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The Templar Code For Dummies 1st Edition

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  • #91
    Temple Church (London, England)
    When walking through the old capitols of Europe, you come across the word Temple in the names of streets and neighborhoods, even subway stations. In almost every case, it’s a pretty safe bet that you’ve come across property held at one time by the Knights Templar. Not every Templar commandery or preceptory was enormous, but two of the biggest chunks of the Order’s real estate were in Paris and in London.

    Hidden behind the walls of the Inns of Court in London, just off Fleet Street at Chancery Lane, stands the Temple Church, with its distinctive circular design and stone effigies of buried Templar knights. The oldest portion of the church is the round end at the west, said to be patterned after the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the place of Christ’s burial, in Jerusalem.

    The Templars’ original home in London had been up the hill at the north end of Chancery Lane near High Holborn Street, but they quickly outgrew it. Templar holdings in London covered a massive area, from the Thames River north to High Holborn Street. The Temple Bar, where Fleet Street turns into the Strand, was the western boundary of the City of London (literally marked by a gate or bar) and the beginning of the Templar property.

    The church was completed and consecrated in 1185, and such was the prestige of the Templars that Heraclius, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, came all the way to London for the ceremony.

    Well, not exactly. Heraclius had a lousy reputation as being ignorant, degenerate, and something of a crook, and he was really in town looking to give his blessing to anyone who would be willing to come back and be king of Jerusalem (and his willing stooge). As protection, Heraclius brought with him the Grand Masters of both the Knights Templar and the Knights Hospitaller. While in London, he offered the job to King Henry II, who wasn’t impressed. Phillip II Augustus of France had been offered the job before him and had turned it down, and Henry didn’t much like being second on anyone’s list, but especially any list that started with the king of France — not a big surprise given that Henry owned more of France than Philip did. He, too, refused the job.

    Nevertheless, the consecration of the new headquarters of the Knights Templar in England was a momentous event. The interior of the church looked different than it does today. Stretching east of the round portion was a rectangular chancel, much like what is there today, but considerably shorter. The stone walls and carvings seen these days were lavishly painted in bright colors.

    The church has been altered and rebuilt many times since the Templars were dissolved and the property handed over to their rivals, the Knights Hospitallers. Eventually, the Templar holdings were rented out to two different colleges of lawyers, and the area is known today as the Inns of Court. The church is jointly used and maintained by the colleges, known as the Inner Temple and the Middle Temple. When the area became home to the legal profession and the Inns of Court, the term passing the bar literally meant crossing the old city boundary at the Temple Bar into the judicial section of town.

    World War II was not kind to the church. Nazi bombings of London destroyed the roof and gutted the interior. The architect Christopher Wren had constructed a detailed choir, pulpit, and other pieces after the Great Fire of London in 1666, but these had been removed during a remodeling in the 1840s. Wren’s old pieces had been displayed in a museum for a full century, and were reinstalled in the 1950s to replace what the German bombing had destroyed.

    The Temple Church is a key player in The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, and scenes from the 2006 film were shot on location.

    The marble effigies of knights in the floor are the clearest reminder of the Knights Templar themselves. The Temple Church remains a working church, and concerts are often performed there.

    The church can be a devil of a place to find, and its hours are very haphazard; it’s usually open Wednesdays through Sundays. Even worse, the Temple and Chancery Lane Tube (London Underground, or subway) stations are generally closed on Sundays, so plan your visit carefully, and still expect the occasional disappointment. Consult the church’s Web site ( for the latest schedule — it can change at the drop of a hat. After you visit the church, walk a few blocks up Chancery Lane and have lunch at the Knights Templar Pub, built in a former bank.

    Royston Cave (Hertfordshire, England)
    We talk about the many unique underground tunnels that crisscross under Hertfordshire in Chapter 17, but the Royston Cave in particular has been well explored and contains no gold or silver. It does, however, contain another kind of enigmatic treasure of the Templars.

