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Knights Templar purchase Christ Episcopal Church in Canaan

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CANAAN — Christ Episcopal Church has been sold.

The stately stone building and its adjacent bell tower, which have sat prominently on a rise on Main Street since 1846, once again will be home to a religious order.

Castle Church Canaan purchased the property this week as its national headquarters. According to the land transfer at the town clerk’s office, the price was $100,000. The sale went from the Episcopal Church to the Mission Society of Connecticut to the Knights Templar.

The church has stood vacant since 2012, when it closed due to declining membership. Many congregants who had attended the church for years — some whose families went back generations — were saddened by the move.

Tears flowed at the final Sunday service on Sept. 10, 2012, when Connecticut Episcopal Bishop Laura Ahrens delivered the final sermon.

Bryant Jones, a member of the Knights of Templar organization, said it is a national group that follows the Anglican tradition.

The members have been searching for a headquarters, and because most of them are from the New York-New England area, Canaan was the perfect choice, he said. They also were enticed by the building’s history.

It was designed by Richard Upjohn, who also did the state Capitol in Hartford.

The plan is to continue to use the church as a sanctuary. Robert Fredrickson will be the full-time pastor and is expected to lead his first service this Sunday at 10 a.m.

The [Order], Jones said, is open to those who profess a following of Jesus Christ. They can be Catholics, Protestant or Orthodox. Members cannot be felons, and must have enough education to understand the rules of the order and its services.

“We hold the spirit and physical inspiration from the ancient Knights of Templar from 1118,” Jones said. “They protected the Christian pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Their job was to guard the roads and keep them safe. We offer the same protection of Christianity on the symbolic road in life.”

The Knights perform their acts in peaceful ways, Jones said. With persecution of Christians still evident, especially in places such as the Middle East, members raise money to make donations to help those facing such situations.

The Knights hope to spread the word of their mission, and in September 2020, are planning an International Conclave with 100 members and delegates from around the world.

Jones emphasized they are not associated with the Masons. He said they have no claim to the heritage of the ancient templars, but they do get their spiritual inspiration from them.

“We can’t trace our lineage back to the 1100s, but we do go back to 1705,” he said.

Jones noted how thrilled they are to be in such lovely surroundings.

“We plan to preserve and continue the beauty of the church,” he said. “It’s much like a castle and so it’s fitting for our organization. It reflects the Medieval style.”

Member Ton Huffmaster was at the church earlier this week. He had traveled from Arkansas to make some needed repairs to the church and the hall, another building on the site. That building, which formerly housed a thrift shop and was used for free community meals when Christ Church Episcopal occupied the premises, will be available for rental for social functions, he said.

BY RUTH EPSTEIN Republican-American


Prior Bryant Jones – Conference – Dighton Rock (Video)

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Fr+ Bryant Jones, Prior of the United States OSMTJ sent us the link to his Conference at the Dighton Rock Museum. I hope you enjoy.

Conference – History of the Knights Templar and how they were reorganized into the Portuguese Knights of Christ

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We have received the following message from dear Br+ Bryant Jones, GP USA of the OSMTJ.

“I’ve been asked to speak on the “History of the Knights Templar and how they were reorganized into the Portuguese Knights of Christ” at the Dighton Rock Museum in Berkeley, Massachusetts. Please see the pictures below for the inside and outside of this wonderful museum.  The Dighton Rock is significant for us because when the member of the Portuguese Knights of Christ named Miguel Corte-Real was sailing the coast of Massachusetts in 1511, he stopped to sign this rock and carve into it the symbol for the Knights of Christ.  As you are aware, the Knights of Christ originated from the Knights Templar.

All of you are invited and I begin speaking at 1pm this Sunday August 13th.  (The vast majority of you live far away and I don’t expect you to drive all that way for a 1 hour presentation).

Directions:  Please follow the directions to Dighton Rock State Park listed on their website: https://m.facebook.com/FriendsOfDightonRockMuseum/

If any of you would be willing to share the link about this event from their above Facebook page, I would be grateful to you.

