Yesterday, the former host of America Unearthed, Scott F. Wolter, announced on Twitter that he had taken possession of what he described as a journal containing the secrets of the Templars and Oak Island. He shared pictures of the leatherbound volume, whose pages are filled with English language cursive writing, apparently in pencil. “This journal arrived from Europe today,” Wolter wrote, “and contains shocking Templars in America secrets including the answers to the Oak Island treasure mystery.” However, even Wolter’s fans quickly sensed something was amiss.
As many quickly noted, the journal appears to be of the same type as one of dozens of commercially available, artificially aged journals sold on Amazon.com, Etsy, and elsewhere. Although there are some small differences, it seems likely that the journal Wolter has was customized from one of the commercially available versions.
Further inspection of the photos found several problems with the claim that the journal is of any great age. The leather appears to be freshly cut, and the stitching was done by machine, apparently with synthetic thread. The distressed pages, with their deckled edges, appear to be chosen for artistic evocation of age, and the unusually staining on the pages appears artificial. As paper ages, it generally darkens from the outer edge inward since the cut edge is most exposed to air. But the pages in Wolter’s journal are darkest at the center, consistent with artificial staining.
Wolter told his Twitter audience that he plans to have the journal carbon-dated and is busy investigating its Templar mysteries. He might want to start with the mysteries of Amazon.
UPDATE: Late this morning, Wolter announced that the journal is a modern, mass-produced book, but he insists that it is an artistic, evocative copy of a lost original because he thinks the text inside is copied from a real text. Since he previously said he wanted to carbon-date the book, it sounds like this is some post hoc rationalization.
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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