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Sauniere Society
Newsletter - Extra N0.1
1st April 2020

Dear Members and Friends

As life has changed so dramatically for all of us in the last fortnight I am determined to communicate with you all as much as possible. With the ruin of my plans for 2020 around me - no visit to Switzerland, Cornwall, Yorkshire, Rennes-le-Chateau and worst of all Bavaria (Franconia) to hear Richard Wagner in August and explore Parsifal land. Still at 83, with COPD and asthma I still consider myself so fortunate. I have an interesting house, three acres of land complete with rescue horses and chickens and enough books, DVD's and CD's to last me to eternity. I look in horror at the conditions in which so many people find themselves - cramped, overcrowded accommodation with no garden and a greatly reduced income or none at all, and the inevitable horrific plight of refugees and the underdeveloped world. All we can do is obey the rules and hope.

Meantime we must look to the future for the society and hope that we can meet later in the year. The joint meeting in Yorkshire has of course been cancelled and it is extremely unlikely we will get to Rennes this year so both will be rescheduled for next year. Some of our London speakers Lynn Picknett, Clive Prince, Bill Kersey and Imogen Corrigan have already agreed to appear at our meeting in Newington Village Hall on Saturday 10th October as has Simon Wilson from Canterbury university who will speak on 'The Grail'. I am also organising speakers for the Scottish meeting, the hotel and event details I will forward later. If the Folklore Festival and Members meeting in July take place I will let you know in good time but it is very doubtful. We very much hope to produce our journal at the end of July but this of course will depend on our editors situation and the printers availability.

So how can we interest, entertain and perhaps educate you for the months ahead. This first tentative step may provide stimulus for you to respond with articles, matters of interest, jokes or anything else which takes your fancy. If we get no response then we cannot produce further editions - so it's up to you, don't be shy. This newsletter has been made possible by Robert McCutcheon's great article and support, James Martin known as 'J', Jackie Beecham and Julia May my wonderful assistant who puts it all together and never complains that I am a computer Luddite with a horror of anything electronic except CD's and DVD's. I hope you understand what I am trying to do and support me.

Keep yourselves safe and well.

Here are the aforementioned articles for your entertainment and education or at least a mild boredom killer, every little helps.....
Rennes-le-Chateau gossip.
by our own correspondent, 'Asmodeus'.

There have been  "renovations" to the church garden in Rennes- le-Chateau during the past few months. It has been turned into a building site. Many of those who take an interest in the village goings on, some from afar,  have been dismayed, to say the least. The large cedar tree outside the church had to be chopped down, as its roots were affecting the foundations of the sacristy. It’s absence will make the Blue Apples Day effects rather interesting! The grotto has been used as a howff by the builders (Bob & co ?) and some of the stones Sauniere collected to build it have 'disappeared'.. The finished product is rather unimpressive. The stone base around the calvaire has been replaced by a bland red brick coping which one could find in any B & Q garden department.

The bricking on the path walls outside the church seems to have been done by the builder’s apprentice. Sloppy use of cement. The Mayor had said the the exterior work would be re-done to look identical to the original. Aye, right, Alexander ! The garden between the villa and the Domaine has been churned up into something which resembles a WW1 film set. All that is missing is the barbed wire and trenches. Since then it has been restored and admittedly looks quite pleasant,

Inside the church the dampness on the ceiling still hasn’t been cured, and is getting worse. There are still noticeable cracks on the walls ( especially next to the.Station X of the Cross) Sauniere will be turning in his new grave !

The parking area at the top of the village, around the water tower, has been pedestrianized with a (minimal) garden effect. Cars will be kept to a minumum. And on enquiring there shall be only two disabled parking bays. The large 'alter stone', which used to be situated outside of the Mairie, had been moved in recent years to a rather out-of-the-way corner in the Tour Magdala car park. In moving it again, the workmen have managed to split the rock from top to bottom ! Restoration attempts to fix the crack in the rock (using glue apparently) do not look impressive !

