Skip to comments.The Mysteries of Rennes-Le-Chateau.
Posted on 07/24/2002 6:54:02 PM PDT by vannrox
In this mixture of history, fact and well-informed conjecture, there are elements of buried treasure, unexplained wealth and clandestine meetings, in fact, all the aspects of a traditional mystery story; however there are other arcane, less obvious facets to the tale. Secret societies, strange rites, an order of incredibly wealthy and powerful warrior monks, alchemy and magic.
Just looking round its tiny sun-baked cottages, its tumble-down medieval château, its 9th century church restored in garish late 19th century style, you would not think at first that this place could hold keys that might unlock doors to one or more of the world's great mysteries. Mysteries surrounding the Holy Grail, the Ark of Noah, the Ark of the Covenant and the treasures of the Temple of Solomon. These mysteries have baffled researchers for hundreds of years.
First, a brief outline of how the mystery began: In 1885 the Catholic church assigned Saunière, thirty-three years old, handsome, well-educated--if provincial--to the parish at Rennes-le-Château.[Bérenger] Saunière set about restoring the town's tiny church, which sat atop a sacred site dating back to the sixth-century Visigoths.
The village parish church had been dedicated to the Magdalene in 1059; during the restoration, he found the mysterious parchments (supposedly) in a hollow Visigothic pillar underneath the altar stone.
It is the information contained on these parchments that ignite the mystery. They appear to have been hidden there by Saunieres predecessor in the parish of a century before, an Abbe Antoine Bigou. At first sight, the parchments appeared to be Latin texts of passages copied from the Gospels, but on closer examination, there was code or cipher present. It was observed that certain letters were out of line with the rest of the text and the letters spelled out words in French.
The original French and English translations are as follows:
Bergere pas de tentation que Poussin Tenniers gardent la clef pax DCLXXXI par le croix et ce cheval de dieu jachieve ce daemon de gardien a midi pommes bleues.
Shepherdess, no temptation. That Poussin, Tenniers hold the key: peace 681. By the cross and this horse of God. I complete (or destroy) this daemon of the guardian at noon blue apples
On the other, equally enigmatic parchment was inscribed:
A Dagobert II roi et a Sion est tresor et il est la mort.
To Dagobert II King, and to Sion belongs this treasure and he is there dead.
After reading the document(s), Saunière immediately set about excavating the aisle, nave and transcript. He then moved his attention to the graveyard outside and found an encrypted inscription on a tombstone, reputedly that of Marie de Nègre d'Ablès, Lady of Blanchfort, who had died on 17 January 1781. After deciphering the inscription, traveled to Carcassonne and talked to the deputy of the Bishop who resided there.
Obviously these parchments meant something - but what? Sauniere immediately went the local mayor who gave him permission to visit his superior, the bishop at Carcassone. The Bishop also had no idea of what the ciphers meant, and gave Sauniere permission to go to Paris for assistance and advice. It was here that he met Emile Hoffet, who, although studying for the priesthood was also an expert in cryptography.
Hoffet himself, was involved in various arcane and occult organizations that flourished in Paris and indeed throughout Europe, at that time. It is thought that Sauniere became influenced by Hoffet, and as such became involved in the same circles as Hoffet.
The tomb actually existed close to the village of Arques and the painting was accurate even down to the rendering of mountains on the skyline. The tomb is no longer there; it was suddenly and mysteriously demolished in the late 1960s for no good or obvious reason (apparently) other than the amount of attention now being paid to the enigma surrounding Rennes-le Chateau. In fact, there were a group of documentary film makers at the tomb one morning, they went for lunch and on their return, they found the tomb razed to the ground; no explanation has ever been found.
Shortly after his return from Paris, the priest launched into spending spree in the parish, the source of the money has never been established. While some of this was of benefit to the village, much was for his own purposes. He had a library The Tour Magdala, or The Magdalene Tower constructed overlooking the sheer side of the mountain, he also had a large villa built, the Villa Bethania, which he never occupied. His church was also re-decorated, but there were some curious features added, for example, there is a statue of the demon Asmodeus immediately inside the door, the demon symbolises hidden treasure and secrets. It also said to be the builder of Solomons Temple.
Sauniere continued to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle funded by the same unknown source until January the 17th 1917 when abruptly, Sauniere at the age of 65 he suffered a sudden massive stroke. As he lay in his deathbed, a priest, Fr Riviere, was called from a neighbouring parish to administer the last rights. Evidently, during his last confession Sauniere revealed something that caused the attending priest to refuse him absolution and communion, once again there is no ready explanation for this.
Saunieres funeral was also decidedly odd, following his death on January 22nd; his body was dressed in a tasselled robe and placed in chair on the terrace outside the Tour Magdala. A number of unidentified mourners filed past, each one removing a tassel, presumably as a token of remembrance. It is curious to note that the Merovingian kings who also feature strongly in this mystery, also wore tasselled robes, the tassels were held to be imbued with magical properties as indeed were the monarchs themselves, the tassels were distributed to those deemed deserving or worthy.
In the 1950s the owner of the Villa Bethania who had turned it into a restaurant, suggested that, after finding parchments in an ancient pillar in his church, Sauniere had found the Great Treasure of France hidden by Blanche of Castille, mother of King Louis, the saint, in the early 13th century.
This story, published in a series of articles in the local newspaper soon caught the attention of the nation. All kinds of people began to flock to the area and soon serious treasure hunting got under way - so serious that eventually, when people's houses began to collapse due to the tunnelling, the mayor put a stop to all unauthorized excavation.
Treasure hunters had to look for other means to find what they were looking for and this is when things really became interesting.
