• Part 1 • Part 2 • Part 3 • Part 4 •
I was struck by the comments one reviewer of Malcolm Gladwell’s new book received blasting him for identifying problems with Gladwell’s glib rewriting of scientific fact. They are the same three criticisms I receive almost daily for critiquing Scott Wolter: (a) you are jealous of his success, (b) you are not qualified to judge his work, and (c) his work is meant as entertainment, so don’t take it seriously. Christopher Chabris makes a great point about Gladwell that equally applies to Wolter:
He is saying that if you understand his topics well enough to see what is erroneous or missing, then you are not the reader he wants. At a stroke he has said that anyone equipped to critically review his work should not be reading it.
Chabris, a cognitive scientist, notes that Gladwell claimed just last month that book audiences do not care about things like coherent arguments or consistency of claims. He argued that only elitists value such things; real people just take wealthy authors’ claims on faith and give them their money in exchange for the appearance of knowledge, not its substance.
Therefore, in that spirit I am continuing my review of Scott Wolter’s new book, Akhenaten to the Founding Fathers: Mysteries of the Hooked X®, which doesn’t even give the appearance of knowledge, let alone its substance. Last time we learned that REMAX is part of a conspiracy to promote Templar Gnostic dualism and sacred geometry—which I guess is how the house I bought from a REMAX agent ended up being aligned to the cardinal directions (not that the roads run west to east).
Today we start with “New Discoveries.” Each of the next three chapters shares one trait in common: Above and beyond any discussion of artifacts and evidence (which is my focus in this review) the book is primarily concerned with one subject: Scott Wolter. The author details Scott Wolter’s emails and telephone calls, his friendly gatherings and his late night conversations. He talks of his vacations and his travels, and his lectures and his hopes and dreams. He is the hero of his own book, and he wants you to know it.
Chapter 4: New Discoveries
This chapter starts by offering a new wrinkle in the origin story of America Unearthed. Production documents from the backdoor pilot, 2009’s Holy Grail in America, listed Maria and Andy Awes as the producers, but Wolter claims that he “inked a deal” with the Awes, served on the crew, wrangled investors, and was intimately involved in creating the documentary. In his telling, he is the tail that wagged the dog, the power behind the Committee Films throne.
Anyway, I’m sure you’re all familiar with the “mystery” of the stone holes found across America. Wolter attributes these small carvings in stone to the Knights Templar, and he now speculates that when Thomas Jefferson directed Lewis and Clark to take latitude and longitude readings at “remarkable points” (meaning prominent physical features) these secretly referred to the stone holes. Somehow Lewis and Clark did not get the message since their journals betray no correlation with known stone holes.
The next “discovery” is a rock with a carving dated 1697 and therefore too late for me to care about. However, it launches Wolter into a discussion of “dot codes,” which is predicated on the alleged dot code in the Kensington Rune Stone (KRS) that Richard Nielsen demonstrated cannot exist because the dots appear in places that ruin Wolter’s attempt to make them spell “GRAL.” Therefore, I do not care about this code, but I will note one thing: Wolter takes calligraphy that gives a V-shaped crossbar to the letter A as a secret code for AVM and thus AUM and thus Freemason-Templar Gnostic mysteries of God. You see, the A is an “A,” the “V” is the “V” and together the legs of the A and the V form an M. Or it could be three mountain peaks, or maybe a hermaphrodite, or whatever you want it to be when you’re standard of evidence is “looks like therefore is.” I’m trying to think of times when I’ve seen similar crossbars (and I have), and the first place I remember seeing it is in the crossbar on Greek letter alphas used in some ancient inscriptions from the Near East, in contexts both sacred and secular, Greek, Egyptian, Roman, and Jewish alike. Are all of them in on it, too, even though the Greek letter shaped like our “V” was a nu, our N, not a U? The AVM = AUM equation only occurs in Latin; these Greek examples prove Wolter is seeing things.
