Did you know that the mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau has been largely solved, although the solution is not widely known yet? Have you read about Patrice Chaplin's amazing discoveries and recent books? I know Perpignan and spent some weeks a few years ago staying in the Pyrenees at the villa of a friend close to the French/Spanish border an hour's drive from Girona. That's the city where you need to go if you want to solve the mystery of Berenger Sauniere.
So, surely I asked for a complete update on Rennes-le-Chateau and it's mystery exemplified in Dan Brown's fictional work, "The Da Vinci Code." Here it is:
Mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau Largely Solved
The essential mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau has been: what did the priest Sauniere discover that made him so rich? What he found is known: he found parchments containing an encrypted message left by a previous priest - Abbe Bigou. He took them to Paris to be deciphered and suddenly became wealthy. Thanks to the discoveries of Patrice Chaplin, we now know why. His new wealth came from the House of Habsburg, one of the great European royal families (now the House of Habsburg-Lorraine):
She has seen statements from Sauniere's bank in Paris that indicate an account was set up in his name that had an account number next to one that referred to an account opened by an aristocrat in the House of Habsburg (so, clearly, both were created at the same time). Sauniere was paid to renovate his church so as to encrypt the great secret that had been preserved for centuries in Catalonia by a private Spanish Kabbalist society centered in Girona. Patrice Chaplin is the ex-wife of Michael Chaplin, Charlie Chaplin's son. She ran away from home in England at the age of 15 and became a bohemian in the Paris of the mid-1960s, meeting existentialists like Jean-Paul Sartre. She ended up in Girona and fell in love with Jose Tarres, who was a Spanish nationalist resisting General Franco at the time. Little did she know then but he was also the leader of the private society that guarded the secret discovered by Sauniere (actually, it was Bigou who originally stumbled across it when he came into possession of centuries-old Kabbalistic documents and then left clues to what it was). Chaplin and others suspect that Tarres is in fact Sauniere's grandson. What he told her (and she has been given letters written by Sauniere, reproduced in her book, that prove this) is that the priest often visited Girona, secretly staying with a Frenchwoman behind the cathedral there. He modeled the "Tour Magdala" that he added to his church exactly on the tower on her property (old photos of the tower in Girona and architectural plans he drew up prove this).
The question is why was he so heavily funded by the House of Habsburg to build the tower, etc? Jose Tarres eventually told her, although Chaplin also found part of the answer from the Frenchwoman, whom she had met whilst living in Girona. Whilst building a restaurant, Tarres had discovered in the city the foundations of a Jewish Kabbalist school of the 14th century. Girona had been the centre of European Kabbalah until the Spanish expelled Jews from that area. The society Tarres headed guarded certain Kabbalistic rituals and very ancient artifacts used during these rituals. They enabled the initiate to pass through a so-called "portal" activated by the ritual and to travel into the past. Sauniere knew this time-travelling secret and even underwent the ritual himself. He was paid to encrypt clues to it in his church. Chaplin met the great Surrealist painter Salvador Dali when he lived in Perpignan, and she claims the society headed by her lover initiated him. His 1965 painting "The Railway Station at Perpignan":
depicts his passage through the portal.
Chaplin has written two fascinating books on her early life in Girona (long before she met Michael Chaplin). One is called "City of Secrets" and the more recent one describing her own initiation and passage through the portal on the summit of Mount Canigou is called "The Portal". Both are available from Amazon. Here are two YouTube videos introducing her discoveries and books:
Here is a video of Jose Tarres going public for the first time, being introduced by Patrice Chaplin in Girona where he gave a talk this year about its Kabbalistic history. Decades ago, he built a museum there which I have visited, putting on display the Kabbalistic books and paraphernalia that he unearthed (one of the ritual artifacts that his society guards even went on display there briefly, although its real purpose was not made public):
Irrespective of whether one finds it hard to belief Chaplin's claims about the time-traveling portal, no one can deny that she has uncovered a totally new insight into Sauniere and the mystery surrounding him - particularly as it is based not upon speculation but upon documents and other forms of evidence that cannot be dismissed as easily as Pierre Plantard's "Priory of Sion" fantasies.
