26 May 2010


Guy Patton. Masters of Deception; Murder and Intrigue in the World of Occult Politics. Adventures Unlimited Press. 2009. 

When the saga of Rennes-le-Chateau was first made public, in 1956, it was simply said that in 1891 the village priest, Bérenger Sauniere, had found a hoard of buried treasure, along with the exciting suggestion that there might be more gold waiting to be discovered in the vicinity.
Then, from the 1960s onwards. publications inspired by Pierre Plantard implied that the real secret was something completely different, the survival of the ancient royal Merovingian dynasty, and its embodiment in Pierre Plantard.

Since then it has been necessary for authors and video-makers to have a `slant', to build the story up to some sensational revelation or other. Henry Lincoln's first BBC programme, in 1972, was entitled 'The Lost Treasure of Jerusalem', a title which speaks for itself. In his second, in 1974 (and also in an unfinished independent documentary soon afterwards), he hinted that Satanism was at the root of the mystery. Finally, he settled on the now well-known hypothesis that the Holy Grail (San Greal), was really the sacred blood line (Sang Real), descendants of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene (meaning, again, Pierre Plantard, who himself, despite his monstrous ego, dismissed this as a bit too ridiculous).

Since then, we have had a huge number of publications, including a glossy magazine format work by two journalists. Jean-Pierre Deloux and Jacques Brétiguy, whose selling point was that they had access to secret documents and photographs supplied by the Priory of Sion, who are supposed to guard 'the truth'; the Fanthorpes, and David Wood, who suggested an outer space connection; and others who claim that the real secret is that the tomb of Mary Magdalene is in the area; or the Holy Grail (meaning this time a physical artefact); or the tomb of Jesus Christ himself; or the entrance to the Hollow Earth; whilst the unique value of Christopher Dawes' 'Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail' was that he was the only researcher to have investigated the mystery in company with the former drummer of The Damned.

Patton's particular position is that he links Berenger Sauniére and the Priory of Sion with political conspiracy theories generally, starting with those about the rise of Christianity, through those about the Merovingians and the Templars which have already been linked to Rennes-le-ChAteau. but then mainly dealing with twentieth century France, and in particular President Mitteirand. How, you may ask at the outset, are all these things connected? Speaking of the court of the last Czar, where esotericism flourished, as exemplified by the 'mad monk' Rasputin, and the forging of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, he admitted that "Geographically, St. Petersburg is a great distance from Rennnes-le-Chateau but that "the network of lodges and secret societies brings them much closer together than the map belies." Consequently, his book is full of phrases like "this labyrinthine world", "Due to the cloak of secrecy", "Conventional historians tend to overlook", "hidden agenda", "clouded in mystery", and so on.

Inevitably, he sees conspiracies where there is no need to postulate them. In 1886 Sauniére was given 3,000 francs by the Countess of Chambord to help with the restoration of his church: "At first sight it appears strange to see such munificence on the part of such a distinguished person as the Habsburg Countess Marie-Thérese towards an unknown, humble priest in a remote backwater, but it soon becomes clear that the same tentacle-like network of connections encountered elsewhere in this story can also be discerned here." In fact. this is one of the few aspects of the saga for which a straightforward explanation is apparent: Sauniére had been suspended from the priesthood for a time far preaching anti-Republican sermons: the countess was the widow of a Bourbon claimant to the throne of France, who had beepn known for making generous donations to the Catholic church to assist with building work.

Though the book is supplied with notes and a bibliography, they are arranged in such a way as to make them almost useless, and there is no index at all, though it certainly requires one, or perhaps a glossary of people and organisations, when dealing with paragraphs like:

"De Chérisey married Gloria and, in the 1970s, they had a son Gaspar. Gaspar's godfather was a US Air Force Colonel John Driscoll said to been involved with NATO Intelligence. Also known as Sean O'Driscoll, he was a member of the chivalric Order of Lazarus and after retirement purchased Castle Matrix in Ireland. These facts have been confirmed by Geoffrey Basil-Smith (who corresponded with De Chérisey from 1982 until his death) from a conversation with Liz O'Driscoll, the late Colonel's widow. The connection between de Cbérisey and a NATO officer is all the more interesting when we leara that the NATO Commander of the Ternplar Order OSMTJ ,whose head was the Portuguese Sousa de Fontes, was particularly active in the movement in the 1980s."
(He could also have mentioned that Basil-Smith, who contributed a Foreword to David Wood's Genisis - which purported to find evidencer of an extraterrestrial conspiraicy in the landscape around Rennes-le-Chateau - was Grand Master of the M.A.A.T. Lodge, a dissident O.T.O. group with links to Gardnerian witchcraft. But perhaps he thought that these facts might confuse his readers a little too much.)

Much about the life of Pierre Plantard rernains obscure. Patton describes the evidence as 'contradictory', but does not help matters, by writing things like: "Plantard was born on 18 March 1920 in Paris, to Pierre, a wine merchant, and his wife, Raulo who died two and a half years later. He was to continue living with his mother until at least 1943." Nor is the following inunediately enlightening:
"But there is a more sinister dimension to these associations that has its roots in the war. Prior to their arrival in Limoges in 1943. the Dagobert family had lived in St. Nazaire at the mouth of the Loire, until forced to move to avoid the massive Allied bombing of the Naval dockyard. As manager of the local undertakers, and as a member of a Masonic lodge Libre Pensée, Robert-René's father was well acquainted with many other locals, including those who worked in the dockyard. Employed as engineers at St. Nazaire were Francois Plantard and Eugene Deloncle, both members of the Societé Anonyme des Chantiers et Ateliers de St. Nazaire-Penhoet. Francois Plantard, as we have seen, was the father of Yannick, who married the adopted daughter of Mitterrand's friend André Rousselet. Eugene Deloncle ran the extremely militant right-wing group La Cagoule, to which Mitterrand is said to have belonged before the war. Furthermore, one of Deloncle's nieces was to marry Francois Mitterand's brother Robert. Another prominent member of La Cagoule was Jean Filiol, the same Milice chief that will be seen to be implicated in the tragic Oradour affair. Jean Filiol and Francois Mitterand, both born at Jarnac, were close friends"
Confused? So am I. -- Reviewed by Gareth J. Medway.

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