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Book Review:

The Labyrinth of the Grail

by, William F. Mann


Yet another Holy Grail “expert” whose shocking revelations come from playing connect-the-dots and drawing funny little shapes on top of a map of a mysterious land mass, in this case Nova Scotia. As Robert Anton Wilson has written about this approach to research, “ Good results will appear bigger and become increasingly clear if one uses a very small map and a very thick pencil.” Author William Mann, a Canadian and nephew of a Templar Knight (referring to the degree of Freemasonry, not the original order) believes that Nova Scotia was at one time settles by exiled Templars, lead by Prince Henry Sinclair of Orkney, picking up on the theories of Michael Bradley in Holy Grail Across the Atlantic. (Michael Bradley, by the way, has written the forward to this book.) He also believes that the famed Templar treasure is buried there, and that Sinclair has left clues using occult symbolism and “moral allegory” to lead the worthy to the location of the prize - symbolism that includes numerology, tarot, astrology, alchemy, Enochian magick, qaballism, classical Greek, Roman and Celtic mythology, and well as Christian and Judaic references. For this, he believes Henry Sinclair and his boys went to the trouble to - literally - move mountains, plant forests, divert the courses of river and build an elaborate system of castle and chapel set out in a prescribed pattern. (He thinks that these amazing activities were recorded in the mythic tales of a Canadian Indian tribe called the Mimacs, who claim that a white man-god named “Glooscap” once lived among them with his men at the Bay of Fundy This god had the power to move land and sea, and had the plant and animal wildlife completely under his command.) He also believes that these Templars went to the trouble to establish this area as their “New Jerusalem”, and that they may have built upon existing settlements of “earlier Celtic, Bronze Age, and even Neolithic origins.” In other words, he thinks that this area of Nova Scotia is a natural temple, and has been considered sacred for quite some time. He also believes that the Templars were there to mine certain metals such as gold, silver, copper and manganese, which are all abundant in the area. He thinks that the Scottish Templars may have gotten their notion from the Norse who ruled Scotland from the 8th to the 13th century. He thinks that the Templars might have found their way using extremely accurate “Portolan maps” that they had obtained during the Crusades and that Prince Henry might have used the Pythagorean Theorem to help him confirm his location without a fixed latitude and longitude. He thinks that some of the early mappers of the area, after the New World had been officially “discovered”, might be in on the secret, and points out that “the Caspar Vopell Map of 1545” bears the image of a Templar knight holding a shield.

In May 1992, after his mother’s death, Mann went up to a hill in Nova Scotia and had a profound spiritual experience. “It was as though I had discovered the mythical land of the Greek Arcadia” he wrote. “The tidal stream that ran through the adjacent valley appeared to have its natural course altered to faintly depict the heads of certain animals... a huge limestone outcrop[ took the form of a bear drinking from a waterfall. Later, back on top of the bear’s head, I discovered the stone remains of what appeared to be a crown of some sort.” Another revelation occurred when his great-uncle, “Most Em. Kt. Frederick George Mann, L.M.U.S., F.M.C.M.” showed him his Mason ring. Underneath the standard setting of a square and compass, but underneath was the shape of a Seal of Solomon within a circle, which is itself in the center of a viscica pisces with a line running down the middle. This shape he applied to a map of Nova Scotia and discovered things which were to him wholly significant.

From there the book really begins to earn its title, for it gets increasingly difficult to find one’s way through the maze of strange inferences and conclusions that the author has made. He finds triangles, pentagons, pentagrams, hexagrams, the square and compass, a Maltese Cross, a Templar Cross, a Gothic Cross, a Latin Christian Cross, and the “classic Gothic layout” of a Gothic cathedral’s foundation, all in the landscape of Nova Scotia. He sees the shapes of the four beings associated with the four elements - Man, Eagle, Lion, Bull. He sees the shape of the Golden Bough in an oak grove, and says that the Grail family (the Merovingians and their offspring) is the keeper of the seed of the Golden Bough.” He believes that he has found the shape of a red serpent in the ground and that “at the mouth lies a stone or egg that alchemists have long sought to achieve.” He believes that there might be something hidden in a cave behind a waterfall because “the waterfall is the symbolic veil of the Temple” of the Holy of Holies. He even thinks that the real Christian Rosenkreutz might be buried there, along with his wife and a “lovechild” born of the Chymical Wedding. He sees the head of the Green Man in the headland of the Minas Basin. The mouth corresponds to the mouth of Green Creek. Just below the mouth is an outcrop known as “Anthony’s Nose”, a reference, he believes, to St. Anthony, the one who was constantly tempted by demons. He believes that the words “no temptation” in the parchments found at Rennes-le-Chateau are a reference to St. Anthony, and that Prince Henry Sinclair placed a Seal of Solomon upon the landscape to ward off these demons “that lay right under Anthony’s Nose.” He finds significance in place names in Nova Scotia, such as the towns of Judaica, Hebron, Arcadia, and Troy. There’s a village called “The Lodge” that he finds suspicious, and a couple of mountain peaks known as “The Pinnacles” through which the North Star can be seen. Frog Island he believes was named thusly because frogs were a symbol of the Merovingian dynasty. Recalling the myth of Tantalus, Main asks, “Is the small village of Tantallon, Nova Scotia, located at the head of St. Margaret’s Bay, again another sublime reminder that whosoever discloses the secrets of Freemasonry will be tantalized by the unattainable for the rest of their lives?” he finds a dart for an arrow in the landscape and believes that the path of it’s arc can be seen by drawing a line through the towns of Bible Hill, Truro, Hilden, Brookfield, Stewiacke and Shubenacadie. He thinks that the family name “Dartt”, which is common in the area, is a reference to this, and that the Dartts are “the original Knights of the Feather who were left behind by Prince Henry Sinclair to protect the Grail”, something that anyone with the surname “Dartt” would be surprised to learn. (The dart, he believes, also represents Sagittarius, “The Archer.” He then makes the following weird statement that “the fertilized seed was the Holy Grail and the uterus was the valley of Green Creek, with the seed being ‘impregnated’ into the wall of the valley for a gestation period of over 600 years... The ever-fluctuating red tide that spills from the valley into the Shubenacadie is the cyclical menstrual cycle that all women of childbearing age experience.” He makes crazy numerological connections like multiplying 666, “the solar Father of Light” and 1080, “the lunar Mother of Forms” to equal 1746, “the year of the Battle of Culloden and the beginning of the end for Bonnie Prince Charlie of the House of Stewart.” And the cherry on top is his calm that “ports of land” all over the world follow the pattern of the Star of David, something I can’t believe he wasn’t ashamed to admit.