Rennes-le-Chateau is in lockdown - even Madame (L'Eveche) is closed. Meanwhile Carcassonne and area has had snow!

The first round of municipal elections took place on Sunday March 15th 2020. Passionate people have been concerned by the state of the church of Rennes-le-Chateau for many years. Below are the results:

  • Morgan Marrott Elected, 58 votes
  • Arthur Gonzalez Elected, 56 votes
  • Pascal Caste Elected, 54 votes
  • Alexander Painco Elected, 54 votes Alexander is the current mayor
  • Colette Tricorre Elected, 54 votes
  • Virginia Mayo Elected, 53 votes
  • Frederic Gordo Elected, 52 votes
  • Aline Chadefaud 36 votes
  • Alain Demeur 36 votes
  • Jacqueline Gooskens 35 votes
  • Jean-Marc Talut 35 votes Jean-Marc was Deputy Mayor
  • Rachel Cooper 34 votes
  • Number of members - 95
  • Turnout - 94.74% (90 registered)
  • Abstention rate - 5.26% (5 enrolled)
  • Votes cast - 93.68% (89 registered)
  • Blank votes - 0
  • Invalid votes - 1

We've had no information about further rounds in the election.

Thank you Robert McCutcheon.
Ticket to Rhedae
by James Martin

Have you ever got on a bus? No, not your typical British bus, an experience which I often describe as ‘being trapped in a tube of other peoples breath in equal human misery’, but one of those lovely air conditioned and Wi-Fi enabled busses that takes you for less than €5 from Carcassonne to Quillan? If you haven’t, let me give you a ticket to ride.

It was a few summers ago, in that baking thunderous heat familiar to those visitors to the Aude, that during a thunderstorm I went outside to watch the light show and the inevitable rain that follows. I managed to glimpse at the sheer terrifying exhilaration of lightning as it tore above the roofs of the 14th century houses opposite me. A question dawned upon me, what would this have been like for those medieval people? What did 13th century John the shit-shoveler make of this storm? Was it divine retribution for society’s misdeeds or was it just nature taking course? This question, little did I know, would shape my research for years to come.

A bus journey can be more than a depressing event, but instead an educational one. You are afforded time to look out of the window and see towns and villages that up until you have drove passed them never existed in your own world. As the bus pulled in to Lycee Jaques Ruffié at Limoux, my mind began to wonder about John and his medieval denizens.

Limoux currently sits at around 25 km south of Carcassonne with a population of around 10,000. Its origins are, like many towns in the Aude, ultimately of Gallo-Roman origin, with a villa having been excavated in the Flassian area in 1983. M. Fonds-Lamothe postulates that the town of Limoux began its life in Flassian, citing various mediaeval charters including one from St Louis, that give a joint name for the town - Flacian-Limoux. In 844 the land in which Limoux sits today is referenced as being held by the abbots of St Hilaire, yet a century later at least from 950, the Trencavel Counts of Carcassonne and the Razes hold this land. Whilst the area remained relatively undeveloped throughout this period, the 10th century marked an age of relative prosperity, with the route from Carcassonne to Quillan which roughly follows to this the day an ancient Celtic road, bringing trade and commerce deep in to the upper Aude valley. The period of prosperity followed on from a period of war against the moors of Spain who had by the 8th century occupied most of the Aude valley. A castle at Flassian, upon the La Canal hill overlooking Les Pontils had been razed by the Moors, however by the 10th century had been restored and a population resided within its walls. If we were therefore looking at the town from John’s perspective in the early 13th century, we would see that Limoux was a city on a hill with two population centres, one at Flassian and another on the banks of the river Aude. What is more is that there were also an increasing number of religious orders springing up around the riverside town. The Benedictines, Dominicans, Trinitarians (who occupied the site of the Synagogue), Lazarists, Cordeliers, Capuchins, Doctrinaires, the Augustins, the Antonins the Hospitaliers, the Templars (on the right bank from 1234), the Franciscans, the Ladies of Saint-Claire and the Ladies of Saint Martha are all established within the town from this period onward, if not some beforehand. Why the need for so many orders? I would love to answer this fully here; however in writing an article, one is reminded that this is not an essay - so as Henry VIII said to his wives, I will try not to keep you long. To whet your appetite though, surely it’s a little more than the so-called Limoux ‘cult of the dead’, though perhaps a time traveller might ask Marie de Negre-d’Ables on that front – a topic for a further article.