Wolter next reviews some inscriptions in Connecticut that he admits to being unable to date and therefore cannot do more than speculate about. And here I thought he could magically date any rock, as he did on America Unearthed. He looks at a twentieth century Masonic Templar medal depicting the Newport Tower, which is evidence of nothing since it is a midcentury piece made in the shadow of alternative history claims. Then Wolter reviews the Tulsa bull carving seen on America Unearthed as evidence of Celtic blood rites misunderstood from a Roman-era pious fraud. On this, however, he now sees evidence of astrological symbols for Taurus and Jupiter surrounding the carving’s anus, making this claim literally bullshit.
Wolter’s self-described “friend,” the Mormon extremist Wayne May, sends him to view some carved runes, which turned out to date from 1888.
Then Wolter recounts the Arizona “Rough Hurech” inscription from America Unearthed, to which he adds the detail that the site must have been chosen to bury the English visitors because its stones were white like the people. Wolter simply asserts that Mike Carr correctly translated the stone’s runes, and he does nothing to follow up on the claims of English presence at the site. As I noted earlier this year, there is no record of any Rough Hurech ever existing. He also reviews the Pennsylvania “ritual bath” chamber (i.e. a spring house), also from America Unearthed. The photos in the book make even clearer than the show that this is of colonial construction or later and therefore of no interest to me. I will note that Wolter’s book confirms my own conclusion that the video presented in the show as “new” footage shot by stealth at the non-existent solstice occurring just before the show’s air date was in fact taken in 2011, and the show lied about its date for dramatic effect.
Wolter visits the Serpent Mound in Ohio and notes that the earthwork has alignments to various stars—an uncontroversial stance. He wonders, though, why the site was built near an ancient meteoric impact crater and concludes that the only possible reason is because—and here I will give a rare direct quote due to its importance and ridiculousness—they “had the ability to tap into some type of increased energy or magnetic anomaly related to the impact zone.” As a scientist, Wolter theoretically has the ability to test this claim by measuring this imaginary energy, but he doesn’t care to do this, preferring evidence-free speculation. I love the nebulousness of the term “energy.” No matter what type a skeptic tries to measure, the claimant can always assert it’s some other, unknown, trans-dimensional, or spirit-based energy. It’s a no-lose claim!
Wolter then tells how he bought a copy of Nazi collaborator Jacques de Mahieu’s Templars in America and had a friend summarize it for him because he can’t read French. He accepts at face value, without bothering to consult primary sources, Mahieu’s assertion that the Templars were “obsessed” with ocean travel, and he asserts that the Templars minted their silver coins from silver mines in America. Wolter defends Mahieu against charges of racism by citing his “detailed and reasoned arguments”—argument Wolter just admitted he never read. Wolter further says that we should trust Mahieu because he was a Nazi since he would have had access to “secret” documents and enough disrespect for the Catholic Church to reveal them. Mahieu, as a Nazi, advocated a Viking-Aryan dominion over the Americas, but Wolter calls the political influences on Mahieu’s work “irrelevant and unimportant.” This is rather a double standard: alternative writers’ beliefs are irrelevant, while “academics” are interrogated for their “dogma.”
I think it is rather important to note that Mahieu moved to Argentina after the War and began concocting Aryan fantasies that seemed to justify the fallen ideology he had supported. These fantasies he composed in French and had one of Goebbels’ former aids translate into German. In his telling, the Vikings conquered the Americas in 967 when the Toltecs mistook them for Quetzalcoatl, the “white” god, and that Nordic people ruled over the Inca Empire down to the Conquest as White Gods, eventually totaling some 80,000 racially superior Aryans lording over the squalid millions of brown-skinned subjects. He conveniently also found Aryan swastikas wherever he looked in the Americas, alongside “runes,” proof that Nordic Aryans had once ruled where ex-Nazi German migrants now held sway. He also claimed that Native peoples had blue eyes and pale skin, legacies of miscegenation whereby they were bred with superior Aryan traits.
