A list of the odd activities of Abbé Beranger
It is now known that Saunière used an address 12 Rue de la Juiverie, Lyon to
have letters sent to that he didn't want sent to Rennes le Chateau. One letter
was from someone known as Montepellierain. The subject of these letters
is Maguelonne , an island off the coast of Montpellier. This place has been
regarded as the Southern Mont St Michel.
The name may well be a
corruption of Magdalene (or vice versa) and is associated with the cult of Isis.
The island with
the church within the perfect circle
of Saint-Denis who visited the site in the twelfth century described it as
“A narrow island, uninhabited but for the bishop, his priests and a
small retinue. It is simple, isolated and impoverished but well fortified
against the attacks of the Saracens, who do not cease to infest the seas.”
Incidentally, it is said that Saunière also
had a monkey he named Mela.
Guy Patton & Robin Mackness in their book 'Web of Gold' suggest it may
be more than "mere coincidence that a first century Spanish geographer
and writer, called Pomponius Mela,
refers to an ancient treasure deposited in the mines of Pyrene, located
exactly south of Carcassonne? Could Sauniere have known of both these
writings and have had access to the treasure?"
Web of Gold excepts - Introduction by Robin Mackness and Guy Patton
and Chapter 1.
My grandfather Charles, legitimate successor of the counts
of Rhedae, yielding to the invitation addressed to him by the Abbé
Bérenger Saunière, parish priest of Rennes-Le-Château (Aude),
visited him June 6, 1892. Among those present were the Abbé Henri
Boudet and M. Elie Bot. In his notes my grandfather recounts his
"... A monkey, called
Mela, a gift from a great singer, playing with a puppy called
pomponette enlivened lunch.
Boudet, the priest of Rennes-les-Bains, neighboring parish, seemed a
man so anxious to go out that Saunière was the light. Both Saunière,
burly brown with black eyes, of near 1.80 m, seemed as much Boudet,
with 1.70 m, his thinness and lavender eyes, disappeared. In
between, Mr.. Elie Bot [see below], right arm Saunière, stocky and
strong, was the adviser and the of contractor work. But as an essay
on the merits of the Corbières wine and wine of Malvasia, one of his
intestines made him fragile and to drink only water ... "
This scholarly yet emanated from the humble parish priest that his
brother seemed to have been invited by Christian charity that my
grandfather, Charles found himself that evening in the presbytery of
Rennes-les-Bains and spent the night.
Plantard in his introduction to reprint of La Vraie Langue Celtique
et le Cromlech de Rennes-les-Bains
Clearly the monkey and puppy owned by Saunière
(and given by Emma Calve) was named after Pomponius Mela
Pomponius Mela, who wrote around the time of
Jesus, was the earliest Roman geographer. He was born in Tingentera (Algeciras).
Algeciras has the earliest known remains of the
So it appears that Saunière was
interested in ancient geography and Astronomy.
Author Gérard de Sède, one of these supposed conmen,
has documented Saunière’s visit to Paris and who can deny it? But this suggestion
from de Sède has no separate confirmation, but we do appear to have the
equivalent of the confirmation moon rock in our possession here and
this is found in the Rennes le Chateau garden in the form of a Society of
Saint Sulpice logo and the statue of Jesus bearing the Sacred Heart adorning
the Villa Bethania. If Saunière had visited Lyon
then why not the centre of his affiliations: i.e. the church of Saint Sulpice
and the Sacre Coeur in Paris.
I too have been to these places butI can guarantee that even in the
age of information technology no record of my visit exists.
The story goes on to say that after his supposed
discovery Saunière, it is reported he went to the Church at Saint Sulpice in
Paris in 1893, oddly a full two years after the diary entry. Here, according
to de Sède, he is supposed to have visited the Abbe Bieil and Saunière
showed him some parchments. A separate and initially unconnected story that
emerged seems to give some credence to this story of Saunière’s visit. When
the book Holy Blood and the Holy Grail was being researched a vicar from Oxfordshire, England had said that a friend of
his had been detached to Paris
to look at some documents at around about this time. He said that the
documents contained incontrovertible proof that Jesus was alive in 47AD, is
this what Saunière had found? According to Gérard de Sède, Bieil then had
told Saunière to return in 8 days whilst the parchments were deciphered.