I think there are still facets of the mystery which Chaplin either has not been told about or does not wish to make public - such as the identity of the mummified female that the Rennes-le-Chateau researcher Ben Hammott discovered in a cave in the area and which he believes is the remains of Mary Magdalene:
But the issues that are still outstanding are new ones and may yet turn out to be bogus, as Hammott is not forthcoming about the location of the cave he found containing 2000-year old coins from Jerusalem and a mummified body, although he has filmed it. Chaplin has solved the long-standing problem about the origin of Sauniere's wealth and the secret he discovered in his church, which he then rebuilt in order to encrypt it.
When Berenger Sauniere discovered the Parchments he realised the symbol at the bottom of Parchment 2 was a monogram and read ‘N Povsin’. He also saw that the symbol on P1 – the ‘triangle with tails’, could be drawn through the heads of the shepherds on Poussin’s painting of the ‘Arcadian Shepherds’. He noted that the second shepherd was pointing at the letter ‘R’ (followed by the ‘C’) in the word ARCADIA … R-le-C and identified the ‘heads’ as hills on the map (the painting is a map) – the first shepherd was Rennes-le-Chateau, the second is the low hill Bois du Lauzet, the third is Auriol; the tall female with the white headband is Cardou with the chalky outcrop : the end of the upper ‘tail’. The lower ‘tail’ on the map points directly to Rennes les Bains. Sauniere also saw the P2 symbol named the place of the treasure … st ZAZ(aire Et Celse) the Church at Rennes les Bains. The Abbe Henri Boudet, the priest of St Nazaire Et Celse had years before Sauniere found the treasure – the Cardinals of Rome knew of it and commissioned Poussin to record it in Pictures – the Knight Templar had known of it, it’s secret is set out in Rosslyn Chapel, at Shugborough and in Temple Church London and what is more someone at Rennes les Bains also knows … all this may be found in my book ‘The Secret Church, the Treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau’. Geoffrey
Much of what you say, Geoffrey Morgan, is interesting. However, the research of Patrice Chaplin has made redundant the theory that Sauniere became suddenly rich by discovering concealed treasure. Chaplin points out in her "City of Secrets" (p. 208) that bank statements have been found revealing that Sauniere and the Archduke Johann von Habsburg of the House of Habsburg, one of Europe's most important royal houses, had opened bank accounts with consecutive numbers and that the aristocrat had been a guest at some of Sauniere's many sumptious parties. This is strong evidence that his sudden wealth came from the House of Habsburg, for it would be a miraculous coincidence if they had by chance opened up consecutive accounts in the same bank and had become close enough friends for Sauniere to invite him to his parties! If Sauniere had merely found material treaures, he would surely have given up his position working in a poor parish and would have lived a life of luxury elsewhere. It had to have been a great secret, not mere baubles, that kept him in a small village like Rennes-le-Chateau. So the "treasure" was really a profound secret, the discovery of which required his patronnage by the House of Habsburg in order to maintain his silence and encrypt in his church clues that could lead people to his discovery. People have written books offering nothing more than speculations of Sauniere's sudden wealth, stitched together with circumstantial evidence and dubious interpretations, never definite proof. Chaplin's revelations are based upon documented facts, not theories that remain just speculations, however well-argued. The priest's secrets were certainly known by others before him, but they were far more profound than simply the location of buried treasure!
With so many "documented facts" proving to be fakes in the past, I think we should all treat what Patrice presents with suspicion at least. This could be another writer taking the opportunity to create a new spin on the story and cash in like many others before. Why are these documents that are presented as evidence not handed over to creditable authorities to check them out, carbon date etc ? Just look at her background, the original bohemian traveller who loves the esoteric, mystical stuff. Before you start talking of the mystery being solved, please consider if others have once again taken advantage of the perfect candidate to either keep the game rolling on or keep the tourist walking the streets of Gerona.