Due to some previous commitments, I may or may not be able to review America Unearthed as it airs this evening. I will do my best to review it, but depending on time it may have to wait until tomorrow. But as we wait for this evening’s episode, in which Scott Wolter investigates Cleopatra’s Needle in Central Park, it’s amusing to take a look at his response on his blog this week to comments speculating about Kathleen McGowan Coppens’s mental health.
Regular readers will remember that McGowan (the name she went by until recently) claims to be the lineal descendant of the Holy Bloodline founded by Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. She says she receives visions from Mary Magdalene. She divorced her husband to marry ancient astronaut theorist and Ancient Aliens pundit Philip Coppens, and she took over his position on Ancient Aliens after his untimely death. Since McGowan’s claims directly feed into those of Scott Wolter, and she is a colleague of Wolter’s colleague Alan Butler, in theory her claims ought to be important “evidence” for Wolter’s own Holy Bloodline theories, the subject of the upcoming America Unearthed two-part season finale.
The Holy Bloodline myth derives from the semi-fictional pseudo-history book Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, which used poor scholarship and unreliable sources to develop the idea that Mary Magdalene married Jesus and had children by him who eventually gave rise to the Merovingian royal house. The claim has little textual support beyond some ambiguous Gnostic references to the pair kissing. Peter of les Vaux-de-Cernay, writing in the Historia Albigensis 10-11 before 1218 said that the Cathars considered Mary Magdalene to be the “concubine” (but not wife) of Jesus, not because they had special knowledge but because they identified the pair with the incident of adultery in John 8:3. The other support for the claim comes from the special veneration given to Mary Magdalene in southern France, where a medieval tradition, first recorded by Sigebert of Gembloux in the Chronicon sive Chronographia (entry for 745) around 1112, says that Mary Magdalene traveled to Gaul and was buried at Aix, and later Vézelay. While this legend grew like kudzu in France (becoming a key chaper in the famous Golden Legend), it was clearly not the original tradition, nor does it have anything to do with holy children. The Eastern churches held that the Magdalene was buried in Ephesus (Modestus in Photius, Biblioteca 275), which even Western writers—in France no less!—agreed with until the High Middle Ages. Gregory of Tours, for example, writing in his In gloria martyrum 1.30 in the sixth century CE reported on the Magdalene’s grave at Ephesus.
So what does Wolter have to say about McGowan Coppens?
I have never met Kathleen so I have no opinion about her. She's seems like a nice enough person during her appearances on the two Oak Island episodes that I watched, but I know nothing else about her.
Is that the reaction of someone looking for the Jesus Bloodline? Here we have someone who says she’s an actual Jesus descendant and Wolter isn’t even trying to test her DNA? Surely, if he truly believes that the Knights Templar brought the Jesus genome to America and bred European Jesus descendants with Native people (as he writes in Akhenaten to the Founding Fathers), we should find substantial similarities between the DNA of the Native American Jesus spawn and McGowan Coppens.
While a match would not prove either claim, failure to find a match would do much to logically disprove one or both claims, so perhaps that’s why we aren’t likely to see anyone agitating for this very obvious step toward confirming or disproving the largely baseless Holy Bloodline claim.
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.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter, The Skeptical Xenoarchaeologist, for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.