When Holy Blood, Holy Grail was published in 1982, it aroused a firestorm of controversy. The local St. Petersburg Times, Florida, published a review that quoted the Rt. Rev. Montefiore as saying:
“Academically absurd… howler after howler.”
This was balanced by a quote from one of the book’s author’s, Henry Lincoln saying:
“Is it more plausible that a man should be married and have children, or that he should be born of a virgin, attended by choirs of angels, walk on water and rise from the grave?”
Excellent point, in my opinion.
The Duke of Devonshire who would be, according to the premise of the book, one of Jesus’ descendants, pronounced it “absolutely obnoxious.”
Quoting from the Times article:
Research began with Lincoln’s preparation of a 1972 BBC documentary on a 19th century French priest, Berenger Sauniere. The cleric reputedly amassed great wealth after discovering and deciphering four parchments hidden in a hollow pillar of his church at Rennes-le-Chateau, a hilltop village in the south of France.
The authors say they have discovered those parchments, or facsimiles, still exist and disclose the existence of a secret society called the Prieure de Sion, founded in the 11th century at the start of the Crusades. Its aim was to guard the Holy Grail – according to medieval legend, the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper.
The authors claim the society remains active, and that its adherents over the years included Isaac Newton, Andre Malraux, Victor Hugo, Claude Debussy and Charles de Gaulle.
According to the authors, the words “Holy Grail” are a mistranslation of early French words for “royal blood,” and the true purpose of Prieure de Sion is to protect alleged royal descendants of Jesus and prepare the way for their accession to world power.
To bolster their description of the society, they provide several chapters of scholarly references from legends, romances, paintings, documents and the Bible.
All this is controversial enough, but author Leigh said it led the three to reexamine the conventional interpretations of the New Testament. That study led them to propound a “hypothesis” that:
- Jesus literally had a claim to being “king of the Jews” and was descended from the royal house of the Israelite King David.
- He married Mary Magdalene and had at least one child by her.
- He and sympathizers staged his Crucifixion and Resurrection and he survived into old age somewhere outside the Holy Land.
- Mary Magdalene and her offspring made their way to southern France – then Roman ruled Gaul.
- Jesus’ bloodline mixed with that of the Franks and started the Merovingian dynasty of the early Middle Ages.
- The Merovingian line extends into the modern noble houses of Europe, so Jesus’ descendants are alive today.
The book’s contentions have started a religious firestorm.
“It is a sign of the degeneracy of the times that a publisher like Jonathan Cape should take this book,” said Anglican Bishop Montefiore.
Montefiore catalogues what he calls “79 instances … of gross errors, vital omissions, gravely misleading statements or the adoption of way-out hypotheses.”
Another Anglican bishop, Rt. Rev. Mervyn Stockwood, was even less reserved. “Let them write a second book suggesting that Caesar married Boadicia and that the offspring is Ian Paisley,” he was quoted by The Times of London as saying.
The authors say they are merely making reasonable suppositions based on careful research and new evidence. They add that serious work on medieval history has been obscured by the furor over their conclusions. [St. Petersburg Times, January 19, 1982, byline: Mark S. Smith]
Now, notice the remark that this hypothesis is based on “careful research and new evidence.”
WHAT new evidence?
Well, new evidence provided by the Priory of Sion, of course!
Now, we will find that most of the information presented in Holy Blood, Holy Grail had already appeared in other French publications devoted to the subject of Rennes-le-Chateau, as well as a great variety of other sources.
In all fairness, it must be said that Lincoln, Leigh and Baigent DID go back to many original sources of information and they DID research the affair with care. They also took the time and trouble to interview a number of people whose names and views had been quoted by other writers with a great deal of license taken, thereby sorting out some of the myths from the facts.
The conclusions reached by Lincoln, Leigh and Baigent are very well presented and it is much easier to read it as they originally wrote it than to attempt to summarize it, but the main point should be that the whole thing started with Gerard De Sede’s book Le tresor maudit de Rennes (The Accursed Treasure of Rennes), which Henry Lincoln read on his previously mentioned vacation in France.
So, it is to Gerard de Sede that we must turn. It is M. de Sede who provides most of the information about Berenger Sauniere and the mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau. It is to M. de Sede that we owe the rumor that it is “dangerous” to inquire too deeply into the matters connected with Rennes. As proof of this, he cited a car ‘riddled with machine gun bullets’ which Lincoln and his colleagues discovered was only an old wreck used by a farmer’s son for target practice!.
But, let’s back up a moment. In France, there is something called The Bibliotheque Nationale which is similar to the U.S. Library of Congress or office of Copyright registration. This organization holds in its archives a copy of every work published in the country. In this way, it provides a more or less reliable record of published works. Its “depot legal” system establishes a date of publication for copyright purposes, yet there is no need to show that any copy but the one deposited has ever been published. In other words, anybody can write anything, deposit it there after filling out the appropriate forms, and thereby claim to have “published” a book, or to have “copyright” exclusivity.
