Sunday, July 23, 2017

Richard Nielsen's Grail Code is Alive and Well

A quiet Sunday morning in July was interrupted by an email inquiry from a friend who asked me about an article written by my co-author of "The Kensington Rune Stone: Compelling New Evidence", Richard Nielsen.  This article entitled, "There is No Grail Code on the Kensington Rune Stone", appeared in the Epigraphic Society of Occasional Papers, Volume 27 (2009).  Pat asked me, "Why did Nielsen change his opinion about a discovery that he actually made?"  Pat continued, "After reading the ESOP article is looked like he (Nielsen) was more interested in trying to discredit you than prove anything about a Grail Code."

It has been over a year now since Dick passed away and Pat's questions prompted me to recall my days working with Nielsen and our joint discovery of what Dick and I decided to call, "The Grail Code."  Followers of our work might recall in 2002 I generated a microscopic photo-library of the entire inscription of the Kensington Stone that led to my documenting numerous previously unnoticed punch marks and short strokes made by the carver after the inscription was carved.  Dick and my analysis of these anomalies led to several discoveries including the so-called "Grail Code" first noticed by Nielsen who mentioned it to me.

Dick was quite proud of this discovery and made sure we included it in the introduction of our 2006 book.  You can imagine my surprise when his 2009 paper was published where he unconvincingly tried to make the Grail Code marks disappear using a low resolution 3D images generated during a study performed on the KRS in 2008.  Dick had grown impatient with me for reasons I still do not understand and appeared driven to undermine everything he and I had discovered together.  Regardless, this article, and others he wrote based on this 3D study, did nothing to undermine anything but his own credibility and positive legacy of the good work he did during his over 30 years researching the artifact.  

Nielsen asserts in the article that there was "staining" caused by a silicon rubber material used during the making of four casts of the artifact.  These claims are false and have nothing to do with the physical modifications made by the carver.  Nielsen claims there are man made dots present where there are none while at the same time claiming man made dots do not exist when clearly they do.  The evidence he put forth was in the form of photographs of such low resolution it was beneath him to have offered them.  Let's start with the first letter in the Grail Code.

This extremely low resolution image was offered as evidence that no single dot exists in the upper left arm of the ''g" rune on line one of the KRS inscription.  I don't believe Nielsen really thought an image of this poor quality would pass as legitimate evidence.

Here again Nielsen offers a very low resolution image trying to argue away a clear and distinct punch mark on the end of the lower right leg of the "r" rune.

Not only are the man made punch marks clear and obvious within the yellow circles in the images I generated in 2002, but the high resolution 3D microscopic images of the punch marks I took in 2011 clearly show their existence.

Nielsen then offers over century-old photographs known to have been retouched as evidence to try and prove no man made marks exist when they obviously do.

Here again, microscopic photographs taken in 2002, and high resolution 3D microscopic images taken in 2011, clearly show the existence of man made marks added to the character by the medieval carver.

The question is no longer if these modifications to the runes exist, the question now is did the carver intentionally try to encode the word "GRAL/Grail" within the inscription.  We cannot know with any certainty, but based on the related evidence I have presented in my three books that is consistent with the Kensington inscription having been carved by a Cistercian monk in the 14th Century it's very likely he did.  One thing I can assure the readers of this blog, in 2004 Richard Nielsen believed this to be true because he was the one who first offered the idea to me and insisted it be included in our 2006 book.  I want to be sure Dick gets credit for this discovery even though he tried unsuccessfully to back-peddle on it.

Jerry Lutgen generated this image of the Narragansett Rune Stone inscription using Reflective Transformation Imaging (RTI).  The 2-3/8” tall by 2” wide area to the left of the “s” rune on line one appears to have been hammered on or chipped out indiscriminately. (Photograph courtesy of the Jerry Lutgen, 2014)   

Saturday, July 1, 2017

New Kensington Rune Stone Visitor Center Construction Progressing Nicely

Recently I received an email update from Brad Bonk at Douglas County about the progress of construction of the new Kensington Rune Stone Visitors Center at the Ohman Farm in Kensington, Minnesota.  The Ohman Family has long hoped a visitor's center would be constructed at the farm to tell the story about their ancestors who first physically homesteaded the property in 1890.  The center will also present educational information about the important historical artifact Olof Ohman and his two sons, Olof Jr. and Edward, discovered while clearing trees on the property in preparation for farming in the fall of 1898.  While the history of the century-plus long controversy of the authenticity of the artifact will be a part of the information presented, the weight of evidence supporting authenticity, together with the lack of evidence supporting the "belief" by many it was a modern hoax, have appropriately put the emphasis on celebrating the important historical artifact that it is.

Because both Darwin Ohman and I provided technical and historical input into the design of the displays and interpretive information to be presented, we can tell you it is going to be an excellent educational tool.  I know the public will be impressed and very proud of this state-of-the-art facility that will tell the story about this incredible historical artifact and the Ohman Family who first brought it to the attention of the world, especially for young people and children.  It's long overdue that the artifact and the family are finally getting the proper respect and recognition they so richly deserve.  I look forward to the grand opening scheduled for the fall of 2017.

You can read about the progress at the park at the following link:,1,dMrNg2PBRQwmr8wLft2t2u8LT9bvkkQA_HzLmOyN9SF5bKaGrLvc1R4IBil6K4mX4ljt88BmLX0DjhJr-7Ag9phpp2HBlusLMvMyYQCtFltIqVD36pX3k-mm&typo=1

The concrete cast-in-place footings and walls were recently placed for the new Kensington Rune Stone Visitor Center currently under construction at the Ohman Farm in Kensington, Minnesota, which is now a Douglas County Park. 

Arial view of the Ohman Farm.  The new visitor's center is located in the open area between the road and the trees in the upper middle area not far from the original Ohman home.

This photo was taken by the Ohman Family in the late 1950's.  The original house on the left and barn on the right have been preserved and still stand.  The original wind vane erected to pump water from the well was taken down decades ago.  However, it was recently relocated and re-erected after being purchased and returned to the farm.