    In 1742, a mysterious underground shaft was discovered underneath a large, flat stone in the marketplace in Hertfordshire. Excited discoverers did what they usually do any time this sort of thing gets found — they sent a kid down to see what was there. What he found was a man-made cave, a few human bones, and walls covered with religious drawings.

    Researchers believe the circular design, combined with certain construction techniques and the nature of the drawings, are the work of Knights Templar in the 13th century. The carvings are extensive and detailed, and include the signature symbol of two knights sharing a horse, the seal of the Templars. It may have been a chapel used in secret after the suppression of the Order, or even a hiding place. No one knows.

    For more information on the Royston Cave, check out its Web site at

    Rosslyn Chapel (Roslin, Scotland)
    We discuss Rosslyn Chapel in many places throughout this book (see especially Chapters 8 and 12), so it seems almost superfluous to reiterate it here. The legends wrapped up with this place are so numerous that it’s hard to separate sense from silliness, but we try to keep the qualifying statements to a minimum.

    Its full and proper name is the Collegiate Chapel of St. Mary, and it’s located just south of Edinburgh in the little village of Roslin. The chapel was built by William Sinclair (or St. Clair, depending on who’s doing the spelling), Third Earl of Orkney, Baron of Roslin, and First Earl of Caithness. Started in 1446, it took 40 years to complete. Some have suggested that the small chapel was intended to be part of a larger cathedral to be built later, while others claim it was intentionally small, for use as a family chapel, or even a Gothic representation of the Inner Chamber of King Solomon’s Temple.

    Although an inscription in the church identifies William Sinclair as a Knight Templar, even that has never been proved conclusively — the inscription is a fairly recent addition. His descendant, also named William, became the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and it’s entirely possible that the inscription was added to strengthen the theoretical story of a Templar origin of Freemasonry (see Chapter 8).

    The principal points of fascination within the chapel for most people are the many carvings that detail every nook and cranny: pre-Christian, pagan, leaf-covered, Green Men faces; knights on horseback; men in postures that resemble Freemasonic rituals; American plant life carved before Columbus ever got there — the list goes on. Many of these descriptions seem far-fetched when you see the actual carvings in person, but go and judge for yourself.

    Present-day visitors to the chapel may be startled to discover a supremely ugly temporary roof erected over the building. Previous attempts to preserve the delicate carvings and stone walls with sealant resulted in more harm than good, sealing water within the stone, and causing hairline cracks to develop. The goal is to dry out the entire building — difficult in Scotland’s soggy natural state.

    Since the publication of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, the little chapel that is the location of the book’s finale has been choked with visitors. Code fans are a little disappointed to discover that the chapel does not have a six-pointed Star of David (or Seal of Solomon) in the floor, that the Knights Templar didn’t build the place, and that Rosslyn is not the Scottish form of Rose Line. (Ross means “cliff,” and lyn means “running water” in the language of the Scots.)


    • #92
      Kilmartin Church (Argyll, Scotland)
      In their book The Temple and the Lodge (1989), Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh traveled to the Scottish village of Kilmartin and closely examined some unusual headstones in the churchyard there. In amidst the many family gravestones are 80 curious ones, unmarked and anonymous, except for the carving of a sword. The authors believe that these graves are solid evidence that the Knights Templar really did escape from France and come to Scotland to seek safe haven from arrest, and that the namelessness of the slabs reveals their origin. Templars fleeing arrest could not use their real names and might very well have been buried in this manner.

      Some people scoff at this theory. They claim that Templar headstones were never designed in such a way. Of course, this presupposes that Templars in Scotland escaping the dark days of excommunication and arrest would want to be identified in their graves. Go, visit, and decide for yourself.

