Foreword by Scott F. Wolter
Imagine for a minute, that you played an integral part of investigating, and eventually solving, one of the most controversial historical mysteries the world has ever known. Then imagine, after fifty years finally figuring out that you had been intentionally kept in the dark about the truth of what you had been intimately involved in. Now imagine, that person who kept you in the dark was a childhood friend you knew your entire life. Then, nearly a decade after the death of that close friend, they finally reveal the entirety of the mystery you had helped them solve. To this day, Donald Ruh will tell you he still doesn’t understand everything involved with this story and there could be more pieces yet to be revealed. Even the lifelong friend who brought Don along on this incredible journey is shrouded in mystery as I found out first-hand upon being pulled into this story in 2006.
Donald Ruh points to the carving of a goose carved into a large block of sandstone on Hunter Mountain.
I first became involved after being asked to perform laboratory work on an inscribed stone discovered in the Catskill Mountains. Early on in my own research, it was clear Dr. William Jackson was the key person involved in the story. Don warned me not to dig into his deceased friend’s past and not long after an Internet search, I received and ominous note telling me to stop the searches that warned could harm Dr. Jackson’s still living family members. Despite this warning, my search found nothing about Dr. Jackson. Regardless, I still wanted to know more about this man and the details about how he came to possess these explosive documents, so I reached out to Don. Don was very protective of his friend and eventually, after earning his trust, all my questions about this shadowy figure in Don’s past would be answered and shared in a highly personal and moving way, in this book.
At the time of the writing of this book, several aspects of the Cremona Document had not yet been investigated. However, the veracity of the contents of the two-centuries-old copy of a twelfth century document had been established decades earlier by Dr. Jackson, with the assistance of Don and other colleagues. The Cremona Document tells the story of the Templar knights who entered the extensive cave system under the walled city of Jerusalem shortly after they had captured the Holy Land. The story tells what the six Templars found beneath the ancient city and the subsequent mission decades later to a temple in “Onteora.” The stories are told first-person by the Templar knights who made the discoveries, and in the deposition of a historically known Templar knight, Sir Ralph De Sudeley, who led a flotilla decades later to recover ancient first century scrolls hidden in what is now the Catskills of New York.
Ironically, it was Don Ruh’s discovery of a brass device on the shores of the Hudson River, while fishing with Dr. Jackson and other friends in 1968 that started this amazing adventure. Hidden inside a garden ornament that originated on Bannerman Island, the devise contained inserts and artifacts, inscribed with Theban script that eventually led Dr. Jackson to purchase the Cremona Document in Italy, before it could be donated to the Vatican and disappear forever. Dr. Jackson invited Don to join him on a diving expedition off the coast of Newfoundland that led to the discovery of an ancient shipwreck. Unbeknownst to Don, it was from the twelfth century. Convinced the stories in the document were true, Dr. Jackson asked Don and other colleagues to help search the Catskill Mountains for stone structures mentioned the document. They were all on one mountain where ancient artifacts were hidden. Don recounts these numerous expeditions on Hunter Mountain, and elsewhere, which are as memorable as they are historic.
The brass seal etched with Theban symbols onto the surface, was discovered hidden inside a decorative lawn ornament on the shores of Bannerman Island, on the Hudson River, by Donald Ruh, in 1968. This artifact, and the artifacts found inside it, started the incredible journal that has lasted half a century.
Dr. Jackson died in 2000 and before his death he planned to pass on his research, his artifacts, and the remaining documents to his lifelong friend who never questioned his intentions or motives. Don had always been a loyal friend and was the only one who took a genuine interest in his archaeological hobby and the only one who was deserving of receiving this knowledge. In 1994, fate would play a curious hand when Dr. Jackson sold the Cremona Document to an agent directly connected to the Vatican. However, this was far from the end of the story. In fact, it was simply the end of an important chapter in a very long book.
This photograph of the Cremona Document is the List of Subjects page written in Theban text that includes two Hooked X's on line seven.
It took twenty-three years before Don assembled the many pieces of the story left by his friend that can only be told by the person who lived it. The final and most important pieces didn’t arrive until 2017. It arrived in a package from Europe, only days before I arrived at Don’s home to review the material he had received. We examined the pages that Dr. Jackson had retained that were key to understanding the rest of the document - likely now in Vatican hands. If so, Dr. Jackson pulled the ultimate prank on the institution he so despised by leaving his trusted friend Don with the “Keys to the Cadillac,” in the form of numerous potential Templar treasure sites.
Arguably, one of the greatest adventures I have ever experienced all happened in one day during our climb up Hunter Mountain on July 1, 2009. In the hotel room the night before, I was amazed by Don’s photographic memory as he recalled details of the discoveries he, Dr. Jackson, and others made in the 1970s and 1980s during numerous expeditions into the Catskills which ultimately led to Hunter Mountain. Our hike up the mountain the next day, and to another site a few miles away, led to the incredible discovery of not one, but two inscribed stones directly connected to this amazing story. These stones led to other adventures that resulted in many important revelations, as well as many unanswered questions. Rarely do answers like these ever come but incredibly in 2017, another envelope from Europe arrived unexpectedly at Don’s door that held the answers to our nearly decade old questions.
There have been many times as I have spent time with Don, the artifacts, and the documents, that I sat back and marveled in amazement at what has been revealed to me that relates to my previous research and discoveries. So much of it provides powerful evidence supporting my thesis of multiple pre-Columbian expeditions by the medieval Knights Templar order to North America, both before and after the putdown by Pope Clement V and the King of France in 1307. Not only does the Cremona Document support that research, but it also introduces twelve new examples of the Hooked X™ symbol that connects directly to the Knights Templar and later traditions that embraced Templar ideology and philosophy.
Don Ruh and I during a visit in October of 2018.
It has been almost a decade for me, but for Don a half a century passed before all the pieces to this immensely complicated jigsaw puzzle finally fit together. You will be amazed by the stories told both by Donald Ruh and his lifelong friend whose life was shrouded in mystery both in life, and in death. I am proud to call Don my friend, and honored to write the forward for this history-changing book that will leave an important and proud legacy for both of these men.For those interested in purchasing Don's fascinating book that corroborates many aspects of Diana Muir's book about the Earl Henry Sinclair's first journal, and those to come, please follow the attached link: https://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?keyWords=The+Scrolls+of+Onteora&type=