The Forgotten History of New Jerusalem
The period between Spring Equinox of 2012 until Posketa of 2014 was a time of many revelations. The Track Rock Gap controversy was the spark that ignited this explosion of knowledge, but ironically, most of the wisdom gained was about the hinterlands of the Southeast during the late 1500s and 1600s.
University textbooks told us that there were no eyewitness accounts of that period and that none would be found. They were wrong. We learned that many people from the Old World had come to this land before the founding of Charleston, but their memory long ago had been erased by British and American scholars.
The concept of a Heavenly Jerusalem to replace the one destroyed by the Babylonians first appeared in the Books of Ezra and Baruch, written during the time of the Maccabees. After the Diaspora that followed the Roman destruction of the Second Temple, the concept of a “Jerusalem on a High Place” became interpreted as a city on a mountaintop.
Even today, there is a vague memory in Judaism of a time in the past when many Children of Israel fled the demonic sadism of the Inquisition to start new lives in a New World within a mountainous land of dense vegetation, waterfalls and fertile soil. They called their adopted land, New Jerusalem. We call it Apalache.
The last section of this story is going to blow your mind!
What in the heck?
It was September of 2012. I was cutting firewood in the wooded area between my cabin and the road. Five $80,000+ sports cars drove by slowly . . . flying Israeli flags. The men driving them had frozen smiles on their faces. They were trying so hard to see the cabin through the trees that they didn’t see me. I thought perhaps that they were lost. When I saw the sports cars turn around down the road a bit, I moved my tasks of splitting fire logs to the road right-of-way, in case they needed help.
I stood up, forgetfully still holding the axe, to face the cars and smiled. I wanted to let them know that I was friendly and would give them directions to Waters Chapel, a popular location for weddings, driving to which city folks invariably get lost.
Instead, the frozen smiles on the two men in the first car turned to looks of absolute terror, when they saw the axe. The driver burned rubber to get out of there. The other cars followed suit. All the cars had bumper stickers on the rear, announcing “IDF Veteran.” (IDF = Israeli Defense Forces)
At the highway intersection about 150 yards away, there was almost a terrible accident. The sports cars didn’t stop and were barely missed by oncoming traffic. What in the heck was that all about?
The following month, an editorial appeared in the Journal of the American Institute of Archaeology. It was written by Dr Ramon Sarró, an ethnologist, who specializes in West African cultures at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. It was supposed to be about the Track Rock Gap controversy, but dwelt on how his friend, Johannes Loubser, was being persecuted by racist, Southern rednecks. Among other things the article described me as “nothing but an ignorant peon.”
This guy obviously doesn’t know me, plus anything about either the Creek’s or Maya’s cultural history. However, what in the heck does “the Mayas in Georgia” have to do with Southern Rednecks . . . which obviously I am not?
I looked up the name Sarró and learned that it was a Jewish Sephardic name, originally a very prominent family in Spain and Portugal. What does that have to do with Track Rock Gap?
Loubser was employed by the US Forest Service in Gainesville, GA. At least three of its employees were members of the Patriots, which is a neo-Nazi, white supremacist group, classified by the FBI as a domestic terrorist organization. The Patriots operate a training ground next to Track Rock Gap.
The Master of Life works in mysterious ways. In early 2013 I sent a photocopy of Dr. Sarró’s nasty editorial, my bio and a request for assistance in finding the Lost Creek Migration Legend directly to His Royal Highness, Prince Charles. It is quite possible that “a British professor behaving badly” influenced HRH’s staff at Clarence House to provide us the key research, which enabled the discovery of the lost documents.
On the day before the December 21, 2012 premier of “America Unearthed” both the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Gainesville, GA Times ran feature articles on a “speech” that South African archaeologist, Johannes Loubser, had given to three employees of the Eastern Band of Cherokees from North Carolina and two employees of the Muscogee-Creek Nation from Oklahoma.
The articles described them as important tribal officials, but that, they were not. They were just rank and file bureaucrats. In fact, the Muscogee-Creek National Council didn’t even know that they were in Georgia, merely to trash a show on the History Channel.
