United States

In Memory of Patriarch Ronald V. Cappello, Tau Michael (I)

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Ronald V. Cappello, age 65, of Yonkers died Wednesday, November 30, 2016. Ronald was born April 23, 1951 in Mt.Vernon, NY the son of the late Joseph and Marie (Papaleo) Cappello. Ronald was a graduate of Iona College with a Masters Degree in both Science and Art. He was a History teacher for the Yonkers Board of Education.

Ronald was a devoted Mason serving as Sovereign Grand Master of the Ancient and Primitive Right of Memphis-Misraim, a member of the Hugnat Lodge #46 F.&A.M. for 34 years, he was also a member of the Bethlehem Crusader Knights Templar, the Royal Arch Masons, the Cryptic Masons, the Grand College of Rites of the USA, the Royal Order of Scotland, the Rosicrucian Order and the Knights Templar Order of the Temple. He was Past Grad Master of the Martinist Order of the Temple and a representative for the Grand Lodge of Western Australia.

He is survived by his beloved wife MaryLou (Capone) Cappello, his daughters Robin Foti-Nadzam, Victoria Cunningham and Yvonne Foti, his grandchildren Alora Gerace, Kyra Nadzam and William Vanderlinden. Also surviving are his sisters Susan DeLorenzo and Frances Shikarides, his sister-in-law, Marion LaGrotte and 8 nieces and nephews.

Published in the The Journal News on Dec. 2, 2016

Note: The Templar Globe will publish two more remembrance articles on Brother Ronald Cappello in the next few days.

The Visit

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The morning sun was shining as bright as if it was Spring. But it wasn’t. Very, very close to the last days of Fall, we could see how the Tagus river carried the brownish fallen remains of dead leafs,  broken ashen tree twigs and orange tanned grass leftovers tried by a few days of hard rain and sweeping winds. Winter was coming, the air was cold. But the sun was having none of it! And in that fine lit morning, towering above the river waters in an impossible island, the invincible walls of the 850 year old Templar Castle of Almourol stood up, proud and mysterious.

We had the good fortune to have been found by the boat owner, who, after having spotted us looking at the towers with a smile on our eyes, asked from a distance “Do you want me to take you to the island?”

Sure!

HE Fr+ Bryant Jones, Grand Prior of the Grand Priory of the United States (OSMTJ – Lamirand/Haimovici branch), whom I had never met before, was visiting the Templar region of Tomar, in Portugal, and asked me if I would show him around. I was pleased to be his guide. Often some of our brethren, when they have a stopover in Lisbon in their travels, like to meet with me for a chat, a couple of beers or dinner. Sometimes they have time to go to Tomar. Sometimes they accept my invitation to visit Sintra. Many times, however, they are only educated tourists. They love to tour the places they have come to admire on the internet or their printed tour guides. But the real deal moves them no more than a 360º degree iPhone App with HD photos. They would hit the “Like” button, sure. But Fr+ Jones was hitting the “Love It!!!!” button for two straight days! His passion and knowledge for everything related to the Templar Order and its history was amazing. And uncommon. A real revelation. How I wish all High Officers of the Order in its several branches would show such knowledge and appreciation for Templar history, values and life lessons as Prior Jones does! The amount of problem that would be solved… And the drama that would not unfold…

Yes, we visited every corner of the Templar Castle and Convent of Christ that can be visited and spoke hours on end about every little subject that came to mind. Over the two days it took to visit Tomar and Sintra, I almost lost my voice, so much so that I was forced to cancel a class I was teaching that night. We belong to different branches in the Order and we have – and will keep – our commitments to our own branches. However, we struck a real friendship, firmly based on shared values and passions, shared objectives and visions for the future. So, don’t be surprised if ever see us crossing the gates of Jerusalem wearing the same white mantle!

