must be Templar symbols and the origin of the pirate flag.
I explored the history of the Templar-pirate connection in 2013, and I won’t belabor the lack of logic. You can read my earlier coverage here, where I explore the errors Childress and his sources made in mangling history in support of a fraud, errors this series repeats, sometimes wholesale.
S01E01 “The Templar Connection”
The series opens with an extremely fast disclaimer reassuring viewers that the documentary was made with the permission of the Madagascar government, despite UNESCO’s complaints. “This series was made in full compliance with the Madagascar government. What we chronicle made headlines around the world. However, some of the discoveries you are about to see remain the center of heated debate.” You’d think History would get tired of producing crappy shows that require legal disclaimers to ward off bad publicity. Remember last season on America Unearthed when the network disclaimed any responsibility for offense caused by the heretical Christian claims of Scott Wolter?
The program then describes Scott Wolter as a “Knights Templar historian”—laughable for the reason I listed above, and Wolter tells us that he is trying to get to the truth. Wolter tells us that he’s been investigating the Templars for 15 years, yet somehow avoided most primary source documents. Ah, well. You can’t expect a cable TV “Knights Templar historian” to know what he’s talking about. The narrator falsely claims that the Templars fled France under the Jolly Roger, a fraudulent claim derived from the identification of Scottish graves with skull and crossbones engraved on them with the Templars, something history doesn’t recognize.
Barry Clifford shows Scott Wolter a broken piece of a crucifix that came from Madagascar near the wreck of the Asian ship UNESCO says he wrongly identified as the Fiery Dragon. Wolter identifies the crucifix as twelfth century, even though it is not Gothic in style, which typically featured much more elongated and stylized human forms. That’s not to say it couldn’t be medieval; some carvings were more modern looking than others, though this one looks like those in use in the 1600s and 1700s (the colonial Portuguese made and carried many of this kind), and even if it were medieval, there is no logical reason to connect it to Templars. I have no idea what criteria Wolter uses to date it. Indeed, he says he doesn’t know who carved it or when. Clifford says he’s planning to look for “secret codes” to find the truth. That’s always a promising avenue. Everyone on the show assumes the crucifix is of Templar origin, based on no criteria whatsoever, and they proceed from this assumption.
It’s really sad. They are spinning an entire TV series off of a conspiracy theory that lacks even a nominal grounding in fact. It’s almost as if—as I suspect—they started with a Templar theme and worked backward to generate some “evidence.”
Wolter travels to Jerusalem to hunt for Templar history, and we hear a potted history of the Templar’s time in the city. Wolter asserts that the Templars likely found King Solomon’s treasure while occupying the Temple Mount. There is, of course, no evidence of this, but that has not stopped conspiracy theorists. Wolter, indeed, is one such conspiracy theorist, and the narrator and Scott Wolter make it sound much more difficult to enter the Well of Souls beneath the Dome of the Rock than it really is. It is true that non-Muslims are not typically allowed into the Dome of the Rock, but authorities make frequent exceptions. There is a prayer room down there that is in regular use. In fact, Graham Hancock visited it for his new book Magicians of the Gods. He reported no trouble being allowed in, and he called the prayer room “tacky.”
Another segment, with heavy yellow color correction, chronicles Clifford’s dives to what he thinks was the Fiery Dragon, and he says he’s sure that a Templar treasure was on board. Why? Who knows? He only attributes this to “research.” At the site, they find an alleged Asian artifact that they tentatively identify as a Buddha head from Southeast Asia. If it were, it is obviously not a Templar artifact since there is no alleged Templar-Indochina connection, but the narrator tells us that it is anyway. “It’s extremely important,” Clifford says, nonsensically, knowing full well that pirates captured many Asian vessels.
Wolter, who typically casts himself as an outsider suppressed by elites, is now described as having “inside connections with authorities” that allowed him to visit the Dome of the Rock. As the show enters its second half, Wolter enters the mosque and visits the underground prayer room. Unsurprisingly, while down in the prayer room, he finds no secret Templar door leading down “nine levels.” Why nine levels? Because that’s the number the Freemasons chose when they revised and edited the medieval version of the ancient tale of Enoch’s tablets of wisdom into the buried golden triangle of their eighteenth-century lore. Adrian Boas, an archaeologist, shows Wolter a genuine medieval crucifix and agrees that Clifford’s might be medieval, too. The narrator falsely tells us that the Jolly Roger was named for Roger II of Palermo, but that’s not true, as I outlined in the pirate-Templar article I linked above. Wolter believes that the Jolly Roger originates in the way Jesus’ body was stored in an ossuary, with the bones crossed beside the skull to fit theminto a small box. “It’s a symbol of reverence of Jesus and his people,” Wolter said. A shame that the standard version of the flag emerged only in the 1720s, replacing earlier variants, which varied from a full skeleton to crossed swords to demons and devils. If it were really a secret Templar-Venus Families symbol, it ought to have been used among the earliest Templar pirates, not the latest.