Bieil is then reported to have given the parchments to Emile Hoffat, a
well-known philosopher and occultist. If Saunière had produced controversial
documents confirming the survival of Jesus then it may be prudent to make up
a false trial and make out that Saunière found encrypted documents that end
up with a message that is still unclear.
The suggestion is that Saunière never went to Saint
Sulpice but in the garden there clearly is a logo of the Society of Saint
Sulpice underneath the statue of the Virgin this is another example of
flawed reasoning. This lack of a record is especially significant when the
reason he went there was after the entries in his diary contained the word
‘Secret’. Are we to expect a list of Saunière’s movements’ chapter and verse
after the man had written the word
‘Secret’ in his diary? The suggestion that this lack of record somehow
negates the whole story is banal. The only thing here which is suspect is
the assumption that Bieil, or someone he knew, could decipher the encoded
text in 8 days, for without the key this is extremely unlikely if not
impossible and one must assume that the key had also been found or indeed
concocted by Bieil or Hoffat. Someone clearly knew how to decode the
parchments and the key must have been available, if indeed Saunière found
the coded parchments and took them to Paris at all. For it does
seem that the parchments containing the encrypted messages are either
contemporary with or written after Saunière, I shall discuss this later.
The story goes on to tell us that Saunière was very
friendly with the French Opera singer Emma Calvé during this period and
there is now documentary evidence that Emma Calve was a Superieur Inconnu,
the third degree of the Martinist Order. It is very likely that Saunière
spent some time with Martinists and this was the principle reason he perhaps
made regular visits to Lyon for it is now known for certain on two invoices
that an Abbé Saunière hired a vehicle in Lyon on several occasions and there
was a principle Martinist Order headquartered in Lyon which existed before
the official Order began.
The first invoice confirming Saunière’s trip covers the
periods in May and June 1898, then in September 1898 and finally from April
to July 1899. The second invoice is for a few days in May 1900, and a day in
June of the same year. He hired the vehicle for these periods. After his
death two bookshops in Lyon
bought some of Saunière’s books. The first is the Gacon bookshop. The second
is the Derain-Raclet bookshop, situated at 81 Rue Bosssuet at that time.
With the liquidation of the Derain stock, a lucky purchaser found several
books marked as:
Saunière, Priest at: Aude, town of Rennes."
These were entitled:
1) "the Prophecy of the Popes allotted to S. Malachy". By Joseph Main.
2) "History of the Large
Forests of Gaule and Old France". By L.F. Alfred Maury.
3) "Celtic Monuments. Or
Research on the Worship of the Stones. Preceded by a note on the
Celts and Druids, and followed Celtic etymologies ". By Mr. Camby.
Returning to Saunière’s church, on July 9up>th 2005 Monsieur
Paul Saussez, who is an architect who has studied the
of Sainte Marie Madeleine
at Rennes le Chateau, gave a lecture at Rennes le Chateau. He said that
most people try to read between the lines and this has got them nowhere.
However he said we can read the lines themselves for he has studied
Saunière’s personal notes themselves, the old parish register and the
Lescure report, a study of roman and pre roman churches, the diocesan
reports and a personal appraisal of the church itself from an
architect’s point of view. From his studies a computer simulation of the
church when Saunière made his discovery has been made and pictures of
this simulation can be found on the official Rennes le Chateau website.
One thing that sprang from the lecture is that there is today a secret
semi circular room accessed through the sacristy by a door at the back
of the cupboard where Saunière would have kept his robes. This allegedly
did not exist when Saunière took over as curé.Saunière had it put there, why? However by far the most striking
thing was when Mr Saussez explained why and how this tomb that Saunière
had supposedly found and remained a secret, how Saunière found it and
then sealed it again. He was asked at the end of his lecture what was
the probability of such a crypt under the church today on a scale of 1
to 10 and this architect replied 9.99. It is the opinion of this author
that whatever it was that Saunière found immediately before he wrote
‘Discovery of a tomb’ in his diary he would have required help to deal
with it should it have been in the church environs or even removed from
Rennes le Chateau, perhaps close by Névian one of the places mentioned
by Saunière in his diary. This help is guaranteed to have taken the form
of a secret society possibly from within members the Catholic Church
itself. Precisely who is buried there that requires it to be hidden from
scrutiny for all time is of course a matter of speculation and until
this crypt, should it exist, is examined in a scientific (and a non
pre-prejudiced) manner it will remain mere speculation. However it must
be said that one doesn’t normally rebury any corpse without identifying
it to the world, unless the occupant is extremely well known and and his
or her death is contraversial.