God bless,

Bryant Jones

Grand Prior OSMTJ-USA



Dear Br+ Jones, please send us a text with your speach. We would love to publish it!

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?”


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.


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?


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.

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.

A slice of what’s coming down the pipe for Sunday

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Ink and paper for more than a century have dominated Tinley Park recordkeeping.

That means thousands of paper files, from handwritten meeting minutes to incentive deals with business owners, are packed in file cabinets or stored in binders and boxes in a village hall vault.

Scanning and digitizing those documents is one of the main goals of Trustee Patrick Rea, who officially becomes village clerk Tuesday.

He estimates the effort, which also includes moving some documents to storage, will take about 400 hours. Rea said that’s a small price to pay to make sure Tinley Park’s history is secure in case a tornado rips through village hall or another natural disaster destroys all that paper.

Staff members likely will share and shift responsibilities to get the job done, Rea said.

“The only reason I’m pushing this is that my experience indicates to me that this is an area that could be a real problem if we don’t solve it reasonable soon,” he said.

Rea was working for the federal government when Hurricane Katrina hit. Washington had trouble verifying who owned what property, which delayed financial help, because so many paper records were destroyed in the storms, Rea said.

A trustee for 38 years, Rea has worn several hats besides his village work. He’s a retired U.S. Army Reserves brigadier general, former regional administrator for the Small Business Association and former Illinois Development Finance Authority executive director.

Rea is grand commander for the International Knights Templar and is friends with European counts, who often attend parties in Washington Rea hosts during presidential inaugurations.

Want to know more? Snag a paper Sunday or come back to our Web site.

By Kristen Schorsch, Sun Times News Group

USO Savannah Gets Some Help

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The USO is getting some much needed support.

Funded solely by private donations, today the USO received a check for one thousand dollars from The Priory of St. Vincent, Knights Templar.

The money will help fund the USO’s efforts to support the troops and their families stationed here and around the world.

“This is great! This goes a long ways towards our efforts. We do a lot here at Hunter with the troops who deploy and redeploy and we are doing everything we can to support those stationed in this area,” explains Ray Gaster of USO Savannah.

“I think it’s very important to support all of our military. They are doing a tremendous job for our country. They are protecting us our rights our freedoms,” says Hal Murray of The Priory of St. Vincent, Knights Templar.

If you would like more information on how you can support the USO contact (912) 354-5794.


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Out-there researchers discuss the impending … something

The broadcast-quality lilt of Coast to Coast AM radio host George Noory wafted over a packed conference room at Beverly Garland’s Holiday Inn last Saturday night as he a moderated a panel of out-there researchers engaged in a radical examination of Hollywood’s covert use of occult symbolism and alien agendas — the same week that the Vatican’s chief astronomer told an interviewer that belief in alien life does not contradict belief in God. As Noory told the audience, “There’s definitely a sense of an impending … something.”

Noory is the successor to radio’s legendary Art Bell, who stoked a particular millennial Zeitgeist with his fireside chats on UFOs, the paranormal and all manner of conspiracy theories with his syndicated radio program, before passing the mike to Noory in 2002. Coast to Coast AM remains a cultural touchstone, and Noory — personable and mustachioed — continues to bring so-called fringe ideas front and center.

We’re at “an extraordinary crossroads, with the way life is unfolding,” commented panelist Whitley Strieber, whose most recent novel is based on the doomsday/consciousness-shifting 2012 mythos, and who believes he was “implanted” with a device by his “visitors.” He recalled a bit of the aliens’ verbiage: “We will come from within you.”

According to panelist/abduction therapist Yvonne Smith, 17 functional-growth characteristics in humans born between 1947 and 1987 have been accelerated by 60 to 80 percent. “It’s not environment, it’s not evolution,” she asserted.

A “mutation of society” is under way, and “the skeptic community is getting quieter and quieter,” remarked Dr. Roger Leir, a Valley-based podiatrist, who removes alleged alien implants.

Jordan Maxwell, an expert in occult symbolism and secret societies, likened Americans to Alec Guinness’ blindly megalomaniacal lieutenant colonel in The Bridge on the River Kwai once he realizes he’s been working for the enemy: “What have I done? There is no way out.”