The narrator next spins a conspiracy theory about Shaolin Buddhist monks traveling through Europe and conspiring with the Cathars to influence the Templars. There is so little evidence for this that there isn’t a reason to even to pretend to care. I’m astonished that Clifford is able to note with a straight face all of the different cultural debris found on the islands off Madagascar—he specifically notes Ming pottery—while simultaneously identifying one broken, undated crucifix as the crux of his claim that the Templars gave rise to pirates! What makes that the official artifact of the all-conquering conspirators, while the rest is mere loot taken from inferior peoples? Oh, right: It’s European and therefore superior to “Asian” or “Muslim” material. Arab traders had been visiting Madagascar for centuries (since the 900s) before Europeans, who only arrived in the 1500s.
Clifford finds a rock in Madagascar with a V-shape in it that he identifies as a Masonic square, though it lacks a compass. He finds a decorative cross that seems to be a Maltese cross (it arms with distinct inward-facing, V-shaped points), but which he identifies as a “Templar cross,” or cross pattée. Even if it were, so what? Freemasonry was well established in the 1700s, when the pirates operated. Clifford, though, believes that the Templars fled to Scotland and gave rise, 400 years later, to Freemasonry. This is a conspiracy theory for which there is no evidence. As I mentioned before, the Templar flight is based on a lie, and Masonry only adopted Templars as putative ancestors after they had been established. Their first candidate was the Knights of St. John (proposed by Andrew Michael Ramsey in 1737), but these weren’t romantic enough, so they switched to the Templars, in response to (and embracing) Austrian propaganda efforts (led by Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall) during the French Revolution to link the Masons to the Templars as anti-Christian heretics and therefore godless revolutionaries. These efforts worked too well, and by 1820 the Masons had accepted and adopted anti-Masonic propaganda as their own history! (To be fair, they preferred Lessing’s 1770 claim that the Masons descended from the medieval German myth of the Templiens, or Templars, the poetic guardians of the Holy Grail.) Anyway, it says something that I can name the specific individuals who invented each pillar of Clifford’s and Wolter’s worldview, and they can’t.
As the first episode lurches toward its close, the narrator recaps the hour and Wolter is traveling to Acre, the Templar headquarters after the fall of Jerusalem until the expulsion of the Crusaders. I’m not quite sure whether the program intends for us to side with the Crusaders against the Muslims, but it sure seems that way. The Templars are our heroes, apparently, and Wolter babbles some conspiracy theories about Mary Magdalene serving as the goddess of the Templars, but the show offers no evidence for these and simply assumes the audience already knows all about it. I challenge him to produce a single document that says anything like that from the Templar period. Oh, right: He doesn’t read most primary sources. (It’s a conflation of the Templars with the Cathars, read in light of Peter of les Vaux-de-Cernay, Historia Albigensis 10-11, with modern Jesus conspiracies—not that he knows that.)
S01E02 “The Great Adventure”
The second episode finds Wolter in Portugal to perform some motivated reasoning to “prove” that the broken statue of Christ was Templar in origin—despite the fact that Wolter himself believes that the Templars were Venus-worshiping heretics who didn’t think Christ was crucified at all! Wolter is there to look for evidence of an ivory Christ statue he saw online. In Portugal, a historian tells Wolter that the Templars stayed in power in that country for 500 years after their 1307 suppression; this is only partly true, the Knights of Christ included many ex-Templars, but it had the full approval of the Pope and the Catholic Church, so it seems unlikely to be part of an anti-Catholic conspiracy.
Back in Madagascar the show begins to cover Clifford’s exploration of what he asserts is the Adventure Galley. I’m not interested in diving footage, so this was quite boring.
The show states as fact that “seven Templar ships” put to sea on October 13, 1307 and vanished from history, but the show isn’t aware of its own lies. The “seven ships” are the “eighteen galleys” (note: galleys were not oceangoing vessels) I’ve noted in translation above, with the number seven coming from a conflation of that story with the Iberian legend of the Seven Cities, which modern Templar conspiracy theorist falsely assume were seven cities on an island in the Atlantic known to the Templars. The reasoning for this is complicated, and I outlined it in my linked article above.
The alleged “Buddha” artifact from the first episode is now alleged to be a seraph, a type of angel, and the team insist that the Templars venerated humans who masqueraded as (fallen) angels in heretical rites in opposition to Catholicism. Yes, of course: Some version of the Enochian Watchers have to make an appearance somehow, if only in their Sethite form. It is a fringe show. There is of course no evidence whatsoever that the Templars worshiped or had anything to do with angel cults. Seraphs were common Renaissance and Baroque decorations, so how they symbolized anti-Catholic cults is beyond me.