Henry Lincoln records in his research journal published as Key to the Sacred Pattern, the Untold Story of Rennes-le-Chateau, that the mysterious M. de Sede suggested a visit to the Bibliotheque Nationale where there was “deposited a considerable amount of documentation relating to the story” of Rennes.”
How nice of M. de Sede to bring this up! So helpful!
In Holy Blood, Holy Grail we read:
In 1956 a series of books, articles, pamphlets, and other documents relating to Berenger Sauniere and the enigma of Rennes-le-Chateau began to appear in France. This material has steadily proliferated and is now voluminous. Indeed, it has come to constitute the basis for a veritable ‘industry.’ And its sheer quantity, as well as the effort and resources involved in producing and disseminating it, implicitly attest to something of immense but as yet unexplained importance.
Not surprisingly the affair has served to whet the appetites of many independent researchers like ourselves, whose works have added to the body of material available. The original material, however, seems to have issued from a single specific source. (Emphasis, mine) Someone clearly has a vested interest in ‘promoting’ Rennes-le-Chateau, in drawing public attention to the story, in generating publicity and further investigations. Whatever else it might be, this vested interest does not appear to be financial. On the contrary, it would appear to be more in the order of propaganda – propaganda that establishes credibility for something. And whoever the individuals responsible for this propaganda may be, they have endeavored to focus spotlights on certain issues while keeping themselves scrupulously in the shadows.
[…] In confronting the welter of data now available, the reader may well feel he is being toyed with – or being ingeniously and skillfully led from conclusion to conclusion by successive carrots dangled before his nose. And underlying it all is the constant, pervasive intimation of a secret – a secret of monumental and explosive proportions.
The material disseminated since 1956 has taken a number of forms. Some of it has appeared in popular, even best-selling books, more or less sensational, more or less cryptically teasing. Thus, for example, Gerard de Sede has produced a sequence of works on such apparently divergent topics as the Cathars, the Templars, the Merovingian dynasty, the Rose-Croix, Sauniere, and Rennes-le-Chateau. In these works, M. de Sede is often arch, coy, deliberately mystifying, and coquettishly evasive. His tone implies constantly that he knows more than he is saying – perhaps a device for concealing that he does not know as much as he pretends. But his books contain enough verifiable details to forge a link between their respective themes.[Emphasis, mine] Whatever else one may think of M. de Sede, he effectively establishes that the diverse subjects to which he addresses himself somehow overlap and are interconnected.
On the other hand, we could not but suspect that M. de Sede’s work drew heavily on information provided by an informant – and indeed, M. de Sede more or less acknowledges as much himself. Quite by accident, we learned who this informant was. In 1971, when we embarked on our first BBC film on Rennes-le-Chateau, we wrote to M. de Sede’s Paris publisher for certain visual material. The photographs we requested were sent to us. Each of them, on the back, was stamped “Plantard.” …The appendix to one of M. de Sede’s books consisted of an interview with one Pierre Plantard. …Eventually Pierre Plantard began to emerge as one of the dominant figures in our investigation.
Henry Lincoln informs us that he had, indeed, been “briefed” about certain “source materials” by de Sede. These publications, referred to in Holy Blood, Holy Grail as the “Prieure documents” give no indication of having been “published” in the accepted sense of the word. They are, for the most part, duplicated typewritten scripts, giving dates of publication and author, and it seems that the only copies are the ones in the Bibliotheque.
The earliest of these documents, dated August of 1965, is entitled Les descendants Merovingiens ou l’enigme du Razes Wisigoth, or The Merovingian descendants, or the enigma of Razes of the Visigoths. Its purported author is a Madeleine Blancasall, and claims to have been translated from German by a Vincent Celse-Nazaire, and supposedly published by the Grande Loge Alpina. The document describes the descent of the Merovingians from their alleged biblical origin to the 20th century, by way of the family of Plantard. The genealogy is signed by a Henri Lobineau.
Now, of course, M. de Sede helpfully informed Henry Lincoln in advance that he must not look under the name “Lobineau,” but instead must look under the name “Schidlof.”
Henry Lincoln notes:
Madeleine Blancasall is clearly made up from a reference to Rennes-le-Chateau’s patron saint, Marie-Madeleine, linked with the names of the two rivers, the Blanque and the Sals which conjoin just to the south of Rennes-le-Bains. [A town near Rennes-le-Chateau.]
And, of course, we note that the church of Rennes-les-Bains is dedicated to the two saints Celse and Nazaire. The Grande Loge Alpina, the main lodge of Swiss Freemasonry, denies all knowledge of this little work.
Nine months after the deposit of this curious genealogy, in May of 1966, another document was deposited in the Bibliotheque Nationale. It also bears the imprint of the Grande Loge Alpina and the title is Un tresor Merovingien a Rennes-le-Chateau. The author is Antoine l’Ermite. The grotto of St. Antony the Hermit is only a short distance from Rennes.