“Jordan’s been looking down the barrel of the New World Order for nearly 50 years,” Noory said.

Maxwell, expounding upon the secret fraternal orders to which our government and religious leaders are bound, remarked, “The Da Vinci Code and National Treasure are teasers. The powers behind Hollywood are Knights Templars, showing you what they can do.”

“What does Hollywood know that we don’t?” asked panelist Jay Weidner, producer of the documentary 2012: The Odyssey. Was Eyes Wide Shut a representation of a sex cult for rich perverts, or a portrait of the Illuminati? Subversive director Stanley Kubrick died two hours after bringing a rough cut of the film to Warner Bros. “Like the Zapruder film, you can see what he was trying to say by what’s missing,” said Weidner, who believes Kubrick fled for England in the ’60s after experiencing events depicted in the film. (Scientologists Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, he said, were simply cast as part of “an inside joke.”)

In Rosemary’s Baby, John Cassavetes’ character eagerly permits the devil to impregnate his wife to ensure his Broadway stardom. “He’s the spitting image of Jack Parsons [black magician and co-founder of Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory],” claimed Mike Bara, co-author with Richard C. Hoagland of the recent best-seller Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA. “It’s the magical ritual known as the Babylon Working. Rosemary becomes the mother of the antichrist.”

A question came from the audience: “There’s so much to dissect from entertainment now — Iron Man, Battlestar Galactica, The Mist, Marvel’s Sons of the Serpent. There’s even a conspiracy theorist in Justice League of America.” The bearded young man echoed the sentiments of many assembled: “Why now?”

“They release little bits of truth, so that in the future they can say, ‘We said that years ago,'” Maxwell answered. “You’ve got to read between the lines.” Entertainment is used to indoctrinate or spread disinformation. Case in point: Universal’s recent optioning of the “period” action script The Knights Templar. “Each time you get a bigger sense of how the game is being played, you are less manipulated by it.” Maxwell asked the audience to verify his contentions — Rome is still in control, a powerful occult system has dominated consensus reality for thousands of years — by forcing us to pay attention to “their” symbols: words, flags, coats of arms. “Once you see [it] organized, it’s frightening.”

“The Gnostic belief is that we must have an apocalypse to bring about the golden age,” Weidner commented. “But is that apocalypse the death of all of us, or the death of consciousness as we know it?”

The Mayan calendar, which runs out at midnight on December 12, 2012, is expected to take us out, whether by mass extinction, interplanetary invasion or a total paradigm shift — a metaphysical bang or a cosmic whimper. With four years and counting, Maxwell advised, “always trust those who are looking for the truth.”

But what the bleep is it?



Note: the OSMTHU does not endorse said “conspiracy theories”, but our editors tought that the article was interesting and provocative enough to be brought to the attention of our readers.

Conspiracy Theories and the Enlightenment

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 Today, we usually view paranoid people as mentally unstable, particularly those who think “everyone” is out to get them. The more they talk about conspiracies and secret plots to kill them, overthrow the government, and so on, the more we think they should be committed to a mental institution as suffering from the disease of paranoid schizophrenia.

So it might surprise us to discover that many of our founding fathers in the decades surrounding the American Revolution believed a number of conspiracy theories. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Edmund Burke and others considered their ability to identify plots and conspiracies a sign of their enlightened intellect and keen insight into world affairs. They did not view such paranoid fantasies as irrational psychoses, but as rational explanations formed by their superior thinking abilities.

Although America’s leaders saw conspiracy theories as the height of rationality, in retrospect, we can now see them as only one step removed from a religious view of the cosmos that saw both nature and human society under God’s control.

During the early Reformation, from the 16th to the 17th centuries, Protestants believed the course of human society was under God’s control. God had a Plan, a great design of salvation, and He implemented it through individuals, events, and other means. While people could see God’s hand in local events, often working though individual leaders, the vast realm of human history beyond that was unknowable, part of the mysterious workings of the Divine.

