Scott Wolter Releases "Peer-Reviewed" Masonic Article Claiming Rune Stone Contains Secret Masonic Code
I appeared yesterday on the Free Thought Prophet podcast to discuss the ancient astronaut theory. I assumed I would just post the podcast and have that as my holiday weekend blog post. Then Scott Wolter started another dumpster fire with his newest claims. So, let me first post my podcast appearance, and then we can discuss Wolter’s newest Masonic malpractice.
Scott Wolter still hasn’t learned much about self-marketing. Studies have found that information posted online at the beginning of the week receives more hits that information posted at the tail end. Saturdays are the worst. Saturdays on a holiday weekend are about as low as you can go. Naturally, Wolter chose last night, a Saturday before the July 4 holiday, to release his latest opus, an article he wrote for a Masonic magazine about a secret code he claims to have found within the Kensington Rune Stone.
The new code is pretty much exactly what I imagined it would be when Wolter hinted at it in public appearances and when I read a discussion of it in a review of a speech that he gave to a Masonic organization. And he is still just as clueless as always.
The gist of the argument is that the numbers used in the Kensington Rune Stone’s (KRS) inscription, putatively carved in 1362, are actually references to the Cryptic Degrees of York Rite Masonry. To understand this, we must first review the inscription’s text:
8 Götalanders and 22 Northmen on an exploring (or acquisition) expedition from Vinland west. We camped by 2 skerries one day’s journey north from this stone. We were a-fishing one day; after we came home we found 10 men red with blood and dead. A.V.M. (= Ave Maria) Save from evil.
Thus, Wolter believes that the “8 Götalanders and 22 Northmen” who had two boats in the KRS inscription refer to the numbers from this sentence in the ritual recited during the Cryptic Degrees: “There were employed on the other eight Arches, twenty-two men from Gebal, a city of Phoenicia, together with Ahishar and Adoniram, all of whom were well skilled in the arts and sciences generally, but particularly in sculpture.” Eight arches = 8 Götalanders, 22 men from Gebal = 22 Northmen, and the two sculptors = two boats.
As I mentioned in the past, even if we give Wolter the benefit of the doubt that the numbers do reflect Masonic rites, this is much stronger evidence that the stone was faked by Freemasons than it is support for the idea that proto-Masons had secretly developed Masonic allegories 300 or more years before the founding of Masonry and traveled to America to carve them on a stone in a secret code that they buried so that it would never be seen. Wolter’s only argument against this is his own geological examination of the KRS, which he used to conclude that it was medieval. To date, very few outside the fringe support his dating.
But since I’ve covered this before, I’d like to focus on the interpretive material Wolter included at the end of his numerological discourse.
Wolter now believes that that KRS cannot be read literally and the inscription must be viewed symbolically. But if it is not literal, then why does the supposed cover story exist on a stone no one was supposed to see? If the Cryptic Rites were secret, why not just carve the numbers no one would know and leave them at that? Conspiracy! But if it is wrong to read what the text says, how are we to know who really wrote it? Secret codes! The code—which only has life because Wolter didn’t want to believe the inscription really referred to Norsemen when it could support an imaginary conspiracy theory—works only if we follow Wolter in assuming that it is connected to Templars and Cistercians and Freemasons and whatever. But prima facie there is nothing to suggest this except for the small hook on the end of the X-shaped rune for the letter A, which he has never proved to have been used by Cistercians or Templars except by special pleading. The argument grows more circular with each revision, but now Wolter’s first conspiracy, that this was a Norse-Templar land claim, has been replaced with a bigger conspiracy, that the Norse and Götalanders in the inscription are fictions by the guardians of the Jesus Bloodline, based on yet another groundless conspiracy. The Jesus Bloodline hoax emerged from a stew of Gallic pride and secularism from the pen of Louis Martin in 1887 and somehow grew to ridiculous proportions.