By 1209, Simon de Montfort (contain your spitting on the floor) had sacked our castle on the hill and during the War of Limoux (1226-1227) in which Roger-Bernard de Foix had refortified the castle and town in support of the towns resistance from northern invaders - presumably resisting due to their dislike of bread and dripping and ferrets, or as it was in reality, resisting to support their own independence and religious tolerance – Montfort’s lieutenant, Pierre de Voisons had the entire castle and dwellings demolished, forcing the surviving inhabitants to move towards the river. This was something that the religious orders were not best pleased with, as having hundreds of refugees now settling on your land is mildly in convenient and might interrupt a good harvest don’t you know. It should be noted that this scorched earth policy was continued in to neighbouring towns also. Espéraza’s origins lay with the former fortification of Garenaud, before too its walls were demolished and its inhabitants hunted down, the survivors taking refuge at the monastery of Ecclesia Santae Mariae de Asparazanus – today’s market square of Espéraza conforming roughly to the walls of the old monastery. The crusading logic around destroying fortifications and moving the populous to an open plan town (if indeed they could be bothered doing even that) is that any future rebellions could be crushed with ease with no pesky walls to stop a good slaughter. The Flassian-Limoux model of destroy and relocate was replicated at the siege of Carcassonne in 1240, in which its inhabitants were removed from the walled city in the most inhumane fashion, to the undefended flatlands below. John would have seen a prosperous town at Limoux, a castle on the hill, now turned in to a smouldering ruin in which in order to survive he may have had to seek refuge on church land, whilst at the same time the holy orders had formally complained to the appropriately named king, Louis the Pious, about having to deal with so many refugees. Further to this, a number of edicts were passed by the Bishop of Narbonne that prohibited any form of public dancing, something that the later Bishop of Alet Nicolas Pavillon would rigidly enforce - a joyless time.

As the bus leaves Limoux and passes Alet-les-bains, I wonder if John could have moved here to restart his life. Alet, like Limoux in this period had a thriving economy before the crusade, a large Jewish population and a relatively tolerant population of people's beliefs. It's deep moat and original walls were indeed very ancient and were dug and rebuilt with money from Spanish nobles. These nobles had fled from the Moorish advance in the 8th century, and found refuge at Alet and nearby Rennes-le-Chateau, our final stop. Fortunately, being sat on an air conditioned bus on a warm day, means that you don’t have to experience the sights or smells that John did. Whilst throwing your waste from the top window on to the streets below was a crime in those days, open gutters were not, imagine the stench and disease. As I get off the bus at the foot of the winding road up to Rennes-le-Chateau, the chances of John heading up there are relatively slim, why would he have wanted to? For him, as he crossed the fortified bridge over the Sals in to the various houses that would later form Couiza, he would perhaps have found some comfort in the struggle against the northern invaders. News would have reached him that the household (which was situated close to the Templar holdings in Couiza near the 1212 Church) of Couiza's premier knight one Guilhem de Baris, specifically his wife, had offered shelter to a known Cathar, Raymond de Roquefeuil (brother of Bernard Aton de Niort), who had been injured battling the northerners - solidarity.

