So, certainly you realize I get a large share of bizarre in my inbox, which I usually ignore with prejudice preferring the known and rational and well-edited few, but I was recently contacted again by someone that appears to be running a very long con game but without any obvious point.
I’ve received over the years several emails from someone claiming to be a “John M McNally, 3rd” about esoteric artifacts. This person talks about “hermetic esoteric artscripture found,knight templar castle ourem,gnostic” and most recently “the original wood cut print and wooden made key of the key of king solomon found!” but the whole seems to revolve around the story of a “Sea Nymph seawreck”.
I’m posting this in part to get more record out there in case anyone is searching for information, and also in case someone has some insight into what the actual con is here. I’m assuming that at some point this turns into a Nigerian scam or the Craigslist roommate scam where this person at some point asks for money. Maybe they’re just pretending for kicks, I don’t know; but, they’ve been doing this for a really long time.
The script seems to subtly evolve, and whomever is doing this sure seems persistent. While the ongoing contact, in spite of prior exchanges, suggests that this isn’t really a single person involved (since there’s a memory problem that would happen if the scam was being replicated by unrelated individuals), except that the headers for the messages I’ve received suggest that this is the same account, and that a recurring originating IP address 188.8.131.52 is actually in Delaware Co., PA and appears related to Delaware County Intermediate Unit #25.
Also, this IP appears to be active on Wikipedia, including editing information about the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority routes. There’s other information about this IP address and its activities online if you just gander around. I’m assuming that the person involved is staff at DCIU not a student, simply because of how long running this has been. I’m tempted to further track down the user at this IP address and find out more … but, I was pretty bored with it already back after the original exchange.
This just isn’t that interesting or entertaining. But, even though this lacks entertainment value for me worth pursuing, it’s all as obviously not kosher as any other scam. While it’s just not clear what the actual scam is yet, I thought I’d post about this so there was something more on record if others are looking for information about this. So, if you’re reading this because you’ve run into this persona, know that it’s been going on for a long time and, yes, it really is some kind of scam. If you’re reading this because you know more about this, feel free to contact me with more information and I’ll update this post for posterity. If you’re “John McNally” and want to, you know, come clean with the truth of your scam … yeah, never mind.
The most recent message was today:
“From: JOHN MCNALLY
Subject: the original wood cut print and wooden made key of the key of king solomon found!
On Feb 13, 2012, at 7:04 AM, JOHN MCNALLY wrote:
can you please put me in direct contact with benjamin rowe or a person in the united states who is a hermetic researcher and will know the real genuine key of king solomon is they were ever to actually see the real key of king solomon. i john m.mcnally 3rd can show you the real key of king solomon and the print of the key of king solomon.respectfully,john m.mcnally 3rd.”
Um, no. Not going to even bother responding, but it did prompt me to post this for posterity.
Well, back in August of 2010, I also got a slightly different message from this persona:
“From: JOHN MCNALLY
Subject: RE: hermetic esoteric artscripture found,knight templar castle ourem,gnostic
On Aug 6, 2010, at 7:44 AM, JOHN MCNALLY wrote:
can you please refer me to a person who is a expert in hermetic esoteric artscripture and who can authenticate hermetic esoteric artscripture from the iberian essene gnostic knight templar from castle ourem,portugal 711ad. respectfully,john m.mcnally 3rd.”
So, you know, I’m rarely, but occasionally, game to play along just to find out what the point of the con is, so back then I responded:
On Aug 6, 2010, at 1:18 PM, The Hermetic Library wrote:
Although I find it a bit suspicious that you would not already have contacts better than cold contacting random websites, including posting this in the comments to blogs since at least as far back as May ’09, and that you are still seeking this information after posting for years, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt enough to respond even though the chances of your email being about something real are vanishingly small.
I will say that this is far outside my area of expertise. I can only suggest that you try locating some scholar of the period or an appraiser at a reputable and respected house. Of these, I’m afraid, I do not know anyone to recommend.
For places to start, you might try contacting [url redacted] or [url redacted] for help locating people. Or, since you’ve claimed the wreck is in Delaware, contact The Smithsonian or some reputable Archaeological magazine, or one of the universities in Delaware.
To which I received this response:
On Aug 9, 2010, at 10:19 AM, JOHN MCNALLY wrote:
to whom this reply may reach. i john m.mcnally 3rd do truly have hermetic esoteric artscripture. someone who is in the profession of esotericism should very seriously come see what i can and have to show them in this esoteric artscripture.respectfully,john m.mcnally 3rd.
Since there was nothing new, interesting or entertaining in that response, I stopped responding at that point. I got one more message in this exchange, which I ignored:
“From: JOHN MCNALLY
Subject: hermetic esoteric artscripture
On Aug 12, 2010, at 11:31 AM, JOHN MCNALLY wrote:
to the librarian:can you please provide me with a postal mailing address to where i john m.mcnally 3rd can send you a copy of hermetic esoteric artscripture and whom to send this to. respectfully,john m.mcnally 3rd.”
