Rennes le Chateau
30th May 2002
Since 1984 I have been more than a little intrigued by the tiny mountain village of Rennes le Chateau. I first read about it in a magazine sold many years ago that contained unsolved mysteries I later read more about the village in the very fictional book by Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln “The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail.”
Even though they did not write the book as fictional being both a Christian and a Medium I could not and would not agree with their hypothesis added to this a total lack of conclusion made the book total nonsense. But the fact that once again my favourite village was mentioned got my investigative juices flowing. I just knew I had to visit the place.
In April 2001 I met Lionel Fanthorpe a man whose work I had seen on television and had admired. During our conversation I discovered that he knew Rennes le Chateau very well and listening to him talk really did put me on fire to go to France.
We left England on Wednesday 15th May 2002, accompanied by my husband and two of our best friends. We arrived at Toulouse Blagnac Airport on a blazing hot day; totally different from the cold, damp we had left behind at Birmingham airport. My husband drove the hire car along the A61 turning off on to the D118 as Lionel as Lionel had suggested. We arrived at the medieval village of Alet le Bains where our hotel the Hostelerie de L’Eveche was situated.
The hotel had once been a Bishopric in the 10th/12th Century a large sprawling building with the river Aude running at the back, lining the drive and all round the gardens were numerous trees, beautiful and majestic. The sun shining through the leaves accompanied by a gentle breeze made the Copper Beech, Oak and many more look like distinguished and beautiful companions to the buildings they surrounded. Looking at them I did wonder at their exact age and if they could talk what stories would they tell?
I just knew that I was finally going to find some answers as to why I was here and what would I discover – if anything?
The following day was as hot as the previous; climbing into the car I could hardly hide my excitement. “Any idea where your village is?” My husband asked over the years and the many times I had spoken about it the family had started to call Rennes le Chateau “my village.” I replied with a firm “no,” ducking as a map was thrown at me. Being well known as a useless map-reader I passed it on to our friend Len.
As I sat quietly in the back of our hired car my mind drifted back to Sunday 24th April when I had attended Mass at our local Catholic Church accompanied by my husband and family. As we walked up the aisle to receive Holy Communion the Hymn we were singing, “My God Love’s Me.” I suddenly felt that I was no longer in Rayleigh (built in the 1930’s) but a smaller much older one and that we were no longer singing in English but French. I suddenly heard my eldest daughter whisper “Mum, are you OK? Its your turn.” I realised then that I was standing before the Priest who was waiting to give me the Host. Having received the Bread I walked away shaking not at all sure what had taken place over the last few minutes. On leaving the Church my daughter once again asked: “Mum, what is wrong?” I told her what had happened and her reply was very simple: “then you obviously have to go there. Perhaps the priest in France was linking with you.” Later I was to realise how correct she was.
I talked my husband and friends into travelling to France during May.
We made our way along the tortuous mountain route to Rennes le Chateau. As we neared the end of the journey we could see the Chateau standing like a sentinel overlooking the valley surrounding it. Arriving at the village it was not difficult to find the Church (now decommissioned) and the Presbytery the signs were everywhere. The village was very old with narrow streets and an air of something I could not explain perhaps a ghostly feeling, now and then a window was open to the sunshine allowing us to look into a different world. I could feel a muted excitement in me, the best way to explain it would be for me to say like a child waiting to open a Christmas present hoping it would contain what I really wanted, and yet afraid it might not. I suddenly had the uncomfortable feeling that something more than Christianity was practised here. Perhaps a mix of the old and the new.
Turning a corner I saw our goal The Church and home of Berenger Saunier and his housekeeper Marie Denarnaud. These two people whether willingly or otherwise had started off one of the greatest mysteries of the modern world. I had not come to find gold or silver not even the Holy Grail (something I don’t really believe in.) However, I do feel that something far more fundamental is hidden.
Entering the little square we paid our entrance money to an English lady who said to us with a smile: “I came for a week and stayed twenty-five years.” We visited the grounds and the cemetery making my way to where I was told Sauniere and Denernaud were buried. I had told my friends and family that the Spirit of the man who had gone to his death without being given the Last Rites by a fellow Priest would be so restless I would pick up on it immediately. So, it was with great puzzlement that I realised that I could not feel his presence anywhere puzzled I turned to my friend Rose and told her this, her reply was simple “You might find him in the house, where he had lived and died.” Turning away from the graves we made our way into the Presbytery, here we were confronted by the various Vestments he would have worn for the different Sundays and Holy days of the Liturgical year. I wanted to touch one as I also do Psychometry I felt this would definitely help but the iron gaze of a museum curator standing by did deter me. I was up to this point still more than disappointed that the Priest or his housekeeper were not making themselves evident. By now disappointment was making me feel like crying I had come to France for nothing and that experience in my Church a few weeks previous were all for nothing.