Looking up towards 13th century Rennes-le-Chateau, or Rhedae, would have treated our modern day eyes to a bit of a shock, Rennes was somewhat a faded place. The upper and lower towns had lost their former importance Johns period and the former stronghold and defence against Moorish incursions in the 8th century, built upon remnants of a modest Visigothic town and dwellings, were in ruins. They had previously been refortified and costs paid for by those wealthy nobles fleeing the Moorish storm in Spain and the southern Languedoc, where those nobles priority was security over trade. Whilst the lower town of Rhedae fell quickly to the Moors, the upper town held out for a year or so and perhaps saw the archbishops of Narbonne taking refuge in the upper town as the episcopal palace was occupied. As an aside, it is worth noting the legacy of the Moorish conquest; it is not just seen within the food of the area or the Moorish outpost 10km from Rennes, but also within local town and hamlet names, a nearby farm holding is still to this day called Maurine - the place of the Moors. As the Moorish conquest was repelled out of the Languedoc, nobles sought the finer things in life and began to resettle away from the upland forts where it is difficult to transport goods, back down to the old Celtic road towards Quillan in which our modern bus still travels. This furthered the dilapidation of the hilltop towns. By John's time, the movement of people to fight in the Levantine crusades had caused a shortage of both labour and troops in the area, something that the King of Aragon took to his advantage in 1170/71 when he sacked Rennes. The town would not begin to prosper again for another two centuries when the grandson of Pierre de Voisons, another Pierre, refortified it. We know that the market place at Rennes at the start of the 12th century was valued at the same price as that at Burgaragium or Bugarach, slightly higher than Cousanum or Couiza, but would continue to prosper up until a 19th and 20th century parish priest arrived and who effectively closed the market place down to create a garden. I believe there is a restaurant there now.

The problem with short bus journeys is that you have to get off and continue your day, even though your initial despair has been replaced by both perfect solitude and a date with your own imagination. In an area coupled with so much history and mystery, it is difficult to convey the full story in one article. Besides, there have been many more journeys since. For now, I think I hear another storm brewing, I better head out in to the alleyway and check. Yep, there's the lightning.

Thanks J
Richard Stanley
Many know or have met Richard Stanley and enjoyed his whole knowledge of Otto Rahn, the Cathars and his beloved Montsegur and his fascinating storytelling. He is an erudite, educated man whose library is breathtaking and the envy of book collectors. He is also a director of cult films and his recent production 'Colour Out of Space' has been seen by many of our members, below is the Guardian review:
Color Out of Space review - Nicolas Cage goes cosmic in freaky sci-fi horror.
3 out of 5 stars.

A repulsive alien organism is unleashed on Earth in Richard Stanley's scary, hokey - and often funny - extravaganza

In the bonkers 2018 thriller Mandy, Nicolas Cage gave one of his Cage-iest performances yet, face splattered in blood as he pursued a cult leader who’d tortured his girlfriend. If you thought that was trippy, wait till you see Color Out of Space, in which Cage's mug is once again sprayed with blood ... alpaca blood.

Adapted from a story by HP Lovecraft, this is a freaky-deaky, retro-cosmic science-fiction horror about a meteor that slams into Earth unleashing an extraterrestrial organism. The whole thing looks as if it was dreamed up under the influence of a quality batch of LSD. I laughed out loud at the hokiest bits. But I've got to admit I was sucked in and genuinely scared, too.

Director Richard Stanley: 'A coven of witches was using my house. They left a bit of a mess'

The director is Richard Stanley, who hasn’t made a feature film since he got fired from The Island of Dr Moreau (1996). Cage plays Nathan Gardner, an artist who moves with his wife (Joely Richardson) and three kids back to the farm where he grew up, to raise alpacas. In a very Cage-y moment he turns dreamy-eyed while milking: “You’ve got to warm the boob.”

When a meteor lands in their front garden, the family witness flashes of a colour never before seen by the human eye (actually, purple). After the meteor comes the terror. Lush mutant flowers begin to grow in the garden; the dog won’t stop whimpering; everyone gets a bit shouty. Then things get gobsmackingly, gaggingly repulsive.

