In this section I examine the mystery surrounding Palmer's discovery of four maps, propose a logical explanation to the many anomalies surrounding some of his discoveries, explain why the British Library has taken it's present day stance and provide a link to other maps ~ some supposedly drawn by Kidd.
I apologise for this section being a little "wordy" ~ however, if you want to know the whole background story ~ here it is.
The charts ~ or to be more precise ~ the "maps", discovered by the Palmer brothers in the 1920's and 30's have been subject to much speculation, study, research and even ridicule. Some critics have suggested that for Palmer to "discover" four maps, within four years, all depicting the same island, all concealed in pieces of furniture allegedly with a Kidd connection ~ as absolutely unbelievable and beyond credibility. On the face of it, they are right.
Right that is, if the maps were discovered by chance. However, not until you dig deeper, and understand the events and strange happenings that surround Palmer's discovery, can you hope to get at the truth. During my research I discovered pointers to show that one or more of the circumstances surrounding the discovery of certain maps may have been fabricated. There is even debate about in which order the maps were discovered. This is an extremely important point, and one to which I am still trying to discover the truth. I have chosen to follow convention for the present and believe Palmer's account. I also postulate my theory ~ based on logic and common sense ~ as to what I believe may be the true course of events surrounding Palmer's first two discoveries ~ the Bureau Map and the Hardy Map.
After the first map had been found in 1929, the Palmer brothers employed antique dealer agents throughout the country to clandestinely seek out relics with a Kidd connection. Kidd's possessions, in chests ~ accompanied him when he was returned to England to face examination and trial, so it is not surprising Palmer found the objects in England. The agents placed adverts in Provincial newspapers for Pirate/Kidd relics and actively sought out any item with a Kidd connection. It is therefore not at all surprising they managed to locate four major objects in four years of searching. This answers the allegation that the discoveries were "unbelievable coincidence" as proposed by certain critics. The discoveries were not a coincidence, the objects were actively sought by design.
Before we examine the maps and circumstances surrounding their discovery, we first need to look at the main protagonists in the saga. The Palmer brothers were wealthy bachelors with an avid interest in all things piratical. They owned and ran a world renown museum dedicated to their subject. They spent their whole lives adding to their collection, buying items from auctions and reputable antique dealers. They meticulously examined every relic that came into their possession and struck up a close relationship with one dealer in particular, Mr. Arthur Hill-Cutler, who was to play a significant role in the saga. Mr. Anthony Howlett was a barrister friend of the Palmer brothers, who shared their interest in all things piratical. He later wrote articles for National Geographic and appeared on national television in the UK in a programme about the discovery of the chests and maps, and assisted Hubert Palmer in authenticating the discovered relics. He also investigated and described the activities of Mr. Hill-Cutler as "a person who sometimes sailed close to the wind". They have all now passed to their secret island in the sky, taking their first hand knowledge with them. It is significant to note that no one made personal gain from the publication of the discoveries. They all had their own personal reputations to protect, and were very careful to treat the series of discoveries with the seriousness and reverence only genuine researchers would show.
That brings us to the $64 million dollar question ~ are the maps genuine or fake? To answer that, we must separate the physical pieces of parchment from their contents.
The pieces of parchment were lost from the public domain over sixty years ago. No one today, including the British Museum/British Library have ever (officially) seen the pieces of parchment, let alone inspected and tested them. All they have seen are the photocopies of the tracings of the photographs of the original pieces of parchment. I find it surprising then that such an august institution such as the British Library, who have decided the maps are fakes, can make such a sweeping pronouncement on the validity of the pieces of parchment based on conjecture alone. Their whole stance is based on the appearance of the maps and their apparent non-conformity with other maps of the period.
The contents of the maps are however a totally different matter. The maps (Morgan/Avery and Key/Kidd) contain various pieces of information. Included within the information are simple codes that when deciphered give the location of the island that is depicted on the maps. Both maps use the same simplistic methodology to conceal the location of the island.
This is not opinion or conjecture, it is fact. I am able to produce irrefutable and undeniable anecdotal evidence to prove and support my statement. After all, I have been to the island and walked it’s shores. I am confidently able to pronounce the contents of the maps to be absolutely GENUINE ~ in direct opposition to the British Library's conjectural stance on the general appearance of the maps. The reason I looked for the island at the location I did, is because the maps (both), when deciphered, gave me the exact position of it's location. The island could not have been discovered in any other way.
Palmer with the Hardy Chest and map attached to the false bottom of the chest
Palmer with the box that contained the Key or Kidd map attached to a false sliding tray
Ever since the Palmer maps were first discovered, people have interpreted the maps literally, believing the depicted island lay in the China Sea ~ because that’s what it says on the maps !! However, many old maps of the region, contemporary with Kidd’s time, knew the southern area of the Indian Ocean as “Ocean Oriental”. It doesn't take the brain of a rocket scientist to figure out why Kidd may have enigmatically placed his island in the China Sea !!
A 1700 map of “Ocean Oriental”