The priest François Bérenger Saunière was born in the
of Montazels on the 11th April 1852,
apparently (we’re told) at exactly . His father had once been the mayor of Montazels where he had
also managed a flourmill and had also been the steward of the Marquis de
Cazemajou’s Castle. One of Saunière’s brothers Alfred was also to become a
priest with a reputation for high living and he too was eventually to also take
a role in this story, albeit less obvious.
Reports say that academically he was not a particularly
bright child but did appear to display extraordinary leadership qualities and
could often be seen wandering the plateau of Rennes le Chateau leading the other
children. On the advice of the priest from nearby Esperaza it was suggested that
it would be a good idea for him to enter a seminary to study for the priesthood.
This he did in 1874 and despite financial problems was ordained as a priest and
took his first parish at Alet-les-Bains, just north of Rennes le Chateau, on 16th July 1879. Alet-les-Bains is a most pretty
village on the river Aude that was is the former domain of the enigmatic
and, it is said, had once been the home of Nostradamus. On 16th June 1882 he was given
the title of curate of the church in the village of Clat
and finally on 1st
June 1885 he took office at the church of Sainte
Marie-Madeleine at Rennes le Chateau, replacing the
previous incumbent Antoine Croc who had only been in the position three years.
Saunière’s appointment more or less coincided with the run up to the French
elections and to the astonishment of his new parishioners he began campaigning
very vigorously against the Republicans on the side of the Royalists and making
sermons against “keen enemies of Religion
and the Fatherland”. Unfortunately for Saunière the Republicans won the
election and the authorities in the region promptly denounced him and
three other priests in the area[I
for inciting public disorder and trying to influence the electorate. The church
authorities ordered that his meagre salary of 75F per month be withheld and the
edict was imposed in December 1885 as punishment. Saunière approached his Bishop
Monsignor Billard at Carcasonne who, seeing his difficulty, gave him 200 Francs
and appointed him to the ‘Petit Seminaire de Narbonne’ where he remained until
July 1886 when his suspension was lifted and he returned to Rennes le Chateau.
Saunière expanded his activities and in May 1890 when he
also said mass in AutugnacChurch
on Sundays. Eventually and contrary to popular belief although the authorities
had suspended him as a priest he had already resigned as curé on February 1st 1909
but by 1911 he was officially no longer a priest in the eyes of the church.
The reason for his suspension was that in 1909
he was accused by his church masters for trafficking in masses (the saying of
masses for money) this had been bought by the church authorities because his
sudden lavish expenditure had drawn their attention. The Bishop of Carcassonne
had tolerated his activities but when he died the new Bishop had realised that
Saunière was up to something and desperately tried to intimidate him into a
confession as from where he was getting his money.
The direct charges of trafficking in masses were dropped[I
against him after he presented evidence to support his case; however the other
charges of disobedience of the Bishop and failure to keep proper records were
upheld and the latter two of these charges he was undoubtedly guilty. The church
gave him some punishment but as he had already effectively resigned the
punishment was ineffective. We are told that he lived the last part of his life
penniless, selling religious medals and rosaries to wounded WWI soldiers who
were recovering at the nearby
of Campagne les Bains. The
loss of income due to the First World War and perhaps the death of some of his
benefactors was curtailing his trips abroad where he seemed to have acquired
much of his wealth, for it seems he had left the organisation of his affairs to
his devoted housemaid Marie Denarnaud, she apparently sent out standard letters
that Saunière had written before he had left. He was also accused at this time
of taking in German Spies, no doubt an attempt to degrade his character in the
eyes of his ever faithful congregation.
reports of his personal poverty seem to have some substance however
paradoxically he is on record that in 1909 he spent over 12000 francs on
furniture alone. This is two and half times the estimate he was given to rebuild
the entire church. The story surrounding his apparent sudden wealth goes that
whilst he had been suspended for his anti-republican activities and shortly
after his appointment at Rennes le Chateau in 1885 he had made the acquaintance
Countess of Chambord[I
widow to the former pretender to the French throne Henry V. In 1887 she gave him
that equated to almost a years salary. This loan was to prove useful for this
indefatigable curé and then at the age of 35 years old he decided that the
church, which had been first consecrated to Saint Mary Magdalene in 1059, had
not been renovated for over century and was badly in need of repair and he had
received an estimate of 2797.97F for these essential repairs. Encouraged by his
friend the Abbé Henry Boudet, curate of the church of Rennes
les Bains down in the River Sals valley, he used this money to make some repairs
although the architect, a man named Cals had given him a quote to build a brand
new building at the cost of 4500F.