To be fair, Cage holds it in for the first hour, giving us his version of liberal, caring dad. When he does finally does let rip, he doesn’t go all-out ragey-Cagey, but does something creepier: rambling in a Trumpishly high-pitched, peevish voice. It’s a film with a fair few ludicrously funny bits, yet something endearing in how unashamedly earnestly it’s played straight, not for laughs.

Love it or loathe it, Stanley is trying to do something distinctively his own after all those years in the cold. His movie perhaps has the makings of a cult classic.

Again thank you Robert McCutcheon.

I am aware that humour is a very individual thing but I thought you might find some of the jokes below amusing.

  • The clocks go forward this weekend....lets hope they go forward four f****** months!
  • The chief medical officer and scientific advisers who flank Boris Johnson are described as 'The Gentlemen of Corona'
  • If it wasn't for Nicholas Tesla we would be watching television by candlelight
  • Some cause happiness wherever they go others whenever they go - Oscar Wilde
  • A jury consists of 12 chosen to decide who has the better lawyer
  • I prefer old age to the alternative - Maurice Chevalier
  • Nespresso's new flavour - 'Oppresso' - coffee beans packed by child labourers
  • After 3 hours of home school teaching one of my children was suspended, the other expelled!

Did you know that.....

  • The cost of a world wide pandemic predicted by the Secretary General of the United Nations to cause not only the death of millions and cause a massive global recession Covid-19 has in a couple of months produced more effect on the environment than international treaties have in many decades
    • Air pollution has precipitously dropped around the world
    • Skies are no longer lacerated with contrails as aircraft remain grounded
    • Roads are largely car-free and quiet
    • Those living under flight paths can now hear birdsong
    • Dolphins are swimming in Venice canals
    • In Spain wild boar and bears are seen in the streets. In Llandudno goats roam the streets
    • 2020 is on course to join the very select ranks of years in which global carbon emissions actually go down.
  • The Poison Garden at Ainwick. This unusual garden containing 100 toxic, intoxicating, narcotic and poisonous plants has been voted the UK's best in a poll for 'BBC Country File Magazine'.
  • Archaeologists are attempting to determine for the first time the age of the mysterious Cerne Abbas Giant the 180ft naked priapic chalk figure brandishing a club overlooking the village of Cerne Abbas in Dorset. The origins and purpose of Britain's largest and perhaps best known chalk hill figure are a mystery. The OSL technique to be used discovered the age of the Uffington White Horse in Oxfordshire which was found to be nearly 3000 years old.
  • The earliest verified remains of an English saint - and the only current verified remains of the Kentish royal dynasty - are thought to be found in Folkestone. Kent archaeological and history experts have confirmed that the human remains kept in St Mary and St Eanswythe church are almost certainly those of St Eanswythe herself. Eanswythe, the patron saint of Folkestone was the grand daughter of Ethelbert, the first English King to convert to Christianity under Augustine. St Eanswythe is believed to have founded one of the earliest monastic communities in England, most likely around AD 660 on the Bayle - the overlooked historic centre of Folkestone. She is thought to have died in her late teens or early 20's.
Pierre Plantard (1920-2000) The Man Who Would Be King.

Pierre Athanase Marie Plantard was born on 18th of March 1920 in Paris. His parents were Pierre Plantard, who worked as a butler and Amelie Marie Raulo a concierge ( also described as a cook for wealthy families in police reports of the 1940s).  The young Pierre had a fascination for secret societies. While still a student he made efforts to create groups of boys into something similar to a scouting organisation but those efforts came to naught. He harboured an ambition to be a priest, but that also came to naught, although he became a sacristan at the church of St Louis D'Antin, which was a former Capuchin convent.