One month later, June, 1966, another document was deposited in the Bibliotheque entitled Pierres gravees du Languedoc, and this was a purported reprint of an earlier book published in 1884 by Eugene Stublein. [Stublein DID exist and DID publish a book in 1877 entitled Description d’un voyage aux establissements thermaux de l’arrondissement de Limoux. There is, apparently, no known REAL copy of his 1884 book of which the 1966 version purports to be a copy, but we will get to that.]
Then, in March of 1967, still another document was deposited/published with the Bibliotheque Nationale. It was entitled Le serpent rouge, and this one had three authors: Messieurs de Koker, Saint-Maxent and Feugere. There is some disagreement over the date on which, after the necessary red tape had been gone through, the document was considered to be officially “published.” The Depot legal states March 20th, but Lincoln et al gave it as January 17. This matter was investigated by another researcher, Franck Marie, who claims to have established the date of February 15. Whatever the date of deposit, it is a fact that Louis Saint-Maxent and Gaston de Koker were found hanged on 6 March, and Pierre Feugere the following day.
Were these three men victims of revenge or a suicide pact as de Sede suggests? Their respective families all insist that the three were absolutely unacquainted with one another and that their deaths by hanging, so close to one another in time, are just horrible coincidence. The obvious conclusion is that someone found the names of three unrelated persons with suitable deaths in the French newspapers, put their names on this document, and THEN deposited it after falsifying the deposition slip and that the date of March 20, as given by the Bibliotheque Nationale, is the correct date.
The not very illuminating works by [Madeleine Blancasall and Nicolas Beaucean] I am able to consult with no difficulty. But [Un Tresor merovingien a Rennes-le-Chateau by Antoine l’Ermite] proves altogether more elusive.
A Merovingian treasure at Rennes-le-Chateau is the book which I had ordered during my visit to the Bibliotheque nationale with Gerard de Sede. On that occasion, it had been communiqué – unavailable as another reader was consulting it. I am surprised to find, this few months later, that the book is still communiqué. On each of my three working days in Paris, I reorder the book. On each occasion I am informed that the book is communiqué. This is very frustrating – but the fact that other people, too, are delving into the Rennes-le-Chateau mystery is, perhaps, not surprising. For the moment, I must accept the frustration as ‘part of the job.’
A month or so later, a friend tells me that she is about to take a short holiday in Paris. Is there, she asks, any commission she can undertake on my behalf? I ask her to pay a visit to the Bibliotheque Nationale; to order up the evasive Antony Hermit and, if possible to photocopy a page or two. But she returns with the by now familiar lack of success. Communiqué. I am beginning to smell the proverbial rat. At the next possible opportunity, I must endeavour to trap it. Yet more months are to pass before I can make the attempt.
At last I find myself back at the Bibliotheque Nationale. Again I order the book. Again it is communiqué. I make enquiring noises at the librarian’s desk. But – no, I am told, communiqué means communiqué. There’s nothing I can do about it. Somebody is reading it. ‘For months on end?’ I query plaintively. But an unhelpful shrug is the only response. What seems a not unreasonable idea occurs to me. ‘Can I, Madame, order it up now for tomorrow morning, so that mine will be the first request of the day?’ This suggestion is greeted by a glare of utter horror. This is not part of the Bibliotheque Nationale’s routine. I must present myself at the desk each day, put in my order and await – with patience – until the other reader has finished with it. …As a final desperate throw, I ask: ‘Is it possible for you to indicate to me the desk of the other reader?’ Total shock renders the librarian speechless. Her eyebrows pole-vault toward her hair line and her eyes close to block out the sight of such uncouth temerity.
…First it is necessary to track down the book in the library’s main catalogue and make a a note of its reference number. In the Reading Room, a form must be filled in, in triplicate, for each book requested and then handed over at the librarian’s desk. One is required to enter one’s name, the title of the book and the catalogue reference number. A desk number is then assigned. In due time, one’s book – or books – will be brought to the indicated desk, where one is now free to begin work. Of the three copies of the form, one is retained at the librarian’s desk, and the other two disappear into the cavernous recesses of the Library’s store. When the book is found on the shelves, the second copy of the form is placed inside its cover so that it may now make its way to the appropriate reader’s desk. The third copy – known as the fantome – is placed in the space vacated by the book, where its ghostly presence holds sway until the volume is restored to its rightful home. If the book is communiqué, then the fantome is duly marked and placed on the reader’s desk as notification of the fact. Is there any way in which I can take advantage of this elaborate routine?
‘No’ seems to be the only answer to my question. Lengthy discussions with functionaries of various sorts have always found me butting my head against the solid wall of the rigid rules and regulations. As I ponder upon this seemingly obdurate scenario, I begin to wonder if my command of the French language is not, for once, a disadvantage. I find myself remembering how helpful people used to be in the days of my jeunesse, when my fluency was less than adequate. Can I solicit aid by ‘forgetting’ the French language and presenting myself as a pathetically confused foreigner? Why not give it a try? Plainly, it will not work here, in the Reading Room where Madame l’Ogresse already knows to the contrary. I abandon my desk and, clutching my form emblazoned with the dread word communiqué, I make my way back to the Catalogue Room.
