Wednesday Roundup: Templar Carvings, Masonic Pyramids, and a Bizarre Claim about Noah's Ark
Last night on The Curse of Oak Island, the program name-checked “forensic geologist Scott Wolter” as one of “a growing number” of “scholars” who allege that the “so-called ‘hooked X’” is a Templar symbol. The team examined a piece of sandstone with an X with a “hook” intentionally scratched into it. Anyone, of course, could have created it at any time. Naturally, this excited the show about Templars again because the producers decided that Templars are the main through-line of the season. It’s still a show about digging holes, and I still find it painfully boring. I will be interested, though, to see whether Wolter’s outrage from last week about having his pet fantasy coopted continues now that the producers have paid him obeisance. In a tweet this morning, Wolter claimed that an X had been scratched atop a natural formation, with the “hook” being natural. “NOT Templar IMHO,” Wolter tweeted.
He then declared the stone to be a “modern prop.”
As most of you know, I am particularly interested in archival research because finding the origin of weird claims is often quite illuminating. On social media this week, I’ve encountered more than a few people talking about how the Egyptian pyramids were actually built by a cult of primitive Freemasons, possessed of secret Enochian knowledge or some such hooey. At a gross level, the claim is a derivative of nineteenth century arguments by Freemasons, as quoted by Piazzi Smyth, that the pyramids were “simply places for initiating neophytes.” Such accounts can be found in the Masonic literature of the latter nineteenth century, with varying degrees of logic undergirding them. This was close kin to John Taylor’s erroneous claim that the Egyptians, being heathen, were too damned by God to be worthy of the perfection of the pyramids, which therefore must have been built by the Jews of the immediate post-Noachian epoch, perhaps, as many Masons later held in publications like the Universal Masonic Library, in imitation of the Tower of Babel. It’s hardly a stone’s throw from the Jews building the pyramids to having them built by Enoch and the early Jewish Freemasons who would later construct Solomon’s Temple atop the ruins of Enoch’s buried chamber.
But in my research this week, I came across a singularly strange passage about what Freemasons were alleging about the Great Pyramid in the middle nineteenth century. The testimony comes to us from Bourchier Wrey Savile, an Anglican clergyman who was formerly a British Israelist and a believer in the so-called Messianic Prophecy of the Great Pyramid—the odd claim that the Great Pyramid was divinely inspired to encode in its measurements a timeline of God’s creation and Christ’s return. In disparaging Anglo-Israelism and also the Masons’ presumption of claiming the pyramid for themselves in 1880, he reports the following:
Professor Piazzi Smyth, in his work on the Great Pyramid (ii. 367), mentions the case of an Oxford Freemason, A.D. 1866, who contends the Pyramids are “simply places for initiating the neophytes in, and as the mysteries in every country were funereal, the use of the sarcophagus is easily explained” on the principles of Freemasonry. Professor Greaves had previously said that “the Pyramids, like the Caves of Elephanta, and the Round Towers of Ireland, built by the pupils of Zoroaster, were all places of initiation;” or, perhaps, we might say with as much truth, what Curran wittily said of the last, that they were “built for the purpose of puzzling posterity.” The connexion between the Great Pyramid and Freemasonry has greatly commended itself to our brethren in the far West, whom the Anglo-Israelites usually designate “Manasseh,” while claiming descent for themselves from the tribe of “Ephraim.” A member of the Masonic craft has been lecturing in the cities of the United States, under the auspices of the Grand Masonic Lodge of Iowa, asserting that the Grand Lodge of Alexandria, in Egypt, has recently discovered a new chamber in the interior of the Great Pyramid, containing a great number of slates, covered with hieroglyphic inscriptions, which confirm the truth of the chief doctrines of Scripture, and serve as an admirable reply to the sceptical tendencies of the present age. I believe the Anglo-Israelites of England do not acknowledge the authority of this American associate in their Great Pyramid labours, notwithstanding that an enterprising Yankee publisher has sent forth a work of several hundred pages, with a full account of these most wonderful discoveries. Professor Piazzi Smyth, however, treats the whole tale as a myth of the dark ages, reserving his belief in the Great Pyramid for matters certainly as speculative, and possibly still more unlikely, than the theory which seeks to make Freemasonry an argument against the various hypotheses of Bishop Colenso, and his companion Agnostics of the Rationalistic School.
I wish I knew what the mysterious book sent by a “Yankee publisher” was. I have been unable to locate references to this book or to the mysterious chamber filled with slates outside of this account.