The stories later related by Noel Corbu told that during
these repairs the altar stone cracked and the inside was stuffed with dry
bracken and there was found three wooden tubes sealed with wax. Inside these
tubes were apparently documents. Corbu’s story continues that these documents
consisted of genealogy of the bloodline one dated
and the other from 1200 to 1644 giving six lines of descent related to the 17th
Saint Vincent de Paul[I
and another was a testament from 1695 invoking five saints that caused Saunière
to erect statues dedicated to them in his church. A later disclosure revealed
that there were other documents that contained some passages from the bible
written in Latin and these
It has been alleged that a previous Rennes le Chateau priest, Abbé Antoine
Bigou, composed these last two encoded passages, in the 1780s. Another
suggestion is that they were written by Jean-Paul de Nègre de Fondargent around
1753. Bigou had been the personal chaplain of the noble Blanchefort family and
the confidant of Marie de Nègre d'Ables dame d'Hautpoul Countess of Blanchefort.
On the death of the noble lady, Bigou appeared to take an inordinate
length of time to compose the gravestone of Marie de Blanchefort producing at
the end of it a headstone full of errors. The words on this headstone (errors et
al) were actually recorded in 1905 during a visit by a member of the local
scientific society. The Blanchefort family, on the eve of the French Revolution,
had been the most prominent local landowners in the area. Indeed previous
members of the Blanchefort family had been associated with some secret that was
apparently too dangerous to even share with siblings. Bertrand de Blanchefort
had been a Knight’s Templar Grand Master and a local mountain that bears the
name Blanchefort can be seen from Rennes le Chateau towards the east. Bigou had
fled to Spain
(possibly Girona) during the French revolution and died there but rumours have
it that a priest from the nearby
of Brenac had fled along
with Bigou. Another curiosity is that Bigou didn’t take the shortest route to Spain but went
via a place very close to Névian, a place mentioned by Saunière in his enigmatic
the source of his wealth the next thing Saunière began to spend money as if
there was no limit.He built a
water tower to supply the villagers with piped water; he also initiated the
building of a four and a half kilometre road from the nearby town of Couiza. He built his luxury Villa Bethania; he
built his library tower, La Tour Magdala perhaps echoing the name of the village
patron Saint, Mary Magdalene, but perhaps echoing something that both this tower
and Mary Magdalene had taken both their names. This tower was perched on top of
an esplanade made of fine stone, at the other end was a glasshouse containing
exotic birds and plants. Saunière through the Countess of Chambord was able to
draw the attention of royalty to Rennes le Chateau and VIP visitors were clearly
expected to walk this esplanade between his library tower and this glasshouse.
These special visitors would be able to admire the view of the Haut valleé
d’Aude to one side as I did their
promenade and admire the shaded gardens on the other side after enjoying a
fine meal in the Villa Bethania, what was so special about this place that could
rank the attention of these people? Though curiously less opulent, Saunière kept
his most enigmatic creations for his church, which he decorated in the style of
the late nineteenth century and where as we shall see he left some strange icons
and puzzles that are largely overlooked by visitors but probably more
significantly it’s what he didn’t put in his church that’s more intriguing.
A2]Tailhan curate of Roullens,
Jean curate of Bourriege and Delmas vicar of Alet.
A3]Saunière was accused of
trafficking in masses the judgement was given on November 5, 1910. For his
disobedience to the Bishop he was condemned to go for one sacerdotal
to an old people's home or monastery of his choice to make the
spiritual exercises there for the duration of 10 days; within 2
month. For the charge of traffic of mass, the court did not have
sufficient evidence and was unconvinced that Saunière had made money
by mass trafficking. However for his unexplained expenditure,
Saunière was ordered to communicate his accounts to the bishop
within a time of one month and given a 10 days deadline to appeal.
However Saunière did not present his accounts to the bishop and on
the council of the Abbé Huguet, he lets the time pass to present his
case in front the Congregation of the Council in
Rome in the beginning of February 1911.