Luis de Matos

Hunt for the Knights Templar’s Wealth in the New World

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For nearly two centuries, the Knights Templar plundered the vast riches of the Near East while marching under the banner of Christ in the Crusades. In addition to the silks, bullion, spices and other valuables the Templars claimed as spoils of war, the wealth of countless dukes, barons, viscounts and other lords flowed into the Order’s coffers as the flower of European nobility rushed to join the ranks of the holy warriors. The massive fortune collected by the Templars generated awe, jealousy and—in the centuries after their disbandment—hope for a payout.

“It’s fantastic treasure,” says Marty Lagina, who along with brother Rick stars in History Channel’s The Curse of Oak Island. The show follows the brothers’ quest to uncover a vast store of riches long rumored to be hidden on its titular Nova Scotian island. What exactly that treasure is (and who hid it) eludes clear-cut definition. Theorists and treasure hunters speculate it is anything from lost manuscripts of Shakespearean plays to Marie Antoinette’s jewels to a sunken Viking ship. But the Laginas have seen enough evidence to convince them the treasure could be part of the lost Templar riches. “The connection with the Templars has always been there, since the original discovery of the Money Pit, which supposedly happened in 1795,” says Rick. “There’s always been four or five credible theories about the treasure’s origins—one of which has been that it’s from the Templars.”

How did the wealth of a medieval order of knights, who were destroyed more than a century before Christopher Columbus’s historic voyage, find a home in the New World? The prevailing theory among true believers is that during the Templar’s final days, a fleet of the Order’s ships sailed from La Rochelle, France to the safety of Scotland. The treasure then rested at Kilwinning Abbey until Sir Henry Sinclair and a group of Scottish knights spirited the wealth away to Oak Island, hiding the riches on the island for their progeny to eventually recover.

The story strikes most historians as more than a little fanciful, and the Laginas certainly approach it with a healthy sense of skepticism. “The theory gets a little more tenuous after you have the knights leaving Scotland,” says Marty. However, the brothers quickly point to what they believe is evidence that other Europeans reached the shores of America before Columbus. “There’s the Newport Tower in Rhode Island, which, according to the carbon-14 dating, was constructed between 1440 and 1480,” says Rick (though most researchers believe the tower was built well after Columbus’s discovery). He also references the Narragansett Rune Stone in Rhode Island, which, according to geologist Scott Wolter, contains a mark that links the slab of rock to the same sect of monks that helped construct Kilwinning Abbey—the same place that supposedly housed the Templar treasure before its journey to the New World. “There are these connections—spider web connections—but no dots that say it went from here to here to Oak Island,” says Rick.

Despite the lack of a smoking gun proving Sinclair and the Scottish knights made the voyage to Oak Island, the brothers maintain certain discoveries they’ve made on Oak Island make the Templar theory intriguing, if not convincing. “Has there been a find on Oak Island that we can say is a definitive tie-in to the Templars? No,” says Rick. “But, are there curious facts and bits of discovery that indicate the possibility? Yes.” One of those bits of evidence is the fact that the flag of the island’s native peoples, the Mi’kmaq, bears a striking resemblance to the Templar’s battle flag: a red cross on white with a red crescent and red star.

For Marty, the engravings of what appear to him to be corn and trillium flowers in Scotland’s Rosslyn Chapel—a chapel built by Henry Sinclair’s grandson William in 1446—lend credence to the Templar theory. “To me, being from upper Michigan, there does really appear to be trilliums in the chapel,” says Marty. Both corn and trillium flowers are native to the Americas, indicating to Marty that Henry Sinclair had visited the New World and passed on what he saw to his family, who later incorporated it into the chapel decorations.

After pouring so much of their time and energy into navigating the pitfalls and perils of Oak Island in their effort to uncover the island’s secrets, the Laginas have high hopes their story will end with some sort of payoff. “We all want our money back,” says Rick. But while the brothers would love to discover a pile of gold and riches straight out of an Indiana Jones adventure, the rewards of the hunt extend beyond material goods. “I believe there’s a story on Oak Island of historic significance, and I want to be part of the team that figures it out,” says Rick. “If that story involves the Templars—one of the most powerful entities on the face of continental Europe during their time—then all the better.”