In Tomar, Portugal, Wolter looks at a Catholic Church built as a replica of the Dome of the Rock. It was so constructed because medieval people believed that the Dome of the Rock was built on the plan of Solomon’s Temple; thus, the church was a replica of Solomon’s Temple. It’s not the only one. St. Giacomo in Italy is another example. While this is an interesting facet of Templar architecture, Wolter moves on to explaining the Templars’ initiation rites; sadly, though, he is actually describing Freemasonic rites, presumably from the modern Templar branch of Masonry, which invented its rites in modern times. There is only one medieval description of Templar initiations, almost certainly untrue, and it doesn’t say anything about keystones and arches. It talks about various rites of denying Christ.
Back in Madagascar, Clifford continues to remove artifacts from the water, finding a spoon.
In Tomar, a local historian tells Wolter that the Nazis came to Tomar to search for the Ark of the Covenant. He alleges that the Nazis removed something from a crypt and sealed it with concrete. No one provides any evidence of this, not even a picture of the sealed crypt. It is, of course, irrelevant to the pirates, who were 200 years dead at that point and could not have possessed a buried medieval treasure not unearthed until alleged Nazi involvement at an unspecified date.
Wolter views a gravestone he says may belong to a Portuguese explorer named Tristão da Cunha, said to be a Knight of Christ who sailed to Madagascar in the early 1500s. Although other members of the da Cunha family were in the Order of Christ, I wasn’t able to confirm that he was at the time he sailed; in fact, the chroniclers state that he was kicked off of his first planned voyage to India in 1505 and replaced with a Knight of Christ, Francisco de Almeida. Wolter “fumbles” (his words) his way through an electronic scan of an unspecified Old Portuguese text about De Cunha, admitting that he doesn’t read Portuguese very well (I’d suspect not at all) and concludes that De Cunha may have brought the ivory Christ to Madagascar as part of the “Templar treasure.” This does not follow since those types of carved Christ figures were widely carried by Portuguese explorers (there are many Indo-Portuguese examples) and need not be connected to the pre-1307 Templar treasure—whatever that was supposed to be, given that its only existence is based on a 1308 pack of lies.
The show finishes with the discovery of the lead lump that Clifford wrongly claimed was silver. In this version, someone shouts “could be Templar!” as though that means anything other than that the producers of this program are in fact undertaking a “media-led approach” that is warping and corrupting real research, just as UNESCO claimed.
Overall, the show follows the model of Curse of Oak Island—a season-long arc of slow, gradual exploration—but lacks that show’s warmth and character. We never get to know anything about the obsessive investigators on this show, and we’re just expected come into it already believing in unexplained, un-evidenced conspiracy theories, and to agree with everything they say on faith. If we are not made to care about the characters (who for the most part never interact, and I could not name a single Clifford team member), and the show offers laughably thin evidence to support its baroque speculation, what was the purpose of this misbegotten imitation of Oak Island?
9/13/2015 10:18:44 am
A first grader could find fault with Wolter's complete lack of logic in what can only be described as a steaming pile of dung of a television show. Posing as a historian of any sort is also rather unethical on his part. This should effectively end his fringe career. I mean... even the other lunatics of his ilk have to be shaking their heads over this.
9/14/2015 12:53:35 pm
Joe, Scotts handlers are all Scottish Rite, keeping the lies going! But they Rite organization is being punched by the church and Jesuits! LOL to the point that their shows are failing~
9/14/2015 01:21:02 pm
There really isn't much of a difference between fringe theory and religious dogma when you get right down to it.
12/14/2015 08:46:15 pm
For the record, the Ming dynasty started in 1368. As to the ingot, the first, easiest, and completely non-invasive test is to measure its density. All you need is a bucket and a scale.
busterggi (Bob Jase)
9/13/2015 10:54:52 am
"Sam Brown all condemned UNESCO and accused them of scientific incompetence, bias against Americans,"
9/14/2015 03:30:34 pm
Sarcasm? Just asking because I don't recall Robert Ballard's career ever having been "destroyed."
busterggi (Bob Jase)
9/14/2015 04:45:38 pm
Could be sarcasm. Could be irony. Could be a lot of things.
9/15/2015 09:11:50 pm
busterggi (Bob Jase) -- Oh I get it now (as per my usual, days later), the Titanic thing, right?
9/13/2015 11:47:43 am
Watched only about fifteen minutes of the show while I was preparing for bed. I was hoping that Scott Wolter, Steve St. Clair and Alan Butler would all happen upon a rock with a carving of a hooked x. Then all would join hands, put on kilts and begin to sing "We're knights of the round table, we dance whenever were able...."
9/19/2015 08:50:51 pm
9/13/2015 12:05:46 pm
Maybe the reason for this recurring 'Oak Island' etc theme is that these fruitless searches based on cockamamie tales describes how it feels for many to work at the History Channel on these sorts of silly projects.
9/15/2015 02:20:53 am
The troll Krampus
9/15/2015 09:20:55 am
Now, now, cole. He ain't hurtin' nobody. And it's *you're, you idiot.