      Chinon Castle (Chinon, France)
      Chinon Castle (shown in Figure 16-2) in France’s Vienne River Valley is an important place at several stages in French history. A fortified pile of some sort has existed on this plateau overlooking the river ever since the Romans wandered through (and back when “all Gaul was divided into three parts”). In the fourth century, it was a monastery, but it was expanded into an extensively fortified castle. Over the centuries, it has been held by both English and French kings, as those who get their history from movies like The Lion In Winter will quickly attest. England’s King Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and their son King Richard the Lionheart were buried nearby. And followers of the Joan of Arc story know it as the place where the young Joan recognized the dauphin as the heir to the throne, Charles VII, and implored him to declare himself King of France and pitch the English out on their collective arses. The English burned her at the stake for her trouble.

      Figure 16-2: Chinon Castle overlooking the Vienne River.

      What makes Chinon important to Templar mavens is that its dungeon, known as the Coudray Tower (or keep), was where King Phillip IV tossed many members of the order — including Grand Master Jacques de Molay — when they were arrested in 1307. The cylindrical structure still stands today, and graffiti attributed to the knights can barely be made out among the modern defacement of centuries of tourists.

      In 1308, Pope Clement V ordered a team to travel to Chinon and interrogate the Templars. The results of their questioning and subsequent absolution of their confessed sins were revealed in a document referred to as the Chinon Parchment, which remained hidden from researchers until the 1700s. Templars were kept at Chinon for seven years, as King Phillip slowly meted out torture and death sentences, and Clement did nothing to stop him. (We discuss the Chinon Parchment in more detail in Chapter 6.)

      The castle later became a state prison for more than 200 years. Today it is a fascinating complex to explore, in case you needed an excuse to go visit the Loire region of France — apart from beautiful scenery, magnificent chateaux, great food, and fine wine.

      Templar Villages (Aveyron, France)
      The Templars didn’t just build castles and churches. A Templar preceptory or commandery was often a self-contained village, with homes, farms, and other services for the many people who lived and worked there. These areas have not survived undisturbed over the last 800 years, but there are still places to catch a glimpse of what life in a medieval European Templar community was like.

      Probably the best can be found in the Aveyron region in south-central France — the villages of La Couvertoirade and Sainte-Eulalie-de-Cernon. The area was part of the busy pilgrimage trail that led from Paris to the Mediterranean, and on to the Holy Land, so it made sense for the Templars to establish settlements there. The farmland was perfect for raising crops and grazing horses and sheep — all essential goods needed to support the long journey to Jerusalem. The villages developed in the classic style of the period — a castle was built for defense, and the supporting community grew up around it.

      Like most of the Templar property in France, the villages were turned over to the Knights Hospitaller when the Templars were dissolved. The new landlords added to them, but the general feel and flavor remain much as they were when the Templars built them.

      Nearby, the village of La Cavalerie was also a Templar town, although little remains of the Templars’ influence apart from the ruins of a Templar church. Its fortifications largely came from the Hospitallers. The other major ruins of the period are in Viala du Pas de Joux, where a tall tower built by the Hospitallers still stands. And in the village of Sainte-Eulalie-de-Cernon, on every other Sunday in July, a procession passes through the tenth-century village carrying relics from the Crusades, including one of the sacred thorns from Christ’s crucifixion crown.

      The Aveyron region is famous for Roquefort cheese, in case your traveling companion has no interest in Templar stuff. And try not to get completely white-knuckle terrified while driving over the world’s highest bridge, the Millau Viaduct, on your way there.

      For more information on the Templar villages in the Aveyron region, check out

      Tomar Castle (Tomar, Portugal)
      The mother of all Templar sites in Europe is Tomar Castle in central Portugal, about 85 miles northeast of Lisbon. The Templars came to the aid of the Spanish and Portuguese Christians in an effort to push the Moors off the Iberian Peninsula. Muslims made other attempts to reoccupy the area, but the Templars’ defense succeeded.

      Muslims continued to occupy the southern portion of Spain and Portugal from 711 until 1492, but the defensive line drawn in the sand by the Templars prevented the Moors from mounting any more serious incursions north. The infamous Spanish Inquisition was actually started to root out both Muslims and Jews who may have falsely converted to Christianity in order to stay in the country. The eight centuries of battling the Moors for control of the Iberian Peninsula is known as the Reconquista.