Wolter now believes that the elements of the “story” told on the KRS are actually directions to where medieval proto-Masons hid their Secret Vault among the Native Americans—and it’s based on longitude, which wasn’t accurately measured until the 1700s! Now there is a secret science of longitude added in as well! According to Wolter, the “14 days’ journey” recorded on the stone represents 14 degrees of longitude, according to a code that only Wolter can see. (There is no objective criterion used to equate days with degrees of longitude.) “14 degrees longitude west [of Runestone Hill] must put you in the territory of the Native American tribe that upon receiving the proper passwords, handshakes, and signs of recognition, will then lead the worthy party to the Secret Vault.” Yeah, that clearly follows from the text of the stone. The “Secret Vault” is a Masonic allegory involving truth and death, but is sometimes mixed up with the myth of Enoch’s antediluvian wisdom, deposited underground on golden plates, a faint echo of the original pillars of wisdom myth it descends from through a number of corruptions. Quite nice, by the way, of Native Americans to serve in the clichéd “magical Negro” role and provide wisdom and guidance for the white people seeking ancient truths. Don’t they get to be Secret Vault initiates and take over the world, too? I mean, it is right there in their backyard.
Oh, and the 14 days are also the 14 chunks of the dead Osiris and the 14 stations of the cross and represent resurrection promised to Masons who have special access to the core of the Egyptian Mysteries taught when the Pyramids were young.
In addition, Wolter now believes that the KRS code has identified for him the person who has made the “land claim” to all of North America using this stone. (And what good is a land claim that no one can read except people who already believe it? Details!) He claims that 22 Hooked X® symbols on the stone prove that Jesus is the claimant, with the AVM referring to his “wife” Mary Magdalene. Thus, when the stone says that the speaker went fishing, it really refers to the “Fisher King” and acquiring land for the Bloodline of Jesus. Never mind that the Fisher King of Grail lore seems to derive from Celtic stories of Bran the Blessed; for Wolter the Fisher King is Jesus because Jesus had a fish symbol and was wounded. (He got this from Ralph Ellis, and the claim is popular in fringe Grail literature where it is tied up in Mary Magdalene and Holy Bloodline myths.)
I have always argued that since I believe the Kensington party were the ideological and likely bloodline descendants of the Templar’s (sic) who were put down by the King of France and the Pope in 1307, the claim would not have been made in the name of any king, monarch, or the Pope. However, in light of this new Ritual Code evidence, I am forced to admit that I was wrong. It appears the land claim was indeed made in the name of a king. In this case, it was their ancestral and ideological Grand Master, the Fisher King. As if to emphasize the point, there are twenty-two Hooked X’s, as found on the lid of the “Jesus, son of Joseph” ossuary from the Talpiot tomb, emblazoned throughout the inscription.
So Wolter uses fringe conspiracies to imagine that the Hooked X® is a symbol of the Jesus Bloodline, and then uses that symbol to invent a Masonic-Bloodline code to declare the Jesus Spawn™ to be the rightful Grail Kings of America. There is some irony in this since Pierre Plantard, the man who brought Louis Martin’s Holy Bloodline theory into modern times, did so in order to create fictitious proof that he was the rightful Jesus Spawn™ king of France. Now we have a competing king-in-waiting for America, too, whoever the Last Bloodline Scion might be (cough... Sinclair family... cough).
Weirdly enough, Wolter recognizes that the Scandinavian-Americans who most likely actually hoaxed the stone were Freemasons who had the knowledge to “recognize” (= fake) the inscription, yet he can’t imagine a single reason why Scandinavian-American Freemasons might fake a stone that celebrated Scandinavian adventurers and contained Masonic symbols. Indeed, he even claims that the Masonic symbolism eliminates the idea of Scandinavian-American hoaxers acting out of ethnic pride, even though it would actually enhance the argument for modern fakery.
In the end, the whole house of cards stands on Wolter’s geological dating of the stone, which is not supported by most archaeologists, geologists, or runologists. And even then, if the stone were somehow medieval, there is no evidence outside of evidence-free fringe theories about Jesus to imagine that it says anything other than its plain meaning. Wolter’s claims are so baroque—several competing symbols and codes layered atop geospatial symbolism—that they are simply impossible to credit, given that virtually none of the symbolism and coding is attested on any other object of its alleged age. Wolter even says that the KRS served as the “founding” of the United States as the “New Jerusalem” of Revelation, all in the name of goddess-worshipping medieval progressives!
Now there’s a fine thought for your Independence Day holiday—a modern twist on the “ethnic pride” argument Wolter rejected for hoaxing. He is now unconsciously re-creating the KRS as a symbol of American nationalism and a deep connection to his preferred ancient heritage of Masonry, feminism, and liberalism. Happy Fourth of July, everyone!
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.
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.