When the Enlightenment arose in Europe and America in the 18th century, it removed God from His place as the controller of human actions and taught that human beings, not God, were in charge of their own society. This meant that there was no unknowable controlling hand of the Divine; instead, all could be understood by rational thought since everything stemmed from human actions.

The early Enlightenment may have dethroned God, but it did not get rid of the idea that events were controlled. If God did not control events, then humans did. That vast realm of unexplained human activity once thought to have been caused by God’s implementation of His Plan was now seen as under the control of particular individuals or groups. From this belief, conspiracy theories and imagined plots were only a short step, particularly when events stymied one’s own plans and intentions.

The British actions in attempting to control their difficult American colonies in the 1760s and 1770s, for example, were seen by Thomas Jefferson as “a deliberate systematical plan for reducing us to slavery.” As Jefferson and his compatriots sought political participation and representation in Britain, they saw British actions as a plot to deprive the colonists of any sort of self-rule.

Conspiracy theories often blamed foreign governments. The Americans blamed the British, the British blamed the French, the French blamed the British or the Germans, and so on. But often the blame went to religious groups. Masons, Templars, Jews and Catholics were often imagined as the supposed nefarious and secret opposition.

Religious groups were useful, imaginary plotters for their supposed religious beliefs could account both for their secrecy (since there was no visible evidence of their conspiracy) and their allegiance to the leaders whose orders their members supposedly carried out.

By the 20th century, it became clear that no humans, whether individuals or groups, secret or not, could control the course of human events. Human society is simply too complex. Today, universities have numerous disciplines that study the variety of human activity ranging from anthropology to sociology and political science, from departments that study literature and language to those that address the traditional arts of painting, sculpture and music as well as the modern arts found in film, TV and the Internet.

Despite decades of serious analysis, these approaches are only beginning to chart the complexities of human action and interaction.

The personalized investigation of “who did it?” may play on the nightly news shows, but the more important question of “how did it happen?” requires sustained study from a variety of perspectives and methods. The conspiracy theory as an encompassing mode of explanation has fallen from its intellectual pinnacle and has largely been relegated to the asylum.

By Paul V.M. Flesher, University of Wyoming

DVD Review: National Treasure (2-Disc Collector’s Edition)

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I’m at a crossroads. Is it possible to really like a movie but not have anything substantially positive to say about it? Some movies, it appears, are not wholly a sum of their parts. National Treasure (2004) has been released again to DVD, this time on a 2-Disc Collector’s Edition. I knew I had enjoyed the movie on its first DVD release in 2005 but couldn’t remember why as I sat down with this new release.

To start, this is a Jerry Bruckheimer production. His previous collaborations with Nicolas Cage (The Rock and Con Air) had both been entertaining but lackluster performances for an actor that once gave us Leaving Las Vegas. I like Bruckheimer’s television productions (CSI and The Amazing Race) and he hit the sweet spot with Pirates Of The Caribbean but his resume is filled with more style than substance.

The film starts with one of the plot devices that will instantly take all the momentum out of a movie. The movie starts in a flashback to 1977 and almost immediately flashes back within the flashback to 1832. If starting an action-adventure film is like starting a race, this is the equivalent of running five minutes in the wrong direction before turning around to start running in the correct direction. There’s quite a bit of history to be conveyed to solve the clues to this treasure hunt, but most of them are explained without flashback (like the prop of the $100 bill in Philadelphia). This device only accomplishes two minor points. First, we here the “Charlotte” clue that perplexes treasure hunters for 172 years. Well, it’s only a mystery for the viewer until the next scene after the credits when we discover that “Charlotte” is a ship. Secondly, the initial flashback to 1977 sets up Benjamin Gates’ (Nicolas Cage) passion for hunting this treasure based on a story from his grandfather. This scene would serve as a better marker when he arrives at his father’s (Jon Voight) house after stealing the Declaration. There’s already a characterization there of the doubting father vs. the faithful grandfather. And it would help explain Dr. Abigail’s (Diane Kruger) turn to see him as a romantic figure.


