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The mystery deepens

click to enlarge MATTHEW SCHNIPER

It was eating him and eating him.

John Clayton was at work last Thursday night. Two of his coworkers, Brandt Griffin and Mark Green, were poring over last week's Independent. The scoop, about a priest in Pueblo who ended up with a 5-inch-long relic that has been missing for decades, had them intrigued.

"I call them the treasure hunters; they are always looking for treasures," Clayton says.

When he finally got his hands on the newspaper, he couldn't stop looking at the front-page image of the relic. At the top is King Constantine the Great, in repose, looking up at a triangular shape with a cross inside, and a mountain nearby. In the middle is a piece of body armor, and at the bottom, a Knights Templar crown, encircling a tilted cross. Curators of a museum on the Western Slope have been looking for the relic with hopes it might provide insight regarding early Spanish explorers in Colorado.

click to enlarge MATTHEW SCHNIPER

When Clayton got home from work, at 2 a.m., he went down to the basement, to a little den. Hanging on the wall was an old, heavily decorated ceremonial sword that he inherited from his grandfather. It has been in the family for generations.

Clayton took it upstairs. Under the light of the stove, he held the stem of the sword next to the newspaper, and almost fell over. The images were exactly the same.

There is only one problem: Clayton's forbears, at least on his dad's side, had come from Germany and were all Masons, a fraternal organization that is not associated with Spanish explorers or missionaries.

The Western Slope curators had originally thought their discovery was a piece of a Catholic processional cross dating to the 17th century. But after dating it this week, they determined that though the relic is at least 150 years old, it is indeed Masonic. They are baffled anew.

Clayton's daughter Rachel, 9, pictured at left with her dad and brother Trever, 7, hopes their sword will help solve the mystery of Colorado's Western Slope relic.

Will it? Stay tuned.

Cara DeGette


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