His brother agrees that finding solid proof of a Templar presence at Oak Island would constitute a huge win, but also embraces the mindset of what his sibling calls “hopeful skepticism.” “There are certain people who believe almost every lost treasure in existence has a connection to Oak Island. So we’ve got to take it all with a little dose of reality,” Marty says. In an adventure filled with half-truths and cryptic clues, keeping that level head may be the most valuable asset of all.

This article appears in the Newsweek’s special edition, Secret Socities: Infiltrating the Inner Circle, by Issue Editor James Ellis of Topix Media Lab.

Secret orders and supposed traitors — TV’s ‘Dig’ and religious history

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The pieces of the religious puzzle that make up the USA Network’s biblical conspiracy action series “Dig” are beginning to fall into place, and the picture they are revealing is one of history — highlighted by a colorful streak of fiction.

Here be spoilers! Read on only if you are up-to-date with the 10-part series, or want to ruin it for yourself and others.

“Order of Moriah”

This secret religious order, supposedly dating from the Crusades, seems to be a product of the “Dig” writers’ imaginations. But, like many of the show’s fictional aspects, it is based on historical fact.

The Crusades, which mainly took place from 1095 to 1291, were an attempt by the Rome-based Catholic Church to retake the Holy Land — Jerusalem and its environs — away from its Muslim rulers.

During that time, the church founded several monastic religious orders whose members traveled to Jerusalem. Some fought with the armies; some cared for the wounded and sick. The most famous of these orders were the Knights Hospitallers, the Knights Teutonic and the Knights Templar.

It is perhaps the Templars that the Order of Moriah is based on. Officially named “The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon,” the Knights Templar were anything but poor. They owned land from Rome to Jerusalem and were involved in finance throughout the Christian world. They loaned money to King Philip IV of France and the church.

That’s where they got into trouble. When the king didn’t want to pay them back, he pressuredPope Clement V to disband the knights. The resistant knights were charged with heresy and many members were arrested, tortured and burned at the stake. Legend holds that some members went into hiding — and took a lot of loot with them.

Writers have been making fictional hay with the Knights Templar and other so-called “secret” religious orders since Sir Walter Scott’s “Ivanhoe” in 1820. The most famous example is Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code,” in which a Templar-like order called the “Priory of Sion” keeps a really, really big secret about the nature of the “Holy Grail.”

Enter “Dig,” whose evil archaeologist, Ian Margove (Richard E. Grant), is after the “treasure” the Order of Moriah is supposed to have buried somewhere in Jerusalem.

Flavius Josephus

Archaeologist Margrove says that “according to Flavius Josephus,” the breastplate will pinpoint the location of the treasure.

Flavius Josephus was a first-century Jewish historian. Contemporary Jews are most familiar with him for his firsthand account of the revolt of the Maccabees, a Jewish sect that rose against Roman rule, while Christians know him for his description of Jesus’ early followers.

But Josephus’ own biography is as fascinating as his historical works. He was born to well-to-do and noble Jews in 37 C.E. in Jerusalem. At 16, he went to live with a desert hermit — perhaps an Essene — but returned to Jerusalem at age 19 and joined the Pharisees, a Jewish priestly sect. During the First Jewish-Roman War, he was in charge of a section of Jerusalem’s forces.

At one point, Josephus and 40 of his followers were trapped in a cave. Rather than surrender, Josephus persuaded them to commit group suicide, with each man drawing lots and killing a companion, so no one would have to kill himself. For whatever reason — an act of luck or the hand of God — by the time the lots got around to Josephus, he and another soldier were the last ones standing. And they surrendered to the Romans. Josephus went on to become a friend of the Emperor Vespasian and the recipient of a Roman pension.

For this reason, many have considered him a traitor — he’s been called the “Jewish Benedict Arnold” by some scholars. But in the past few decades, some scholars are rehabilitating his image, claiming he joined the Romans out of a sense of deference or even unwillingly.

Whatever the truth, the characters of “Dig” are right to turn to Josephus for information about early Jewish rituals and practices. His book “Antiquities of the Jews” describes first-century Jewish religious garments and ritual items, including a priest’s breastplate that is critical to the “Dig” plotline.

