Some readers may remember (or not, it's been four years already) that a sensationalist documentary, Bloodline, came out in 2008 claiming to reveal new evidence that Mary Magdalene traveled to Southern France, that she and Jesus married, and most damning of all that the resurrection was a big hoax. There was just enough to the story to make me worried that this might actually be the real deal, so I did quite a bit of research and wrote a substantial critique soon after the documentary came out. Even back then, the story was already starting to crumble under the weight of very substantial criticisms, which I documented in my critique (not all of the links are still working, this was four years ago after all, nearly a century in Internet time!). But the 'explorer' who had unearthed these 'artifacts', who went by the pseudonym Ben Hammott, kept stringing people along, promising that a full investigation was underway by the French authorities, which however never came to anything.
At long last, however, after trying to hoodwink the media and authorities about other sensationalist findings, including Loch Ness and the Ark of the Covenant, Ben Hammott finally admitted that it was all a hoax:
Everything I said I discovered is a hoax, planted by me and only me...I have no idea why I did it, or carried on what was at first a stupid prank that escalated out of control. My intention was never to deceive, but then of course it was by doing what I did. Perhaps I did it for the money, though very little was ever forthcoming and realised early on that it probably never would. Did I do it for fame and attention? Perhaps. I did enjoy it at times but it wasn’t the driving force behind it. Maybe I just carried on to see what I could get away with. I really don’t know...I have had nothing since bad luck since I become involved with the Rennes-le-Chateau affair, bad karma, almost certainly. Today I have no money, no family life, no home and now probably very few friends. It is perhaps a well deserved outcome.A well-deserved outcome indeed. I had quite a few people tell me that I really shouldn't waste my time on this piece, that it was definitely a hoax, but I sometimes get paranoid about these things and Hammott's allegations kept me up many a night worrying whether my faith was all a hoax. That worry has long since dissipated, and I came upon Hammott's confession quite by accident, but it is a fitting coda to the sad story of a seeker of fame and fortune who ended up without either. May God have mercy on him.