For reasons I cannot divulge, I have found myself in the midst of researching ancient historical archives which have given reference to incredible stories of deceit. Okay, truly, I just happened across this story and I thought it was interesting. I am a terrible liar.
But it is about the Treasure of the Knights Templar. Yes, I know, Dan Brown and Tom Hanks have all but beaten this thing to death. But, I’ve never seen the DaVinci Code all the way through. And I think there have been subsequent films too. Nonetheless. I am telling my own version here, I suppose.
The Knights Templar have always interested me. The Freemasons. The Catholic Church and the Holy See. And by the way, what a dang name. The Holy See. It gives me goosebiddles. Which are five times worse than goosebumps. It seems somehow ominous and scary. Anyway.
As you may or may not know, the Knights Templar were a religious military order formed in 1119 AD. Those trusty Knights were formed to protect Christian Pilgrims on their journey to Holy Lands of the Middle East. In a nutshell.
(The first guy was a French knight named Hugues de Payens. Now, his name always hangs me up. Is it Hugs-You Dee Pay-Ins? I keep hearing it in my head with my Midwest Drawl. If you say it in a French voice is it better? Uhhnnn. This name, already. Anyway.)
They established their headquarters on the side of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Hence. The name. And, at some point, they were declared a charity by Pope Innocent II. There’s another good name for you. Pope Innocent the Second. Now this, to me, says you are hiding something, if you pick a name like Pope Innocent. Or Captain Credulous. It smacks diversion.
Back to the story. Over the decades, people gave money to the Knights. Donations from patrons. And, this made the Knights Templar the wealthiest and most powerful military order in Europe. Not bad for a charity, eh?
And if that were not enough. They invented an early form of banking. And in this give and take, they got even richer. People borrowed money from them and those borrowers were not so happy about the accumulated wealth of the Knights.
This went on for two hundred years. The Templar’s amassed a fortune in lands, castles, gold, silver, jewels and precious objects.
But despite all the money, by 1291 AD the military prestige of the Knights Templar had failed. They were forced out of the Middle East. It gets a little heavy in details here, but the bottom line is this. The Kings, notably the King of France wanted that secret and very, very huge treasure. So they rounded up those Knights, tortured them, called them devil worshipers, and such, and then raided their little treasure chests. But. Big surprise for the Kings. Not much was in those vaults. They looked and looked. BUT. The vast treasure of the Knights Templar had largely disappeared and has never been found.
Here, is where the good mystery sets in. There were thousands of those Knights. And most were not arrested. They, and their flotilla of ships simply vanished. In particular, there were 18 ships that had been docked at La Rochelle, France. And then, one night, specifically on the night of the 12th of October 1307, all those dang ships set sail under the cover of darkness. It happened just before the initial persecutions began. Poof.
People who treasure hunt estimate that billions of dollars of gold, silver, jewels, coinage and more are out there. Somewhere. Someone still has this. Billions.
And here is the kicker.
It is not us.
I love to find good mysteries on this blue ball. There a lots and lots of them. From the historical mystery, to the scientific mystery. The grand spiritual mysteries.
This world, every day, can amaze and astound you, if we simply look around. Day, or Knight.
“The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.”
― Anais Nin
“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle
“The world, even the smallest parts of it, is filled with things you don’t know.”
― Sherman Alexie