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The Knight's Templar
Seven centuries ago, The Knight's Templar became one of the most influential, largest and strongest religious military orders in Britain and the myths surrounding this legendary group of men continue today. They were a group of white knights established to protect Christian pilgrims on route to the Holy Land during King Richard I's Crusades.
The Templar was the first ever group of knights to take monastic vows, becoming the world's only "Warrior Monks". Feared as soldiers, respected for their charity, sought out for their wealth, this huge group of knights that grew from a collection of only nine men, bravely fought alongside King Richard the Lion Hearted and after the Crusades, returned to Europe and, through lending money to the monarchy, invented banking as we know it today.
However, in 1307, King Philip felt threatened by the Templar's power and used its secret meetings and rituals to his own advantage and moved in on the knights. He wanted to use the knights' money to fund an attack on Britain's King Edward I. So, on 13th October, he sneaked into one of the Templar's meetings and arrested on the grounds of heresy. The knights were taken away and tortured so that as a result, ridiculous confessions of spitting on the cross, homosexuality, sodomy and worshipping of the Baphomet (an idol) were made. Philip successfully rid the knights of their wealth and respectability and urged fellow Christian leaders to do the same. On March 14th 1314 the last Grand Master of The Knight's Templar, Jacques de Molay was burned at the stake. As he burned, de Molay is said to have cursed King Philip IV and Pope Clement, asking them to join him within a year. Clement died a month later and King Philip seven months later. The imprint of a face on the Turin Shroud, said to be that of Jesus Christ, is also believed to be that of de Molay by many people.
Another spooky myth surrounding the Templar is that of the Necromantic Skull of Sidon. The skull and cross-bones has long been associated with the Templar and the Masons. The knights of the Templar were monastic and therefore, involvement with women as forbidden, as stated in the Templar Rule of Order. The legend of the Skull of Sidon claims that one knights had a relationship with a woman who died; he dug up her corpse and consummated their relationship. A voice told him that night to return to the grave in nine months. The knight did so and found a skull and cross-bones inside. He was told it was "giver of all good things", so he took the bones away with him and defeated his enemies merely by showing them the magic head. Further myths surrounding the Templar were that the knights practised black magic, found Switzerland and were in possession of the Holy Grail, all proving exactly how popular and respected the Knights of the Templar were.
Today, the Knights of the Templar still exist. There are many Orders of Templarism around; some claiming to be in direct lineage of the original group, others simply paying homage to it. But officially, the Templar ceased to exist on 22nd March 1314 when Pope Clement V issued the Papal Bull, dissolving the Templar forever.
"Templar" Medieval Magic Incense, available at the Spiral Online Shop