Zena Halpern’s Map of Oak Island

The Curse of Oak Island, Season 5 Episode 9, first airing on January 9, 2018,

“The French Connection”

The S5 E9 O.I. was exciting to watch.  Credible evidence linking Oak Island in Nova Scotia to a French noble family, with ties to the Knights Templar, should make anyone with a pulse, sit forward on their sofa!

You might be interested in my prior (hastily written) blog on this episode, which can be read here.

During the episode, Rick Lagina and co. travel to castle Rochefoucauld to meet the family representative and Curator, Sonia Matossian.

castle Rouchefaucauld 4
Rochefoucauld Castle, Charente, France

They discussed the Zena Halpern Map, as the ancient family name was scrawled across the top of the right-hand corner.

zena map tv copyright
Zena Halpern Map of Oak Island

The map originally appeared in a book written by Zena Halpern. The Templar Mission to Oak Island and Beyond.  ISBN 9781544744513 See Part IV page 259

While the cast of the documentary decoded the phrases in the upper right corner, I decided to have a look at the lower right corner of the map.  To my knowledge, it had yet to be deciphered.

There are two lines of text:

Lower right corner, from the Zena Halpern Map

The translation reads as “the Indians from the south work well”

And, “the little lion of Talmont”

The difficulty in translating the text is that it appears to be based on old French and not a modern usage of it.  Alternately, my friend who lives in France suggested that it might be someone who uses French as a second language.  The author of the map is perhaps able to speak it with far more accuracy than to write it, which is another ballpark.  The map and associated documents that appear in the Halpern book, appear to have been copied in the 1970’s from an earlier source. 

Briefly, as we’re talking about a transatlantic voyage dated 1347, which is the date associated with the map, knowing that ‘Indians from the south’ are inclined to be friendly is very important.  Calling for backup is not an option in North America at this time.  One needed to know exactly, if possible, what you were getting into with the local peoples! 

Thankfully the tribe mentioned were not likely to be violent.  It also indicates prior knowledge; that there is direct understanding of the area.  A prior voyage!  But when?  How often were crossings made?  As far as I’m concerned, voyages since at least the 10th century, from Western Europe, were occurring regularly.  Zena Halpern’s book discusses one voyage, in particular, I recommend reading it.

But who is the “Young Lion of Talmont” – ‘Where’ must be the first clue…

Castle Talmont is on the coast, just north of La Rochelle, where the Templar fleet had been based prior to October 13, 1307.  Proximity is of great significance.

Domme Talmont Paris
Map from Paris to Castle Talmont, Rochefoucauld and Domme prison.  Note La Rochelle just south of Talmont on the coast.

Talmont castle was considered strong and able to withstand a siege as it could be supplied from the sea.  Of course, waterways were the freeways for centuries and not a barrier as we consider them today. 

Taking the date of 1347 helped rule out Richard the Lionheart (Reign 1189 – 1199) who also owned Talmont, or Talmond Castle, as ruler of the Duchy of Aquitaine via his famous mother, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine.  

I had another look at the ownership of the castle during 1347 and there is indeed a ‘Lion’ and in this case, ‘little’ is actually a reference to age, ‘young’.  In other words, the Lion did something noteworthy when he was a young warrior.  Training for knighthood began in pre-teens.  There are accounts of boys as young as eight fighting in battle with their fathers.

After Richard I died, the castle passed to the Mauleons and with no male heirs, it then passed through marriage to the Vicounts of Thouars.

The Young Lion of Talmont

Louis I de Thouars, the Young Lion of Talmont was born in 1310 and died 1370, carrying ‘…the full arms of Thouars’.  He is also within living memory of the Knights Templar, the Order having been criminalized in 1314 by King Phillip.

