The Knights Templar is widely believed to be a secret society whose real purpose of existence is still debated by historians and scholars even today. The Templars, as their members were called, left behind several clues of their actions that have been passed down through generations via ancient manuscripts and hearsay. Founded around 1118 AD, the religious military Christian knighthood order has had several mysteries associated with it.
The Knights Templar History
Most stories about the Knights Templar are from hearsay. They have only compounded to their mystery. Centuries later, historians are still hunting for answers as to what happened to them, or what wealth they probably hid as treasures. And then, there are the following mysteries that have caused conspiracy theorists to work overtime.
1. The Temple Church effigies
The Temple Church in London was constructed in 1185. Inside, there are effigies of several figures. The earliest accounts don’t agree on their numbers. The Survey of London says 11. Some quarters say nine, while others claim eight. One of the effigies is that of Earl of Pembroke William Marshal, and two others are his sons Gilbert and William. There’s one each of William de Ros, Richard of Hastings, and Geoffrey de Mandeville. The identity of others is a mystery. Sans properly armored or bearded, they don’t look like a knight. None knows why some of the knights are placed straight while others are cross-legged.
2. The Templars at Bannockburn
What happened to the men, who escaped the purge of Templars, has been a big speculation. According to some Knights Templar history, they went north to join hands with Scottish King Robert the Bruce and fought in the Battle of Bannockburn of 1314. Many historians suggest that it won’t have been possible for Bruce to defeat the English army, without Templar help. The Knights Templar members fled persecution in France, took refuge in Scotland, and fought for Bruce. But there’s almost no historical evidence of their help in the Scottish victory. They seemed to emerge out of nowhere.
3. The Glooscap myth
According to the Abenaki, Mi’kmaq, and Maliseet groups of the Atlantic, the earth was created by twins Glooscap (good) and Malsm (evil). Glooscap created humans and after killing Malsm, equipped humans with basic survival knowledge, and finally disappeared. He promised to return if required. The Glooscap legend grew over time. In the 1950s, popular science fiction writer Frederick Pohl, claimed that Norwegian nobleman Henry I Sinclair was actually Glooscap. He believed Glooscap was a person in flesh and blood. Many from the Mi’kmaq supported Pohl. But the real identity of Glooscap is still a mystery.
4. Beat Columbus to America?
According to a 1588 Venetian manuscript, the Knights Templar is said to have beaten Columbus in discovering America. The manuscript claims that Italian navigators Antonio and Nicolo Zeno recorded details of a journey they began in 1380. They chronicled their experiences on an island called Frislanda. Shipwrecked and stranded, a mysterious man came to rescue Nicolo who was the first to land there. He called this man Prince Zichmni and hailed him as a great warrior. Nicolo and Antonio spent the next 14 years fighting for Prince Zichmni. They learnt of a land full of strange animals and savages from a group of fishermen that had vanished for 25 years. The three headed for that direction.
5. Henry Sinclair and the New World
The legend of Norwegian nobleman Henry Sinclair leading the Knights Templar to the New World is largely based on the claimed adventures of Nicolo, Antonio and Prince Zichmni. Many researchers of Knights Templar history argue that Zichmni was an interpretation of Sinclair. The theory of his journey didn’t gain much ground until a British Museum librarian inspected the manuscript and the journey map again in 1873. It raised questions about what the Templars did in New World. Unfortunately, there’s no record of their activities there.
6. Mystery of Temple Mount
The Knights Templar has been associated with lost artifacts and treasures like the Holy Grail and Ark of the Covenant. Most of the stories are myths and fantasies. Researches of Knight Templar secrets, however, believe that some outposts had possibilities of hidden treasures. They are believed to have carried out some large-scale excavations beneath the Temple Mount, Jerusalem, following the discovery of some tunnels. Whether the excavations were accidental or for a purpose, are widely debated. Also, whether they found anything beneath the Islamic temple, is not known.
7. Beneath Rosslyn Chapel
It’s the biggest of all Knights Templar mysteries. Most of the stories have emerged from the Sinclair family’s connection with the Knights Templar and a book titled The Secrets of Rosslyn, authored by Father Richard Hay in the 1700s. Hay tells of a labyrinth of tunnels leading to a temporary resting place of the 12 knights, hidden vaults, and other secrets. Over the centuries these mysteries have snowballed into bigger myths. Perhaps a full-fledged excavation could settle the dust.
8. The Templar skulls
Luz, in France, has many well-preserved Knights Templar churches. The Gavarnie church is said to house 12 skulls of the Templar chiefs. The entire area has several gateways, ramparts, and towers that overlook the huge Gavarnie Cirque valley. But save the legend, no bodies or names of the 12 men exist. It’s said, every year the spectre of the Grand Master de Molay enters Gavarnie church and asks whether anyone is ready to fight for the Knights Templar order, to which the skulls answer in the negative because the temple has been destroyed. Fanciful, yes; but the Gavarnie Cirque ravines echoes mysteries.
9. Who was the Templar deity?
The Knights Templar, is said to have a head in its possession which the members worshiped. Most Templars denied anything in this regard. But William of Arreblay wrote of a ceremony in Paris where the Templars placed a sliver head, supposedly of Saint Ursula, on the altar and worshiped it. Centuries later, it’s still not known who exactly the Templar deity was.
10. An assassination plot
The Bishop of Auxerre Hugh de Chalon, one of the 12 Templars, was arrested and tried when he defied the king’s order and met the Pope in 1302, disregarding the king’s order of not to respond to papal summons. In another paper associated with historian Heinrich Finke who discovered the Templar list, Hugh de Chalon allegedly hatched a conspiracy to assassinate the king. But whether there was indeed such a plot, is not known for sure.
11. The mysterious Gerard de Montclair
Mentioned in Finke’s document, is the name of one Gerard de Montclair. Historians are unsure about who he really was and his identity. Richard de Montclair of Cyprus, is the closest name that historians have found in records. But the two persons are seemingly not connected.
12. The Templars who escaped
Templars were burned, following conviction of heresy, at the beginning of 14th century. They were rounded up and slaughtered en masse. But there’s a less popular story of 12 French Templars who managed to escape. According to a popular story, while all Templars were rounded up on Friday, 13 October 1307, the whereabouts of about 2400 escapees are not known. History has no record of them.
13. What happened to Guillaume de Lins?
A high officer in the Knights Templar in charge of receptions and ceremonies, Guillaume de Lins had supposedly escaped the killing of the brethren. But his name is also spelt as Gillierm de Lurs which makes it difficult to ascertain the actual person’s identity. He has since remained untraced.