Last night and through the last few hours, I watched as Scott Wolter, who formerly hosted a pseudoscience-based television show called America Unearthed, announced and defended some big news on Twitter.
Naturally, my bullshit detecting dowsing rods crossed. You can click the photo and almost see the machine style stitching, and smell the freshness of the leather. But the one thing that sticks out immediately is the pen holder! I can’t imagine any book of this alleged age with a pen holder! It would be a hazard to the text for one thing. During the time of Wolter’s Templars, pens were dipped in an ink made of charcoal or lamp-black mixed with a binder. Another ink would have been iron-gall ink, a fascinating topic all to itself. But suffice to say, that it’s unlikely a small leather loop like in the photo above would be used for a quill.
But this all seemed to get past Wolter.
Well… as long as the story is “incredible.”
Lot’s of work before a press release makes sense. I mean, you wouldn’t want to jump the gun. Or the shark?
But don’t we? A quick search for “vintage leather journal” in Amazon might be just the dating method we need.
You have to give it to Wolter, at least he doesn’t double-down. But, in keeping with the Blackjack metaphor, he does seem to be splitting a pair of 10s. He realized the journal was clearly not authentic after seeing the Amazon screenshot tossed in his feed. My guess is he might’ve paid some money for it. Hopefully, not more than the thirty bucks from Amazon Prime.
He’s clearly playing it off like he was already aware of the illegitimacy of the journal, but split the bet so that he can still claim the “information” is good. If he knew right away the physical journal was modern, there’s no good reason not to mention that up front. And if he can’t recognize a modern text from one of perhaps the 12th Century (just by smell!), then why would anyone trust he can date a rock’s inscription? Watch his incredulity evolve in the short Twitter thread below.
In the end, his followers will all side with whatever the guy says I suppose. But this is a good lesson in critical thought. Wolter has a conclusion and, if he wasn’t already predisposed to it, he might have been paying more attention. If he or anyone could offer evidence–physical, testable evidence–that 12th Century Templars visited Oak Island or anywhere else in North America, it would be wonderful news! It would give me, as an archaeologist, something cool to look for in addition to the many thousands of cool things we already have. It’s the sort of thing I wouldn’t hesitate to publish.
After I vetted the evidence and tried to falsify it every which way possible first.