Chez le Bibliothécaire

Chez le Bibliothécaire
Bienvenue

vendredi 12 août 2011

PIC d'EN-COUTY

Thursday 11 August 2011

Indiana Jones meets The Da Vinci Code in tiny French village

Indiana Jones meets The Da Vinci Code in a tiny southwestern French village, where three researchers have revealed the entrance to a cave they insist contains King Solomon's gold, and possibly the Holy Grail.

Indiana Jones meets The Da Vinci Code in a tiny southwestern French village, where three researchers have revealed the entrance to a cave they insist contains King Solomon's gold, and possibly the Holy Grail.

Sougraigne is very close to Rennes-Le-Chateau, whose charismatic and mysteriously wealthy priest, Béranger Saunière, partly inspired Dan Brown's bestselling novel Photo: ALAMY
Police have been called in to patrol the area near the village of Sougraigne, population 82, in the Aude region over fears the startling claims will lead to a sudden, massive influx of unwanted treasure hunters.
The cave's whereabouts on a rocky, wooded hillside were a long kept secret by the three would-be "raiders" and only made public last week because of an acrimonious dispute between the men.
Sougraigne is very close to Rennes-Le-Chateau, whose charismatic and mysteriously wealthy priest, Béranger Saunière, partly inspired Dan Brown's bestselling novel. One of the book's characters, the Louvre curator, borrows the Saunière surname.
Legend has it that untold treasures are hidden in the vicinity of Rennes-Le-Chateau.
These include the gold of the Visigoths, said to include the original menorah, the seven-branched gold candelabrum used by Moses in the wilderness and later in the Temple in Jerusalem, built by King Solomon.
Other possible glittering prizes said to await those who can crack hidden religious codes are the treasure of the Knights Templar, scrolls proving that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a secret love child and the lost treasure of the Cathars, whose crumbling 11th century castles still sit atop mountains in the nearby Pyrenees.
The hunt began in the early 1900s, after the late Father Saunière's maid servant, Marie Dénarnaud, claimed he had hidden treasure under Rennes-Le-Chateau. Father Saunière had mysteriously amassed the equivalent of a million pounds in gold. While the official explanation is he cheated parishioners who paid for hundreds of masses he never gave, the legend the money came from a more mysterious source persists to this day.
A hundred and fifty thousand tourists visit the village every year in the vain hope of unearthing such tantalising hoards – to the extent that digging has been banned.
But the three researchers, Michel Vallet, Didier Héricart de Thury and Franck Daffos, believe hunters were looking in the wrong place all that time, and that the treasure lies in a cave on a tiny hill called Pech d'En-Couty.
They kept their excavations, using hi-tech equipment from the US, secret for the past three years. However, their search was suddenly brought to public attention following the publication of a book on July 12 by two of the trio, called "The Gold of Rennes", which offers clues.
Furious that he had not been party to their oeuvre, Michel Vallet took revenge by posting a photo on the internet last Sunday of the cave entrance where the three believe the treasure lies.
Horrified, Franck Daffos, who has spent 40 years hunting for the elusive gold, contacted local gendarmes. "A terrible waste must be avoided at all costs," he told Midi-Libre, the regional newspaper.
"Michel Vallet has ruined our work. The area must be secured to stop pillagers from seizing (the treasure)," he said.
He wants the state to file a legal complaint for "inciting the pillaging of national heritage".
Police are now carrying out discreet patrols.
Locals, however are more circumspect.
"We get nutters all the time," said Alexandre Painco, mayor of Rennes-Le-Chateau. "Some have abandoned their work, wives and children to hunt treasure." He said the fact that the village is a few miles from Bugarach only made matters worse.
Bugarach's mayor has threatened to call in the army to stop a tide of "esoteric outsiders" from overrunning the place on the December 31, 2012, as they believe it is the only place in the world that will be spared from Armageddon.
Dieudonné Roussette, who owns the land where the treasure allegedly is buried, said: "I am sceptical." "But my wife Patrician believes in it. She's read everything on Rennes-Le-Chateau. She says the Visigoth treasure is indeed buried on our domain," he told Le Parisien.

Aucun commentaire: