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Mysteries of Rennes-le-Chateau

Listed under Paranormal in Languedoc, France.

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Perched high up amongst the idyllic, green hill peaks and plunging canyons in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France, the Mediaeval village of Rennes-le-Chateau is still shrouded in mystery, as it has been for over a century.

The age-old puzzle does not concern the castle but the village church, and the spooky Villa Bethania - the house that Bérenger Saunière, the village priest from 1885 to 1909, built for himself.

Described as rebellious, secretive and an independent thinker, Saunière took the position at Rennes-le-Chateau when he was asked to leave the seminary at Narbonne where he taught, due to his unconventional behaviour. His reclusive lifestyle coupled with the apparently unexplained appearance of a great deal of material wealth led to the development of a number of conspiracy theories surrounding his position in the Church, and accusations of various inappropriate activities to boot. He was tried for charging for masses without performing them, accused of having a relationship with one of his servants and suspected of harbouring spies during his time at Rennes-le-Chateau, and his believed links with the Priory of Sion encouraged the villagers’ dubious opinion of him still further.

The alleged discovery by Saunière of some ancient religious documents inside a pillar in the church led to all manner of speculation. The occurrence was linked to the puzzling 18th century tomb of Lady Hautpoul, the stone of which was positioned face-down and bore a cryptic, carved message. Rumour indicated that the documents were the source of a controversial religious secret important enough to destroy the power of the Catholic Church, as its guardian, Saunière was paid vast sums of money in return for his silence.

A number of more logical explanations have since been provided as to how the priest of a rural village would have been able to afford to restore his church to full glory and build a magnificent mansion for himself nearby. The most popular theory is that his soliciting money in payment for non-existent masses for the dead allowed him to accumulate his untold wealth.

However, records of odd occurrences during Saunière’s time, such as his having the inscription on the enigmatic tomb of Lady Hautpoul erased, and the discovery by some workers of a hidden cache of gold coins under the church floor during its restoration all point to the possibility of a darker secret than simple fraud. Suggestions as to what Saunière’s great secret might have been are many and varied; the locations of Cathars’ or Visigoths’ treasure, a fabulous relic guarded by the Knights Templar, the philosopher’s stone or the Ark of the Covenant have all been perceived as feasible answers by some. The most intriguing idea of them all, though, is that Rennes-le-Chateau is the site of Christ’s tomb and was in fact his home after the crucifixion, which he survived, and he lived there with Mary Magdalene, his wife, and their children.

Bérenger Saunière’s ghost purportedly haunts the ancient church and the Renaissance-style villa where he lived.

Written by  larapiegeler.

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rennes le chateau

are there any organised trips to rennes le chateau for 2009

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