When a Providence man announced that he had carved the Narragansett Rune Stone during a fit of childhood boredom in the summer of 1964, the claim immediately challenged the deeply held beliefs of fringe thinkers across the country. Scott F. Wolter in particular has maintained that the handful of inscribed runic figures aren’t just older than 1964 but in fact are evidence that the Knights Templar brought the Holy Bloodline of Jesus and Mary Magdalene to America.
“This stone is one of the very few artifacts that proves the Templars came to America,” Wolter asserted on America Unearthed in 2013.
Others have now come forward to challenge Everett Brown’s claim to be the author of the runic carvings. According to a follow-up article in the Independent, self-described amateur archaeologist Steve DiMarzo is collecting affidavits from witnesses who claim to have seen the inscriptions prior to 1964. DiMarzo is an enthusiastic supporter of Scott Wolter’s work, according to those I’ve spoken with who know of him and his beliefs.
DiMarzo believes that Brown is lying because of the Hooked X® that appears on the rune stone. Brown claims that the symbol was the result of a carving error, but DiMarzo maintains that the symbol was not available in standard runic alphabet sources like those Brown claimed to have used and therefore is a sign that the stone is genuine.
The Hooked X®, the variant of the A-rune whose popular name is a trademark registered to Scott F. Wolter, appears on the Kensington Rune Stone but is not known from any medieval inscriptions in Scandinavia.
DiMarzo accused Brown of having “ulterior motives” and suggested that his claim to have carved the stone was motivated by a desire to prevent the stone from being placed on permanent public display in order to suppress the truth about history.
Wolter concurred in an email to the Independent, in which he accused Brown of having religious motivations for attempting to suppress the truth about the Jesus Bloodline:
Why Mr. Brown would make such a claim only he can answer. However, the highly controversial nature of my Templar theory for the possible origin of this inscription has caused very negative reactions by some Christians. […] I don’t know what Mr. Brown’s religious leanings are, but it is well documented that some otherwise honest people have made poor decisions they justified as doing God’s will. This could be the motive for his “confession.” I obviously don’t know for sure.
Wolter has previously accused the Catholic Church of working to oppose his theories and suppress his research, though he is not consistent on this point. He has also suggested that the Cistercian-Templar-Bloodline people have infiltrated the Church and used the clergy sex abuse scandal to distract the Church, resulting in less attention to fringe figures like Wolter.
The Independent published testimony from Pat Lindsay, a woman who claims to have seen the carvings in 1948. “I was 11 years old and I remember playing on the stone at low tide when it was showing and there were carvings,” she said. “We called it the Indian stone because we thought the Indians carved it.”
The paper asked Wolter for his analysis of the inscription. Wolter told the paper that he removed a sample of the rune stone in 2006 with the permission of the state archaeologist. After looking at the piece of stone under a microscope, he concluded that the inscription must be “at least 100 years [old] and likely many centuries” due to the weathering. His professed date range, therefore, of between roughly 1206 and 1906 is a bit vague for fingering the Templars, but it also fails to exclude the scholarly consensus that the stone was carved in late 1800s or early 1900s, likely in response to the publicity surrounding the Kensington Rune Stone.
Since Wolter’s own analysis cannot exclude a 1900 date, I’m inclined to believe that the carvings date to around 1900 and were inspired by the Kensington Rune Stone. But until someone can produce dated photographs of the stone, we won’t know for sure. On the other hand, if that conclusion is fully supportable with Scott Wolter’s own geological work, there isn’t much reason to imagine a widespread Templar occupation to explain it.
As maritime historian Ron Mather told the Independent:
With the exception of archeological remains in the northern part of Newfoundland, we have no verifiable historical or archeological evidence of Scandinavians in North America before Columbus. […] On the other hand, we have what appears to be more frequent attempts to create a connection with a Scandinavian past beginning in the 19th century, a period which saw a resurgence of Scandinavian national pride.
That effort began in the 1830s with Carl Christian Rafn and his attempts to prove that Vinland was located in New England, and his work directly leads to that of Scott Wolter today, particularly his work trying to connect the Newport Tower to the Cistercians, which you can read here. Wolter adopts this idea and through the Cistercians assumes that the Knights Templar were responsible for what Rafn attributed to Scandinavians.
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