Lord Thouars engaged in the Battle of Poitiers in 1356 very near his own lands.  Fighting alongside him was Sir Aimery de la Rochechouart.  Sir Aimery was from a family branch through marriage to the Rochefoucauld’s in 1295 which produced nine children.  Likewise, the family de la Roche also intermarried with the Rochefoucauld’s.  They all knew each other or were related.  It would be impossible for the Viscounts of Thouars and the Rochefoucauld’s not to have been associated.  Pg. 184 Sir John Froissart’s Chronicles of England, France, Spain, Volume 6

Talmont Seal
Louis I de Thouars – The Young Lion of Talmont

The translation from the book in French where I found his seal:

“Louis I de Thouars, who was viscount from 1333 to 1370, carried the full arms of Thouars Or charged with 139. – Seal of Louis de Thouars, 1338. Flowers [fleur] of azure lily in canton gules. This coat of arms is on his bookmark affixed in 1338 (1094 Archives). It is round, 0.02, (Figure 139), and is very finely engraved; the shield is leaning, stamped with a helmet of face to shutters, crown of a lion between two horns of deer; his legend”

Pg. 214, The History of Archaeology 1892, De La Mayenne

Thouars Seal 2 1378
Viscount Thouars daughter, Pernelle, inherited Talmont Castle, her seal is above

The Fleur de Lis is also on House Thouars seal, which was first used by Clovis I of the Long Haired Sorcerer Kings, the Merovingian’s.  Later the symbol was adopted as the national emblem of France.


It’s difficult to know at this point if the Viscount went on the voyage with the Templars or remained in France.  He was under house arrest after the loss of Poitiers in 1356.  But in years prior, it is possible he sailed to the new world with his Templar compatriots.

It is exciting to find the real men and women driving the events that took place in 1347 and a clearer, greater picture of the need to find a haven on Oak Island, Nova Scotia. 

The Templars fled to safe ports in multiple countries in Europe, including England.  The political divides must have become an increasing source of hardship for the once neutral Templar brothers, now possibly facing each other in conflict across borders.  

The Fleur de Lis and the Holy Grail

There has been much said regarding the true meaning behind the Holy Grail.  In my own research,  the marriage of Canna was the wedding of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. 

The priest-kings, the Merovingian’s, have become the flashpoint for this lineage.  Instead of the Grail actually being a cup, the old French translation of Holy Grail actually reads as ‘Sangreal’ or Royal Blood.  The cup is the perfect anatomical symbol for the line of kings, a direct representation of the womb of its ancestress, Mary Magdalene. 

The male equivalent of this iconography would be the Fleur de Lis. 

According to legend, King Clovis I was given the symbol of the Fleur de Lis by his wife, Queen and Saint, Clotilde (475-545).  She had been inspired to give him the emblem of three fleur de lis for his shield by an angel.  The number three is a possible reference to the number of children from Jesus’ own marriage.  

The fleur de lis has been incorrectly explained as either a lily or an iris.  If I may be so bold here, a two-dimensional representation of the symbol is rather ‘male’ in its attributes.  It is the perfect pairing to the Holy Grail.  Male and Female.  And boldly hidden in plain sight.  ‘God the father’, certainly takes on a new meaning here…

Coat of Arms for the Viscount Thouars with a curious red corner and the French version of the Fleur de Lis

Domme Castle Prison Graffiti


The image on the left has its basis in a Judaic meditation, which aids in the explanation of the nature of God and our relationship to higher wisdom.

The Domme prison graffiti, Tree of Life

S5 E9   of O.I., displays a distinctive ‘tree of life’.   Photo credit to History Chanel, S5E9 The Curse of Oak Island                                                                                                                    However, ‘the tree’ contains a further mystery.  We are looking directly at the name of a famous and influential familyThe Templar prisoner who carved it was a member of the Medici family of Florence Italy! 

All Templar knights had to be from a noble family, this rule was written in their bylaws.  The imprisoned man would have been related to the powerful Medici family.