      As a reward for their victories against the Moors, the Templars were given a large fiefdom surrounding the area of Tomar in 1159, which became the Portuguese headquarters of the Order, as well as the first Templar province established outside of Jerusalem. Tomar was in a largely unpopulated part of the frontier, and the Templars had their hands full while they both defended against the Moors and encouraged new Christian settlers to move in. Continuous victories extended the Templars’ holdings in Portugal.

      The castle at Tomar, known as the Convento de Cristo (Convent of the Order of Christ), was built by Gualdim Pais, the provincial Grand Master of the Templars, in about 1160. Using designs learned the hard way under battle conditions, it features round turrets at the corners — trickier to build, but simpler to defend than square ones. Central to the commandery is the large octagonal church, or charola (see Figure 16-3). Like the Templar church in London, its design is said to have been inspired by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, but more likely, the Dome of the Rock, in Jerusalem. The church was used in Templar initiations of new members, who were brought in on horseback. (A similarly magnificent example of this design can be found in Veracruz, Spain.)

      The nearby Church of Santa Maria do Olival was the first Templar church in Tomar and became the burial place of more than 20 knights of the order. In and around this church, as well as on several Templar gravestones, can be found the image of the five-pointed star, or pentagram. Though associations between the pentagram and witchcraft and Satanic worship are common today, such a connection is largely a modern invention, in spite of hysterical claims otherwise. The Templars may very well have brought the symbol to Tomar from Jerusalem, where early Christians attributed the symbol to the five wounds of Christ’s crucifixion.

      Figure 16-3: The octagonal church at Tomar, Portugal.

      Tomar is the largest European Templar settlement still standing today. It is also unique because of Portugal’s treatment of the order after their suppression in 1312. Unlike many other European nations, Portugal did not arrest the knights. Instead, the new Order of the Knights of Christ was created in Portugal, with the express encouragement of King Dinis, and the Templars simply changed their name (see Chapter 7). Tomar never fell into the hands of the Hospitallers, so it has retained its original Templar structure and character.

      Domus Templi — The Spanish Route of the Templars (Aragon, Spain)
      In the Aragon region of Spain, about 200 miles south of the border with France, where the Iber River flows into the Mediterranean Sea, the Templars assembled a string of Commanderies, known as the Domus Templi (Dominion of the Templars). The stream of Spanish pilgrims traveled the path down the Iber toward the sea for passage across the Mediterranean. The seaport at Peniscola became a strategic point from which the Templar fleet could ferry knights, pilgrims, and supplies.

      For Templar fans, the Spanish Domus Templi is a gold mine of medieval castles, towers, houses, churches, and more. Commanderies of the order were clustered in Gardeny (known in Templar days as Lleida), Monzon, Miravet, Tortosa, and Peniscola; all are worth visiting today. The tenth-century castle at Tortosa is especially impressive, while Peniscola’s castle on a peninsula overlooking the ocean is the best preserved (see Figure 16-4). It was the location used in the film El Cid (1960) starring beefy Charlton Heston.

      Figure 16-4: Peniscola Castle.

      For more information on the Domus Templi, check out

      Where It Ended: Isle de la Cite (Paris, France)
      Paris is a place where only ghosts of the Templars can be found. The vast portion of the city — nearly one-third of it — once belonged to the order, no doubt a contributing factor to King Philip IV’s jealousy of them. The mighty Templar Preceptory with its tall, fortified citadel, is long gone. It survived as a dungeon until after the French Revolution, when Napoleon had it destroyed. (The royal family had been imprisoned there during the Revolution before meeting Madame Guillotine, and Bonaparte didn’t want it to become a shrine for royalists.) Today, there is a quiet park on the site, and the Temple Metro station is on nearby Rue du Temple.