9/15/2015 11:51:03 am
Let me reply with the full gravitas this comment merits:
9/13/2015 02:06:53 pm
I wonder when Scott will do a follow up post on his blog, to see him back up this nonsense and why he is now being called a "historian." What ever happened to him being a "forensic geologist"?
9/13/2015 02:46:59 pm
Maybe, with his vast knowledge of different subjects, he will just combine them all. Geologist, historian, researcher and world traveler. I was hoping his new show would be about fishing. He could travel the world to different lakes, rivers and streams telling us which baits to use. Someone would give him, over a cup of coffee, a masters degree in bait technology. He would then be a master baiter.
9/13/2015 10:05:36 pm
9/13/2015 03:14:25 pm
>>>Other people believe that the source of their [Templars] wealth came from under the Dome of the Rock<<<
9/13/2015 03:19:20 pm
Sir Charles Warren, Underground Jerusalem, 1876
9/13/2015 03:20:11 pm
It is a legend, just one that happened to be created in modern times.
9/13/2015 04:29:11 pm
I made through the first ten minutes before changing the channel. I recognized the same fringe/conspiracy BS Jason wrote about, and knew it would be a waste of time to watch more.
9/13/2015 07:00:30 pm
SW comes up with this for his new show to hit it out of the park? Ugh. These treasure hunter shows are all similar though, as if they actually might find a treasure, Puh.
9/13/2015 07:53:05 pm
Well, they did find a hunk of lead, to which Clifford exclaims it's 100% silver"! The previews for next week had Wolter calling it silver as well. I guess their production team didn't include post-editing...
10/3/2015 08:33:56 pm
It is quite easy to test if an item is made of precious metal or not. The test kit itself ( though one of those hand held scanners the UNESCO and professional historians, archaeologists or jewelry makers use to determine the precious metal content of an item) can be bought for around 10$, so it was quite easy to check if that "bar of silver" was really silver or not :)
10/28/2015 11:37:16 pm
I tested the bar in the photo, and it is silver (and absolutely no lead). So the claim that the bar is lead is only a lie.
9/13/2015 08:13:14 pm
This might seem minor, but is the narrator pronouncing Madagascar correctly? He seems to be saying "madagas-cah" like he is from Rhode Islanand or something.
9/20/2015 03:28:23 pm
Well Bobby Kesselman is a voice actor who's worked on Family Guy. Maybe that's carried over to his narration.
12/23/2015 08:58:10 pm
Each time I've watched any of these episodes, I find myself totally distracted because I think I am having problems with my ears because the narrator doesn't seem to pronounce the "r" at the end of Madagascar. Haha It is a shame that the narrator can't even pronounce that or several other locations highlighted in the series. One would think that if one was hired to narrate one would do everything possible to make sure things are pronounced correctly.
Richard M. Barnack
9/13/2015 08:59:56 pm
Ok, I for one, enjoy AU and AA shows. Not saying I believe it but I kinda just find it fascinating and the shows entertaining. I am not a historian or history buff but I do know a little bit and I've never heard of a Pirate/Templar connection, ever. Aside from that, I'm not even sure what the hell was going on in this show. What the freak was it even about? Were they trying to say that the Templars became Pirates in the 17th century and hid their treasure in Madagascar? Was Captain Kidd a Templar? They kept going from Wolter trying to find clues about the Templars to other guys diving for Captain Kidds boat and randomly pulling up shards of pottery saying it was of Templar origin? I don't know, this made absolutely no sense to me, the show was just confusing and I couldn't even concentrate on it. This just seem like a randomly and desperately cobbled together show just to put something out there. I know I'm kind of sounding like a hypocrite because I just said I enjoyed AU and AA and they are entertaining but there is a line between that and just putting something on to grab ratings. It's kind of insulting but I guess that point was said in this review.
9/29/2015 01:23:03 am
maybe Wolter has been playing Assassin's Creed: Black Flag too much? (same ideas presented in a fictional video game)
9/30/2015 05:21:08 pm
was thinking the exact thing....funny thing is the video game is more historically accurate then any of these goons
9/13/2015 09:16:27 pm
Dear Jason, Could please explain why, as a "journalist," you endorse UNESCO in the face of overwhelming evidence that they are anti American and against private sector research. Or, is it just your hatred of Scott's success that compels you to these pitiful ends.
Richard M. Barnack
9/13/2015 09:31:13 pm
What success is it that your asking if he is jealous of?
9/13/2015 09:32:59 pm
The quote you offered was from a conservative pundit referring to events from 1984, when the Reagan administration tried to score political points by ramping up anti-UN sentiment. A lot has changed since then, and the U.S. is a member of UNESCO and a signatory to its convention.
Richard M. Barnack
9/13/2015 09:50:01 pm
What is he referring to? Do you and Wolter have some sort of personal rivalry/anomosity beyond the shows? Or is he just making an antagonizing comment?