Plantard left school aged 17 during this time he also practiced as a clairvoyant using the pseudonym Chyren, he read horoscopes and practiced the Tarot. Who he learned this from we do not know..From 1937 Plantard began forming mystical ultranationalist associations like the French Union (1937) and French National Renewal(1941) to support a "National Revolution" based upon anti-Semitism and anti-Masonry.

Despite his post-War protestations of being part of the Resistance, Plantard was a Vichyist to the core, he was an admirer of Petain. Unfortunately for Plantard both the Vichy regime and the Nazi occupiers had banned secret societies and when he established Alpha Galates he was punished with a four month prison sentence. This didn't discourage Plantard ( or 'Pierre de France' as he preferred to refer himself as) with continuing with Alpha Galates, and soon AP produced a house magazine Vaincre. Alpha Galates, according to police reports ranged from as few as four members up to around fifty. Vi Marriott was of the opinion that it was in Alpha Galates that Plantard first encountered Phillipe de Cherisey. Early Alpha Galates consisted of members of the theatrical profession, not only de Cherisey (Amadee) but the vice president Jacques Theaureau was also involved in theatre, and the secretary Sussanne Libre was a drama student.

Plantard moved to the town of Annemasse, not far from Geneva in 1951. Here he married his first wife, Anne-Lea Hisler, this marriage produced a son, Thomas.. Apparently  Plantard was sentenced on 17 Decemeber 1953 by a court in St Julien-en-Genevois to six months jail for breach of trust...

This didn't prevent Plantard registering an 'association' known as Priory of Sion with the local authorities in 1956  in the same town of Saint-Julien-en-Genevois. He was listed as Secretary-general of the Priory, his usual occupation was given as draughtsman, the President was one Phillipe Bonhomme, described as an accountant. The Priory's subtitle was C.I.R.C.U.I.T , formed ostensibly  to endorse affordable housing; they published a pamphlet entitled Circuit to promote their ideas. This association didn't stay together for long, little more than a year.

By then Plantard had returned to Paris just in time to help (as he claimed) de Gaulle with the Algerian Crisis by forming a committee for public safety, using the pseudonym 'Captain Way'. As there has never been any proven acknowledgement from de Gaulle, this may have been  just another of Plantard's fantasies.

Plantard and de Cherisey developed an interest in the story of Gisors as given by Roger Lhomoy, Lhomoy was a native of Gisors, and had been employed as a guard and a guide  at the chateau. Towards the end of WW2 he claimed to have found a chapel beneath the Gisors keep. It had statues of various saints and stone sarcophagi, and he claimed chests full of gold.. The matter was investigated and nothing was found. Lhomoy was denounced as a fraud and sacked. However by the late 1950s he was enployed by Gerard de Sede to work on the latter's pig farm. It was through Lhomoy that de Sede, a writer of historical fiction, found out about the Gisors chambers tale. De Sede went himself to Gisors to explore but could not reach the underground chapel. However that didn't prevent him and Lhomoy doing inteviews about Gisors. A magazine article about the Gisors mystery caught the attention of Plantard. He and de Cherisey themselves investigated the site but allegedly found nothing except medieval water latrines.

This didn't prevent de Sede and Plantard collaborating on a book:Les Templiers sont parmi nous, ou, L'Enigme de Gisors ,which was published in 1962. Les Templiers gave the reading public the first hint of the Priory of Sion.

Plantard and de Cherisey turned their attention to Stenay, which was associated with Visigothic treasure, and a connection with the Merovingians: Thierry, son of Clovis built a palace there and Dagobert II had been assassinated (according to one tradition, by his Godson, John)  in the Woevre forest nearby in 679. It was during the sojourn in Stenay, that Plantard began his claim / pretension to be an heir of the Merovingians. As for the duo's  pursuit of actual treasure Stenay proved as fruitless

 Attention now turned to  Rennes-le-Château. There have been unconfirmed rumours that Plantard had visited the village in the mid-50s, perhaps after Noel Corbu's sensational story about the Sauniere treasure appeared in the La Depeche du Midi.. Another claim was that Plantard owned land on the Blanchefort hillside, Whilst Plantard and de Cherisey were exploring Gisors, Robert Charoux and his Treasure Seekers' Club were investigating and ground-scanning Rennes-le-Chateau and its church. Among Charoux's entourage was the actress (some say, mistress of Charroux) Denise Carvenne, who had appeared in now fewer than five motion pictures alongside Amadee aka Phillipe de Cherisey.Thus began the treasure hunting of Rennes-le-Chateau, which plagues the village to this day. Corbu's subsequent radio interview with Charroux accelerated the process.

