Last night, America Unearthed aired its final episode of its first Travel Channel season, and to promote the broadcast, host Scott Wolter published a conspiratorial blog post with Steve St. Clair, who had appeared in earlier seasons as an expert on the extended Sinclair / St. Clair family of France and Scotland. Wolter’s discussion is full of his usual non-sequiturs and wild speculation, beginning with the temporally unlikely notion that the Knights Templar, who were suppressed in 1307, were still on the run around 1400, when the youngest of the original knights would have been 111: “The final episode is arguably the best in a season of 10 really good shows for it reveals exciting new evidence about the fugitive Templar's (sic) activities in North America circa 1400,” Wolter wrote. Granted, Wolter believes that there was a clandestine continuation of the Knights Templar after 1307, but surely at some point even these fictitious secret agents were no longer “fugitives” from kings and popes a century dead.
Wolter has hit upon yet another alleged symbol of Templar activities, which also manages to be so common as to have no clear connection to its imputed meaning. Wolter and St. Clair allege that fish are now symbols of Templar activity, and he points to a few disparate pieces of evidence. First, he claims that a fish symbol he believes was used by the Forrester clan of Scotland “could” be a sub rosa acknowledgement of Templar secrets. He was particularly taken by what he sees as a fish carved on a Rosslyn Chapel beam: “The fact the fish carving is positioned on its side, as Steve pointed out in our conversations, with the head ‘swimming’ to the east, could be a symbolic reference to Jerusalem and knowledge of the Templars activities there in the previous two centuries.” Or it could be a fish. Or not. St. Clair wrote in the blog post that the “fish” is actually a bugle, one of three on the Forrester coat of arms. The symbol includes an arc-shaped stylized bugle and a looped strap from which the bugle dangles.
In Rosslyn chapel, a single example of a symbol like the strapped bugle appears on one horizontal beam, aligned ninety degrees clockwise from its usual orientation. Wolter reads great significance into this, but the symbol doesn’t appear to have a clear context on the beam and might well have been an afterthought or intended for an upright carving that was used in a different way.
Wolter also accepts at face value a number of dubious claims (seen on Curse of Oak Island and elsewhere) that stylized plant carvings in the chapel are North American plants, decades before Columbus inaugurated trans-Atlantic commerce. The carvings are heavily stylized, so any similarities are due more to the observer’s fancy than an American origin.
Wolter also suggests that George Washington acknowledged Templar secrets by placing a fish symbol secretly in his signature. The “symbol” is actually just a loop Washington added for flourish on the end of the crossbar of the “T” in his name, similar to the loops he used on the G and the H. It does not match the classic “Vesica Pisces” shape used in Christianity in that it is not pointed. Even if it were, the use of the symbol among Christians and other groups would make it very difficult to prove a Templar connection with occult meaning.
The conversation following Wolter’s posting descended quickly into mutual recriminations among Sinclair festishists about whose DNA is the purest. Given that a millennial family DNA history can be undone by a single faithless wife, putting so much stock in who is a “real” Sinclair (and thus a real descendant of Jesus) is a fool’s errand.
I must confess to not understanding the logic behind Wolter’s growing catalog of imaginary Templar symbols that are also standard Christian ones like the Vesica Pisces (“Jesus fish”), the pontifical cross, and the “In hoc signo, vinces” motto. The stated logic is that they have double meanings for the initiated, but being such standard Christian fare, it seems like it would be unnecessarily confusing for the Templars to have used symbols everyone else was using, not to mention bizarre to use the symbols of the supposedly hated papacy to encode pagan ideas.
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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