9/13/2015 10:00:12 pm
I don't have any animosity toward him specifically, but Wolter has frequently referred to me in derogatory terms on his blog, and his network tried to sue me to stop me from writing about him, citing Wolter's "intellectual property," the Hooked X, which they were forced to admit doesn't belong to him. I have never met Wolter, and I have exchanged emails with him only a few times.
Richard M. Barnack
9/13/2015 10:41:30 pm
Oh I see. I would imagine anyone that presents a theory on anything in any field should expect scrutiny by someone. I thought he was referring to some past personal history between you two. I never even heard of any of these people except the History Channel. I found you after searching for this Pirate/Templar connection. I honestly like all the fringe/alternative theories but mostly because I love the Indiana Jones, National Treasure, DiVinci Code type movies. I just find it interesting and entertaining. Realistically, I am an Agnostic, I don't believe Jesus was anything more than a teacher and philosopher and believe that any Templar secrets/treasure/knowledge either died with them or were lost in the 14th century. Any claims or connections today are just popular tripe or just in tradition and nothing more. As far as aliens, I believe it's an improbability to think we are alone in the universe but the one concept I can't understand about AA is why they would have come in our ancient primitive past and used their super advanced technology to teach us just to build better with rocks makes absolutely no sense. Even if they did, our modern technology today was created by us so what would have been the point? As for the show last night, I'm just dumbfounded by it and it was just confusing kinda pointless.
Richard M. Barnack
9/13/2015 10:55:42 pm
By the way...
9/14/2015 10:38:39 am
Well, at least 30 years is recent in terms of evidence that pseudo-scientists will accept. Have you not got anything from the Victorian era that you can use to back yourself up?
9/14/2015 10:40:58 am
Jason's hate blog is designed to draw in as much attention as possible. Where he asks for money and tries to sell self-published books. He frequently makes up "facts", puts them in his hate blog, tweets them, andwhen its found out he changes it a bit but he's all ready done what he wanted. He's been threatened withlaw suits because of making things up not for criticism. Sooner or later he will get sued.
9/14/2015 01:23:16 pm
You can sue anybody for anything. Winning is another matter. When fringe theorists go to court, it generally doesn't go well for them. Truth is an absolute defense to defamation, and they'll avoid it like the plague.
9/14/2015 05:09:16 pm
>>>tries to sell self-published books<<<
The troll Krampus
9/15/2015 09:34:48 am
Hugh, present the facts of your claims. Otherwise you are no better than what you claim Mr.Colavito is.
9/30/2015 05:25:10 pm
nice try, scott walter...cough cough i mean hugh. do your own research ,you'll see who's right then
9/13/2015 10:52:12 pm
Per IMDB, Sam Brown (producer) is known for Gold Rush Alaska and Jungle Gold. I can see where he might be a little touchy about adding Madagascar Lead to his resume.
9/13/2015 11:58:06 pm
This show was oddly discombobulated, I couldn't really follow the storyline or the logic of it all. And I've watched all of Wolter's shows, finding them at times hilarious and ridiculous and at other times, aggravatingly dishonest. This show was just confusing.
9/14/2015 12:14:54 am
I caught a re-airing of the show this morning. My impressions, paraphrasing the uninformative and uninteresting dialogue:
9/14/2015 05:23:16 am
Jason, thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. I meet a lot of people who constantly believe every conspiracy theory that comes along and I can't change their minds with FACTS! Finding others who know a lie when they hear one is refreshing. I like the comment about AA, that aliens came along only to shows how to move and cut rocks better! Hilarious. Keep up the good work, c.
9/14/2015 07:11:42 am
Why would serious archaeologists be concerned with a TV personality "fumbling his words" or, a network burning off a show with minimal publicity.
9/14/2015 07:22:35 am
I have another theory re Jason's Hatred of success. But, it involves Jason's sordid personal life. Don't worry Jason, I won't go there.
9/14/2015 08:38:16 am
9/14/2015 09:12:20 am
9/14/2015 10:19:57 am
"I have another theory re Jason's Hatred of success. But, it involves Jason's sordid personal life. Don't worry Jason, I won't go there."
9/14/2015 10:55:52 am
If anyone is harming children, it's the History Channel for exposing them to such contrived, illogical tripe from un-credentialed hucksters poisoning the well of knowledge. Sure, educated adults can see this crap for what it is, but even believing it to be "entertainment" is harmful in that those less mentally developed will use it for fodder to reject reason, proper investigative methodology and the true pursuit of knowledge.
9/14/2015 02:23:13 pm
Suddenly I feel a really bad-taste ISIS joke coming on. Never mind.
Day Late and Dollar Short
9/14/2015 12:42:33 pm
Allegations of fraud? Sounds kinda libelous. Contribute to the topic at hand or get the fuck out.
9/14/2015 02:00:34 pm
Oh, shut the fuck up, Phil.
2/27/2016 03:24:52 pm
Um ok I am a PhD in History and I wrote my dissertation on Pirates and the way they were/are marginalized by mainstream society. Therefore I am open to various theories regarding the truth about who the Pirates really were, and this my friend, is complete and utter nonsense with zero physical or historical evidence to back it up. In all my years I have never once come across one document on Barry Clifford and Scott Wolters' ridiculous self-motivated theories.