He makes an interesting point when he brings up the fact that “the lands of the New World purportedly fell along what was considered to be Satan’s Axis, that line beyond what was known of the world at the time. This he of course thinks is a reference to Rex Mundi, the Gnostic devil mentioned in the Rennes-le-Chateau parchments. “Satan’s Axis” runs through Nova Scotia, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and the Allegheny Mountains, “all renowned areas of early occult practice and witchcraft”, he notes. he says that there are a number of “inscriptions found among stone ruins” along this axis, “remnants of a north American Celtic civilization throughout the New World, along with Egyptian hieroglyphs and Iberian-Punic script.” Mann brings up another interesting artifact found in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, known as the Westford Knight, believed by many to depict an exiled Templar who died on a voyage to the New World. It shows him carrying a broken sword, the Templar symbol of death, and a shield bearing a coat-of-arms that depicts a crescent, a five-pointed star and a buckle above a masted ship. Here Mann’s analysis again turns ridiculous when he claims that “Above the pommel, or ‘apple’ of the knight’s claymere is a figure that in many ways represents a bird, such as an eagle, dove or the mystical phoenix... The pommel is also conveniently positioned where the knight’s navel would be located. Could this suggest that the “garden of roses” lies at the navel or the one point on earth which acts as a gateway to another dimension, or possibly to heaven itself?” Huh? Where did that come from?

It really gets tiresome when Mann starts picking apart The Shepherds of Arcadia, the Nicholas Poussin painting that is so important to the mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau. Predictably, he analyzes the sacred geometry of it and applies the lines and shapes that he sees to the landscape of Nova Scotia, finding plenty of correspondences. He seems to think that Poussin knew something about the Templar explorations of Nova Scotia and embedded keys to the secrets in the painting. He believes that the four figures depicted at the tomb represent, simultaneously, Saints Peter, John, Andrew and Katherine and for Templar Grand Masters. This too has a counterpart in the Canadian landscape through some “very interesting relationships” between the towns of “Debert (Dagobert II?), Maitland (Mathilde?), Noel (David?) and Stewaicke (the steward?).” He also believes that Poussin intended the word “shepherdess” (as in “Shepherdess no temptation”) to be a play on the words “see her dress”, so that one’s attention would be drawn to the “hidden fifth element.” He thinks it’s meaningful that the shepherdess is wearing a dress that’s yellow on top and blue on the bottom, using this to prop up his own “in a cave behind a waterfall” theory, because, he says, “this suggests that the veil was indeed a waterfall.” That final straw is when he claims that “if one looks closely, one can almost detect some facial expressions in the black rock of the painting. c’mon Mann. One can almost detect?