On leaving the Presbytery we mad our way towards the Church walking across a garden as the house was on the top of a mountain the garden was cut in two. Walking across the lower one we reached the upper garden walking past a beautiful tree in full bloom I suddenly felt a presence not that of a man but a woman I knew in an instant that Marie Denernaud was standing beside the tree, I felt a need for her to talk. A feeling of guilt that she had never shared her secret with any other person before she had passed into Spirit. I did mentally ask if I could help but there were so many people and so much going on it was impossible so I carried on walking into the Church, pausing for a moment to stare at the ugly demonic face at the entrance and wonder why the priest had done this. Entering the dark of the Church from the bright sunlight was to say the least disconcerting, then to see the Holy Water container with Angels above it and a demon face below was more than just unusual why he had done this I have yet to find out?
Walking into the body of the Church I felt as if I had been hit on the back of my head, realisation dawned that the Sunday in April when standing in my local Church I had in fact been taken to France because everything around me now was as it had been so many days ago before I knew that I was going to France Saunier knew. He had also made contact with me on the Tuesday before I had left Rayleigh on the Thursday. Feeling that what ever work I did in France might drain me I had gone to a young friend of mine who does Reiki in an effort to recharge my energies should I use any. While I had been in a semi trance state I could feel the presence of a man in the room with us, once she had finished with me I asked her if she felt something (she too is Psychic, honestly so) and her reply was: “A man stood in the corner, he has a commanding personality.” Something I had felt too.
I was amazed by the way the Church was dedicated to the memory of Mary Magdalene. From the stained glass window showing the Raising of Lazarus to the family at Bethany, he was after all the brother of Mary Magdalene something that many so-called experts argue about but I know the truth. I suddenly felt very at home in this little Church. I was however more than puzzled by a statue in the front of the church that had no right being there but with everything at Sauniere had in the church I wasn’t surprised, shrugging I walked on and out into the sunlight.
Making our way to the Villa Bethany yet another link with Mary Magdalene, like everything to do with this man it was an anomaly. He built this house yet never lived in it. He was said to have lost his Faith yet he had built an altar at the back because he was for a time banned from saying Mass in his Church, but with the Altar there he could say his own Mass in private something very important to all Priests. In the top bedroom Sauniere was laid in state after his death, so that his parishioners could come and make their farewells. I found all this very odd if the man had been so steeped in the black arts why was his link with Christianity so strong.
I did try to find the tomb of Marie de Negre the lady who started all that Sauniere and Denernaud carried on but never found it as I later learnt the actual tombstone was in a museum. Whatever he discovered and hid is not known and as yet lies undiscovered.
Leaving the village I was more than exhausted allowing ourselves an early evening meal we retired to bed. I don’t dream but sometimes Spirit do visit me in my sleep state and that night was to be a very different kind of visit. I was fast asleep the sound of the River Aude running at the back of our room was very soothing, when suddenly I awoke thinking my husband had called me I turned to look at him only to find him fast asleep. Then for the first time since doing my work I was afraid as standing between the window and our bed was the figure of a man his appearance was different to anything I had witnessed before as he sort of glowed can’t explain it any other way. He stood silently beside me all the time giving the impression that there was a great deal more for me to do. How long he stood there I don’t know but as he left I fell into a very deep sleep.Since I was last in France I have tried to get back but not been able to do so. In a Circle that I ran I was given the information that should help me solve the riddle and having read Ian Wilson’s The Shroud (his most recent book) I discovered that this part of France during the murders of the Knights Templars was actually under the protection of James the Second King of Majorca so that Phillip the Fair king of France and the reigning Pope Clement V would not have had any jurisdiction here. I also feel that whatever the mystery is it would be to do with something stolen by the French Crusaders in 1204 at the sack of Byzantium.
I will go back and hopefully get the permission I need to go to the two places I have been told from Spirit that could be what I am looking for. Wish me luck