Two or three officials are to be found manning the catalogue, to provide assistance in case of need. I choose an elderly gentleman with a genial smiling and helpful air. …Taking shameless advantage of his limited English and my for-the-moment well nigh incomprehensible French, I laboriously explain that I am a writer, attempting to research within his hallowed walls, and finding difficulty in understanding the system. …I show him the communiqué form. He explains about communiqué and I explain that the damn book has been communiqué for months. …He agrees that it is not habituel for a book to be communiqué for so long. I ask in yet more painful and halting sentences, if he could please confirm for me that the book is, indeed, with another reader. As I had been desperately hoping, he decides that it will be quicker and easier simply to make a physical check, rather than engage in any more exhausting attempts to communicate advice and/or instruction. Taking my form with its needful catalogue number, he disappears. I wait.
At last he reappears, wearing a worried frown. The book, he tells me, is not there. The fantome on the shelf bears, not today’s date – but a date several months in the past. The book has been stolen. Moreover, it appears to have been stolen by one of my compatriotes. How does he know this I ask? The name on the fantome is recognisably English, he tells me. Can he give me the name? Well, of course, he shouldn’t. But my sterling efforts to speak to him in his own language have, he thinks, earned me a tiny bending of the rules. He gives me the name. And now I KNOW that the rat I had smelled all those months ago is still alive and lurking in the wainscot. The name he has so kindly provided is that of my friend who had also been given the communiqué story. Why? And why has her fantome been left on the shelf? What game is being played? And by whom?
I decide, however, not to let the matter lie. Through my local library in England, I eventually make contact with an official of our library service who concerns himself with international loans. I explain the curious story to him and he agrees to write on my behalf to the Director of the Bibliotheque Nationale. To my total astonishment, barely a week later, Un Tresor merovingien a Rennes-le-Chateau by Antoine l’Ermite drops through my letter-box. It proves to be a tiny pamphlet, just a few pages long. …The matter is growing curiouser and curiouser. …As I scan the pages of my hard-won copy, I realise that I have read it before. It is the chapter dealing with Rennes-le-Chateau in a recently published book by Robert Charroux: Treasures of the world. But not simply photocopied from the book. The pages are completely differently set and there are very tiny alterations in the text. …Why should anyone wish to go to all this trouble to publish a copy of a sketchy, incomplete and garbled account of a story which is already in print? And why make it so difficult for me to lay my hands on it? There is never to be an explanation of this additional mystery. [Lincoln, 1998]
I have quoted this lengthy and truly bizarre little story for a reason. There seems to be no rationale behind this obscuration of, in the end, nonsense. The circumstances take on the quality of a dream in which the dreamer deals with a bizarre, Kafka-esque, disconnected reality. The point is: we have encountered this sort of activity before. In fact, the whole Rennes-le-Chateau business is rife with this quality of “High Strangeness” as Dr. Alan Hynek described it. And that is my point. Without factoring in the extra-dimensional nature of the phenomena under discussion, it will be impossible to come to a rational understanding of just what is going on and just WHO might be behind it. And, after making such determination, we may be able to come to some conclusions as to the intentions.
The reader may wish to read Passport to Magonia: On UFOs, Folklore, and Parallel Worlds, by Dr. Jacques Vallee, for an extensive examination of the “High Strangeness” factor. Other books which deal with very similar synchronicities and bizarre convolutions of events are: Revelations: Alien Contact and Human Deception, again by Dr. Vallee, and Our Haunted Planet, by John Keel as well as Strange World by Frank Edwards. Once you have read enough of this literature, you begin to see the similarities between the Rennes-le-Chateau mystery and many other events on our planet down through the centuries. Further, you get a “feel” for what is and is not truth, and how cleverly truth can be used to sandwich and promulgate lies.
Returning to the Priory of Sion documents, we can now consider the case of the three hanged men with a little more perspicacity. We KNOW we are being manipulated, and that the source of the manipulation may not necessarily be HUMAN, though its agents ARE human, as we shall see.
At about the same time of the publication of Gerard de Sede’s book L’or de Rennes, another document attributed to Henri Lobineau was deposited with the Bibliotheque Nationale entitled Dossiers secrets. Lincoln et al say it was:
…a thin, nondescript volume, a species of folder with stiff covers which contained a loose assemblage of ostensibly unrelated items – news clippings, letters pasted to backing-sheets, pamphlets, numerous genealogical trees and the odd printed page apparently extracted from the body of some other work. Periodically some of the individual pages would be removed. At different times other pages would be freshly inserted. On certain pages additions and corrections would sometimes be made in a miniscule longhand. At a later date, these pages would be replaced by new ones, printed and incorporating previous emendations.