Official Report of the Installation and Blessing, in the church
square, of the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes (21
"In the year one thousand eight
hundred and ninety-one, on the twenty-first day of June, on the
feast day of St. Louis de Gonzague. To commemorate the First
Communion of 24 children of the parish and to bring to a close the
spiritual exercises of the retreat that had been preached by the
Reverend Father Farrafiot[?], diocesan missionary, of the Family of
St. Vincent de Paul, residing at Notre Dame de Marseilles, the
statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, after being carried through the
principal streets of the parish by 4 men on a magnificent litter
accompanied in procession by the entire parish and an enormous crowd
that had gathered from miles around, was duly installed and blessed
right there in the square, thanks to the same missionary zeal that
eight days before had evangelized the inhabitants of
Rennes-le-Château. This beautiful family occasion ended with an
enthusiastic address by the Venerable Father, with three cheers in
honour of the Virgin Mary, and with the blessing of the Holy
Sacrament. At the end of this ceremony all the children of the First
Communion, led by the Curé of the parish and accompanied by our dear
diocesan missionary, entered the garden of the Virgin and there,
beneath the Virgin Mary's gaze, at the feet of the Holy Mother, as
witness of their various promises and oaths, they allowed the
Photographer to record, along with their beautiful costumes, their
faces in which are reflected such innocence and happiness."
Present at this solemn occasion were: the curés of Couiza and
Espéraza, Monsieur l’abbé Fournier.
B. Saunière, priest
Curé of the Parish of Rennes-le-Château
Names of the
people who had the happiness and honour to carry the statue:
Messieurs Antoine Captier; Zacharie Peihou [?]; Jean Maury; Feuillet
Done at Rennes-le-Château on the day, month and year stated
B. Saunière, priest
Basically the statue was paraded around the streets of Rennes le
Chateau on 21st June 1891.
21st June is the Summer Solstice.
The pagan festival of the Summer Solstice lasts for three days
finishing on 24th June which is known by them as Midsummers Day.
24th June is also the feast
day St John the Baptist.
The name Saint Louis
de Gonzague is actually incorrect, his correct name was Saint Louis
Gonzague, Duke de Nevers or more correctly Saint Aloysius Gonzaga.
Followers of the story will note that Louis de Nevers (the real
name of Saint Louis de Gonzague) is listed as the 15th Grand Master
of the Priory of Sion. The 14th Grand Master is listed as Ferdinand
de Gonzague and the 13th is Connetable de Bourbon Charles de
Montpensier and de Bourbon, Duke of Chatellerault, who was arguably
the most powerful man in France in the early 16th century. Charles
de Montpensier was the son of Claire Gonzaga. His sister was married
to the Duke of Lorraine who was the grandson of Iolande de Bar
(another Grand Mistress of the POS) and the Great Grandson of
Rene de Anjou
who needs no introduction.
Connetable de Bourbon knew
Leonardo da Vinci from his time as Viceroy of Milan and Leonardo had
been a military engineer for the Connetable de Bourbon from 1515 to
1517. It seems also that the father of Ferdinald de Gonzague, the
Duke of Mantua was a patron of Leonardo da Vinci. Ferdinand de
Gonzaga(14th GM) and the Connetable de Bourbon(13th GM) were
cousins. Ferdinand de Gonzaga (Ferrante de Gonzaga) was famous for
his interest in esoteric matters. The Priory documents are a little
odd concerning the death of Ferrante de Gonzaga.
Nevers (Saint Louis de Gonzague) was the nephew of Ferrante de
Gonzaga. Louis de Nevers brother was married to a Hapsburg. During
the French Wars of Religion he became involved with Henry IV, a
protestant king, and served as his Superintendent of Finance. in
this capacity he would have come into contact with the father of the
next POS Grand Master Robert Fludd. Louis de Nevers spent some time
in England and as such came into contact with Sir Philip Sidney
author of the poem Arcadia. Also he is thought to have been involved
with Giordano Bruno.
Louis de Nevers' successor was Robert
Fludd. Fludd was called to Marseilles to tutor the young Duke de
Guise (Louis de Nevers had been allied to this family during the
Wars of Religion) who later married Henriette-Catherine de Joyeuse
who owned the chateau at Couiza and surrounding area including the
site of the so-called Poussin tomb. The Duke de Guise conspired
against the French throne and eventually went into voluntary exile
in Italy. In 1640 the Duke de Guise died but his wife was not
allowed to return to France until she consented to sell the area of
Couiza and Arques to the French crown.