By far the most interesting aspect of the book is the information on the mysterious technological marvel known as “The Money Pit”, located on Oak Island in Mahone Bay, Newfoundland. This was discovered in 1795 by some boys from the nearby town of Chester. The first one to discover it was Daniel McGinnis, who while exploring the Bay noticed signs of human habitation on an island which supposedly had not been settled. He also noticed that the island was covered with oak trees, which were not indigenous to the island. In fact, it was Daniel who first called it “Oak Island.” In a clearing he found an oak tree with a broken limb and a ship’s block dangling over a huge depression in the ground. He went to get his friends and they paddles back out therewith pick-axes and shovels. They kept digging until they found a 13-foot wide, clay-lined circular shaft, and at four feet they came across a layer of flagstones covering the shaft. They broke through this, and kept digging. Every ten feet they would come across a platfrom of oak logs, covering the hole. Finally, they realized it was too much for them, and went back home to get some professional help. It took them nine years to find the help, and they formed a company to finance the operation, bringing in heavy-duty digging equipment. They immediately struck a second tier of oak logs. Ten feet lower they found a tier of charcoal, then ten feet lower a tier of putty, then a tier of coconut fibre, then another tier of oak. At 90 feet they found a flat stone, three feet long and one foot wide, onto which had been written: TEN FEET DOWN TWO MILLION POUNDS. When the team returned the next morning to continue working, they found that the pit was flooded to within 33 feet of the top. (Mann relates this to the 33 degrees of Freemasonry.) Every time they tried to drain it, it would stay at the same level. They came back the following spring and tried to tunnel into it from the side by digging another shaft next to it, but it also filled to within 33 feet. Something strange was definitely going on.

Over the next 150 years, a long series of treasure seekers have tried and failed miserably to recover anything of value from The Money Pit, and managed only to angle and destroy the surrounding area into unrecognizabilty with their heavy-handed approaches to excavation. One team did manage to locate two oak chests at the 150-160 foot level while exploring with a drill, but were not able to bring them to the surface before the pit flooded again. All they got were some pieces of a broken watch and a small scrap of paper upon which was written the letters “vi” in Elizabethan script. But through all of these failed attempts, much was learned about how complicated the engineering of The Money Pit really was. It was learned that the flooding was caused by water traps. Two floodgates had been constructed: one coming from Smith cove and one coming from South Beach. Each was equipped with a “sponge” made of coconut fiber. As the tide rose, the sponge soaked up the water and channeled it from the floodgates into the pit. As long as it was full of dirt the water was held back, but whenever anyone dug down to the 90-foot level the flooding would begin.

So who would build such an elaborate system? The most common theory is that it was the work of pirates, but in reality this technology was well beyond the intellectual capacity of your average “scurvy sea dog.” And why go to all that trouble just to hide a couple of trunks full of jewelry? It’s hardly worth it. William Mann thinks that the Templars may have built it to house their treasure, perhaps proof of Christ’s antecedents, or a 5th Gospel, or some ancient mystery writings telling you how to contact spirits, or some artifacts recovered from Solomon’s Temple such as the Ark of the Covenant. (To add weight to his argument, Mann has superimposed the “sword w/ Star of David” illustration from the cover of the Priory of Sion’s C.I.R.C.U.I.T. magazine on top of a map to show that the point of the sword falls right on Oak Island.) Mann also thinks that certain pirates who were “in the know” may have chosen to stash their stuff there as well. A lot of pirates were Freemasons, and it is believed that that is where the skull & crossbones symbol came from. One possibility is Olivier le Vassear, nicknamed “The Buzzard”, a French pirate from La Rochelle, home of the Templar fleet. He was a Freemason who named his ship The Apollo, and once tried to start a Utopian society called Libertalia on the island of Madagascar in which all races were treated equally. AS he was being hung for his crimes, he threw a cryptogram into the crowd, shouting “My treasure to him who can understand!” You supposedly need The Little Keys of Solomon, two signed letters and a will in order to decipher the cryptogram.

Another pirate possibly mixed up with Oak Island was Captain Kidd, who’s famous lost treasure was written about in Edgar Allan Poe’s story The Gold Bug. Captain Kidd was also a Freemason, with several of Britain’s top-ranking Freemasons among his entourage. Just before he died, Kidd supposedly slipped a card to his wife with the number “44106818.” written on it. Mann believes these to be coordinates of latitude and longitude, measuring from the old Paris Meridian, that pinpoint the valley of Green Creek, Nova Scotia. Significantly, there is a rock at the mouth of the Gaspareau River at nearby Liscombe, upon which are carved a boot, a pennant, a staff, and a square, along with the word “kidd” and the date 1669.

At the end of the book The Labyrinth of the Grail, you are definitely left wondering. A lot of good information is presented about the Templars, the Freemasons, and Greek, Celtic, and Christian mythology. However, the theories drafted and conclusions drawn by William Mann about the metaphysical significance of the Nova Scotian landscape are curious at best and at times outright laughable. It’s the equivalent of seeing lion and elephant shapes in the clouds and believing that the Bilderburg Group created them to send a special message to the Chosen Few. What’s worse is that in this case the clouds don’t even really look like lions and elephants - they just look like big white blobs. Mann may be right that the Templars settled Nova Scotia, perhaps even buried a treasure there, but he is hardly the first to think so, by his own admission, and his “discoveries” shed little light. I personally think that Mann should’ve waited to publish the book until he’d actually figured something out, but if he continues this approach to research he won’t find anything but his own mental projections. This book is fun to read and informative, but the theories presented are really “out there”, and in the end it’s all a bunch of crap. Still, if you’re interested in the subject of the Knight’s Templar and the Holy Grail, it would behoove you to add this to your collection.

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