Plantard would later add St Clair to his surname, derived from a maternal ancestor, Marie de St Clair, herself an alleged descendant of Charlemagne.  Plantard created the novel claim about himself that he was directly descended from the Merovingian King Dagobert II – and the central purpose of being of the (revived)  version of the Priory of Sion was this very claim (Plantard was really descended from a 16thcentury peasant who picked walnuts).

Planard renewed his friendship with de Cherisey and in 1965 the two of them visited Rennes-le-Chateau, staying at the Villa Bethania. De Cherisey knew nothing about the Sauniere story of which he was elightened of by Plantard and their host, Noel Corbu. This gave Plantard and de Cherisey ambitions. De Cherisey thought the story would make a good film, while Plantard hoped to write a book about the treasure of Sauniere, and his own regal pretensions. To back up the story, the Dossier Secrets of Henri Lobineau, an assortment of fabricated genealogies , coded parchments, lists of grand masters of the Priory of Sion, newspaper clippings were deposited in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. 

Failing to find a publisher for his Rennes-le-Chateau / Sauniere manuscript Plantard was persuaded by publisher Rene Juiliard to give the mss to Gerard de Sede (Julliard had published de Sede's Le Tresor Cathare in 1966) and a publication would ensue. Se Sede basically rewrote Plantard's text, omitting any mention of Plantard's regal pretensions and included reproductions two of the parchments allegedly found by Sauniere in his church (in reality created by de Cherisey, with assistance from Plantard).

The book was published in 1967 with the title, L'or de Rennes. Plantard and de Sede fell out over royalties, while de Cherisey, who hopes for a film about the Sauniere tale had come to naught, threatened to sue Julliard for using the parchments without his permission.

Despite the authorial conflict L'or de Rennes was a success, and for the first time in his life Plantard came to national attention. The following a second edition of the book came out re-titled Le Trésor Maudit de Rennes-le-Château . It was a paperback edition of Le Tresor that an English actor/scriptwriter called Henry Lincoln read while on holiday in France in 1969.

 While Plantard and de Cherisey would have preferred the French media to take the bait, the subsequent BBC documentaries by Lincoln brought Rennes-le-Chateau, Sauniere and the Priory of Sion to attention of the English speaking world. Plantard agreed to a televised interview by Lincoln for the third Chronicle documentary, Shadow of the Templars, broadcast in 1979. Filmed in the Pariisian art gallery owned by Jean-Luc Chaumeil's mother, Plantard came across as a dignified if evasive figure.

Lincoln along with Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh,his co-rearchers on Shadow of the Templars went further than Planatard thought and in 1982. the trio hit the best-seller lists with The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. The authors' central claims that Jesus hadn't died on the cross, but had married Mary Magdalene, produced children caused world-wide controversy. More than this it was hypothesized that the Holy bloodline had continued through the Merovingian line and its guardians were none other than the Priory of Sion! This was too much for Plantard. It was one thing claiming to be the descendent of Dagobert II, quite another to be pointed out as the descendant of Christ!

In the months following HBHG Plantard fell-out with his PoS comrades, first with de Chersiey, the men were never reconciled. Then he was denounced by Chaumeil (who in turn was denounced and threatened with legal action by Plantard). As for Gerard de Sede, in 1988 he would write a revisionist book, Rennes-le-Château: le dossier, les impostures, les phantasmes, les hypothèses. and subsequently refer to Plantard as 'quite ignorant'.

