The Curse of Oak Island and the Oak Island mystery are not fake. I don’t believe that any artifact that is shown on the show is fake. (Well, except for that Roman sword.) I think every single one is legitimate. I think they hide certain bits of information, and they bury certain things because of the TV show because they think that they need to make it more dramatic.
The central lie of the show though, and yes I’m going to call it a lie, is this myth of the Knights Templar, that anything on Oak Island has anything to do with the Knights Templar. It does seem that the producers of the show seem to not be able to handle reality for more than say six to eight episodes at a time before they have to bring up the whole Knights Templar myth.
They ignore all the tangible real evidence that shows fairly conclusively–circumstantially, yes, but still fairly conclusively–that what happened on Oak Island happened in the 1660s to 1680s with a second flurry of activity in the 1730s and 1740s. That’s what the carbon dating shows that’s what every single artifact indicates.
Despite there being absolutely zero, absolutely zero, evidence that any artifact on Oak Island is connected to the Knights Templar, zero evidence that the Knights Templar would even do something like deposit something on Oak Island, zero evidence that the Knights Templar would ever have gone to the new world just on and on. this idea, this myth, this conspiracy theory from the producers of the show rears its ugly head every now and then.
It’s really reared his head in the last episode that aired of The Curse of Oak Island April 26th, 2022, in the United States. See here’s the thing–the Knights Templar really existed. They were of course actually called the Poor Knights of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon and they came to colloquially be known as the Knights Templar. They didn’t call themselves that. Yes, they existed as a quasi-religious military order, and yes they really did go to the holy land, and yes they really did invent many of the elements of our modern banking system that were copied by the Medicis and others that helped spark the renaissance, but the reality is the Knights Templar were not that interesting, not that mysterious, and basically everything else that you’ve heard about the Knights Templar is nonsense.
The Knights Templar were founded in 1119 during the crusades where various Christian armies, mostly from France, tried to conquer Muslim lands in what is known as the “holy land,” what is now Israel, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine. In that area the Knights Templar were one of several military organizations that were founded in the crusades. The most famous other one being the Hospitaliers or the Knights of Saint John. The Knights Templar were originally only a French group of knights, military people not religious people. So to call them warrior monks as The Curse of Oak Island does is a bit disingenuous and misleading.
The basic idea of their order was to militarily protect the holy land and especially protect Christian pilgrims who wished to visit the holy sites such as Jerusalem. The knights got together and dedicated themselves to this task to protect Christian interests in the holy land. They found a patron in Bernard of Clairvaux, and Bernard went to the pope to get official blessings from the Catholic Church, which they did. The Catholic Church recognizing that, yes, a little bit of military influence is a good thing. Back then, this is of course the 1100s, the idea of the papacy getting involved in military and political affairs was part and parcel. It’s not like today
It is true, as i mentioned, that the Knights Templar grew, and they grew wealthy. They grew wealthy because they earned money from their task. They were military mercenaries. They fought not only against the Muslims in the holy land of Levant but they also were mercenaries fighting the Muslims in the Iberian peninsula.
As an officially sanctioned order of the Catholic Church, people could donate money and land to the order of the Knights Templar. That’s how the Catholic Church in general gained much of his wealth throughout the medieval period. People, to earn good grace with God, would bequeath their lands and wealth upon death to the Church. And you could do that to an order such as the Benedictines or the Dominicans or any other monastic order. Or you could do it to the Knights Templar or the Hospitaliers, which people did.
When you have wealth, people come to you and say, “hey, could i borrow money?” And of course, as any banker will tell you, lending money is a great way to make more money–use your money to make more money. So for over two centuries, this order of the Poor Knights became kind of the order of Rich Knights. Plus. they were very good at trade, and they were very good at military campaigns, and they were very good at, well, making money, even though they supposedly had taken about poverty. It was like, well, they didn’t own it, the order owned it, and we’re just enjoying it or something like that. Again the Knights Templars are not exceptional in this, this is going on throughout Christian Europe at this time.