But using such a breastplate as a treasure map is fictional — not historical — at all.

YS/MG END WINSTON

Deception, Lies and Gullibility

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A supposed tibia relic belonging to Mary Magdalene is making it rounds in the U.S. From the Catholic Georgia Bulletin: “The tradition of the Church is historically pretty close to being infallible in this area,” said Borgman. “King Louis XIV crawled on his knees up the mountains to venerate the relics of Mary Magdalene, and the princes of Europe and their ladies and the queens made special pilgrimages to this grotto in the 1200s. For centuries the relics were missing, disappearing from about A.D. 710, when the Saracens pillaged the south of France and the Church hid sacred objects to safeguard them. Then in 1279, the relics were discovered by Charles II of Anjou in a crypt of a chapel in the town of St. Maximin in a sarcophagus that did not have her name but tt contained a piece of old parchment dated A.D. 710, which read, ‘Here lies the body of Mary Magdalene.’ Upon discovering the bones, Charles II sealed the crypt and gathered all the bishops for an official opening and inspection. All of the bones including the skull were found intact. The only missing bone was the lower jaw bone which was later found and identified by the pope as the same jawbone that had been venerated, for centuries, as the jawbone of Mary Magdalene, at St. John Lateran Church in Rome. A letter of authentication from Bishop Dominique Rey of Frejus-Toulon indicates that the relics have been venerated, without interruption, since their rediscovery in 1279.”

The greatest hoax perpetuated on humanity has created wars, murders, subterfuge, and the enslavement of minds of a large majority of the masses. There is a vast difference between spiritual and religion. Spiritual is one’s personal connection to the Divine within. Religion is man-made and is used to control people. The current whoop-de-la regarding a tibia supposedly belonging to Mary Magdalene is part of the great deception.

During my research for my book Secrets of the Magdalene Scrolls, I found that many of the relics so revered in the Catholic Churches were nothing more than animal bones. The fad of relics began in 325 A.D. when Constantine appointed his mother Helene to go to Palestine and locate relics of Judeo-Christian faiths. This move was to strengthen his newly found religion. It is reported that she found some nails of the crucifixion. Really? After 325 years, she was able to locate these when Jesus was not at this time revered as a Christ or the Son of God? This did not happen until the Council of Nicene in 325 A.D.

It was Paul who gave Jesus the title of Christ ,and Paul was not a disciple. Josephus, the noted Roman/Jewish historian is quoted widely by any scholar writing about Jesus and his life. In the first translation I read, there was no mention of Jesus or Mary Magdalene. I thought this was odd. A few months later, I again went to a translation of Josephus’ ”Jewish Antiquities.” In this version of “Jewish Antiquities” 18.3.3 there is a short paragraph regarding Jesus. It is possible that this paragraph was added later. What does this have to do with Paul?

I also discovered the books written by Ralph Ellis who has done extensive research into the bible and ancient history, especially that of ancient Egypt. In Ellis’ book Jesus, Last of the Pharaohs, Chapter VII, titled The Evangelist, pages 220-221. This is about the evangelist named Paul, formerly called Saul—the author of the Book of Acts, which is Paul’s autobiography.

Ellis also researched Josephus’ own autobiography and found amazing coincidences between Josephus and Paul/Saul. The events of their lives are almost identical, so much so that it is obvious that Josephus and Paul/Saul are the same person. It is this same Josephus, who became a turncoat as an undercover spy for the Romans. When the Romans conquered Jerusalem and destroyed its temple, Josephus, a Jew went to Rome and was given Roman citizenship. While living in Rome, he began his writing. Even though Josephus’ creation was a hoax, it is not the greatest one—or perhaps his was the beginning of the greatest hoax perpetuated by the Vatican in order to control the people and their minds. Today the Vatican is extremely wealthy and the papal palace filled with priceless objects. It is all about power. It is time the truth be revealed to those who have the eyes to see and the ears to hear. We are living in the era of revelations.