      The order’s last Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, died on a tiny isolated island adjacent to the Isle de la Cite, called the Ile-des-Juifs (Island of the Jews) in the middle of the Seine River west of where the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral stands. The island itself, now part of the Isle-de-la-Cite, is shaped almost like the prow of a ship, and there is a park there now, the Square du Vert Galant. It was there that de Molay and his friend Geoffroy de Charnay were tied to a stake on March 18, 1314. (The plaques on the island say the 19th, but historians agree that it was the 18th.) The old Grand Master, weary after seven long years of imprisonment, asked to be faced toward the cathedral and his hands tied such that he could fold them in prayer. As the fire was lit, he called out for both King Philip and Pope Clement V to join him before God’s tribunal within the year. The pope obliged and died a month later, followed by King Philip on November 29th.

      There is a legend that, when the fires died and the ashes settled, the bones of the Grand Master were taken away and kept. Believers in the tale of the Larmenius Charter (see Chapter 9), a secret document that passed control of the order onward to the present day, say that when the document was rediscovered in the 1700s, the charred bones of Jacques de Molay were still contained in the box with it, wrapped in white cloth.


      • #93
        Chapter 17

        Ten Places That May Be Hiding the Templar Treasure
        In This Chapter
        ● Digging for Templar treasure
        ● Discovering medieval hiding places
        ● Looking for secrets in plain sight

        Let’s cut to the chase.
        This chapter is the real reason you picked up this book. You aren’t buying for a second that the Templars only had some lofty spiritual treasure, or that the bloodline of Christ was the most valuable thing they were hiding. You know the Templars fled France with a whopping wad of swag, lucre, and pelf. There’s just gotta be a buried treasure somewhere — there’s just gotta! And all you need is a map and a shovel. So, in this chapter, we list ten places that the Templars are alleged by various sources to have stuffed their loot.
        Please obey all No Trespassing signs, and remember that if you’re caught packing explosives, we’re not bailing you out of some foreign jug.

        Rosslyn Chapel (Roslin, Scotland)
        This is it. This is the Mother of All Hiding Places. We discuss Rosslyn Chapel throughout this book, and it’s the location of the big finish of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. The Chapel is the focus of a huge spectrum of speculative scrutiny, and every year brings a new theory — or five — about what its thousands of peculiar carvings really mean, what’s hidden in its columns, and what’s buried in its crypt. Never mind that, so far, all that’s been found in its floors are dead Scotsmen.

        There’s an old legend rattling around that if you stand on a special spot in the chapel and blow a particular note on a special horn, the secret passage will open and the treasure will be revealed. It hasn’t happened yet.
        If you’re a careful reader, you’ll notice that we also include Rosslyn Chapel in the list of possible locations of the Holy Grail in Chapter 16. It’s all there.

        Oak Island Money Pit (Nova Scotia, Canada)
        This tiny island off the coast of Nova Scotia has been the subject of speculation since the discovery of a mysterious hole in the ground in 1795. So far, no one has reached the bottom, and manmade barriers have been struck regularly enough during the troublesome excavation that those involved have been convinced a massive treasure is just beyond the next layer. Although speculation has raged for more than two centuries about what’s at the bottom, nothing of serious value has ever been found. Still, enthusiasts have claimed that the pit hides pirate treasure, lost Spanish gold, bizarre otherworldly deposits from UFOs, or, most important for our discussion, Templar treasure.

        Author Steven Sora has speculated that the pit is the hiding place of Templar treasure, moved to Nova Scotia by the Catholic Sinclair family from its underground vaults in Rosslyn Chapel in 1545 to keep it out of Protestant hands. Seems like a lot of effort and expense, but who are we to argue with a zealous fascination with treasure?

        So much of the area has been churned under by major excavations in the last 100 years that the original opening to the pit has been bulldozed and lost. Since its first discovery, at least six people have been killed while digging for the treasure that always seems to be just beyond the next scoop of mud. In spite of recent hopes that the Canadian government would turn it into a tourist destination, the pit portion of the island was sold recently to a U.S. drilling company for $7 million. In 2006, a group of Michigan investors said a new expedition would begin soon.
        We discuss the Oak Island Money Pit extensively in Chapter 7.