This, in turn, led me to a spectacular bit of pseudo-history perpetrated by C. E. Getsinger, who might well be the quack patent medicine man who in the early 1900s marketed a fake tuberculosis cure called Oxidaze that was a glorified sugar pill. Now remade as a member of the fictitious “Royal Egyptologists’ Society,” he fooled William Randolph Hearst’s newspaper syndicate, the International Feature Syndicate, in 1922 into reporting that Noah’s Ark was really the Great Pyramid. The syndicate spread the story to a bunch of papers on July 30, 1922, all of which published the same preformatted page. I have always been a firm believer that low culture reveals much of what high culture hides, and seeing how the public experienced fringe history is quite valuable.
It’s such a spectacular example of fringe history fantasy masquerading as fact that I can’t help but reprint it in full in my Library. Technically speaking, it’s not really a hoax because the source of the claim was merely making a ridiculous analysis of historical material. But take a look at what he said: Getsinger identifies Noah’s flood as having occurred between 30,000 BCE and 20,000 BCE, and he argues that the pyramids were built by a lost civilization resident on Atlantis, which was destroyed by the flood. He adds:
Investigations prove that the pyramids (the ‘Noah’s ark’ pyramid and others) were under the sea for years. Near the top of each of the pyramids, at the same level, is a high water line, where a deep niche has been cut into the rock by the lashing of the surf. […] The entrance to Cheops is 52 feet above the ground, so placed that the Polar or North Star could shine directly into the interior, which it did according to astronomy, about 30,000 years ago and so, after its complete cycle, does again to-day.
Do you recognize it? The author wears his influences on his sleeve. You have a bit of Ignatius Donnelly’s Atlantis: The Antediluvian World, astronomical claims taken over from Piazzi Smyth, and a good chunk of reworked material stolen from the medieval Arab pyramid myth and the Arabic historians. Al-Biruni, writing around 1030 CE, said, “People are of opinion that the traces of the water of the Deluge, and the efforts of the waves, are still visible on these two pyramids half-way up, above which the water did not rise” (trans. C. Edward Sachau). Al-Maqrizi quoted him verbatim four centuries later. Al-Suyuti, quoting Ibn Fadl Allah, says that among other hypotheses some people “say they (the pyramids) are shelters against the Deluge, which latter is the most improbable of all, for they do not look like living quarters.” Al-Maqrizi, Murtada ibn al-’Afif and the Akhbar al-zaman all claim that the last pre-Flood pharaoh tried to save himself by hiding in the pyramid, but died before he got there, while his chief priest rode away with Noah in the Ark. All of the writers also closely associated the pyramids with the zodiac, particularly in terms of how the stars foretold the Flood. The point is that Getsinger was clearly cribbing from earlier claims, and he presented it as a shocking new revelation. To that end, he is pretty much just like modern fringe writers.
11/30/2016 10:57:34 am
Now if Wolter were on Oak Island and conveniently picked up a piece of rock with that "hooked" X on it, he'd be writing his next book.
11/30/2016 12:26:34 pm
There are two mysterious X's (though not Hooked-X's) carved into a rock, apparently not far from the Copper Harbor, MI petroglyph of a Norse sailing ship with snake-heads at both ends. These carvings are located at the tip of a peninsula jutting northward up into Lake Superior, along with a bear carving likely made by the same carver as the ship. Here are links to the various images:
11/30/2016 04:39:12 pm
What I see in that "flat-faced, pyramid-shaped rock <that> seems to have been given a prominent spot" is confirmation bias. Someone, long ago, made a rough rock wall. That stone just happened to fit at that place in that position. Nothing special or significant about it.
11/30/2016 10:38:16 pm
Hi Uncle Ron. I haven't confirmed anything, so there can't be much confirmation bias on my part. I said it seems to have been given a prominent spot. I say this because, as one can see, the large rock was propped up in such a way that a clear pyramid shape was presented...on purpose or not, we can only speculate.
12/1/2016 11:51:17 am
"Confirmation bias" means, basically, that you tend to see what you are looking for. You want the rock to be "pyramid shaped" (whereas most people would simply say it's roughly triangular) and you want its location to be "prominent" when it fact it just happens to fit that particular spot because of the shape the rocks placed underneath it. You already believe in the Templar/Freemason/KRS mythology so that "truth" is your bias. Now, everything you see will be viewed from the perspective which confirms that belief.
12/1/2016 01:39:13 pm
Hi Uncle Ron, I'm just curious about whether you find anything interesting about the apparent rock shelter site. Do you have any opinion other than this is just rocks?
12/1/2016 02:06:22 pm
Well, the photos don't show anything but a rock with holes in it. Holes that could have been placed there at any time for any reason.
12/1/2016 09:28:18 pm
First and foremost, If you ever expect to be taken seriously, you have to divorce yourself from Scott Wolter (and everybody he associates with). He has made himself the laughingstock of the archeological community.
12/2/2016 08:05:20 am
Perhaps no-one is interested in your anomalies because...they aren't that anomalous? I don't know anything about you, but if you've got some professional qualifications in this area, perhaps talk to your peers and bounce your ideas off them? Send photos to archaeological magazines with details of any investigation you've done?