Well, normally such non-news would have never even made it into the newspapers. Meanwhile, the premier of an internationally broadcast History Channel program that was filmed at several tourist attractions in Georgia and Mexico was not mentioned by any newspaper or TV station in Georgia – except the Spanish language ones. But in downtown Mexico City, they watched “America Unearthed” on an IMAX screen.
According to the newspapers, Loubser described me to the assembled guests as “one of those white racists, whose always trying to change your history. He is telling people that the Mayas came here and built your mounds.”
Say what? These out-of-state visitors had never been at Track Rock Gap before. It is highly doubtful that any of their ancestors ever even saw the North Georgia Mountains. This is my homeland. My ancestors are buried in the mounds here.
Transportation was furnished by the American taxpayers the day after the speech so that the tribal employees could see Track Rock Gap. However, both the federal and tribal bureaucrats were too obese to climb up to actually see the ruins. They had their photo made in front of the USFS sign in the parking lot and then raced off to Gainesville to eat lunch before the all-you-can-eat buffet line closed down.
George Orwell was truly a prophet. However, his “1984” didn’t arrive until after 2001.
The revelation of New Jerusalem
If you walk the Spiritual Path, the Master of Life and grandparent spirits (angels) will guide you. That certainly was the case in the discovery of New Jerusalem.
A little research revealed that Johannes Loubser was a specialist in African Rock Art, who had fled South Africa immediately after the racist Apartheid regime collapsed. Talking about the pot calling the kettle white! Loubser is a Dutch Jewish name. That would explain all the caca about me being anti-Semitic. The irony of Loubser’s ethnic origin could soon become unimaginably ironic.
Actually, two of the dearest friends in my life have been Harry and Lillie Lerner. Lillie was one of the few Hungarian Jews, who survived the Auschwitz concentration camp. Afterward, she wrote that beautiful book, The Silence. Harry escaped the Hungarian Army the night before Nazi SS troopers machine gunned all the Jews in his regiment. For the remainder of the war, he was a partisan fighter – a true hero. It is indeed 1984 in America.
It was odd that in 2000, Loubser had transcribed the letters “Liube 1715” from the Track Rock Petroglyphs to his drawings, without realizing their significance. Liube (beloved) was a name that Eastern European rabbi’s gave their first daughter. The date, 1715, was the year that hundreds of Europeans were butchered in the interior of the Southeast. What was a rabbi’s daughter doing deep within the Georgia Mountains – 200 miles from the nearest white settlement – during such a massacre?
I thought that was the end of the story, until Jewish folks in Dahlonega and the Atlanta area began contacting me in early 2013. They were all in their 20s and 30s . . . former residents of the New York City area, who had moved to North Georgia after 9/11.
During the fall of 2012, they had been approached by unspecified persons and told that I was a “dangerous anti-Semitic KKK thug, who was planning terrorist acts against Jewish synagogues.” They were asked to set me up to appear to commit various crimes so that I could be put behind bars, where I belonged. They were promised “business opportunities” and “stock tips,” if they succeeded.
These were truly decent, intelligent people, who quickly realized who the real bad guys were. They wanted to warn me of what was going on. Some of them became my friends.
My new friends told me an intriguing story about New Jerusalem. The concept of a New Jerusalem in the Americas, where all Jewish people could live in peace, began among Sephardic Jews, who fled from Spain and Portugal to Protestant areas of France and to Protestant Holland. This was in the late 1500s and 1600s.
A famous Sephardic Jewish intellectual in Amsterdam, named Baruch Spinoza, had in particular promoted the idea of all Jews moving en masse to somewhere in the Americas to create a nation of their own. The dream continued into the 20th century to become Zionism and resulted in the creation of Israel in 1948. However, there were indeed several attempts by Dutch Jews to colonize the New World much earlier.
Spinoza very quickly caused the ire of conservative rabbis because he questioned the authenticity of several sections of the Torah then being used in worship services. Jewish religious authorities issued a cherem (a kind of ban, shunning, ostracism, expulsion, or excommunication) against him, effectively excluding him from Jewish society at age 23. His books were also later put on the Catholic Church’s Index of Forbidden Books. He was buried in a Protestant Christian cemetery in the Netherlands.