The main thrust of this odd collection of items was the establishing of Pierre Plantard de St.-Clair as a direct lineal descendant of Dagobert II, who was assassinated in 679 and was not known to have had any legitimate issue. (Real history buffs will already know that there is a problem with the story of the assassination of Dagobert II as described in all these modern myths, but we aren’t going to go there now.)
It seems that the name “Lobineau,” was derived from the Rue Lobineau near Saint-Sulpice in Paris, the church that plays a significant part in the story of Berenger Sauniere.
Papers in the Dossiers suggest that Lobineau was a pseudonym for an Austrian historian named Leo Schidlof, who had died in Switzerland the previous year. Again, remember that Schidlof’s daughter has insisted that he knew nothing of genealogy. So, again we find a dead man’s name being used to give credibility to something with which he probably had absolutely no connection. History is rife with such incidents.
Okay, we have had a few clues about this guy “Plantard,” so what is the story? Again and again these funny trails led back to him.
Pierre Plantard de St-Clair, as Lincoln et al explain, began his career in the French Resistance where he edited a clandestine journal titled Vaincre. He was said to have been imprisoned by the Gestapo from October 1943 until he was released toward the end of 1944 though some researchers suggest a Nazi connection and that he was really a collaborator and not a prisoner.
According to a character sketch written by his first wife Anne Lea Hisler, who died in 1971, Plantard was “invited in 1947 by the Federal Government of Switzerland, he resided for several years there, near Lake Leman, where numerous charges de missions and delegates from the entire world are gathered.”
However, this may not be entirely true. Pierre Plantard was sentenced on 17 December 1953 by the court of St Julien-en-Genevois to 6 months in prison for breaking the French Law relating to “Abus de Confiance” (fraud and embezzlement).
The Official Judicial Archives relating to Pierre Plantard?s criminal convictions and prison sentences are to be found in the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Thonon-les-Bains (this being the information as provided by Le Directeur des Archives d?partementales de la Haute-Savoie in the town of Annecy).
Supposedly, when Algeria revolted against France and De Gaulle was running for president, Plantard was involved in organizing a “Committee of Public Safety” which helped De Gaulle get elected. Again, however, we doubt this.
The next Plantard “track” we find is as editor of a cheap little “magazine” entitled Circuit which is described as the organ of the “Organisation for the Defence of the Rights and the Liberty of Low-Cost Homes.” (Go figure!) This was published between May and September of 1956 and deals mostly with creating and registering statutes within an unnamed society at Sous-Cassan, Annemasse, close to the Swiss border at Geneva. A second series of this magazine was printed in 1959 and was described as “the cultural periodical of the French Forces Federation.” The address of this organization turned out to be false. (Why are we not surprised?)
The next Plantard “track” is found at Gisors, the ancient castle connected to the Templars and Cathars and assorted other historical doings. It seems that, back in 1946, a tour guide at the castle reported that he had done some digging (unauthorized, of course) down in the donjon, and had found 19 stone sarcophagi and 30 metal coffers. Apparently the local authorities shut him down, claiming that such excavations were dangerous, (not to mention illegal) and nothing more was heard about this until our good friend, Gerard de Sede, published his first major work Les Templiers sont parmi nous (The Templars are among us). In this book he suggested that the subterranean chapel contained the legendary lost treasure of the Templars, and that the Order of Knights Templar still survived in France. It seems that he got some of his information from Plantard.
The result of the publication of de Sede’s book about the donjon at Gisors was a public demand that it should be further investigated. One of Plantard’s claimed old cohorts in the Committees for Public Safety, Andre Malraux, had become Minister for Cultural Affairs. His initial reaction to this sort of public demand was to seal the excavation. Then, six months later, he authorized further excavations. Finally, in 1964, he declared that the excavation had only been undertaken to satisfy the public demands and that the results were negative. Naturally, this just made people believe that some great treasure had been found and was being covered up!
Regarding the Gisors affair, in 1972, we find that Plantard later gave an interview to writer, Jean-Luc Chaumeil in which he said, in part:
I have said, and repeated many times, to Gerard de Sede: ‘Why do you want to dig at Gisors? They were forced to camouflage the crypt for precisely the same reasons: the looting of the archives… Notice that in the matter of Gisors, I have never believed in a material treasure: there is no gold of the Temple… The Order of the Temple disappeared in 1314. It has never been reconstituted; all the societies that pretend to derive from it (and there are many) derive purely and simply from the imagination of their founders… There is a parallel branch: the Prieure de Sion… The society to which I belong has existed a very long time, it is very old. I myself am the successor of others, that is all. We guard certain things faithfully, and without any desire for publicity.
Ooooh! His words just reek with mystery and the possibility of the existence of vast, secret knowledge! Aside from the fact that we here see Plantard playing both sides against the middle, this was not the first mention of the Prieure de Sion. De Sede alludes to it mysteriously in his book about Gisors. But, for the most interesting details, we have to turn again to Lincoln, Leigh and Baigent, who summarized the claims made in these documents so cleverly planted in the Bibliotheque Nationale.