Plantard himself, began to revise his history. He claimed that he had only been descended from a cadet line of Dagobert II.In 1984 he resigned at grandmaster of the Priory of Sion, for what he claimed were health reasons. Perhaps, prompted by de Sede's jibes in Rennes-le-Chateau, le dossiers etc. Plantard revived the Priory in 1989, The PoS house magazine, Vaincre was resurrected too. According to Planatard's revision the establishment of the Priory of Sion took place at Rennes-le-Chateau on 17th January 1681.Furthermore, the genealogies featured in the Dossier Secrets contained 'errors of decipherment'.

A far more serious error was for Roger-Patrice Pelat to be referred to as a grandmaster of the Priory of Sion.  Pelat, a Resistance hero and a friend of Francois Mitterand, had been charged by a French court for his alleged involvement in an insider-trading scandal. The inclusion of Pelat as a grandmaster could be regarded par for the course with respect to PoS nautonierres, but Pelat died during the scandal. This might have been the end of it had Pelat's alleged membership of the PoS come to the attention of he judge investigating the scandal in 1993. 

Plantard was questioned, his house in Paris  was searched. Nothing was found relating to Roger-Patrice Pelat but what the police did find was fake documents pertaining to the PoS, including reference to Planatrd's regal pretensions. Nevertheless, Plantard was ordered to appear in court, and under oath admitted that everything about the PoS, not the least Pelat's involvement were fabrications.

Although the main French media took little notice of Plantard in the scandal investigation - they had far bigger fish to fry . He was now an object of ridicule. The Priory of Sion , for what it was worth, now had Pierrre's son Thomas as grandmaster

Plantard pere, slipped quietly out of any further  involvement. He died at his home in Colombes, Paris on 3rd February. Little is known of his passing other than these words of Jean-Luc Chaumeil ; "He died a beautiful death, surrounded by devoted followers who acted as his courtiers, but he had lost all his real friends, those who had listened to him attentively, those who had stopped him from going off the rails on more than one occasion. He had forgotten that, in the world of fictional heroes, there are masters of manipulation who can take advantage of a lie to develop an even bigger untruth. He should already have met that in the bedtime story "The Robber Robbed" (to which one should perhaps add, "the Lost King found and re-orientated".

Robert McCutcheon

And just in time we received this from Jackie Beecham...
Thou Shalt not Commit Freemasonry

On November 26th 1983 Cardinal Josef Ratzinger declared "The faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion." He became Pope in 2005 and resigned in 2013.

Mary Magdalene may have come to Yorkshire or at least some of her did.

Sir Brian Stapleton of Wighill near Tadcaster fought at the battle of Crécy in 1436. According to legend he brought back with him from France the right hand of Mary Magdalene which he placed in the house of the Friar preachers of York, where he was supposedly buried. This could be the house of the Dominican Friars in Goodramgate founded in April 1227 with a chapel dedicated to Mary Magdalene. It was dissolved in 1538 during the Reformation and all trace of the hand was lost. It was in the church of Holy Trinity Goodramgate that Anne Lister (Gentleman Jack) married Anne Walker in 1834. All it took was a careful choice of costume, her brother’s birth certificate and a very short sighted Vicar.

How many French Kings were crowned in Notre Dame de Paris?

Just the one and that was disputed. In 1429 the infant son of Henry V of England was crowned at the age of 9 months with his mother’s bracelet as Henry II of France although his Uncle had been crowned King of France two years earlier.

Napoleon I was crowned in Notre Dame de Paris as Emperor and crowned himself. The majority of French Kings were crowned in Reims cathedral except for Hugh Capet who was crowned at Noyon and Robert II, and Louis Vi who were crowned at Orleans and Henry IV who was anointed at Chartres. John I died as a baby before he could be crowned and Louis XVIII did not have a coronation.