Last night on The History Channel H2 we had Part 2 of America Unearthed investigation of the Knights Templar, entitled, America′s Oldest Secret. Forensic geologist Scott Wolter was back again in Rhode Island checking out the Newport Tower. While most historians believe the barrel-shaped, stone structure was built in the mid-17th Century, Wolter thinks it may have been constructed in the 15th Century by the Knights Templar or their Freemason descendents led by Sir Henry Sinclair. The architecture resembles nothing similar to other Colonial era buildings of the time but it does match the ambulatory design of other known Templar churches in Europe, such as the Cambridge Round Church. So how old is the Newport Tower and what was its purpose?
Scott meets with historian Jim Egan, who also doubts the accepted theory. However, he credits John Dee with the Tower′s construction and believes it was built in 1583. Wolter disproves that date by showing Egan a map from 1569 by Gerardus Mercator which clearly shows the location of the Newport Tower. Wolter also notices an egg-shaped keystone which he thinks was placed to be illuminated by a Venus alignment on the Winter Solstice. Two windows on the second floor of the Tower could be examples of archeoastronomy, where the light from Venus would form an X inside the Tower.
While examining the cut stones of the Tower, Wolter comes across one rock with magnetic properties. He calls Paul Roberti, who had shown Scott a similar stone of Cumberlandite found nearby on Prudence Island. Such rocks were known as Venus Stones and were often used by the Templars in their buildings. Roberti takes Wolter to where he found the rock and sure enough, they find more. Paul also tells him about a Cistercian monastery in Cumberland, Rhode Island, which had burned down in 1950. Could there be a connection between Our Lady of the Valley monastery and the Knights Templar? There is a historical tie between the Cistercians and the Knights Templar going back to the origins of the Templars in the late 11th Century.
Scott returns to the Newport Tower in time for the Winter Solstice. With Jim Egan, he plans to set up lasers and a fog machine to verify the possible Venus alignments. The initial test with the lasers does show that an X is formed within the Tower′s walls. The X is significant as it contains both the male and female symbols. The Templars believed that men and women were equal, which was thought to be heresy back then. Also, if Wolter is correct, the Winter Solstice Venus alignment will cast light and illuminate the egg-shaped keystone, symbolizing fertilization.
But the weather is not cooperating. Too many clouds ruin the experiment. Day 2, 3 and 4 are even worse! On Day 4, Scott calls his wife with the bad news. They will only have one more shot on Day 5. But while he talks with her, Wolter notices another keystone with a shape that he has seen before that might be another connection between the Newport Tower and the Knights Templar and Freemasonry!
Day 5 arrives with Scott and Jim trying again to take measurements. They finally have clear skies! As Venus rises in the early morning hours, its light barely enters the East window on the Newport Tower′s second floor. But it just misses the egg-shaped stone. Venus is too South to make direct contact. Wolter, while disappointed, offers a possible explanation that over the centuries, earthquakes and the planet′s precession movement about its axis may account for the alignment not being spot-on.
Scott Wolter makes one last trip to confirm the mystery of the other oddly-shaped keystone he saw on the Newport Tower. He arrives in New York City and arranges for a helicopter ride out to the harbor. Wolter is pleased as he sees the proof he was looking for! The tablet held by the Statue of Liberty is the exact same shape! He believes that this does tie Freemasonry and the Knights Templar, to having a significant presence on America shores, perhaps even before Columbus arrived.