It boils down to this: The claim is that a secret order predates the Knights Templar and that the Templars were actually created as the military and administrative arm of this other group. Supposedly, the heads of this Prieure de Sion, Grand Masters as they are called, are nearly all people whose names are famous through history.
Supposedly, even though the Templars were dissolved between 1307 and 1314, the Prieure was untouched by this tragedy, and continues up to the present day, playing a significant part in contemporary international affairs. And, here’s the clincher: its declared objective is the restoration of the Merovingian dynasty!!!
Now, hundreds of books have been published in France that tried to prove that the Knights Templar were NOT destroyed between 1307 and 1314. Most of these books try to claim that this or that esoteric tradition is derived from the Templars and that the Templars are, in secret, behind all major political developments in Europe from that time to the present.
Supposedly, the Templars, or a related esoteric group, were behind even the French Revolution, though there is some confusion as to WHICH side they were on, depending on which author you read!
In 1974, J. M. Roberts wrote a 500 page book entitled The mythology of the secret societies, that pretty effectively demonstrated that there was no foundation to this belief in the continuation of the Templars as a viable political force, but still such books get published and read.
Is there any evidence that a Prieure de Sion ever existed?
Yes. Of a sort, that is.
After Jerusalem fell to Godfroi de Bouillon in 1099, an abbey devoted to Notre Dame du Mont de Sion was built on the hill of Sion to the south of Jerusalem; it is referred to in later documents and figures in several views of the city. A Father Vincent, writing in 1698, (notice that this is over 500 years after) says:
“There were in Jerusalem during the Crusades… knights attached to the Abbey of Notre Dame de Sion who took the name of Chevaliers de l’Order de Notre Dame de Sion.”
R. Rohricht, in his Regesta regni Hierosolymitani (Roll of the kings of Jerusalem), written in 1893 (over 800 years after the fact) cites two charters: one of 1116 by Arnaldus, prior of Notre Dame de Sion, and one of 1125, in which Arnaldus’s name appears with that of Hugues Payen, the first Grand Master of the Temple. The existence of the Abbey of Sion, at least until 1281, is attested to by E.-G. Rey in a paper in the proceedings of the French National Society of Antiquaries (1887), which lists the abbots who administered the abbey’s property in Palestine.
All of these “proofs” were dug up by Lincoln et al, after great exertions to discover the validity of the claims of Pierre Plantard. But, these VERY LATE documents are the ONLY historical documentation of the possible existence of a Prieure de Sion. Everything else that refers to such an organization finds its origin in those highly suspect “publications” deposited in the Bibliotheque Nationale that all seem to lead back to a single source – possibly Pierre Plantard himself – and handily brought to Lincoln’s attention by Gerard de Sede.
Like Mr. Henry Lincoln, we begin to smell a rat!
Nevertheless, the Dossiers secrets contain three lists of names. The first reproduces Rey’s list, mentioned above, but with two insignificant additions, and the second is a list of Grand Masters of the Knights Templar between 1118 and 1190. It differs from the list given by most historians, though different ones include names that others may not include. It is still a matter of much debate. Lincoln et al compared this list to all the other historical lists from the English, French and German Templar experts, and, additionally, they examined many of the chronicles of the time as well as all the charters they could find, and they came to the conclusion that the list in the Dossiers secrets was “more accurate than any other.” I am not precisely sure WHY they came to this conclusion, but they felt it was valid.
But, Lincoln et al admitted:
Granted, such a list might perhaps have been compiled by an extremely careful researcher, but the task would have been monumental. It seemed much more likely to us that a list of such accuracy attested to some repository of privileged or inside information – information hitherto inaccessible to historians.
My only question at this point is: if such an “accurate list” is composed of information that has been “hitherto inaccessible to historians,” who is to validate the accuracy? It is altogether unclear to me on what basis this claim is made.
Nevertheless, because this list was pronounced so “accurate,” Lincoln et al take it as proof that the third list is also authentic!!!
And here we encounter a common trick of disinformation artists, not to mention the mode of “Stalking,” to wit:
“One of the tactics of liars is to find a means of subtly allying their message with that of the truth so as to generate confusion in untrained minds which would tend on surface evidence to accept these actually contrary messages as equivalent.
“Its usual strategy is to begin its work by adhering so closely to the letter of the truth as to be virtually indistinguishable to all but initiated awareness, installing itself through the rhythmic lull of entrainment so as to catch the “congregation” totally off guard when it finally diverges slightly or greatly from the set pattern and so pulls a portion of the truth along with it.”
It seems that it is not just the intention of having the “third list” accepted as valid that is the intention, but the following events which were and continue to be, a belief in certain concepts created and promulgated by this Priory of Sion. But, the list was the foundation. And, what is the third list? The Grand Masters of the Prieure de Sion. Now, who was on this list?