12/2/2016 02:25:22 pm
Mark L, this is puzzling to me, too. The first thing that comes to mind is how the State Museum in Maine has custody of what may very well be actual runestones (hooked x's and all), yet when I went there several years ago, they claimed there was not room for them, which was a ridiculous claim. They actively, purposely avoided putting them on display, though there was and still is considerable public interest in the artifacts. Someone made a decision to hide them from public view.
12/2/2016 02:40:28 pm
Uncle Ron, I think Wolter might still have some "pull-power" when it comes to getting these kinds of things done, but he would need to have sufficient interest. Unfortunately, right now some of the issues or subjects I'm involved with don't match up with his latest finds, and even contradict his own views. I think this is somewhat strange since we both believe the KRS is authentic, but that's the nature of the beast right now.
12/1/2016 01:16:26 am
Other pseudo authorities swear the "Viking" ship is Mycenaean, and it's vague enough it could just as easily be a Native American Canoe.
12/1/2016 11:04:44 am
Hi Weatherwax. Yes, the vessel has also been attributed to Phoenicians and much missing copper, but Mr. Fell fell down on this one.
12/1/2016 01:23:04 pm
With respect, I suggest you put away the stamp collecting books and read some archaeology.
12/1/2016 01:47:13 pm
I used to be a stamp collector. Collecting stamps was fun. So was collecting coins...then 3,000 LP's. Collecting became a burden. I no longer collect anything. But, in case you change your mind about the value of stamp collecting, here is a good place to start:
12/1/2016 01:52:14 pm
From the stamp site: "On a man of war both bow and stern were decorated by ornamental carvings. Dragon heads were the most common designs, closely followed by bulls, snakes and worms ('Ormen Lange' (see above) means 'the long worm'."
12/1/2016 02:11:54 pm
I meant no slight to stamp collecting. I have a few coins myself.
What voyles/gunn/at risk also doesn't say is that according to the locals, both the bear and ship were carved by some local kids back in the 60's or the 70's. And Voyles, there is no way you're going to get an Archaeologist to go do a dig without funding. Either pay for it yourself or give it a rest.
12/1/2016 10:43:02 pm
If they put a bird head on the bow of those mythical Viking ships, could they also have had wings to get over Niagara Falls...
12/2/2016 02:57:53 pm
Says scott: "What voyles/gunn/at risk also doesn't say is that according to the locals, both the bear and ship were carved by some local kids back in the 60's or the 70's. And Voyles, there is no way you're going to get an Archaeologist to go do a dig without funding. Either pay for it yourself or give it a rest."
12/2/2016 03:18:50 pm
For Joe Scales: Where there's a will, there's a way.
"says scott" ? no voyles, it's what the locals say happened. And yes voyles, it is what the locals say occurred. And as for your sarcastic "please" . Get over yourself gunn, yes I do think it not only possible , but probable that kids or teens could carve them. You say that 50 years ago kids weren't even on the internet, who cares? The dissemination of knowledge did not begin and end with Internet area. There were these strange and obscure things called books, magazines and movies that showed Vikings and all other types of marvels.Ever hear of National Geographic? cartoons? Book illustrations ? I used to carve stuff in trees and rocks when board, and I'm not alone. I also notice you don't mention the bear. Think kids needed the internet to figure out what a bear looks like.
12/2/2016 09:56:55 pm
scott, from experience, I would be better off not responding further to your rude and unintelligent remarks. Frankly, you come across as a common blog troublemaker...no class at all.
12/2/2016 11:50:05 pm
Just to reinforce what Scott said, Wolter and his allies are not going to have any pull among professional archaeologists.
12/3/2016 12:26:56 am
How about snake-heads, Weatherwax? How about snake-heads scott? How about snake-heads, Joe Scales? How about snake-heads, Mr. Lister?
12/3/2016 12:36:11 am
It's a crudely chiseled blob with a dot in it. Is it a snake? Is it dragon? Is it an ameba? It's whatever At Risk wants to see.
John (the other one)
12/3/2016 10:07:05 am
Gunn - you now appear to losing your mind. You aren't a code breaker, you haven't found anything, as I've said in the past that looks like a drill test pattern. Why is it not? Oh right you have no answer. Now you are pushing some of other trash all because it is near some other hoax. Just get your own message board where you can talk about all this and your precious divine right to archaeology by yourself or maybe you can even impersonate other people there.
12/3/2016 12:11:20 pm
Thanks for showing your true colors, Joe. By the way, it's pretty obvious you're using S. Simon to now plague Wolter again. It's always different names, but with the same issues with Wolter. You can't let him go, can you? Do you love him or hate him?