The first scene after the credits serves as real start of the action. Ben, his computer nerd sidekick Riley (Justin Bartha), and his money sponsor, Ian (Sean Bean), are in the Arctic about to find the long-lost Charlotte. Conveniently, the ship is located only inches below the snow. Looking for the treasure in the ship allows for lots of exposition, including Knights Templar history for those that haven’t read or seen The DaVinci Code. Ben and friends don’t find the treasure but another clue that tells of a map on the back of the Declaration of Independence. Like the opening scene of Raiders Of The Lost Ark, here we have Ben’s partner, Ian turning on him to steal the clue and leave Ben for dead in the Arctic. This is a classic way to set up a rivalry and yet I feel like we never had time to see them as friends/partners so there isn’t the same betrayal when Ian turns on him.

This introduction to the plot and characters leads nicely into Act 1: stealing the Declaration of Independence. Ben and Riley are backed into a corner where stealing it is their only choice. No one believes their story. The scene where Ben and Riley are at the National Archives telling Dr. Abigail Chase that the Declaration is going to be stolen is one of the best quiet moments of the film. The chemistry between the three shines through, Riley’s “voice of reason” is set up, and Dr. Chase’s initial reluctance to believe their story still shows a passion for history that will later allow her to change.

Act 1 comes to a close with the first tent pole of the film. The chase through the streets of Washington D.C. as Ian pursues Ben with Abigail caught in-between is wonderfully constructed but it’s heartless. It feels too much like a computer-generated, generic chase. Maybe we don’t care enough about Abigail yet or that the plot device of the second Declaration is way too obvious that we aren’t concerned about the outcome of the chase.

Act 2 starts with the possession of the Declaration. The fact that Special Agent Peter Sadusky (Harvey Keitel) has started his investigation gives the plot a bit of a boost. Now, we have a second group to keep track of and stay ahead of. The Declaration sends them to Philadelphia in search of more clues. I like the way the clues build upon themselves, forcing the group to take along the previous clues in order to use future tools. The clue on the back of the $100 bill gives them a time constraint, always a good thing in an action film. The last clue in Philadelphia sends the groups to New York City.

This Act ends with the second tent pole of the film. There’s a long chase through the streets of Philadelphia that feels strangely like an on-foot replication of the chase scene in D.C. Once again, the chase seems placed here just to mark the end of the Act, not as a necessary plot device. In fact, I’d argue that after finding the glasses that gave us the last clue to head to Wall Street, that the movie didn’t need a chase scene. Let each group figure out where to go and have the race be to the treasure.

The final Act takes place as everyone races to the treasure. The sets are beautifully constructed, if not too influenced by the Indiana Jones series. We’ve got all of the important characters back together as we approach the end. When it looks like the treasure isn’t there, we discover the “real treasure” – the father’s pride in his son. This is where I think the scene back at the father’s house is wasted. If we build up the son’s want of acceptance by his father, then this last scene is a much bigger payoff. Once they discover their family pride, then they are allowed to discover the real treasure of the Knights Templar.

The DVD includes the usual suspects of extras – deleted scenes, on location, on the set, featurettes and an alternate ending that is better than the actual ending in many ways. The actual ending has Ben and Dr. Abigail at their new home talking to Riley about the treasure. The alternate ending builds upon a “new” relationship between Ben and his father. Here they’re at the National Archives and hint at more treasure-hunting together. This familial message puts a nice bow on the plot. It was dropped because it felt too much like a set-up for a sequel. What? Since when has that been a problem for a movie? Whether you’re planning one or not, it’s always good if you can leave yourself that opening.

So, I’m not sold on the producer. I don’t think that the lead actor gave his best performance. I think that the main theme of father/son family pride was buried. The chase scenes felt dull and uninspired. And I often felt like it was borrowing liberally from the Indiana Jones series. Yet, I was with the story the whole time. The mystery saves the day. One clue leads logically to another and the clues build upon the knowledge of the previous ones. No blood, no sex, and no foul language allowed me to watch this with my younger children. You can’t always put your finger on what makes you like a movie. I find it hard to say anything other than fun.

Written by Musgo Del Jefe