Raiders of the Hidden Ark
The first complete account in English of the Parker expedition and those who went on it
The story includes a deadly curse, bribery, betrayal, gun-running, riots, madness, bankruptcy and more. The expedition made headlines around the world. It sounds unbelievable; Downton Abbey meets Indiana Jones meets Dan Brown. But the Parker expedition is real. Rudyard Kipling on hearing an account from a participant wrote: ‘Talk of fiction! Fiction isn’t in it’.
In 1908, a Finnish scholar convinced a group of young Englishmen from wealthy and titled families he had uncovered secret cyphers in the Bible showing where the Ark was hidden. They were educated at Eton, had fought in elite units of the British military and socialised with European royalty and rich Americans. They headed for Jerusalem on a private yacht to dig for the Ark. With them were a Swiss psychic, a Finnish socialist poet, and a Swedish captain who had experienced the darkest heart of colonial madness in the Belgian Congo.
The Parker expedition unwittingly ‘scattered sparks in the religious tinder-heap’ that is Jerusalem. Its impact still has echoes today.