But Wolter sees this as “irrelevant” and “unimportant” so long as he can use parts of Mahieu’s work to support his own white god-kings fantasy. The trouble is that Wolter doesn’t bother to check to see what Mahieu’s sources were, and he doesn’t care. His book cites no primary sources for ancient or medieval material, only much later summaries and discussions. As I’ve pointed out before, the only Templar statement about ocean voyages was extracted under torture and does not match known facts. I bothered to check the primary sources; Wolter won’t. As long as someone, anyone—even an ex-Nazi collaborator with an ideological ax to grind—says something Wolter can use, he’s happy to use it.
Chapter 5: Archaeopetrography
Wolter uses this chapter to debate the authenticity of three artifacts. I trust you’ve noticed that at this point, nearly halfway through the book, there is no organizing structure, no coherent story, and not even a hint of effort to convince the reader of his beliefs. This is a book for true believers, and it only makes sense if you’ve already bought into Wolter’s Templar-Bloodline fantasy. Simply repeating an assertion dozens of times does not constitute proof. I honestly thought I’d spend more time arguing with the book’s claims that I have; there is simply no superstructure here, and all I can do is point to false facts.
His first artifact is from Burrows Cave and there is no point belaboring the fact he found it to be fake.
The next is the Bat Creek Stone, repeating in simplified form material published in Ancient American a few years ago and reviewed by me in examining a recent collection of that magazine’s work. Wolter declares it genuine based on his examination of the carvings, which lacked a silty clay deposit found in more recent scratches on the stone and left behind when a sharp instrument crushed the layer above the scratch. Wolter seems not to have considered that a hoaxer would have tried to fake the aging process and subjected the stone to washing, polishing, acid baths, etc. that would have removed material from within the scratches—a process accidental scratchers would not have used. Thus, his lack of imagination leads him to a conclusion that the evidence does not unambiguously support.
This discussion descends into bizarre personal attacks on Dr. Gerald Schroedl of the University of Tennessee as part of Wolter’s ongoing flame war against academics. He claims that Schroedl’s answer to a hypothetical question about imaginary DNA results showing European visitors to America proves an academic conspiracy to suppress the truth.
Next up, we get a repeat of the America Unearthed episode about the Tucson lead artifacts, about which Wolter’s opinion has not changed. However, in the book version, he backs off the claim that the artifacts are “proto-Templar” and admits that some are in Hebrew and that advocates claim them as evidence of a Romano-Jewish colony. Wolter again is blinded by his inability to imagine how the artifacts could be faked (caliche can be formed in mere hours) and therefore proposes complex mechanisms to explain their composition. But get this: Most of the artifacts are in Latin, with texts copied word-for-word (but with occasional bizarre variations made from ignorance) from common Latin textbooks. Wolter did not bother to read the artifacts. In fact, we learn that his son Grant, who “translated” one on America Unearthed, used “Internet translation programs” to research the Latin text. I will be restrained here as I note that Wolter and his son may not read Latin—or care about it—but I read Latin fluently, and the artifacts’ texts are completely and totally fake and could not possibly be written by anyone who had ever gained any proficiency in Latin. Also: the words are copied out of Latin textbooks. I can read Latin and see the exact copying and copyists’ errors. No one alive in the Middle Ages would have been copying the particular ancient sources used by the textbooks, certainly not in the context in which the artifacts use them.
Wolter repeats the claim that the forked tongue on the “dinosaur” carving “proves” it cannot be a dinosaur, which had no forked tongue. As I previously explained, Victorian illustrations showed forked tongues on dinosaurs because they assumed they were giant lizards.
Wolter then sees what appears to be a Masonic square and compass on one artifact, declares it a mystical Hebrew Tetragrammaton via numerology and then compares it to the pattern on an ancient Colombian gold statuette, which he says is an “inverted” Masonic compass and square on a “Masonic-like apron.” It is, however, a triangle pierced by three lines emanating from the base of the triangle. It looks nothing like the square and compass unless you eliminate several extra lines.