The stylized Fleur de Lis was adopted by the powerful Medici family of Florence centuries before, whose coat of arms has always been a mystery.  I cover the subject in my book, The Secret Dossier of a Knight Templar of the Sangreal

The floriated Fleur de Lis is a distinction to the French variation.  In plain English, they miniaturized the Fleur de Lis as a triangle, with branches flowing off the main center icon.  In other words, a pictorial reference to a secret family tree flowing back the Royal House of David.

Medici Fleur de Lis
Medici Fleur de Lis
Screen Shot 2018-01-03 at 11.16.11 AM
Medici ‘balls’ or ‘coins’ – I believe this to be a reverse the ‘pellets’

The Medici Fleur de Lis denotes a family tree springing from Jesus and MM.  The city of Florence uses the device as its coat of arms due to the very influential family that ruled it. 

The Medici’s brought about the Italian Renaissance through art, architecture, science.  They were the patrons behind Leonard da Vinci, Botticelli and Fra Angelico to name a few.  They were popes, dukes and their daughters married the kings of Europe.  But perhaps more interesting, they were a powerful banking family!  It’s hard to miss this connection as the Templars were also astute bankers, having developed systems which carried into Switzerland.

Below: the famous Medici Wedding Tapestry of 1589

It celebrates the wedding of Ferdinando I de’Medici, Grand-Duke of Tuscany, and Christina of Lorraine, in 1589.
Ferdinando I de'Medici
Medici Fleur de Lis and the kingdom of France

Note the two different Fleur de Lis on Ferdinando’s wedding coat; one is the French version and the other is the Medici.  The Medici family were granted use of the French symbol as they were sworn allies and Catherine de Medici (1519-1589) became the Consort Queen of France to Henry II.

Duomo Cathedral floor with the Medici Coate of Arms and the Templar Cross

Photo credit: Trip Advisor

Note the image of the floor of the Duomo Cathedral of the Medici coat of arms and the Templar cross within the triple circles of eternity.  The triangle, of course, can be recognized as a symbol of Freemasonry.  The alternating circles represent ‘punched’ coins.  It is a heraldic device where the center of the coin is punched out.  I believe this ties in with Zena’s pellets and the indents found in Templar graffiti marks and also is a code for the Cross of Jerusalem, as discussed in the S5E9 of O.I.

Pellets Shield H O Stone

Photo Credit: The History Chanel, S5E9 The Curse of Oak Island

Photo Credit: The History Chanel, S5E9 The Curse of Oak Island

Please see my other blog which includes further info on the Medici shield.

…  Back to the Young Lion of Talmont…

Viscount, Louis I de Thouars would have been about 37 years old in the year 1347.

The battle of Calais, the main city port on the northwest coast of France, was raging from 1336 through to 1347 against Edward III who finally took it.  The important city remained in English hands until 1558.  As an aside, the Scots sent troops to the French to fight the English at this battle. 

Calais would have been out of reach for the French considering a transatlantic voyage.  Not that there weren’t other ports in France but southern Talmont just makes sense. 

In order to keep the journey a secret, it is likely that the Rochefoucauld’s would have formed an alliance with the Viscount Thouars and used the castle and its harbor as a staging point.

Note the fish next to the name across the bottom of Zena’s map.  I believe the fish in this context, indicates the harbor of Talmont Castle.  The castle is now 4 miles inland which probably happened about 400 years ago in the 1600s.  Of course the fish also has Christian connotations.  But this is not the typical Christian fish symbol.  It is too complicated with the extra fin and eye.  Christians would create an arc in the dirt or in the palm of someone they would meet on the road.  If a reverse arc was responded with, the two would know they shared the same faith.  

