Who doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory? Conspiracy theories have been around forever, but, now that we are so connected by the Internet, social media, and instant information, they have seemed to proliferate. Information makes it easy to connect dots and create conspiracies where none previously existed. For instance, I could say the story of The Gemstone Chronicles was based on the attempt at time and inter-dimensional travel allegedly conducted as part of the Philadelphia Experiment. It isn’t true (at least as the basis of my books part), and certainly not a conspiracy (so I say), but what about the experiment?
For those who aren’t familiar with the legend of the Philadelphia Experiment, in 1943, the USS Eldridge (DE-173) was outfitted with very powerful electromagnetic generators as part of an experiment to create a ship invisible to radar. The experiment was a test of Einstein’s unified field theory and was carried out at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Versions of the story vary, but one of the most popular holds that the ship did disappear and was replaced by a greenish fog. When it reappeared, some sailors were imbedded in bulkheads, some disappeared, some experienced severe nausea, and still others suffered serious mental issues.
Another account says the ship disappeared and reappeared 200 miles away in Norfolk, VA. Allegedly observed by another ship in Norfolk, the Eldridge then reappeared in Philadelphia and traveled backward in time by 10 minutes. The US Navy, of course, denies the experiment ever occurred and the historical documents about USS Eldridge don’t indicate any involvement in the experiment. The official explanation of any type of experimentation at the time was the Navy trying to find a way to make steel ships undetectable to magnetic mines (degaussing).
First, did the experiment occur? Secondly, did Einstein actually complete a Unified Field Theory as alleged and then destroy it because mankind wasn’t ready for it? Lastly, did USS Eldridge actually disappear and reappear after traveling back in time by 10 minutes? Who knows? But it makes for great conversation! And, in keeping with conspiracy theories, any information provided by the Navy is immediately suspect as part of the conspiracy!
Another of my favorite conspiracy theories is the Knights Templar. Again, I must provide a little background. The Knights Templar were originally a small group of knights that went to the Holy Land after the First Crusade to provide protection to pilgrims. The Knights expanded their numbers rapidly (perhaps for discoveries made while in Jerusalem). They eventually became the military arm of the Catholic Church and established a vast network of castles and lands throughout Europe. They were also the first international bankers.
The Templars grew so powerful and wealthy that most of the European monarchies owed them money. On Friday 13, 1307, the Templars castles were raided and the knights jailed as heretics. The charges of heresy were signed by Pope Clement V (at the alleged urging of King Phillip IV of France, who reportedly owed a huge sum to the Templars). Here begins our conspiracy theory. Did the Pope (who lived in Avignon not Rome – another conspiracy) and King Phillip truly conspire against the Templars? What happened to the Templar riches? Who knows? But, the story is great conspiracy fuel!
Legend says that as the Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay burned at the stake, he allegedly cursed both the Pope and King Phillip IV, claiming they would be dead within the year. Pope Clement V died a month later and King Phillip later that year. Coincidence or did the banished Templars have anything to do with the deaths?
Another part of this tale is there were supposedly Templar treasure ships at the port in France and these ships were loaded with Templar riches (yep, the ones mentioned above). On the morning of the raids on Templar properties, the ships were no longer in port. They, and their supposed loads of treasure, disappeared. According to legend, the Holy Grail made up part of the missing treasure. The Grail, found by the original Templars in Jerusalem, fueled their rapid rise!
Where did the treasure go? To this day, no one knows. Or do they? Some say the treasure went to Scotland, where the remaining Templars became Freemasons. Interestingly, the head of the Scottish Masons are Sinclairs (the Anglicized version of St. Clair – coincidentally, the name of a powerful French Templar). One only has to visit Rosslyn Chapel to see the cryptic carvings and decorations to wonder about the conspiracy.
Another legend is the treasure is in North America (ever heard of Oak Island?). Prince Henry the Navigator was thought to be a Templar Knight. Many believe he visited the New World long before Columbus. In fact, some believe Columbus knew exactly where he sailed when he reached the New World because Columbus used Prince Henry’s charts to sail. Interestingly enough, many of the depictions of the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria have Templar Crosses on their sails as shown below!
Still another theory says that the Templars eventually blended into secular society. Armed with their extensive banking knowledge and untold riches, they formed Switzerland! Why Switzerland? Simple, according to the conspiracy theories. The Swiss flag is a white cross on a red background – the opposite of the Templars, but certainly a clue to the real identity of the Knights. Just like the Knights Templar, the Swiss are renowned engineers and bankers. Awfully convenient, isn’t it?
There you have my two favorite conspiracy theories. I have a new one I am following now – the Georgia Guidestones. The guidestones will figure prominently in my next novel, so stay tuned as it develops!
What are your favorite conspiracy theories? Have you Googled the topic? If you do, ready yourself for some interesting reading! Once you do, leave me a comment and let me know which ones entertained you. Even better, which ones made you probe more deeply into seeming coincidences that may lead into a web of deceit, lies, cover ups, and shadowy characters!