The year 1118, when French knight Hugues de Payens created the Knights Templar, is the kickoff point for a swag of conspiracy theories involving the warrior monks. From the pop culturally gripping to the just plain wacky, here’s our pick of the craziest.
They may have somehow been involved in 9/11
Conspiracy theorist Eric Dubay, author of The Atlantean Conspiracy, which details a multi-faceted orchestration of societal control, lays out the convoluted numerical Templar 9/11 theory. It seems to suggest that fateful date harks back to 1118 (1+1+1+8=11) the date of the Templar’s formation.
Fast-forward much numerical positing to 9/11 and the Statue of Liberty (or, as Dubay calls it, "The Freemasonic Statue of Liberty"). Lady Liberty’s Freemason symbology and connections (a commonly held theory is that the Freemasons are a spin-off of the Knights Templar) has long made it the centre of its own conspiracies. It was as if Lady Liberty was looking on as the twin towers were destroyed, from her star pedestal with… 11 points.
The Templar exist today plotting world domination
Indeed, they do walk among us (in a way) with some organisations claiming to be directly connected to the original Knights Templar. But most have taken the chivalric ideals of the group to become charitable outfits.
But that’s not much fun, is it? Conspiracy theories proffer a New World Order plot that’s far from altruistic. Theories have spun from the belief that after the demise of the Knights Templar in 1312, the Freemasons were born out of the ashes, and today the secretive organisation is pulling the strings on political and media spheres, among others.
Alternatively, the Knights Templar is a separate entity in an occult cartel joining forces with the Freemasons, Illuminati and Judaism to usher in a New World Order that will threaten the stranglehold of Christianity. As the theory goes, the powerful conglomerate will use mind control through the mass media, population control and influence over governments to control the world.
They seek the Holy Grail for its powers of immortality
The brimming mythology of that most sought after Christian relic, the mysterious Holy Grail, includes that the Knights Templar acquired the Grail from the Temple Mount in the Holy Land during the Crusades and hid it – lore that's central to Knightfall. Were they keeping it for themselves to use its fabled powers of everlasting happiness, healing of wounds and eternal youth?
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) incorporated the idea that the chief protector of the Grail, the Grail Knight (Robert Eddison) of the Templar-esque Knights of the First Crusade, drank from the cup, extending his life for centuries. Indy (Harrison Ford) estimates the Grail Knight was born circa 1066.
Jordan Peele, writer/director of 2017’s stunning hit Get Out, takes the idea to insidious new levels. In the DVD commentary for the movie, he explains that in Get Out’s mythology, the Red Alchemist Society are actually modern day ancestors of the Knights Templar, attempting by some vile experimentation to harness the Grail’s mystical powers.
“They believe they are destined for immortality and deity status, and over hundreds of years, they have worked to figure out through science a way to achieve the power of the Holy Grail,” Peele explains.
Peele makes a pointed nod to the unfolding mythology as the film begins, with the kidnapper wearing a Knights Templar helmet to hide his identity.
The Templars murdered JFK and Houdini
Titan video game franchise Assassin’s Creed has given the world a bevy of wacky Templar conspiracy theories, the murder of these two icons some of the most sensational.
The thing is, both men had in their possession a Piece of Eden, a powerful tool of mind control among other things, so the only way to extract them was assassination. Harry Houdini supposedly used a Piece of Eden to perform his magic tricks, but it’s unclear exactly what President John F Kennedy was doing with one.
Anyway, in Assassin’s lore, JFK wasn’t just killed by Lee Harvey Oswald on 22 November, 1963. No, it was a cabal put together by the Templars of Oswald; Abraham Zapruder, who shot the famous footage of the assassination; and JFK’s driver, who orchestrated the murder. It was the driver who fired the fatal shot, using a Piece of Eden “to project a distraction onto – the grassy knoll”. Sounds about right.
They were killed to keep Jesus Christ’s bloodline secret
One of the most infamous conspiracy theories popularised by the publishing phenomenon that is Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code posits that the Knights Templar were executed because of their knowledge of Jesus Christ’s secret bloodline. The theory is that Jesus and Mary Magdalene married and had a child.
The Templar founded US law enforcers the Masonic Fraternal Police Department
The official blurb describing the peculiar California-based crime-fighting outfit known as the Masonic Fraternal Police Department (MFPD) makes the lofty claim that it’s “the oldest and most respected organisation in the ‘World’”.
It says the MFPD’s original iteration was created by the Knights Templar in 1100 BC (even though they weren’t officially formed until 1118), and links itself to the Illuminati and Freemasons.
Unsurprisingly, the MFPD aren’t actual cops, which got them into hot water in 2015 when three members were charged with impersonating police officers. They included leader David Henry, who goes by variations of the title Illuminati Grandmaster Henry X°. In a Google+ post from 2014, he made it clear just how big a deal he is:
“I AM WHAT MANY ARE NOT, I AM THE ONLY THING BETWEEN HEAVEN & HELL”
Among the many celebrity photos of the Illuminati Grandmaster is one with former US president Bill Clinton. No doubt there’s another Templar conspiracy theory there, too.
Knightfall premieres Thursday 1 February at 8.30pm on SBS and continues Thursdays at 9.30pm. SBS On Demand will have a sneak preview of episode one available from 25 January. Then, all episodes will be available after broadcast anytime, anywhere, for free via SBS On Demand.