Many questions remain as to the people involved and the nature of the objects hidden on the island.  I look forward to discovering more and sharing it…

17 thoughts on “Zena Halpern’s Map of Oak Island

  1. Just like your friend from France, I am troubled with the poor grammar of almost every French phrase on the map. The one you deciphered is a good example.
    I would say a proper French sentence would have been: Les Indiens du sud travaillent tres bien.
    – Indien should be Indiens (plural)
    – sud should rather be du sud, you typically don’t create compound nouns in French
    – travail is a noun, travailler is the verb and travaillent is the 3rd person plural
    – bon is an adjective, it should be bien the adverb
    You dismiss that as “old French”, but I think it’s not French at all, really. It feels like it was written by somebody who barely speaks French and maybe used a dictionary to create French phrases.
    And as I said, I can find the same kind of problem all over the map. Very suspicious.

    Also (and here the plot thickens …) I found the same kind of problems in the La Formule cipher which was also presented in the Curse of Oak Island. The La Formule cipher is definitely a fabrication. And given that Zina Halpern found both documents together I think we should be very careful about this map.

    1. Hans, thank you for taking the time to comment and also for sharing your knowledge of the French language. I agree with you on many fronts.

      I do think Zena was given the documents and I don’t believe she intended to perpetuate a hoax or create one.

      The use of the term ‘indiens’ does suggest post 1492 knowledge. You are quite right to point that out. There are possibilities to entertain… ‘The Hatch’ on the map as related to Oak Island was successfully found. There are anomolies to consider and I am keeping an open mind as to the origins of the documents.

      Is it possible that they were copied from earlier sources? Like Chinese whispers, the transcription adjusted for contemporary knowledge of the situation? Updated? I don’t speak or read French, but I can say from looking at old English documents that punctuation and spelling has changed dramatically over the last few centuries. Such as the use of an ‘f’ instead of ‘s’ – the utter lack of punctuation, or some punctuation, depending on the training of any particular writer. This could explain some of the oddities of phrase in the documents. As Sonia Matossian has said, ‘old French-slang’ –

      The documents Zena was given have an aged appearance but modern, anywhere from the 1950’s to the early 1970’s – My own opinion on this is that they were compiled from another source.

      It would only make sense when considering a trans-Atlantic voyage, that updating the prior information, would be necessary. Where are the original documents? It is very possible that they no longer exist, hence the need to copy them for the future. If they were written on vellum and kept safe from fire, damp or other forms of destruction, they may indeed still be in an archive, overlooked or privately held. I appreciate your thoughts and logical questions. Decoding ciphers has always been tricky. The Shugborough Monument has been reviewed by many different researchers with differing end results. These enigmas deserve to be explored and followed up on, hopefully with a fruitful result. Best wishes!

    2. Not only is it poorly written French, but the word Indian was used for the inhabitants of India, and not for the Native People of North America until after Spain arrived. To have a document such as Ms.Halpern had that uses the word “Indiennes” a few hundred years before Columbus arrived and used the word, puts the document into suspicion. According to other recovered Templar documents the Templars called the New World Merica.
      To.have a s

      1. This argument has been raised numerous times and though I agree in theory, there is another scenario here that is often overlooked. The Zena map deserves to be studied further for the anomalies. Yes, of course the term Indians is dated to 1492. But this is a working map not a museum piece and one that has been clearly copied and passed down the centuries. The difficulty in pronouncing let alone spelling Native American names is highly problematic especially since they had no written language. For instance, Seattle is named after Chief Si’ahl which no one could spell let alone pronounce and so, his name was anglicized. As Zena’s map is a ‘working map’ and copied from an earlier source, the name of the tribe originally referenced was dropped in favor of the easier to spell and understandable slang term of ‘indians’ – Her research which is now in Rick Laginas archive through her will – is too complex to be branded a ‘fake’.