So, from the revenue sources of religious pilgrimism, mercenary activity, banking, and kind of being a safe deposit service for wealthy clients when they go on journeys or crusades or whatever, the Knights became fairly wealthy. Where the whole mythos of them being something more than just simply a bunch of rich knights comes from King Philippe IV of France. Now, when you are wealthy, and you are powerful, people will envy you. This happened to the Knights Templar. A lot of people wanted to take them down a peg. And of course, a lot of people wanted to take their stuff.
But back to Philippe IV who was a really nasty human being. It was Philippe IV who invented the myth of the Templars are not just an order of knights, not just fantastically successful businessmen, they are heretics who do bizarre anti-Christian rituals. Well, none of this has any truth at all, as any historian worth anything will tell you. I know, there’s a whole bunch of idiots writing fictional novels or writing really bad history books or being interviewed on really bad basic cable TV shows who would tell you who the Knights Templar were a secret society that did secret rituals and they had the Ark of the Covenant and the Menorah of Solomon and this and that and alien spaceships or whatever it is that they make up. But it is nonsense.
Why did Philippe IV want to smear the Templars with these lies? Well, first off, understand saying that so and so is anti-Christian performing secret satanic rituals, engaging in homosexual activity, spitting on the cross all that stuff, that was normal. It’s like the old joke about the Soviet Union, “Oh he fell out of a window, oh dear.” That’s what you do with political enemies. Well, back in the 1100s to 1200s, and 1300s, you got rid of your political enemies by declaring them heretics or doing secret satanic rituals and practicing homosexuality and all that stuff. So you get these trumped-up charges and you have a trumped-up kangaroo court and you get rid of them.
That’s exactly what Philippe IV did with the Knights Templar. It’s really no more mysterious than that. Like I say, Philippe was a very nasty human being, because Philippe wanted to literally take over not just France but all of Catholicism.
The famous purge of the Knights Templar occurred in 1307, bookending that activity by Philippe: in 1306, Philippe expelled all Jews from France. Then in 1309, Philippe strong-armed the pope at that time, Clement V, to move the papacy seat from Rome to Avignon so that all of Catholic activity could be centered on France under Philippe’s domain. Indeed, all seven popes of the Avignon papacy, as it is now known, from 1309 to 1377 were all French. It was a French takeover of the Catholic Church. One thing that you needed to do is get rid of the Knights Templar, which Philippe did because the Knights Templar headquarters were in France.
Now, The Curse of Oak Island has been focusing on one of the sites that was a Knights Templar site. That’s true, they had a fortress in Portugal, as did other orders of knights as did other armies of various kings and princes because it was called the reconquista–liberating or conquering, depending on how you look at it, the Iberian peninsula from the Muslim Moors who controlled the Iberian peninsula and had for centuries.
The reconquista was this several centuries long process that ended in 1492 of Christian armies slowly, methodically reconquering territory in the Iberian peninsula from Muslim caliphates. So yes, the Knights Templar, as many other groups of knights, had a presence in the Iberian peninsula at that time.
One of the things that really burned me about the most recent episode of The Curse of Oak Island is they look at the cross, the particular type of cross that is on the buildings in Portugal. They were built during the time of the reconquista. The show says, “oh, this special type of cross, it’s got to be Knights Templar.”
The problem is that pretty much everyone used that shape of cross back then. It’s now known as the Maltese Cross and you look it up. It has a very distinctive look about it. It was invented by the Hospitaliers. the Knights of Saint John. It is their cross. S if you wanted to say that that cross on that building in Portugal is the proof of someone being there, it’s proof that the Knights Hospitalier were there, not the Knights Templar.
But that cross and the second cross that is trotted out by The Curse of Oak Island, the outlined red cross, the Knights of Christ cross is again basically the symbol of Portugal, the symbol of King Alfonso. It was used by the Portuguese and then later by the Spanish for centuries thereafter. It’s not Templar. It’s not a secret society. It’s more of a national symbol.
Why does The Curse of Oak Island feel they have to lie? There’s so much truth there. Why is reality not enough? Why do some people feel like they have to make reality more interesting?
Again, something really happened on Oak Island, something really incredible. It’d be nice to hear about that. It would be nice that history is treated as history and not as some sort of cheap entertainment.
But that’s one philosopher’s view, and I’m very willing to hear your view, because that’s what philosophy is all about–talking about issues and sharing perspectives on issues.