Today, Spinoza is considered the “Father of the Enlightenment Period.” A Broadway play about Baruch Spinoza, called “New Jerusalem,” has been drawing large audiences in North America and Europe for several years.
After 9/11 several charismatic Jewish intellectuals in the Northeast became convinced that the Apocalypse was beginning. Muslim terrorism and fascist governments would make life unbearable for righteous Jews in Europe and the United States. They came across books written in Hebrew by Dutch Jews, which described a Jewish colony in the Appalachians.
According to these old books, colonization was initiated by Jewish Dutch traders, based in New Amsterdam (New York), who established trade relations with a string of Native American provinces along the Great Appalachian Valley between the Shenandoah Valley and Georgia. Apparently, English colonists on the other side of the Blue Ridge Mountains on the coast were completely unaware of their trading activities.
Eventually, the New Temple would be built at the latitude of Jerusalem near present day Macon, GA, but at the time, the hated Spanish were too close – in Florida. The Dutch explorers believed that a cluster of ancient, large mounds at what is now Ocmulgee National Monument in Macon was where the Lost Tribes of Israel once lived. They planned to build the New Temple on a small mountain just south. That location had to be Brown’s Mount.
In the meantime, the Sephardic refugees would establish colonies at the latitude of Galilee and Lebanon, the Southern Appalachians. A great and wise king ruled most of the Southeast’s interior. He allowed the Sephardic Jews to settle certain valleys, which were under-populated. There were few conflicts between the new settlers and the indigenous people because their religions were so similar.
My new friends had no explanation as to what happened to the Sephardic colonists or why they are not mentioned in any books other than those written in Hebrew. They said that they thought several hundred Jewish young people had moved south to the Atlanta Area from Northeast to create a New Jerusalem.
They had originally planned to buy a large tract of land for a communal village and farm. Because of marriages, children, divorces and careers, many had lost contact with each other. A few couples and individuals had already moved to the Dahlonega area and were commuting back to Metro Atlanta or teaching at the University of North Georgia. Some couples had bought land near Dahlonega and were camping there on weekends. Deer had eaten up most of the vegetables in their gardens on week days. Many more had formed tight friendships within Inner City neighborhoods.
I told them that I believed them. There were several accounts of ruins of European villages, dating from the 16th or 17th century, made by settlers in the Georgia Mountains. However, Georgia archaeologists refused to look for these sites.
The only absolute proof that I had seen of a Sephardic presence in the Appalachians was an inscription 5,400 feet up in the Great Smoky Mountains. In the Ladino (Sephardic Castilian) language, it announced a wedding on September 15, 1615.
On the other hand, I had never, ever read an account of Dutch traders traveling as far south as Georgia or seen any evidence of a Dutch-speaking presence in the Southeast. Perhaps the Dutch authors had exaggerated a bit in order to persuade Sephardim to emigrate?
A few months later, Marilyn Rae joined POOF’s research. She had an exceptional background in Renaissance Spanish history and the Iberian languages, plus her former husband was a Sephardic Jew. Fortunately, they were still on good terms.
When Marilyn and I pooled our knowledge, we began turning the history books upside down. We found many more eyewitness accounts of Spanish-speaking Jewish villages in the Southern Appalachians. We found eyewitness accounts of Dutch ships dropping off colonists at the mouths of the Savannah and Pee Dee Rivers. Apparently, friendly Apalache warriors escorted the colonists to settlements in the Southern Appalachians.
Then our attention shifted to Northeast Metro Atlanta, where there are many ancient stone ruins. A particularly enigmatic site near Atlanta was the Nodoroc. It is a dormant mud volcano, surrounded by a swamp, in Barrow County. A people, who lived there before the Creeks, used it for human sacrifice. The Creeks used the site for execution of particularly evil people . . . like the Creek mother, who ate three of her own children.
Early settlers said that Nodoroc was a Creek word. Recent reports, written by academicians, said it was “a Cherokee word, whose meaning is unknown.” It was neither.
One day, Marilyn called me on the phone. “Hey Richard I have finally got the meaning of Nodoroc. It is from two Dutch words, meaning ‘swamp smoking’.”
And now you know.
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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history.Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.
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