9/14/2015 09:47:23 am
To understand your addiction: "Hate rarely gathers alone." Dr.Jack Schafer
9/14/2015 11:37:29 am
Wow! You're right! Three trolls for one blog post!
9/14/2015 01:16:20 pm
9/14/2015 03:19:21 pm
Speaking of teh Google...
9/14/2015 09:44:14 am
Did you forget to mention the water on the flagstone? He claims it's an entrance to a crypt and pours water in the seam claiming it's draining away, proving the existence of a sealed crypt. The water wasn't draining. They showed it at least three times...and IT WAS NOT DRAINING. He repeated it was draining. It still wasn't draining.
busterggi (Bob Jase)
9/14/2015 10:18:18 am
don't worry, a hooked x will appear when one is needed.
9/14/2015 11:24:09 am
Joe Scales/Jason: Horror writer, Huckster...phony !
9/14/2015 11:50:51 am
"Be careful. Boomerangs come back w much greater velocity."
9/18/2015 04:08:18 am
That was so ridiculous it actually pissed me off a little, the water I mean. I was disgusted by the way he would fit the evidence to his conclusion, regardless of the lack of connection. First, the Knights were taught Kung-fu by monks, but then the artifact wasn't Buddhist... No matter, then the Knights Templar worshiped these Saryphs....That figurine could have been taken out of a Cracker Jack box and he would have tried to convince us boxes are sorta shaped like bricks, bricks means Masons, Masons means Templar, Templar means Pirates.... Boom. They just discovered the Ark of The Covenant.
9/20/2015 02:29:32 am
Cracker Jack Box > Bricks > Masons > Templar > Pirates = BOOM! Ark of the Covenant!!! Brilliant! Finally, the perfect analogy to share with my friends, to accurately describe the nonsensical pseudo scientific-method sensationalized by these types of shows... that are literally 'dumbing-down' the herd on it's way to intellectual slaughter. Thank you; I will use it first thing tomorrow!
Javy Lopez 2
9/14/2015 12:44:19 pm
I've never commented on any of these type of shows before; while intellectually I realize that they are mostly nonsense, I do find them diverting, kind of like junk food for the mind....but this one, My God! I couldn't shovel my way through the nonsense with 2 bulldozers and a backhoe. I am not a professional historian, just someone who likes reading history, so I'm not going to provide footnotes to my comments; but it should be obvious to people that the Templars were exactly what they were historically reported to be, a military order dedicated to the protection of the Holy Land, as were the Knights Hospitaller and the original Teutonic Knights. They amassed vast lands, through bequests and grants, which were used to raise funds to pay for arms, horses, mercenaries, and the upkeep of an extensive series of fortresses in Outremer. A simple review of the costs involved in building, manning, and supplying a fortress like Chateau Pellerin (just one of something like 14 major Templar strongholds in Outremer) would show that, no matter how much wealth they took in, they were spending it hand over fist. After the fall of the Holy Land, when the Templars had withdrawn to Cyprus, their military function had ceased to exist, and Rulers began to covet both the Templar estates and question why the organization was immune from taxes. So, the King of France, always needing money, made his move. Because the Hospitallers found another purpose (moving to Rhodes, and continuing to fight the Muslims as corsairs) and the Teutonic Knights relocated to Prussia and dedicated themselves to the crusades in eastern Europe, their eventual decline is a matter of historical record and none of this "Templar Myth" nonsense seems to apply to them. But in reality, that's all the Templars were; another, initially more successful, version of the Hospitallers. I'm just dumbfounded by all the crazy theories trying to make them something they were not.
Javy Lopez 2
9/14/2015 01:03:01 pm
Just a correction, "Chastel" Pellerin, not "Chateau" Pellerin; and, for anyone who doesn't realize that the Templars extensively employed mercenaries, just google "Turcopole", and read a little about how the cost of paying for these mercenaries was one of the grinding expenses facing the Templars (and the Hospitallers and Teutonic Knights), and puts all the talk about their fabled treasure into context.
9/14/2015 01:03:39 pm
Here is one for all of you to think about! If Barry, Scott and the Producer Brown are at War with UNESCO! WHO GAVE BARRY PERSMISSION TO BRING THE IVORY JESUS TO AMERICAN! Ya, he brought the relic to Barry's Lab in the Cape! Did they have permits, because it they did not that means what? Barry stolen the relic and International LAWS prevent Cultural RELICS from being transported to other countries. Where this would be a crime under the international laws! Unless they were given permission? Whats this story? A, B or C is the question! Did Barry steal this relic, break laws bring this to his lab in America. Did UNESCO say it was ok to bring this to his to do studies? Would this be a scam by both parties? Find out Jason....Because if the Ivory Relic is not in the report then barry had stolen the relic or they planed a fake relic in the show or its all a cam with Barry and UNESCO! WHICH IS IT JASON......
