by April Holloway; Ancient Origins
Forensic geologist, Scott Wolter, has put forward a radical new theory concerning a set of three inscribed stones found near Spirit Pond in Phippsburg more than 40 years ago. According to Wolter, the controversial stones are evidence that the Knights Templar fled Europe for North America after their persecution in 1307, bringing with them the Holy Grail.
The Spirit Pond rune stones, as they are often called, were found in 1971 by a Walter J. Elliott, Jr., a carpenter born in Bath, Maine. The stones, currently housed at the Maine State Museum, have been dismissed by some scientists as a hoax or a fraud, but others maintain that they are authentic and provide evidence of pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact and Norse colonisation of the Americas.
The mysterious stones measure about six by eleven inches. One stone features a rough map on one side and inscriptions on the other. The second stone bore a dozen letters on one side, and the third contained a long message of sixteen lines neatly inscribed on both sides of the stone.
Upon finding the stones, Walter Elliott took them to the Bath Maritime Museum, where director Harold Brown suggested that the marks might be in the Norse runic alphabet. Subsequently, the stones found their way to Einar Haugen, Harvard professor of Scandinavian languages and history. In his published evaluation, he was adamant the stones were a fraud and dismissed them as “gibberish”.
Those who believe that the artefacts are authentic have claimed that Haugen’s swift dismissal of the stones served as an unfair deterrent to additional research ever since. According to Sue Carlson from the New England Antiquities Research Association (NEARA), once Haugen called them fakes, legions of other scientists in the mainstream establishment wrote them off as such and wouldn’t listen to any other theories.
The stones have caused a sharp divide. Both Haugen (1972, 1974) and Wahlgren (1982, 1986) declared the stones are a fake, while more recent research has tended towards an acceptance of its connection to medieval Scandinavia (Buchannan, 1974; Whittal, 1974; Gordon, 1974; Hahn, 1989, 1990; Nieldson, 1992, 1993, 1994; Chapman, 1981, 1993; Buchanan, 1993; and Carlson, 1994). According to the latter, the stones are proof of a widespread Viking presence in North America from the 14th-15th century.
In a report published in the NEARA Journal, Sue Carlson endeavoured to translate the stones. According to her research, it tells of a sudden storm and fearful Vikings trying to save their ship from “the foamy arms of Aegir, angry god of the sea.” In support of this perspective are the Viking traces found along the New England coast, and the location of two rectangular craters a few hundred yards from where the stones were found, which are believed to be sod houses, typical of Norse architecture, dated to around 1405.
Carlson dismissed Haugen’s claim the stones were covered in “gibberish,” saying he based that determination on an assumption it was Norse language circa 1010. Indeed, analysing and authenticating Norse runic inscriptions poses many challenges, due to the variations in scripts over the ages, and proponents of the stones’ authenticity have argued that Haugen was locked into just one of the many runic scripts that were in existence.
However, forensic geologist Scott Wolter has thrown another spanner into the works with his radical idea that the inscription is not proof of a 15th century Norse voyage to Maine, but the dramatic escape of the Knight’s Templars with the Holy Grail to North America. Woltor supports the theory that the Holy Grail is not a cup, but rather the line of descendants from a secret marriage between Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene.
“It’s the greatest story that’s never been told,” said Wolter, whose show “America Unearthed” is aired on the History Channel’s sister station, H2.
The theory assumes the Holy Grail has been misidentified for generations as a physical cup in which Christ’s blood was collected during his crucifixion. Wolter subscribes to the fringe theory that scholars throughout history mistakenly misinterpreted the Old French “san greal” as “holy grail”, instead of the similar but more accurate phrase “sang real,” which means “royal blood” – in other words, the bloodlines of Christ.
The Knights were a religious military group during the time of the Crusades, but in 1307, previous supporters in the Catholic Church and French royalty turned on the order, accusing members of heretical practices and hunting them down.
Wolter said he believes the Knights were a threat not only because of the wealth they had gained over the years but because they were the biological descendants of Christ. If revealed as members of the divine bloodline, he theorized, their claim to power would rival those of the church and monarchy.
One of Haugen’s justifications for dismissing the Spirit Pond stones as fake relates to a crisscrossed character appearing throughout the inscription, referred to as the ‘Hooked X’ or ‘Stung A’ because it represents the ‘a’ sound. Because the same symbol can be found on purportedly runic carvings famously discovered on stones in Narragansett and Kensington, the prevailing academic theory is that all the inscriptions are fakes, with carvers of the more recently discovered New England stones using the 1898 Kensington Rune Stone as their source material.
But Wolter has another hypothesis about the symbol. In his 2009 book, “The Hooked X: Key to the Secret History of North America,” he wrote that instead of disqualifying all three sites, the symbol validates them. Wolter said scholars thrown off by the hooked X are limiting their scope of research to the language used by Norse voyagers and argues that the stones instead were etched by Cistercian monks traveling alongside Knights Templar.
“These archaeologists have all been programmed [to believe the stones are fakes] and they can’t think outside the box,” said Wolter.
Wolter has theorised that the hooked X combines the upside-down V representing the male gender, the right-side-up V representing the female gender, and a small V on the top right arm representing a small female offspring. Together, that’s Jesus, Mary Magdalene and their daughter, Wolter said, and the symbol was one of many used by the Knights and their monk supporters as part of a secret language to communicate with one another without giving away their continued existence.
While Sue Carlson dismisses Wolter’s Knights Templar theory as “outrageous”, they do at least agree on one thing, and that is that the Spirit Pond stones have been unfairly treated since their discovery and at the very least deserve more objective research.
The Runes and Language of the Spirit Pond Stones and the Narrangansett Inscription can be Found in Modern Books – by Richard Nielsen
The Holy Grail in Maine? History Channel researcher’s theory touches off fresh debate about Phippsburg artifacts – Bangor Daily News
Spirit Pond – New England Antiquities Research Association
The Spirit Pond Inscription Stone – Science Frontiers
The Spirit Pond Inscription Stone: Rhyme and Reason – Suzanne Carlson