This relic myth is still believed today. A relic can be minute flakes of bone, a hair follicle, skin, as examples. In fact, there is one report of the foreskin removed at the circumcision of Jesus being a relic. The truth is that relics became a way to control the people and to have them worship these relics. In John 14:12, Jesus is quoted as saying, “”the works I do, shall ye do also, and greater works shall ye do.” In John 10:34, Jesus said in answer to the Jews who would stone him, “Is it not written in ‘your law’, I said, Ye are gods?” This is in reference to Psalms 82:6, “I ‘said, Ye are gods, and all of you sons of the Most High.” Religions slide over these verses and focus on false beliefs that Jesus died for your sins. I think it is time to take him down from the cross.

Mary Magdalene was deemed to be an adulteress and a repentant prostitute by Pope Gregory the Great in a speech given in 591 A.D. For centuries, she has been portrayed as a symbol of repentance. It was not until 1969 that the Church allegedly admitted that her being a prostitute was not in the Bible. Myths have an insidious way of being believed as being true.

This great myth regarding Mary Magdalene as being a ‘fallen woman’ has no actual foundation. In A.D. 710, anyone could have placed a piece of an old parchment reading, “Here lies the body of Mary Magdalene.” There is no doubt in my mind that Mary Magdalene was a great woman. Her presence in southern France and the Pyrenees is evident and her memory has been kept alive, and it is possible that it was the Knights Templar who realized her greatness and is responsible for the preservation of her memory.

With the revelation that Ben Hammott of the UK discovering a hidden tomb near Rennes-le-Chateau, France containing a mummified body of a female covered by a Knights Templar shroud, it is now suspect that the Catholic Church suddenly is sending a supposedly reliquary containing the tibia of Mary Magdalene around the United States. Hammott and others are working with the French government to examine this tomb and Hammott has already had the hair of the body tested for its DNA.

Having researched Rennes le Chateau extensively when I was writing my books “Secrets of the Magdalene Scrolls” and “Mary Magdalene, Her Legacy,” I was well aware of the vast number of treasure seekers and read numerous books on this as well as the Knights Templar and Mary Magdalene. I visited Rennes le Chateau and the Languedoc region in 2001 and returned home with a desire to know more. I knew there had to be more than what was known at the time. I pondered why a figure of a demon or devil called Asmodeus was at the entrance of the church and why there was a sign over the church entrance stating Terribilis est locus iste and generally translated as This place is terrible.

Even though there have been many interpretations of the paintings and decorations of this church, none of the researchers gave what I call a valid translation or found Saunière’s treasure. Ben Hammott had a dedicated tenacity to search and find the secret. This led him to the discovery of bottles containing these clues, which he deciphered. In his book, “Lost Tomb of the Knights Templar: A Tomb; A Treasure; A Great Secret,” Hammott deciphered the clues Saunière had left in the bottles. On page 316 of Hammott’s book begins the deciphered statements of Saunière.

Saunière found a tomb with a mummified body covered by a tattered shroud with the Knights Templar symbol of a red cross. Saunière realized that this was the body of Jesus Christ from the crucifixion marks on the body. He realized that the Catholic Church knew the story and that Christianity is based on a lie. This is explosive information. Hammott writes that Saunière decided to preserve his information and thus we have a renovated church created by Saunière with his clues for future seekers. Hammott discovery of another message, which is apparently documents of the Knights Templar giving information that they discovered the body under the Temple in Jerusalem and brought it back to France (Gaul) reburying it in this tomb.

Although Hammott discovered a tomb not with a tattered shroud, but a seemingly intact shroud that covered the mummified corpse in it. Are there two tombs? Is one of Jesus and the second the body of Mary Magdalene? Ah mystery! Following the clues Saunière left, Hammott found a possible anointing jar and a cup that could be the wedding cup of Mary Magdalene and Jesus.

If this is so, then it does indicate the duplicity of the Vatican—the cover-up and lies over the centuries. I now perceive that the demon Asmodeus represents the Catholic Church and the phrase This place is terrible refers to religion.

