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Against The Current
by Roger Burford Mason

Was the Holy Grail brought to Nova Scotia in the Middle Ages, and kept hidden therefor more than 200 years?

TO INTERVIEW Michael Bradley is to be deluged with arcane knowledge, esoteric theory and earthy opinion. He seems to know so much, in such detail, about such diverse worlds, that you wonder how he has ever found the time to write.

We talked about lake "monsters" (the subject of his next book) and the theory that not only could such things as the Loch Ness monster exist, they are almost obliged to exist by the very fact that we do not expect them to; after all, how could the world of nature be restricted to what we know about? Was I aware, he asked, that a white shark, one of the jaws variety, had been caught in the Amazon River at Iquitos in Peru, 2,300 miles from the sea? "Twentythree hundred miles from the mouth of the St. Lawrence," he points out laconically, "takes in all of the Great Lakes basin." He argues that because sharks have been found that far north and can tolerate high levels of pollution and extremes of temperature, there is no reason why a shark couldn't enter the Seaway and penetrate to the furthest reaches of the Great Lakes. It is one example of many that suggest to Bradley that nothing is impossible. "Mink of that," he said. "Another good reason not to swim in Lake Ontario."

Writing in the foreword to Bradley's most recent book Holy Grail Across The Atlantic (Hounslow Press, 1988), John Robert Colombo, the writer, editor, and gatherer of Canadiana, calls Bradley a "rehistorian" ?? a writer who offers alternatives to the accepted view of history, which Bradley suggests is neither the whole, nor the most logical, interpretation of the events of history as traditional historians have recorded them. For Bradley, the secret of "rehistory" is to look at phenomena "not from the cosy warmth of some college professor's study, but from a more appropriate viewpoint ?? the bows of a Viking longboat searching for a safe mooring, for example." What Colombo calls "the traces of traces." At that level, Bradley argues, certain things ?landmarks, post holes, artefacts and inscriptions ?? suggest interpretations that are frequently at variance with received history, but are at least as valid and worth pursuing. There is no absolute knowledge, Bradley believes.

It is an approach that has informed three major "rehistories" to date. The first, The Chronos Complex I, argues that human aggression is directly related to our first attempts to dominate time as well as territory and social groupings. The second book, The Iceman Inheritance (1978), offered some suggestions to account for the peculiarly high levels of aggression in white, western European societies (and their New World descendants), and the most recent book delves into the centuries?old legends that connect Jesus and the Holy Family with King Arthur, the Knights Templar, the Masons, and the Holy Grail. It also explores the folk myth that the Grail was brought to North America in the Middle Ages and kept for more than 200 years at a secret hiding place in Nova Scotia.

Bradley's reworking of history hasn't always had the most sympathetic press. He recounts with relish that a Maclean's review of The Iceman Inheritance was titled "The Origins of the Specious" and found fault with claims and assertions that the book did not even contain. But he's proud that the same book elicited 17 letters to the editor in one day when it was excerpted in the Globe and Mail. "Toronto critics tended to sensationalize the ideas," he said, "whereas outside the city the response was more balanced, more fair," a viewpoint borne out by his frequent invitations to lecture at universities in North America and Europe, by his participation in a five?part television series with Konrad Lorenz, and by his invitation to represent Canada at the Fourth Conference of the International Society for the Study of Time, which was sponsored by the University of Heidelberg in 1980.

With the new book already doing well in the bookstores, Bradley has another "rehistory" finished and looking for a publisher. The Columbus Conspiracy probes the possibility that Christopher Columbus was a Jew and an integral part of the Holy Family/Grail conspiracy, and that his role in that drama materially affected his "discoveries" in the New World. Since the theory that Columbus was a Morano, one of the secret underground of Jews in post?medieval Spain, has been accepted by many Jewish historians, Bradley seems once again to be on to something that will demand sober attention. But if his previous books are a yardstick, it will be a history that will delight, amaze, and provoke, and who could ask more of a book than that?


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