They found that abbé Saunière's life had a lot of rumours and question marks about it. Tales of visits to Paris - of friends in high places - in celebrated and occult circles - of wining and dining famous people in his new villa, which he himself never lived in - of refusing to account for his expenditure and lifestyle to his bishop, only to the Vatican, who passed no judgement on him - of his friendship with one priest, who was rumoured to "know secrets" and of another, who was the victim of a brutal murder.
They found that a mysterious Order of immensely rich warrior monks, the Knights Templar, were not only active in the area, but were the only ones not to be touched when an attempt was made to arrest the whole membership at dawn on Friday October 13th in 1307. They found that, before this, in its heyday, during the latter half of the first millennium, this tiny little village, known then as Rhaede, was the third largest city of the kingdom of the Visigoths
The Visigoths had in their possession the treasure from the Temple at Jerusalem and its legendary Great Table and Menorah, a huge seven-branched candlestick, both made of solid gold - both having disappeared in the area at the beginning of the 6th century AD. Darker still, this land, part of a larger region known as the Languedoc, was the victim of one of the most shameful episodes in European history - Europe's first genocide. A Christian sect known as the Cathars were seen by the Church of Rome as a threat to its very existence, so the Pope authorised a crusade of extermination against them. Before their final defeat they are said to have spirited away a treasure of immense spiritual importance, hidden at or near Rennes-le-Château and never yet come to light.
An even greater threat to orthodox Christianity are the whispers that somewhere in the country of the Aude lies proof that the story of Jesus Christ is not as it is written in the Bible. Mary Magdalene, who has a cult following throughout France and to whom the church is dedicated at Rennes-le-Château, is thought to play a far more important part in Jesus' life than the Church admits and proof to this effect is thought be hidden in the area.
The Languedoc is also the land of the troubadours, the langue douce, the land of sweet talk, the land where legends of chivalry and questing knights abound, where the legend of the Holy Grail was born. People have been searching for their heart's desire, and for whatever the Grail might be, in this land for many a long year.
Secret societies abound in France. Since the French revolution there has been a strong divide between Republicans and Royalists with all kinds of societies supporting various claimants to the throne. Most them seem to have the support of one catholic group or another, not all of which appear to be strictly Roman in their beliefs. One in particular, the Prieure de Sion, has claimed to be the guardian of the secret of Rennes-le-Château.
While it is believed the head has been Pierre Plantard de St.-Clair up until recent times, he claims to have left that post in 1984, so it is not clear who runs the organization at this time. But whoever he is, he has had illustrious predecessors: Jacques DeMolay, Leonardo de Vinci, Isaac Newton, and Claude Debussy, among others!
Plantard, in any case, seems to have enjoyed the ear of many influential persons in contemporary French politics -- deGaulle, Marcel Lefebvre, Francois Ducaud-Bourget, Andre Malraux, and Alain Poher, and others, many of whom appear to know him from his efforts with the Resistance during the Vichy occupation. Despite its registry, however, the organization remains untraceable, its given address and number leading to dead ends -- which might lead one to wonder why the government never bothered to verify the information.
Some interesting things have come to light about the Prieure recently. One is that the Swiss Grand Lodge Alpina (GLA), the highest body of Swiss Freemasonry (akin to the Grand Lodge of England), may have been the recruiting body for the Prieure. But the GLA is also said by some to be the meeting place of the "Gnomes of Zurich" who are said to be the Power Elite of Swiss bankers and international financiers. The GLA is said by David Yallop to be the body which controlled the P2 Masonic Lodge in Italy.
P2 controlled the Italian secret police in the 1970s, took money from the CIA and KGB, may have had a hand in the kidnapping of Aldo Moro by the Red Brigades, had 900 agents in other branches of the Italian government and the highest positions of the Vatican, bombed a train station and tried to blame it on the Communists, used the Vatican Bank to launder Mafia drug money, fomented fascist coups in South America, and is most likely linked to the arch-conservative Knights of Malta and Opus Dei in the Vatican.) P2's Lucio Gelli may have had a role in the death of John Paul I, and perhaps even the assassination attempt on John Paul II.
Sauniere died in 1917, leaving the secret of where he got his fabulous wealth to his housekeeper, Marie Dernaud, who promised to reveal it on her deathbed - but sadly she had a stroke which left her paralyzed and unable to speak before her death in 1953.
Speculation was rife on the source of the parish priest's money. Was it the lost treasure of the Templars or the Cathars in the area? Might it have been buried Visigothic gold? Or was he blackmailing the Church with some terrible secret? The evidence that points to the last possibility is that Sauniere's confession before his death was so shocking that the priest who heard it denied him absolution and last rites.
What did abbé Saunière find? Did he find anything? Was he supported by some rich, clandestine patron or secret society? Or was he himself part of the mystery, as indicated by the curious acts of homage to his body immediately after his death?
Whatever it was that abbé Saunière found, it kept him in comfort for most of his life. However, his housekeeper and lifelong friend, Marie Denarnaud, was the only person he confided in, and both of them took the secret with them to their graves.
Last updated on: Wednesday, July 17, 2002.
Not exactly. My dictionary says 'langue d'oc' refers to the locals' use of "oc" to mean "yes."
It is called Gabriel Knight 3,
Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned
It is still available, I think.
The book itself is a mixed bag. The first 2/3 is a well written history of the region and the time. The final 1/3 is a joke, and appears written by someone different with a strong axe to grind. (Tries to prove Jesus was not crucified, but bailed out with Mary Magdalene for the south of France. Badly done fiction.)
Note: this topic is from July 2002.Just updating the GGG info.
· Discover · Nat Geographic · Texas AM Anthro News · Yahoo Anthro & Archaeo ·
· The Archaeology Channel · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.