Ben Hammott’s book of 680 pages is never boring. He writes with humor, and uses photos to document his journey of discovery and the DNA testing of the body as well as discussing artifacts found in the tomb. From André Doucet’s book “Saunière’s Model and the Secret of Rennes-le-Chateau,” it is written, ‘There is very little difference between Galilee, Galicia and ‘Gaule’, the area of France and England. Doucet writes that one could say that “Gallile” can be read as “en galles il est,” in Gallie (Gaule) he is.”

Can the public accept this? Probably not. The Church has over the centuries coerced, plundered, murdered, warred, and above all lied. Was there ever a Paul, formerly called Saul? What did Jesus and Mary Magdalene really teach? What are their true messages to the world? What else is to be uncovered?

http://www.magdalenescrolls.com

Bettye Johnson is the award-winning author of Secrets of the Magdalene Scrolls, an Independent Publishers Book Award Winner 2006.

‘The Lost Symbol’ – Dan Brown

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Robert Langdon goes for another roller-coaster ride — this time in a hunt for a Masonic treasure in Washington, D.C. — in Dan Brown’s follow-up to ‘The Da Vinci Code.’

The wait is over. “The Lost Symbol,” the follow-up to Dan Brown’s 2003 mega-seller, “The Da Vinci Code,” is here — and you don’t have to be a Freemason to enjoy it (although it wouldn’t hurt).

Like “Angels and Demons,” published in 2000, and “The Da Vinci Code,” “The Lost Symbol” solves puzzles, analyzes paintings and reveals forgotten histories — all so that Brown’s tireless hero, Robert Langdon, can find a legendary Masonic treasure despite special ops squads that are dogging him and a bizarre killer who has kidnapped his dear friend and mentor.

There is one mystery, though, that remains unsolved after three books.

Will Langdon ever get to rest?

You’d think a 46-year-old Harvard symbologist’s most strenuous chores would be grinding his Sumatran coffee beans in the morning or persuading bored undergrads to appreciate hidden meanings in the world around them. Langdon does these things, but he’s also the guy who survived an antimatter explosion at the Vatican and a Paris manhunt and uncovered the truth about the Holy Grail (though, according to the new novel, he’s kept this a secret). Not your average academic.

The answer, then, to the question of rest is clearly no. Langdon, after all, specializes in what all esoteric evildoers need: rituals and their transcendent meanings. He finds crucial connections that other people can’t see, even in the most difficult, chaotic situations.

Consider an early incident in “The Lost Symbol,” a scene that is as gruesome and allusive as the opening of “The Da Vinci Code” (in which a dying, blood-covered curator in the Louvre arranged his body into a puzzle).

Langdon arrives in Washington D.C., invited by his wealthy friend Peter Solomon, a high-ranking Mason, to deliver a speech in the Capitol building. The moment he enters the rotunda, however, Langdon discovers there is no speech. The “invitation” has been faked by an individual who wants our hero to find something that has been conspicuously positioned — a severed hand (Solomon’s), marked with Masonic tattoos and propped to point to an 1865 painting of George Washington depicted as a pagan god. As horrific as this is, Langdon recognizes that the grisly object resembles something called “the Hand of the Mysteries.”

“[I]t seems the man we are dealing with, in addition to being mentally unstable, is also highly educated,” Langdon says. “This hand is proof that he is well versed in the Mysteries as well as their code of secrecy. . . . the Hand of the Mysteries is a sacred invitation . . . ”

That educated, unstable person calls himself Mal’akh (“angel” in Hebrew), and in him Brown gives us a villain as unique, zealous and eerie as the albino monk Silas in “Code.” Mal’akh is a muscled, tattooed eunuch — a chameleon-like figure who seeks a hidden Masonic pyramid because, the legend goes, it contains the power of transformation (a common quest, Brown reminds us, in the ancient world). It seems Mal’akh gained the trust not only of Peter but also of Peter’s sister Katherine, a scientist through whom Brown introduces the theme of science versus magic — not to mention the possibility that a wedding might be in Langdon’s future.