        Temple Bruer (Lincolnshire, England)
        About 200 miles due north of London is the village of Lincolnshire. Nearby stands Temple Bruer, built by the Templars between A.D. 1150 and A.D. 1160. It was reputed to be the second richest preceptory in England, second only to London’s. Temple Bruer was passed to the Knights Hospitallers in 1312 when the Templars were suppressed, and was dissolved as a Hospitaller preceptory in 1540.

        Like many Templar preceptories, Temple Bruer featured a circular church, patterned after the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The church itself no longer stands, nor do most of the other buildings of the compound, apart from a tall tower that has been rebuilt several times. But an excavation from the 1800s revealed some lurid and tantalizing finds.

        The Reverend George Oliver, Doctor in Divinity, Vicar of Scopwick, and Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in Edinburgh, was a respected historian of the Victorian era. In 1837, he made an excavation of the Temple ruins and was shocked by what he found. Dungeons were uncovered, with the remains of corpses that had been beaten, tortured, and burned. Labyrinths of tunnels and vaults were everywhere, and there were more that hadn’t been excavated.

        Recent speculation has placed Temple Bruer at the center of a five-pointed star (or pentagram) made up of intersecting lines drawn from other significant churches. If this design is truly based on an intelligent design of sacred geometry and not just wishful thinking, the significance could be that there is something far more important than old bones buried in undiscovered vaults hidden under the Bruer heath. Could it be the Templar treasure?

        Hertfordshire, England
        While we’re still in England, there’s another location that has stirred up controversy in the last few years. The Templars had another preceptory in Hertford, at Temple Chelsin in nearby Bengeo, and recent discoveries of tunnels beneath the town have drawn international attention. Tunnels connect the dungeons of Hertford Castle with the County Hall, and other locations.

        The story goes that the Templars literally went underground in Hertford after their suppression, and that they continued to meet secretly beneath the town for centuries. Even today, rumors fly of secret, mystical Templar groups meeting in these subterranean passages, including a short-lived group from the 1940s and 1950s called the Knights Templar of Aquarius.

        The tunnel network is extensive, and many of the vaults seem to have been sealed up in the 1800s. Rumors abound of secret, booby-trapped vaults that may be hiding the Holy Grail, or, you guessed it, the vast Templar treasure. King Edward II imprisoned many of the local knights, and was desperate to find their hoard of gold and silver. He never did. Maybe it’s still there, waiting for you.

        Bornholm Island, Denmark
        Buried treasure is almost always on islands, so here’s another one to weigh anchor at. Located in the Baltic Sea, this Danish island lies smack-dab between Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and Poland. Its obviously strategic position has made it the object of military tug of war for centuries, and it played a vital tactical role to the Nazis in World War II.

        For a little place, Bornholm Island has a large number of medieval churches — 15 in all, and 4 of them are of a distinctive round shape, a favorite design of the Knights Templar.

        Speculative authors Erling Haagensen and Henry Lincoln have postulated that the churches on Bornholm Island were, in fact, built by the Knights Templar. And more important, when they are aligned with other important archeological sites — Rennes-le-Chateau in France, in particular — it becomes clear (to them, anyway) that what the Templars built was a colossal network of astronomical observatories. Haagensen and Lincoln laid all this out in their book, The Templars’ Secret Island, with a bewildering array of maps and geographical plotting that show the churches arranged in the pattern of a five-pointed star (or pentagram). But what if all those lines aren’t pointing at the round churches? What if those lines get followed back to the center and the churches themselves point to a position that hides the Templar treasure?

        Here’s a tantalizing tidbit of Templar treasure temptation: Nearly 3,000 pieces of stamped gold ingots depicting a strange human figure have been found on the island, and no one can definitively say where they came from or who they depict.

        Behage indromme mig den skovl!