- Jean de Gisors 1188-1220
- Marie de Saint-Clair 1220-1266
- Guillaume de Gisors 1266-1307
- Edouard de Bar 1307- 1336
- Jeanne de Bar 1336-1351
- Jean de Saint-Clair 1351-1366
- Blanche d’Evreux 1366-1398
- Nicolas Flamel 1398-1418
- Rene d’Anjou 1418-1480
- Iolande de Bar 1480-1483
- Sandro Filipepe (Botticelli) 1483-1510
- Leonardo de Vinci 1510-1519
- Connetable de Bourbon 1519- 1527
- Ferdinand de Gonzague 1527- 1575
- Louis de Nevers 1575-1595
- Robert Fludd 1595-1637
- J. Valentin Andrea 1637-1654
- Robert Boyle 1654-1691
- Isaac Newton 1691-1727
- Charles Radclyffe 1727-1746
- Charles de Lorraine 1746-1780
- Maximilien de Lorraine 1780-1801
- Charles Nodier 1801-1844
- Victor Hugo 1844-1885
- Claude Debussy 1885-1918
- Jean Cocteau 1918-
Thus, as a result of following the dictum: “Its usual strategy is to begin its work by adhering so closely to the letter of the truth as to be virtually indistinguishable to all but initiated awareness, installing itself through the rhythmic lull of entrainment so as to catch the “congregation” totally off guard when it finally diverges slightly or greatly from the set pattern and so pulls a portion of the truth along with it,” we find that Lincoln et al took the bait. They write:
The Prieure de Sion would seem to be both modest and realistic. It does not claim to have functioned under the auspices of unqualified geniuses, superhuman ‘masters,’ illumined ‘initiates,’ saints, sages or immortals. On the contrary, it acknowledges its Grand Masters to have been fallible human beings, a representative cross-section of humanity – a few geniuses, a few notables, a few ‘average specimens,’ a few nonentities, even a few fools. Why, we could not but wonder, would a forged or fabricated list include such a spectrum?
Well, I can think of a LOT of reasons! Actually, few of these names are NOT illustrious. There are a large percentage of them who are connected to Alchemical matters (we have encountered Nicolas Flamel already, but also Robert Fludd, J. Valentin Andrea, and Isaac Newton were well-known for their interest in Alchemy). Charles Nodier was a prolific author, a Master Mason, and an active influence in the French Revolution; Charles Radclyffe was the illegitimate grandson of Charles II. Rene d’Anjou was associated with the conspiracy surrounding Joan of Arc. Andrea was also reputed to have been behind the creation of the “myth of the Rosicrucians.” The other names are members of European noble families, several of them in my own family tree. So, it is not really a very difficult task to have assembled such a list without “monumental” effort!
Naturally, the successor to Grand Master Jean Cocteau, who died in 1963, is our good friend, Pierre Plantard, AKA Pierre Plantard de Saint-Clair about whom author Franck Marie wrote:
…a very secret man who did not like one to inquire into his affairs. He lived in a little room on the sixth floor of 35 avenue – in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. It was hardly comfortable: a table, a bed, some chairs, very little furniture… He left these lodgings in January 1973, forgetting to pay an important portion of his rent. His wife Annie Hisler died in 1971… It seems he was frequently visited by, and put up for the night, M. Philippe de Cherisey, who was interdit de sejour (forbidden to stay) in Paris…
A fellow who is the “Grand Master” of an ages old secret society, in possession of “deadly secrets,” with all kinds of purported connections to figures of government and espionage, forgets to pay an important portion of his rent? And does the “midnight flit,” so to speak? Rather curious, don’t you think?
But, anyway, we now meet Philippe de Cherisey… Pierre Plantard’s “collaborator,” or, should we say, cohort in crime?
Jean-Luc Chaumeil, a French writer, describes him:
Born of a prominent family in the Ardennes…. Philippe de Cherisey carries his 53 years well, with the lively eye and gentle regard of a poet. First of all a journalist for Belgian TV, he veered later to the theatre… and then to the cinema, making films with Bourvil, Zavata and Francis Blanche. He is responsible for several works: Gregoire et Amedee (1961), Circuit (1969), and several publications on “l’affaire de Rennes-le-Chateau” (1976 and 1978).
We should notice that the novella Circuit has the same name as the pamphlets edited and published by Plantard back in the 50’s. I cannot help but think of the “ten year blank” in Plantard’s history, from 1947 to 1958. Just what was he doing during those years? Were they friends and companions for that many years, and did they spend their time together “cooking up” this “drama?” As it happens, in the Novella, Circuit the plot is about the discovery of the tomb of an ancient Roman somewhere near Rennes, and includes an unobtainable treasure of gold.
