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PostPosted: 06 Jan 2013 10:58 am 
Grand Master

Joined: 06 Jun 2012 3:54 pm
Posts: 686
On the 9th of Ab - August 586 BC - Nebuchadnezzar invaded Jerusalem. King Zedekiah escaped but was captured, chained, blinded and taken to Babylon.

20,000 Jews were deported to Babylon, leaving the poorest behind. Jerusalem was flattened. The temple looted and destroyed and the the Ark of the Covenant has not been seen since. The box itself was probably destroyed at this time for its gold and silver cherubim fittings.

I did a quick search of the forum but could not find mention of Monty Parker, but I read his story in 'Jerusalem, the Biography' by Simon Sebag Montefiore. Sebag Montefiore says he has pieced the full story together himself for the first time, using papers that came to light in 1975 when lawyers for the Parker family returned them to the Sixth Earl of Morley. The Earl and his brother Nigel Parker made the papers available to Sebag Montefiore.

In 1908 Monty Parker, a 29 year old ex-Etonian Grenadier Guards Officer, well connected but dim and lacking cash, was befriended by a Finn called Dr Valter Juvelius who claimed to have deciphered a secret language in Ezekiel which revealed that the Ark of the Covenant was hidden by the Jews in a tunnel south of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

All that was needed was lots of cash and they would go and dig it up. Parker arranged translation of the Juvelius prospectus from Finnish, had it printed up and gathered in tons of cash, from British, Russian, American and Swedish aristocrats.

Parker was sure he could gain free access to dig 'by dint of liberal baksheesh'.

Offering the Turkish regime's ministers 50% of the treasure plus cash up front, a contract was signed by Djavid Bey, Finance Minister, and 'Honourable M. Parker of the Turf Club, London'.

Parker and a bunch of his pals set off to Jerusalem to start digging in August 1909, behaving like a bunch of toffs on a stag night, they bribed everyone who needed bribing and started to dig on the Ophel Hill near where Charles Warren dug in 1867.

The Jews, backed by Baron Edmond de Rothschild (at the time financing his own dig for the Ark) claimed Parker was abusing sacred ground. The Arabs were anxious also. The bribed Ottomans kept them at a distance.

Rain stopped play in 1909. In 1910 Parker sailed into Jaffa on his pal Clarence Wilson's yacht, the Water Lily.

The dig started again. The Arab workers went on strike. Parker and his troupe wore their best military regalia and got the mayor to get them back working.

Parker claimed to be guided spiritually from afar by Juvelius and an Irish thought reader called Lee who was with them.

Parkers sent back details of his payments to the syndicate backing him. Bribes in the first year £1,900. Total payments £3,400.

In 1910 payments to Jerusalem officials, £5,667. Mayor Hussein Husseini got £100 a month.

No treasure was found, so they returned even more desperately in 1911. Having bribed the custodian of the Temple Mount, Sheikh Khalil al-Ansari and his brother, they decided to dig on the Temple Mount itself.

Dressed in Pantomime Arab costume, they crept onto the Mount one night, took up some paving stones in the Dome of the Rock precinct and started digging. An Arab night-watchman disturbed them and raised the alarm.

A riot broke out in Jerusalem, a mob of both Arabs and Jews chased the bounty hunters all the way to Jaffa. The Arabs and Jews tried to lynch Sheik Khalil. The Ottoman troops restored and uneasy order.

Many of Parker's team were arrested in Beirut. Parker made it back onto the Water Lily at Jaffa.

By that time rumours were circulating that Parker had stolen the Ark of the Covenant. Police searched Parker and his belongings. Realising he had better get out quickly, Parker played the English Gentleman, lit the boat for a party, invited all the local dignitaries and promptly set sail before they boarded.

Back in Jerusalem a riot was back in full force. The crowds threatened to kill the Governor and anyone British.

Rumours were now that Parker had stolen the Ark of the Covenant, the Crown of Solomon and the Sword of Mohammed.

10,000 Jerusalemites were braying for Christian blood and a massacre nearly ensued.

Parker sailed back the same autumn, unaware of the extent of chaos he'd caused but was advised not to land. He pursued his plan until 1914 but never did return to Jerusalem. Diplomatic complaints flew between London and Istanbul. Jerusalem's Governor was sacked. Parker's imprisoned colleagues were freed, because they hadn't actually stolen anything.

Parker inherited the stately home and Earldom of Morley in 1951 and died in 1962.

In an abandoned cave below the Ophel Hill remains today one bucket, a relic of Parker's exploit.

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