        • #94
          Rennes-le-Chateau, France
          Ever since Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln published Holy Blood, Holy Grail in 1982, a stream of tourists have made their way to the tiny, out of the way, and hard-to-get-to village of Rennes-le-Chateau in southwestern France, on the trail of the Templars, the treasures of King Solomon, the Holy Grail, Mary Magdalene, and the Priory of Sion. In 2006 alone, the little hamlet was choked with more than 100,000 tourists. We talk more about this intriguing little village in Chapter 11, but suffice it to say, there’s enough here to keep the average treasure hunter busy for quite some time.

          Stuck between the Pyrenees Mountains in the south and the Cevennes Mountains in the north, the rugged countryside around Rennes has seen its share of bloody battles and rapidly changing landlords. One version of the story says that the Cathars who lived in the area actually had the treasure of Solomon’s Temple, and the Templars moved in and took it from them.

          Ruins from long-gone castles are everywhere, so you’ll have plenty of places to dig. Just don’t get caught. Between Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Da Vinci Code, the town has been plagued by late-night digging and impatient, would-be Indiana Joneses setting off explosives to blast their way into what they believed were the secret hiding places of a vast fortune.

          The best news for Templar treasure hunters is, thanks to the incredible highspeed TGV train system in France, you can get from Paris to this formerly isolated neck of the woods in just two hours.

          Chateau de Gisors (Normandy, France)
          This incredible fortress in Normandy has been tied to the Templars in a variety of sources, most notably in Gerard de Sede’s book, The Templars Walk Among Us. Gisors Castle was built in the 11th and 12th centuries, and located about 40 miles northwest of Paris, in an area once known as the Norman Vexin. Built by the English who temporarily owned the property for a while, it was at the center of a struggle between King Henry II of England and Louis VII of France.

          In 1158, the castle was handed over to the Templars for a while as neutral observers to keep the peace between the two kings. The castle later fell into the hands of the French and became a royal prison. It was reputed to have been the final prison of Grand Master Jacques de Molay in 1314.

          The castle is an unusual round design that seems to rise up out of a coneshaped mound of earth. Much of the building is underground, and a complex warren of subterranean tunnels and rooms exist. So it seems that an explorer back in 1946 claimed to have been doing some unauthorized digging down in the dungeon and struck pay dirt: 19 stone coffins and 30 metal boxes.

          The story reemerged in the 1960s, and local authorities were compelled to do some digging of their own. They found nothing — or so they say. Modern authorities strongly discourage treasure hunters who are convinced that the Templar treasure is hidden at Gisors. The authorities say nothing is there. Who do you believe?

          Okay, it’s a small country, but it gets big when you’re standing there with your shovel in your hand, trying to decide where to dig. As authors Alan Butler and Stephen Dafoe lay out in their book, The Warriors and the Bankers, Switzerland just appeals to common sense as the real haven for fleeing French Templars. It was close, it was friendly, it had lots of places to hide in, and in later years, it became world-renowned for international banking. Even its flag features the Templar Cross, in Templar colors, albeit in reverse: a white cross on a red field.

          Switzerland was not a country, per se, in the days of the Templars. It was largely a smattering fiefdoms and dukedoms. But if you had to pick a spot to start digging, one town in particular jumps out with a suitably Holy Land-like, Templaresque name: Sion. High up in the Alps, it is the modern-day capital of the canton of Valais, and its medieval buildings are unique. Two enormous castles, both built around A.D. 1300, stand up on two opposing peaks in the middle of town: the Chateau Valere (home of the world’s oldest playable organ, installed in 1390) and the ruins of the Chateau de Tourbillon.

          If the treasure isn’t there, you may be out of luck. Switzerland is known the world over for its strict laws of preserving the secrecy of its banking customers, and if somebody found it before you, you’ll probably never know who it was.

          Trinity Church (New York City)
          If you saw the 2004 movie National Treasure, then you already know that Nicolas Cage has beaten you to the treasure. In the opening scene of the picture, a montage shows the building of Solomon’s Temple, the Templars’ discovery of its riches, their voyage across the Atlantic, and the revolutionary War-era Freemasons who protected the treasure. (We haven’t spoiled anything yet — they do all this in the first two minutes of the movie. But stop now if you haven’t seen it before, because we’re about to ruin the end for you.)