      2. Hi there,
        Keep in mind that portuguese fishermen were coming to the canadian maritime provinces like Nova-Scotia, TerraNova(Newfoundland) etc. since the discovery of large school of cod along the area and that, since the early to mid 1300’s, wich could be info given to Templars(existence of land in the west) in a time when the templars resurfaced in Portugal, wich they helped along with Spain getting rid of the Moors from the Iberean peninsula 200 years priar, educated Portugal’s 1rst king and helped found both countries and are believed to have left Portugal( port-du-Graal) with treasure (holy grail and more). It was known at the time that the mediterranean route to India was way to perilous and coveted by many other nations and pirates, so, this being said, any expedition coming west to North America was to find an alternate route to India and by all means “Indians”, Spices and silk being a treasure at that time. Wich would mean that calling Canadian natives Indians in 1347 on Zena’s map would be probable…my humble opinion.

        Have a great day. 🙂

  2. And as I am thinking about it …
    The use of the term “Indien” is also very suspicious. “Indian” as a name for the natives of the new world was coined by Columbus as far as I know. Because he was seeking a westward route to India and thought he had found it when he reached America. I am not aware that pre Columbian visitors would have thought of the newly discovered land as India and so they would probably not have called the natives “Indian”.

      1. Hi Jenna, am I to understand that you are French? Thank you for finding my site and taking an interest – Apologies for not getting back to you sooner. I have okay’d your comments for the site. I check each one now due to problems with mischief makers in the past. Thank you for your patience. Best wishes, Gretchen

  3. This is what I see in the phrase in the top right corner:
    Cette dessin pour M. Francois de Rochefoucauld, un petite voix (???) d’apprivoiser la ouest
    This drawing for Mr. Francois de Rochefoucauld, a little voice (???) to tame the west.
    Awful grammar. Can you pass this by your friend from France?

    1. Zena Halpern Map of Oak Island

      Hello, I just found this page. Very interesting. I look diligently at this series. I speak French so this is a Google translation. I remember when my father reads the Oak Island article in the Readers Digest about this treasure. I am very interested in all these topics and I do not know where to share them. I found it, lol.

      the person who wrote on the map does not speak French. Anglophones make a lot of mistakes with articles but it can be another language.

      I found my translation and I share with you and tell me what you think

      le trou sous la trappe =
      the hole under the trap

      la voute en bas de teire =
      the vault down the land
      (look at the arrow, it goes towars the water)

      le triangle deley =
      the triangle slab

      I have also noticed that almost all the writings are phonetic and not in writing words. To find it I had to speak it out.

      just like this one=

      d,apprenous t ..la =
      according to what we think, you are there

    2. it is possible with poor writing that it is probably more difficult for us to make words or sentences but to use our imagination and our logic of fragments of words.

      as = ves (maybe = ship) because we see a boat

      and the Le Ange (maybe = langes)
      LANGES = – To the plur. and in fig.
      beginnings ,
      start or
      starting point

      (google translator)

      1. Error in English translation: La ange (the angel) is not what is written: It is “la anse”, which in modern French is “l’anse” (the cove, not the angel). Think about it: What would be the sense of an angel as a place on the map? Frankly, I don’t know why this hasn’t been picked up on a long time ago. Also, the script is not how writing was done prior to the 1600s. I hold a BA History Honours and I’m familiar with the earlier English and French style of handwriting.

      2. Thank you, that’s great Wayne… I do not believe this map is medieval… It’s far more modern. I’m looking forward to sharing my work this coming spring/summer on the map. Appreciate you
        reaching out…

  4. hello, Gretchen, I did not want to be in bad taste but I understand that it is not easy to manage a blog and thank you for your replica, I appreciate a lot.

    yes I work with the translator google and I come from quebec Canada and I speak french

    on the other hand, the translation must be terrible and I am sorry but working between the lines most people come to understand me lol

    have a good day

  5. La note en bas du plan, signifie: ” Le Dieu rétabliront “, par référence au vrai Dieu qui est selon l’auteur celui des Français. Le Jeune Lion signifie: un des descendants. Bonne journée.

  6. I’m from Québec too! My first language is french. I studied old french too. On the map, the french sentence are very very inaccurate, worst, fake. It’s a forgery, a hoax.

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