Getting back to the point here, we find that the publication of Gerard de Sede’s L’or de Rennes in 1967 was the culmination of the deposition of some bizarre “publications” in the Bibliotheque Nationale. Let’s just list them again by date:
- August 1965 – Les descendants Merovingiens ou l’enigme du Razes Wisigoth
- May 1966 – Un tresor Merovingien a Rennes-le-Chateau
- June 1966 – reprint of an alleged Stublein book: Pierres gravees du Languedoc
- March 1967 – Le serpent rouge
- April 1967 – Le dossiers secrets
- October 1967 – Au pays de la reine blanche
- November 1967 – Tresor au pays de la reine blanche
Now, I expect many of you are asking: WHAT is the TRUTH about Rennes-le-Chateau? What, if you please, are the FACTS?! What can be documented, verified, confirmed?
Pierre Plantard claims that Rennes-le-Chateau was the home of his undocumented ancestress, Giselle, supposed to have been the daughter of the Count of Razes.
For the most part, we seem to be dependent on the writings of Gerard de Sede. It is he who has told us that Sauniere’s constructions at Rennes-le-Chateau and his grand lifestyle cost millions of francs. (Some experts find it hard to value it at one fiftieth of this amount.)
De Sede has told us how mysterious the decorations of the church are, yet upon examination, they are found to be cheap plaster statues and reliefs supplied by the firm of Ane of Letouzey which supplied similar statues and reliefs to other churches in the area!
De Sede handily points out to us that the gravestones that Sauniere supposedly removed were reproduced in that cleverly deposited Stublein book, Pierres gravees du Languedoc. But, it seems that only the 1962 reprint of the purported 1884 edition contains these drawings! There are supposed to be infra red photographs revealing the erased inscriptions, but these are, according to some experts, crude forgeries.
What about the three (or four?) parchments that Sauniere is supposed to have discovered in the pillar of the altar (handily disclosed by – you guessed it – Gerard de Sede?
After so many discrepancies were discovered in the various stories, and serious questions began to be asked, Philippe de Cherisey wrote:
- There were three parchments, not four.
- These parchments were genealogies, not ‘faked’ gospels.
- The gospels are of recent manufacture, photocopies of two sheets of paper composed a little before the publication of Gerard de Sede’s book, and designed to produce an effect upon that author that has exceeded the wildest expectations.
- The text Jesu medela vulnerum inscribed by Sauniere on a plaque situated at the foot of the altar in his church has been put to good use by the author of these pseudo-parchments with the intention of giving them an air of authenticity.
This almost seems to be an attempt to salvage SOMETHING of the fraud, using de Sede as the scapegoat. Note that de Cherisey is NOT discounting the genealogical clues, only the “Mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau” involving Berenger Sauniere. But, we have to remember that it was de Cherisey, the good friend of Pierre Plantard, (evidence: Plantard putting him up in Paris illegally), who helped de Sede in the preparation of his book.
And, in point of fact, the hundreds of words written about Rennes-le-Chateau since 1965, seem to all end up on Gerard de Sede’s doorstep. And clearly, he was being manipulated by Plantard and de Cherisey.
Although Pierre Plantard “officially retired” from Priory of Sion activities during the mid-1980s following a conflict with the French author Jean-Luc Chaumeil, who discovered details about Plantard’s past and published the Statutes of the Alpha Galates, Plantard did not stop contriving his schemes ? he continued underground with his Priory of Sion fantasies and later revived it in a different form with a different myth and pedigree in 1989, claiming that Roger-Patrice Pelat was one of its Grand Masters during the interim period of 1984-1992. […]
When Judge Thierry Jean-Pierre became the presiding French Judge heading the enquiry into the Patrice Pelat financial corruption scandal of the 1980s, Plantard voluntarily came forward during the 1990s offering evidence to the enquiry, claiming that Pelat had been a “Grand Master of the Priory of Sion”.
The Judge ordered a search of Plantard’s house which uncovered a hoard of Priory of Sion Documents, claiming Plantard to be the “true King of France” ? the Judge subsequently detained Plantard for a 48 hour interview and, after asking Plantard to swear on Oath ? Plantard admitted that he made everything up; whereupon Plantard was given a serious warning and advised not to “play games” with the French Judicial System.
This happened in September 1993 and it was all reported in the French Press of the period. This was the reason for the final termination of the Priory of Sion in 1993 and the subsequent life-in-hiding for Pierre Plantard, never to reappear in public again or to be involved with his Priory of Sion fantasy again.
Between 1993 and his death in 2000 Pierre Plantard shuttled backwards and forwards from Barcelona, Perpignan and Paris. His remains were cremated when he died in February 2000. [For more details, see THE REAL HISTORICAL ORIGIN OF THE PRIORY OF SION by Paul Smith]
So, what does that make the Prieure de Sion?
What the dickens is going on here? What was the point? Can we find ANYTHING mysterious in Rennes-le-Chateau…? What about “The Shepherds of Arcadia?” Wasn’t there a tomb found that exactly matched the one in the painting? What about that? What about Poussin? St Anthony, and all the claims to mystery from many sources about Berenger Sauniere?
Well, let’s continue with our examination and see just what DOES emerge…