Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Beardmore Relics Hoax or History Part 1, WHAT

The Beardmore Relics
Mr. Jack Stokes, MPP,Lake Nipigon,  "Buzz" Lein,
Nipigon Historical Museum,
and Mr. Christopher Toogood, Metals Conservator, Royal Ontario Museum
with replicas mounted on plexi-glass

Presentation of the Replicas November 12, 1981
at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto

Mr. Jack Stokes, MPP, Lake Nipigon, left
Mr. Heri Hickl-Szabo, right, Curator of the Europa Department of the ROM

with the REAL SWORD

The Relics: Colourful Past Comes Home 
November 1981

Good old Jim Dodd will rest easy now that he's earned a visible space in Nipigon's colourful history.  Dodd was the guy who happened on a few authentic Viking relics in the basement of a Port Arthur home, and subsequently "discovered" them in a site near Beardmore back in the thirties.  Dodd claimed to have found the relics while prospecting and was soon talked into selling them to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto.

The Puzzle

While historians puzzled over the presence of genuine Viking Relics north of Nipigon, and indeed while some historians even rewrote the history of the Norse penetration into Minnesota , testimony from other northerners began to cast doubt on Dodd's story.


When it was finally determined that the relics had been "planted" in the site, Dodd was discredited, the relics disappeared into the maw of the ROM basement storage, and decades of northerners forgot about this embarrassing chapter in our history.

Let's get them

But eight years ago, the Nipigon Museum's "father" decided to have a look at them, and couldn't.  Buzz Lein figured that even if the relics were planted, there was still a good story behind them, and they ought to be on display in this fledgling museum in the north.

He's been trying off and on for these eight years to get them , and so has MPP Jack Stokes.

Last Friday Stokes arrived at the Gazette office with the reproductions of the relics in hand.

"I had a bit of a time convincing the Nordair officials that I could carry the relics on board," he said, "but here they are."

Got them

Nipigon Museum curator Roland Choiselat and Librarian Betty Brill both played a long and important role in getting the reproductions back to Nipigon, and they both greeted Jack Stokes and his parcel.

The reproductions were officially handed over to Jack Stokes and Buzz Lein a couple weeks ago by Heri Hickl-Szabo, curator of the Europa Department of the ROM.

Just like the real McCoy

The reproductions are identical to the real McCoy...two parts of a sword, an axe head, and a Viking symbol called a rangel.  They're cast in lead and coated with copper, and every indentation matches the originals.

The Story

The Nipigon Historical Museum has just received permission to publish A.D. Tushingham's The Beardmore Relics Hoax or History  c. ROM 1966  (Courtesy of the Royal Ontario Museum) on our Nipigon Historical Museum's Blog  .  It is a long story so we may do it in parts.


    Search for LENAPE LAND.
    Click on Table of Contents
    Click on NO ONE TURNED BACK.

    Nearly every person who cries "hoax" is snatching truth from millions of school children. The seventh century English did not want ANYBODY to know that the Norse were in America. A person crying "hoax" is in cahoots with the 17th century English.

  2. hmmm ... hoax?? YES !! It was my grandfather who had been given the relics, and had stored them in the basement of a house he owned in Port Arthur (now part of Thunder Bay). He rented the house to Dodds, who saw the relics and decided to "plant" them in his mining claim near Beardmore.
    I have seen the current display at ROM where they are part of a display of weapons of the time period when they were created.
    I remember the trip my grandparents made to Toronto in the 1950's and my mother and grandfather went to the discuss the relics. I have a copy of the Globe and Mail article about the discussion, which was part of the ROM's decision to declassify them as a "proof" of a Viking visit to the Nipigon area. I have also seen the display in the Nipigon Museum. There is a story behind the relics presence in Thunder Bay - but not the one Dodds and the renowned Charles Currelly, the first curator of the ROM, told.

  3. Good . Now you are welcome to put THAT history up on this site if you would like that part of the story to get out to the readers.

  4. All those who side with the theory the relics are part of a hoax, and were not found by Dodds where he claimed tend to not be aware of one thing that nullifies their theories. That thing is a recorded, eyewitness account by an independent third party who had no vested interest what-so-ever in the articles being authentic. His report of seeing odd, and obviously ancient rust stains in Dodds' trench, resembling perfectly the very items Dodd's found, and only had revealed/made public years after he had found them. These stains were seen by this individual shortly after the time at which Dodds found the relics in the trench. Stains of that nature on bedrock would also have been impossible to duplicate without centuries of time. All those who claim the event to be a "hoax" seem to be unaware of that piece of evidence. They also conveniently omit another piece of little quoted, but recorded fact. The claim of Dodds' relics and the ones stored in the house as being one in the same was recanted by that individual. He reversed his statement once he SAW the actual relics Dodds claimed he had found. His initial statement was based on nothing more than hearing Dodds was making a claim of finding Norse relics, not on his visual inspection of Dodds relics. They were not the same items what-so-ever. So, arguments based on that claim of the items being the same is entirely a red herring. All the supporting material to my statements above is all locatable online, in archives, within visual copies of period publications, etc. It is obvious that the "hoax" theorists have not completed their research, are basing their theories on erroneous articles, and/or may well have a vested interest in keeping the authenticity of the find in question, be it their reputations, some sort of legacy, monetary gain of some sort, etc.

    1. Anonymous" makes some telling points. The rust stains replicated the relics exactly. If you were going to fake a Viking sword, why would you fake it as a broken sword? Furthermore, how could Dodds have known to replicate over seven hundred years of rust erosion on the relics and if so, how did he do it so convincingly? Did he have access to photographs of dug up Viking era swords? The only way he could have done it was in an acid bath and then create an oxidisation effect on the surface of the sword. Even so, if it was a fake, there would still be bright, twentieth century steel beneath the rusting on thick parts of the sword, such as the hilt.
      Does this seem somewhat beyond the skills of a "regular guy" in twentieth century Minnesota?

  5. RE: Does this seem somewhat beyond the skills of a "regular guy" in twentieth century Minnesota?


    Yes. Thank you for the clarification.