Archive for May, 2011

May 7, 2011

In response to many requests (OK 2) I have reproduced the chapter from the book THE REAL HISTORY BEHIND THE TEMPLARS on recognizing pseudo history.  (see my previous blog)  Since it’s rampant these days, I think we all should cultivate a talent for spotting the signs.  It pleases me greatly to know that this cahpter is being used in at least one classroom!

Ps. I’d show the picture of the helicopter but secret government agents have erased them from my computer.  I’d show you the book that tells of the Irish monk, but I promised the owner to protect his identity.  Sorry.

How to Tell if You are Reading Pseudo-history.

            There are so many published theories about the Templars that it’s difficult to keep up with them.  In this book I have attempted to give the story of the Order and also address some of the illogical or unsubstantiated claims about them.  But this is very difficult.  Every time I think I’ve found them all, new Templar stories pop up like dandelions on a lawn.  So, I’ve decided to give the reader a few guidelines to help in judging the material. Many of these are well-written and sound authoritative.    But there are some clues that can help the reader make a decision about how trustworthy the writer is.

Here goes.

1.    Is the book published by a university press?  If yes, then it’s been checked by other historians and, while there may still be errors, it’s likely to be as accurate as possible.

If no, then…

2.   Are most of the footnotes to primary sources that any scholar can find?  If yes, then you may be ok and, if you doubt something, you can go look it up.

One mark of pseudo-history is that most of the footnotes are to other pseudo-histories or “secret” books (see no. 4) and it’s impossible to trace down the original information to check it.

If no, then…

3.    Does the author use phases like “everybody knows” and “historians agree”?  If yes, then don’t bother reading further.  There is nothing that “everybody” knows.  That’s just a quick way of saying, “I haven’t done my research and want to make you feel too ignorant to call me on it.”

Historians do agree on things like, “there was a battle of Hastings and William of Normandy won”.  Or “Machu Pichu is an amazing feat of engineering.”  Beyond that, everyone has a different way of evaluating the available data.  One other thing historians agree on is that someone who presents work that’s not based on information that others can check isn’t going to last long in the rough and tumble academic world.

4.   Does the author insist that the theory can’t be proved with available data because there was an immense cover-up or that the knowledge is guarded by a select secret society?  If yes, then how did the author find the information?  How was it authenticated?

An alternate to this is that the author has a “secret” source, a lost book or a document that reveals all.  This was used often in the Middle Ages.  The most famous is Geoffrey of Monmouth who wrote some of the earliest King Arthur stories.  He found the information in a book “in the British tongue”, that is, Breton or Welsh.  Since no one else had the book and Geoffrey wouldn’t show it to anyone, only he could transmit the truth.  I must admit, he did well with it.


5. Does the author pile one supposition upon another, assuming they are all true?  For instance, a book may begin with a known fact, such as, “the Templars had their headquarters at the al-Aqsa mosque” and then continue with something like, “As is well-known, the area in front of the mosque is large enough in which to land a helicopter.”[1]  Then the author might continue by wondering why the space was there before helicopters had been invented.  Perhaps he has found, by chance, a manuscript illustration that resembles a helicopter about to land.  Even though the manuscript was made in, say,Ireland, the author of a pseudo history will imagine a previously unknown Irish monk coming to Jerusalem in time to see the Templars’ secret helicopter landings.  “Everybody knows” the Irish were great pilgrims.

From this, the author will claim to have established that there were helicopters flown by Templars and that it is proved by the picture made by the phantom pilgrim monk.  Of course, the only way this could be is if the Templars were really time-traveling soldiers of fortune determined to grab all the artifacts they could, including mystical talking heads (really a 24th century communication device) that would give them the secret of the universe.  This makes perfect sense because “everyone knows” that this is the site of Solomon’s temple and Solomon, as you must have heard, was a great magician who hid advanced technology in the basement of the Temple to keep ignorant and superstitious people from gaining knowledge that their primitive minds couldn’t handle.

The author is sure that now is the time when all should be revealed.

You heard it here first.

[1]  Another interesting trait of pseudo historians is that the author won’t have bothered to find out that the Templars filled in the courtyard with buildings, including a large church and that it was only when Saladin took the city ofJerusalem and cleared them out that there was room to land a helicopter.