          In the end, the vast treasure of the Templars gets found at the bottom of a pit with an ingeniously designed 18th-century elevator, underneath Trinity Church in New York City. Trinity Church has an unusual history, and it sits on some of the most valuable real estate in the world, at the corner of Broadway and Wall Street, surrounded by massive skyscrapers and the New York Stock Exchange. With room in the church for just 550 members of its congregation, how have they been able to hold out for so long — since the 1600s — against what are undoubtedly lavish offers to sell the place? We know how — they’re really financed by the Templar treasure. And all that loot underground in such close proximity to Wall Street and the center of commerce for the free world can’t possibly be a coincidence.

          Don’t go digging in the adjacent graveyard — Alexander Hamilton is buried there, and he’ll haunt you. He was the first Secretary of the Treasury and the biggest promoter of the U.S. government starting a national bank. With Templar gold perhaps?

          Washington D.C.’s Rosslyn Chapel
          We think we know what has become of the Templar treasure. It has never made sense that a group as shrewd as the fabled Knights would go roaming the countryside with trunks of gold and silver and burying it in a hole somewhere, any more than Donald Trump or Goldman-Sachs would. Theory after theory has been concocted about locating the Templar’s treasure, but to no avail. Many such conjectures involve so-called “sacred” locations and convoluted claims of bizarre astronomical or geometric calculations, star charts and other such stuff and nonsense. Well, we’ve discovered the treasure. We know where it is, we know what it is, and it is hiding in plain sight.

          Many books have been published over the years connecting the Freemasons mysteriously with Washington D.C., including Chris’s own Solomon’s Builders. But most people don’t know that there is a neighborhood due west of, and across the Potomac from, the White House, called Rosslyn. It is named after the famous chapel in Scotland, and it is part of a larger bit of sacred geometry of its own.

          The Freemasons and the Templars are bound together in legend, and maybe even by a few facts (see Chapter 8). And everybody knows that the Freemasons were somehow involved in the building of Washington, D.C.

          If you believe that, drag out your map of Washington, D.C., and start connecting the dots. Start at the White House and draw a line north up 16th Street to Rock Creek Park. Like the Rose Line in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, the 16th Street meridian is believed by some researchers to be of mystic and spiritual origin — so much so that several “secret” societies and literally dozens of churches are built along it.

          Follow 16th Street to the entrance of Rock Creek Park. It is a little known episode of history that, in the 1860s, there was a brief notion of the city planners to build a new presidential mansion at what is now Rock Creek Park,

          because of the noise, smells, and general yuckiness of the swampland around the existing White House. The tradition of the original White House prevailed, the president’s residence stayed put, the swamp got filled in, and Rock Creek Park is now a beautiful, rustic recreation area for D.C. residents. But, nevertheless, here are two potential White House spots located at either end of the “sacred” 16th Street meridian.

          Now for the really clever bit. Draw a line straight west of the White House, just across the Potomac to the Rosslyn Metro station. Draw another diagonal line from the Rosslyn Metro stop up to the entrance of Rock Creel Park. Voila! Sacred geometry! A right-triangle that connects the two White House locations with a neighborhood named after one of the most enigmatic Templar locations in the world, Rosslyn Chapel!

          So what, you say? Here’s what. Just across the street from the Rosslyn Metro Station is another Rosslyn Chapel. And like its Scottish cousin, it is one of the most peculiar churches anywhere in the world. More important, its underground vaults hold a modern-day Templar treasure, one of the most valuable riches on Earth.

          The Arlington Temple United Methodist Church is located at 1835 N. Nash Street, dead center in Rosslyn. And its treasure? It seems that the church elders decided in the 1970s that it would be good fiscal planning to have a steady income, so when the building was constructed, it was designed on top of a gas station. Its underground tanks hold several thousand gallons of gasoline, and with oil prices at what they are today, this modern-day Rosslyn Chapel has it made.


          • #95
            Wives Beware