Chapter 6: France
Oddly, this is the only chapter of the book with no subsections listed in the table of contents, and also the shortest in the book. As with previous chapters, this is less about telling a coherent story than about discussing Scott Wolter.
Wolter visits the Louvre and claims that Egyptian granite sarcophaguses simply should not exist because granite can only be effectively cut and polished with diamonds and advanced technology. Granite has been worked for thousands of years, and it was traditional cut and polished either by splitting or by sawing with copper or iron tools, and polished with abrasives made of sand or quartz. Wolter does not question the Romans’ use of granite, so why is Egyptian granite more mysterious?
Wolter finds AVM everywhere he looks, because it is the Catholic abbreviation for the Latin form of Hail Virgin Mary. Wolter instead applies his back-formed hypothesis that this is Freemason-Templar code for the Holy Bloodline and reassigns all AVM inscriptions to the “tentacles” of the “cult” of Mary Magdalene, and he says that any depictions of the Virgin Mary with gold robes or a golden crown are actually the Magdalene because “gold is the color of Egypt” according to occultists.
I want to state the next claim carefully because it shows the underlying meanings and motives of Wolter’s belief system: He states that Mary and Jesus were originally Isis and Horus because an Egyptian origin for Christianity “makes a lot more sense” than the idea Mary could have given birth without having had sex. That Isis conceives Horus by raping her dead husband and riding an artificial penis is of no concern because Wolter’s primary problem is his desire to reject the supernatural explanation for Christianity while preserving something of its mystery. Instead of doing so by looking for the historical Jesus as Victorian skeptics did, he instead relocates the mystery to an even more ancient cult, pushing it farther into the past, when magic powers, lost super-civilizations, and other wonders can serve as a god of the gaps, filling the spaces created by his own ignorance of prehistory. Oh, and he also speculates that some Mary and Christ-child images are really Mary Magdalene (as Isis) with Horus in the guise of the son of Jesus.
At the what he calls the “Church of Église Notre Dame de Poitiers” (unaware that Église is French for “Church,”), Wolter finds still more “Monotheistic Dualism” symbolism. He also calls the church “Byzantine” even though it is Roman Catholic. Is he confusing its Romanesque architecture with the fact that the Byzantines were successors to Rome in the east?
At the church, he reads a letter X as (and try to follow this) a symbol of the word LUX since the X contains lines drawing out the Latin letters L, V, and X—and this LUX, meaning “light” is therefore synonymous with knowledge, and that knowledge can only be the truth about the Holy Bloodline of Mary Magdalene and Jesus. He further claims that banners on a stained glass window of “Isis” and “Horus” bearing the biblical names Osias and Amon (Greek names of Hebrew Bible figures also found in the lineage of Jesus in Matthew 1, transliterated in English bibles as Uzziah or Ozias and Amon or Amos) are secret codes indicating Osiris and Amun, the Egyptian gods, which somehow also code for Akhenaten even though Akhenaten rejected Osiris and Amun in favor of the Aten. This is because Wolter has apparently never read any mainstream scholarship about Akhenaten and thinks that Amun-Ra, the sun god, was the same as the Aten, the sun disc, his cited source for this being, and I am not making this up, the Wikipedia page for the Poitiers church. As of this writing, these “facts” do not appear on the Wikipedia page.
He next asserts that the Cathars practiced pre-Christian Egyptian dualism, and he reports on how his desire to believe in the Holy Bloodline nearly deceived him into accepting a recent hoax related to the Templar-Bloodline conspiracy , which, being fake, is therefore not worth detailing.
Next time: Wolter investigates an “alliance” between the Templars and Native Americans to control the continent!
• Part 1 • Part 2 • Part 3 • Part 4 •
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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