And after that, I heard nothing until the most recent.
Now, if you do a search online for Sea Nymph Seawreck McNally you will find this has been going on in some fashion for many years, at least as far back as 2007.
“JOHN M.MCNALLY 3RD. 11/04/2009
CAN YOU PLEASE PUT ME IN DIRECT CONTACT WITH WHOMEVER DEALS WITH SHIPWRECK RECOVERY OF SHIPWRECKS THAT BELONG TO THE COUNTRY OF SPAIN. FOUND A KNIGHT TEMPLAR SHIPWRECK NAMED HM SEA NYMPH FROM THE IBERIAN ESSENE KNIGHT TEMPLAR FROM MOORISH SPAIN CASTLE OUREM PORTUGAL KINGDOM LEON YEARS 711AD-931AD.FOUND HM SEA NYMPH SHIPWRECK IN MINT TO EXALLENT CONDITION BURIED IN MUD UP TO HER TOP DECK BUT PRESERVED BY FRESHWATEWR OF THE DELAWARE RIVER LOCATED IN SOUTHERN DELAWARE COUNTY OF PENNSYLVANIA,UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. THE HM SEA NYMPH IS A FULLY RIGGED FORE AND AFT HERMAPHRODITE BRIGANTINE SNOW WITH 10 GREAT CANNON.SEEKING TO SECURE PROPER MEANS OF A RECOVERY AND RETURN BACK TO HER NAVAL ORIGIN OF SEA PORT. RESPECTFULLY,JOHN M.MCNALLY 3RD.” [via]
“TO WHOM WOULD ONE CONTACT TO HONESTLY TELL A PERSON THAT A TRUE KNIGHT TEMPLAR SHIPWRECK HAS BEEN FOUND SUNK AND KNOWS HONESTLY WHERE KING SOLOMONS TREASURE ,THE HOLY GRAIL, AND SEVEN CITIES OF GOLD ARE BURIED . ALL HAS TO DO WITH CASTLE TITLED OUREM,PORTUGAL.MOORISH SPAIN HISTORY YEARS 711-937 AD.
By: JOHN M.MCNALLY 3RD. on May 20, 2008
at 7:24 pm” [via]
Feb 7 2008, 7:17 PM EST
CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHO TO CONTACT TO TELL THEM THAT A KNIGHT TEMPLAR SHIPWRECK HAS BEEN FOUND IN THE UNITED STATES FROM A KNIGHT TEMPLAR OF CASTLE TITLED OUREM. THIS CASTLE IS ALSO WHERE THE HOLY GRAIL WILL BE FOUND BURIED IN THREE HIDDEN MINE SHAFTS BENEATH CASTLE TITLED OUREM.FROM JOHN M.MCNALLY [postal address redacted] UNITED STATES.SEA NYMPH SHIPWRECK.” [via]
“SEEKING A PERSON WHO IS REALLY TRULY INTERESTED IN ACUTALLY SEEING A WOODEN MADE COPY OF THE DEAD SEA SCROLL FROM KNIGHT TEMPLAR ALFONSO FELIPE HENRIQUES 4TH 899 OF CASTLE OUREM PORTUGAL. SEE AND READ PAGES 2 OF 7 HTTP://WWW.CASAALTAROYALLODGE.COM/CASTLE.HTM. THEIR IS ESOTERIC ARTSCRIPTURE IN THIS KEY SHAPED PIECE THAT CONTAINS TWO SETS OF BLUE PRINTS TO THE TEMPLE MOUNT OF KING SOLOMON AND THREE HIDDEN MINE SHAFTS OF CASTLE TITLED OUREM.FOUND ANCIENT SHIPWRECK OF KNIGHT TEMPLAR FLEET SUNK HERE IN THE DELAWARE RIVER ,PENNSYLVANIA,UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. PLEASE CONTACT JOHN M.MCNALLY 3RD IMMEDIATELY AT TELE# U.S+[redacted phone number] OR VIA E-MAIL IS BEST . THIS IS THE HONEST TO GODS TRUTH ,SO HELP ME GOD!
By: JOHN MCNALLY on June 21, 2007
at 6:00 pm” [via]
So, you know, if you’re interested in playing the game, you’ve got information and if you click through to the originals you’ve also got a phone number and a postal address to play with …
Update 29aug2012 @ 12:55am:
So, I happened to get a message from someone who suggested an explanation that John McNally is a Delaware County man suffering from some issues. So, perhaps not any kind of con at all, but perhaps a bit sadder all in all. On a lark, I did another gander online and found that I now can find an article in the online archives of the Philadelphia Inquirer, with a May 28, 2002 dateline that stretches this overall story back before then, at “River debris may vindicate amateur archaeologist John McNally calls his treasures relics of the Delaware’s swashbuckling past. Now, Pennsylvania is taking him seriously.“