Like the “cryptex” in “Da Vinci Code,” an antique object aids Langdon and Katherine on a hunt across — and beneath — the city, a hunt in which they are helped — and hindered — by characters including the blind dean of Washington’s National Cathedral and the gnomic director of the CIA’s Office of Security, Inoue Sato (don’t mess with her).

All of this is going to feel very familiar to readers of the previous Langdon books, even though Brown has shifted from foreign places to plant his thriller firmly on American soil. That, of course, is fine for Langdon: He finds this country’s past as rich and mysterious as any other’s. “Seriously,” he tells his students, “Washington, D.C., has some of the world’s finest architecture, art and symbolism. Why would you go overseas before visiting your own capital?”

Why, indeed. Some people believe Freemasonry’s origins in medieval craft guilds include a darker, conspiratorial side. Historians point out that the secrecy of Scottish Rite Freemasonry, in particular, has led to its being the least understood of Masonry’s variants — a situation Brown exploits to the fullest with depictions of occult ceremonies.

Hidden knowledge takes many shapes in “The Lost Symbol.” Alchemists, Egyptians and rabbi sages are invoked; so are the U.S. government’s eavesdropping tactics in the war on terror, superstring theory and the New Agey-sounding study of noetics, which Katherine believes one day will enable the mind to bring about real changes in the physical world.

Brown’s narrative moves rapidly, except for those clunky moments when people sound like encyclopedias (“The sacred symbol of the Hebrews is the Jewish star — the Seal of Solomon — an important symbol to the Masons!”). But no one reads Brown for style, right? The reason we read Dan Brown is to see what happens to Langdon: We want to know if he will overcome slim odds to uncover Mal’akh’s motives and a cunning plan that, while not involving a vial of antimatter, is a major threat to national security.

And yet, it’s hard to imagine anyone, after reading “The Lost Symbol,” debating about Freemasonry in Washington, D.C., the way people did Brown’s radical vision of Jesus and Mary Magdalene in “Code.” That book hit a deep cultural nerve for obvious reasons; “The Lost Symbol” is more like the experience on any roller coaster — thrilling, entertaining and then it’s over.

nick.owchar@latimes.com
in Los Angeles Times

Singer Sticks Sword into “Excalibur” Redo

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Warner Bros. has closed a rights deal to remake the 1981 “Excalibur,” with Bryan Singer producing and developing the picture as a potential directing vehicle.

Deal comes as Singer gets serious about making the New Line-Legendary co-production “Jack the Giant Killer” his next directing effort, according to sources.

WB and Legendary Pictures have labored for months to pull together the rights to the film, which Singer will produce with Julie Yorn. Polly Johnsen, who was Polly Cohen when she was the WB exec who presided over the Singer-directed WB/Legendary collaboration “Superman Returns,” will also be a producer.

“Excalibur” is the quintessential myth-of-King-Arthur film, complete with the enchanted sword, the Knights of the Round Table, Merlyn the wizard and the quest for the Holy Grail to save Arthur’s life. The original film was directed by John Boorman and adapted from the Thomas Malory book by Rospo Pallenberg and Boorman.

Boorman’s film broke talent such as Helen Mirren (who played the evil Morgana) and Liam Neeson (Sir Gawain) as well as Gabriel Byrne, Patrick Stewart and Ciaran Hinds. WB had some of the rights as a library title; the rest were secured from Boorman.

Singer hasn’t set a writer yet. Matt Reilly is overseeing for WB, Erik Olsen for Yorn and Singer’s former partner Alex Garcia is overseeing for Legendary.

Singer recently signed on to develop to direct and produce “Battlestar Galactica” at Universal, a project he’d been eyeing since he originally made a deal to godfather a series revival in 2001. At the same time, Singer has been flirting with directing “X-Men: First Class,” a 20th Century Fox spinoff that got a first script draft by “O.C.” creator Josh Schwartz.

It looks like his next directing assignment could well be “Jack the Giant Killer,” a riff on the Jack and the Beanstalk legend developed by New Line with scripters Darren Lemke and Mark Bomback and producer Neal Moritz. The story revolves around a young farmer who leads an expedition into the land of the giants to recover a kidnapped princess.