9/30/2015 05:34:30 pm
u have so many inaccuracies in your combined comments that you're just being silly now
9/14/2015 01:20:50 pm
He had a contract that gave him 5o% of his discoveries. That's the problem. His museum has dozens of artifacts he brought back from Madagascar.
9/14/2015 02:55:47 pm
Well if thats true, then under International laws Barry is a criminal! The removal of Cultural relics is against the law! UNESCO THROUGHT THE STATE DEPARTMENT CAN PUT HIM IN JAIL! THE LAW IS THE LAW.. go look it up...
9/14/2015 02:56:58 pm
If the site is under UNESCO, he would not have the right to make a contract for 50%!
9/14/2015 04:27:47 pm
Clifford's contact which gave him 50% of his discoveries was signed before UNESCO signed with Madagascar in January, 2014. Read UNESCO's report.
9/14/2015 06:07:39 pm
Brian, Your an idiot that has to hide on a forum! Your the little girl, afraid to have your full name posted! Second, I never have sold relics. Why should I listen to a first name Ghost, who hides! Post it Mr. Expert, lets see it! Show me the 50% on the UNESCO paper or where ever it is you say it is! Big Difference with you and me little girl I don't Hide and Im a researcher who writes like shit half the time! Regardless, I have made documented impacts on history as a public service to society, not like girls like you who hide! So kindly go F-yourself! Jason, sorry for being rude on your site!
9/14/2015 06:41:38 pm
Dear Ginaughty, I agree re your intellect. I also took the opportunity to look you up on line. You make your living selling artifacts ? Your scary !
9/14/2015 07:24:53 pm
Thanks Gale for the info. and warning re Mr Ginaughty. I almost gave up my personal information. Can Janson block unstable characters like this like from stalking and threatening his readers. Or, is this a police matter ?
9/14/2015 10:38:21 pm
Funniest line from both episodes was "could be Templar!". Oh I can't wait for next weeks reveal!
9/15/2015 11:30:10 am
With "could be Templar!" you have the makings of a drinking game while watching. But the reveal will be the "100% silver" bar made out of mostly lead, and Wolter's musings regarding the symbols marked thereon. That this show will continue calling it "silver" when it's since been revealed to contain absolutely no such element, is outstandingly discrediting for all to see. That's the big reveal. Proof positive of both error and incompetence on the part of all involved. Unless of course they correct their findings in this regard. But who's gonna bet on that?
9/18/2015 09:55:25 am
Yes. I know what it will turn out to be. As for a drinking game, I don't think it will get you hammered. Unlike Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot where you're (ok Bo?) going to have to drink every time they say "That's a Squatch". You're going to have to take a drink 4 times during the opening credits.
9/15/2015 09:27:46 pm
Templar ain't an anagram for trampled for nothin', ya know.
12/14/2015 10:29:04 pm
"Templar ain't an anagram for trampled for nothin', ya know. " And in fact it is NOT "an anagram for trampled".
9/15/2015 07:47:08 pm
It is a very minor point but the way they pronounce Madagascar, it sounds like Madagascer or sometimes Madagascah drives me nuts. Also I'd like to say Wolter's visit to the Dome of the Rock was actually not that spectacular. Non Muslims can visit in a very limited way (there are restricted hours and a special entrance here's a link to a site with details http://www.thewholeworldisaplayground.com/how-to-visit-temple-mount-tourist-non-muslim-israel-jerusalem/)
9/16/2015 10:59:10 am
I know, and have good reason, to be afraid of GG. Gale's intuition is spot on. That is why I won't divulge my name. I do, however, feel obligated to the intelligent readers of this respected forum to point out that Mr. G advertises, and sells shipwreck coins and "RARE artifacts" on his web site.
9/18/2015 04:17:01 am
I would like to propose that if people on this site are going to attack each other that they must first learn the difference between "your" and "you're." The confusion makes for some difficult reading.
9/20/2015 02:32:42 am
U R so Rite! (or write, or right, or Wright, or correct?!!! Hmmmmmm)
9/19/2015 04:47:40 am
I wish the history channel would go back to its roots and get rid of reality tv but unfortunately it is probably cheaper to produce. I think one problem is people keep changing what history they want to be true and published. If people wouldn't get offended I would really like to know about the real history of the world not what they think we need to now.
9/19/2015 10:05:35 pm
Well, the good news is that they just put someone new in charge of the History Channel. Bad news is she's the one who came up with "Married at First Sight"...
9/20/2015 12:29:59 am
I didn't think that the water was draining either.
9/21/2015 02:12:15 pm
I was kinda offended that he was dumping out his water bottle in the middle of a church. Just seems disrespectful to me.