12/3/2016 12:31:29 pm
Sorry Jason, things can degenerate quickly when I come under direct attack out-of-the-blue, such as with the introduction of scott's (not Wolter) venom, above. I thought things were going pretty well until the attacks began. I'll bow out now, since I tend to become somewhat provocative when this happens.
12/3/2016 01:19:31 pm
John et al,
12/3/2016 06:50:05 pm
I hear you Joe, no feeding the troll! Even though I have only made one direct comment, a question actually, on 5/31/16, to the Norse pre-columbian stone-hole making expeditionary party incursion into the American heartland advocate in Jason's blog of 5/29/16 Jason's "Scott Wolter: J. Hutton Pulitzer Doesn't Have "Any Credibility" on Oak Island Sword Issue" and only referenced him four times, twice in comments on Scott Wolter's blog, where I took him and Wolter to task for falsely accusing and perpetuating the false accusation that Jason stated something he did not, then recently, twice in comments on Andy's blog in the 3 or 4 years he has been has been posting his ad nauseam drivel on these blogs, while anyone with even only rudimentary reading skills would clearly be able to discern our completely different writing styles, he first listed me as one of your supposed aliases when, in a somewhat roundabout fashion, he posted a non answer to my question of 5/31/16, and again today above, as well as several other times in Jason's & Andy's blogs.
12/4/2016 01:11:08 am
Mike, one good thing out of these idiotic accusations are that each time he adds a new name to my alleged play list, that's just another individual who realizes just how wrong this guy can be. I admit, I was first bothered by his accusations, but now that the guy is sneaking back here with a new moniker, I suppose I can have the last laugh. Or would that be the last rattle of the cage?
11/30/2016 01:07:12 pm
It is interesting that this "new information" turns up now and is so topical.
11/30/2016 01:46:12 pm
The screen shot of the rock looks like a natural inclusion and nothing created by someone's hand, although it's difficult to tell from a single picture. Either way, since when did Wolter become the leading authority on the fabled hooked x?
11/30/2016 02:00:15 pm
Also, if sloppiness can be used to determine that a carving is not authentic, go ahead and throw the KRS on the scrap heap.
11/30/2016 02:49:06 pm
I find it also strange that he declares it sloppily made and not a templar “Hooked X®” while it resembles more than any other “Hooked X®'s”, the sloppily made one that is in the Talbot Tomb that he accepts as templar.
11/30/2016 10:57:45 pm
Out goes the 90 foot stone as well !
12/1/2016 10:42:18 am
No one alive has ever seen the "90 foot" stone, allegedly found at a depth of 90 feet on one of the alleged wooden platforms that were allegedly found every ten feet down. Of course even the alleged wooden platforms are suspect as the story originally told only claimed flag stones and pick marks at a depth of ten feet. Successive generations added to the hoax, first supplementing the tale of pick marks at ten feet to wooden platforms every ten feet down leading of course to the alleged carved stone at 90 feet. The stone was said to be discovered in the early 1800's and lost in the early 1900's. In that time it was never traced. I was never photographed. There was no written documentation of what was even carved upon it until 1949, when an author alleged unverified hearsay to set forth what the symbols looked like.
Duke of URL
11/30/2016 02:00:00 pm
Jason, I'd be pleased if you kept us uptodate on this:
11/30/2016 02:03:50 pm
Looking closely at the photo, I see two X's on the ridge in the middle of the stone that are obviously natural scratches. Now, Wolter wants to debunk the alleged Hooked X® on this stone, but, he and David Brody claimed natural grooves on the Westford Knight were a legitimate Hooked X®.
11/30/2016 02:10:31 pm
Hooked X's are only important to Wolter if he can realize financial gain from his penchant for confirmation bias in their regard. He is now claiming that the current Oak Island reality show's credited use of his term of art gives him credibility. No, not credibility in my view. Marketability would be more apropos.
11/30/2016 04:14:02 pm
I've seen that sort of line or rocks that have been underground and struck by a plow (or conceivably a backhoe too). If this stone came from a tilled field it could easily have been struck several times before it finally came to the surface.
12/1/2016 10:54:19 am
That's very interesting. It's an explanation that's sensible.
12/1/2016 02:01:58 pm
It was conveniently picked up from a site that had been dug, tilled, plowed and backhoed for over a hundred and fifty years by countless entities and individuals.
100% right Uncle Ron. I don't know about plowing, but I've seen that type of scarring on jobs sites for almost 30 years. Not only backhoes but also dozers will scar the hell out of rocks and stones. I've seen some pretty weird marks over the years. If only I'd known I could've saved them and sold them to Wolter as artifacts.Lol, coulda retired early.
11/30/2016 07:39:24 pm
I will add to this weeks round up the four (surprisingly) disparaging reviews by UFO Proponent Kevin Randle of a cable TV show called 'Treasure Quest'.
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