9/20/2015 04:26:22 am
10/3/2015 10:10:11 pm
I watched the entire "show" ( aka farce) on youtube. I thought "hey it's Scot Wolters, the dude from america unearthed", which I kinda enjoyed ( not that I believed him or anything but I liked it as entertainment ). Now with this show .. all kind of things are so wrong ( not to mention the crazy out of the loony bin theories) that it made "the series mountain monsters look like a triple A series a la CSI.
10/4/2015 11:03:40 am
10/4/2015 11:11:03 am
Its those elusive alien pirate templars behind all this, pouring water in cracks is how you reveal the language, their Rossetta stone, then all is revealed , wink wink nudge nudge say no more
11/17/2015 07:24:17 pm
I found this discussion after watching a guy declaring that ivory Christ as being "from the XII or XIII Century" and coming out with the Templar connection out of the blue. And how come that guy managed to get that artifact to the US?
11/19/2015 01:49:29 am
What's the name of the online manuscript reader that Wolter uses to read that explorer's name in the document??? Thanks!
2/20/2016 11:49:08 pm
Most likely "Décadas da asia" from João de Barros, or "Asia portuguesa" from Manuel de Faria e Sousa.
12/6/2015 04:33:02 pm
Well, I've just seen the series and found it dubious from the start - though I do believe they kinda stumbled on some kind of truth (which may not have been a secret) : Pirates looted ships coming from Goa. What I could not fanthom is the fact they keep dragging Captain Kidd to the story even though he was long dead when the supposed Portuguese treasure was shipped out of Goa. Also I believe silver either turns black or remains silver, the metal bar didn't have the correct colour. If it is lead, it should turn white ;-)
1/11/2016 10:12:49 am
History entertainment. Like wrestling is sports entertainment.
3/1/2016 06:38:20 pm
We know the History, Discovery and similar Tv Channels are proving that the Templars Treasure was taken by the Big Foot on the back of an Alien ship and if the world had not ended in 2012, we would still be denying that the English Pirates were humanists that attacked the slave ships just to free them in USA for a small profit and with a job guarantee...,but when a box of chewing gum is history, some believe that murder, cruel pirates would make a terrible expensive trip back to Africa just by humanism without profit,
4/2/2016 04:15:46 am
Pardon me, but the divers seem to be very disorganised and inefficient. No search grid, no mapping of the site, however many days and only three artifacts recovered (spoon, cherub, ivory christ). Very amateurish. Scott also seems to specialise in 5 minute coversations with experts after which he claims major breakthroughs.
4/24/2016 03:48:40 pm
Hi Jason, as a Freemason I too have found this series pretty far fetched. However, I have been able to investigate several significant links among my ancestors and, after this show, I was able to add two more direct ancestral links i.e. Captain Kidd and Robert Livingston the Elder. Of course having Scottish ancestry is very common place but being able to directly link these two characters to the following people is "interesting" to say the least....
4/24/2016 04:43:00 pm
Also, the 8 pointed star they keep referring to is more likely from the Military Order of Aviz, similar to the other Portuguese Orders that cropped up after the dissolution of the Templars. Modern day Freemasonry includes most of these orders e.g. Malta, Templars etc. in its wider degree structures.
6/20/2016 02:23:19 pm
For the record ... When the first Knight Templar returned from Jerusalem they brought back with them huge quantities of gold, silver and Temple artefacts. All this treasure was subsequently concealed at various locations and marked by using the chess board as a map, each location represented by the effigy of a Knight, the character and placing of the effigy on the board describes the site. Knights with crossed legs are on black squares - as the nine stone effigies in Temple church London. The effigy of William Marshall the 1st Earl of Pembroke has his feet resting on a 'standing' dog, his pillow is a water pitcher - this perfectly describes the location. The same story is told in the Danse Macabre figures in Rosslyn Chapel and in the Classical monuments at Shugborough. Similar effigies as in Temple Church are found in the Church of St Mary at Aldworth, where they are known as the Aldworth Giants. The treasures have lain undisturbed since the early twelfth century
4/9/2017 12:24:11 am
I am not a history major or anything so lofty as you each profess to be. But, I am smart enough to realize that this is television on a station that shows counting cars, road hauks, etc. Is this worth trashing someone like this comment section is doing? I enjoyed watching AU and thinking about different ideas. People were wrong about Columbus and Leif Eriksson for many many years. I don't pretend to be highly educated about world history. There is enough meanness in the world.
10/26/2017 11:39:45 am
Estive visitando Tomar e passei por alguns desses lugares onde o Wolter esteve. Ficou bem claro como a produção do programa tenta dar um tom épico para a investigação. No castelo de Almourol por exemplo, Wolter aproxima-se do local caminhando através da vegetação o que é ridículo já que existe uma calçada apropriada para tal. Passei também na Igreja de Santa Maria dos Olivais e a história do túnel não passa de piada local. Fiquei surpreso dele não ter mencionado que existe também uma pedra no piso da igreja onde dizem estar enterrado o cálice sagrado. Como de costume, faltou pesquisa.
10/26/2017 11:49:52 am
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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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