Rarely does a new twist to an old mystery come along quite like this. In her new book, City of Secrets, Patrice Chaplin opens the door to entirely new and compelling element of the Rennes-le-Château mystery; the Spanish connection, namely the Catalan capital of Girona.
Patrice Chaplin’s fascinating new book
Details of Chaplin’s findings are summarized on Arcadia here, although excitement about her research and conclusions should not over shadow her accomplished writing style and impressive pedigree in the literary and film genre. Chaplin has written dozens of books, perhaps most notably Albany Park and The Siesta, which was made into a film staring Jodi Foster and Isabella Rossellini.
Part of the Bohemian scene of the 50’s and 60’s, she was married to Charlie Chaplin’s son and lived in Hollywood. Chaplin starred in a Jean Cocteau film and was friends with everyone from Salvador Dali to Lauren Bacall.
Today, Chaplin finds herself thrown deep into the Grail culture, and at the heart of a raging new controversy about the reality of the Rennes-le-Château mystery.
Arcadia was delighted to meet up with Chaplin near her home in Primrose Hill, London, where the following interview took place.
Thank you. I’m glad you liked the book!
He didn’t discover anything. He was looking for something, and he looked for it years earlier when he went to Narbonne, and he found it. It was all to do with documents and traditions hidden in the Kabbalah tradition, and it pointed straight back to Rennes-le-Château. And then hey diddle diddle, he’s in Rennes-le-Château. He didn’t end up in some backwater because he annoyed the church. They wrote his script for him which covered him and covered any contingencies. He was chosen to do the work.
The priest discovered that the secret was in Girona, in Spain! It was part of the actual plan of what he had to go and find. He wasn’t just arbitrarily finding a lot of money to make himself a nice little life because if he was going to do that he would have hopped out of Rennes-le-Château a long time ago. He’d have gone somewhere else. I mean that’s logical isn’t it? Why would he stay there, it was not a nice place! He was doing the work. He had to leave information for those that came after him.
Old Postcard of Girona, Spain.
Note the Torre Magdala in the distance on the right (© Patrice Chaplin)
Well the minute I walked into it I felt that I’d come home and this was where I was meant to be. It was partly because of the incredible intensity and the atmosphere; the light, the colour, it was a magnetic city. They say the stones draw back what they love, and I think in my case they certainly drew me back.
Nicolas Flamel went to Girona to get the secret. He was an alchemist. He later went to Paris and made millions. Also Himmler came to Girona. You see the Catalans have a tremendous Grail tradition. They have books and paintings of the Grail from the 12th century onwards. I don’t know of any other country that has that tradition.
Also it didn’t hurt to meet Jose, the Spaniard that I’d met when I was fifteen and I’ve known ever since. I would say he was the love of my life, and I would say that our relationship and the city together made it very special, indeed.
Patrice And Jose in Girona – shortly after they first met (© Patrice Chaplin)
I would have said that Girona would have been a natural place to house such vital and resonating material. But we’re not talking about gold bars or the Catholic Church here. I think this was beyond reality as we know it, and I think in the wrong hands it would have been extremely dangerous. I’ve been told it would have cast the world as we know it into darkness. I believe this absolutely, yet it’s a reality I didn’t know anything about.
We’re talking about the rituals associated with the Grail to open the doors, to go through the portal, that’s what we’re talking about. We’re talking about that. I’d like to come back to that in some more detail later.
But really the essence of the Rennes-le-Château connection is that the priests came to Girona to conduct their rituals. Saunière received his inspiration for the Tour Magdela while in Girona. And he measured and copied it with some precision. More importantly, it was all about what was between the two towers; Canigou, the sacred mountain of the region. It was all about Spain, really. Rennes-le-Château was secondary.
It’s very interesting - Isis and Nephtis represent the North and the South in the Kabbalah and the South always becomes invisible – it disappears.
St. Sulpice, now it’s certainly related to the Girona / Rennes-le-Château mystery. While I’m not going to give away the whole book because that would be unwise of me but there is a triangle between Girona, St. Sulpice and Rennes-le-Château, and the triangle is most extraordinarily linked by a chocolate advertisement. And the top of the triangle is St. Sulpice.
He had a lot of work to do, but he didn’t find what he was looking for on Canigou. The mountain is under the care of St. Sulpicio, who is a Saint from that area, who is directly linked with St. Sulpice - that’s why he’s called St. Sulpicio.
The Sacred Mountain of Canigou
Yes I would say I was. I’ve known Girona for many, many years. I am a writer in my own right. I’ve written a lot about the city. I’ve had a lot of things published in Spain and Catalonia, I feel that the city knew me because of my work on the Kabbalah and how I handled that. I feel that I was trusted with this material because I wouldn’t misuse it. So in other words I wrote what I was told. I would say that I was the pipe through which flowed truth. I am not an investigator. I’m someone who transfers information.
No I don’t. I am a Medium and a Clairvoyant, and I’m beginning to understand Kabbalah because in a way I was a natural student of it because Girona, the City of Secrets - because that’s what it is, actually housed the most phenomenal Kabbalistic time that we’ve ever known. That was in the medieval ages when it was the home of all the Kabbalist scholars and initiates and the mystics. It was a flourishing place known as the Golden Age.
Now I was in effect the publicity and fundraiser, and by getting it out there in the 70’s and early 80’s I secured its finance. Now this was a good thing and a bad thing. If I hadn’t have done it, it would have been closed by auction. Now they’ve got it as a museum of Jewish history.
Chrétien de Troyes had to speak to a Jewish initiate in Toledo to get the Kabbalistic translation for the grail before he could ever write about it. If you are not in the Kabbalah you cannot understand the material and you certainly will not undersand the Grail.
But back to your question. Because of the research for this book, I’ve met some quite amazing people involved in Kabbalah. I would say these are truly high initiates, and one of them is a German Woman. She’s seventy-five years of age and comes from a very established, shall I say, extremely wealthy German family; no names. She’s worked on the Kabbalah for years. She is a Kabbalist, and by doing the research she gave me a lot of material.
She was generous to a point, but when I think about it I think she gave me what she wanted me to know. I thought this is what it is. Thanks very much! And I probably didn’t ask for the real stuff underneath. So now I’m working with her. She’s taught me much. She initiated Dali!
So, she’s done some amazing work, this German woman. I do subscribe to being a student of hers, and indirectly, of Kabbalah.
One of Jose’s Exhibits in the Kabbalah Centre - Girona (© Patrice Chaplin)
Most definitely. Many things. Yes, many things. I certainly was blocked by one of the main professors of security in Spain. He appeared just as I started doing research; he’s suddenly in town, and he’s been busy all over the place. He did the security for the Barcelona Olympics; he did the security after the Madrid bombing. He’s a very well thought of guy. He suddenly appeared in town. I’ve never met him before. He was suddenly beside me. He appeared. He was suddenly there. I took him head on, really.
I asked him directly questions about the society, because I knew he was there, by what people had told me, to protect the society. The society holds all the documents and all the material to do with Saunière and Bigou, from the Kabbalist down - from ancient Egypt down, and the mystery of Rennes-le-Château and the scrolls. They’ve held it for decades.
No, no definitely not. I’m told absolutely not. It’s a private society. That’s all. They’re not part of the Prieuré de Sion. But there was a time when they were called the friends of Ancient Girona.
I would say without going too far off the track here that the Freemasons probably have something to do with it. The Masons in Spain, in Catalonia, they’re very high level initiates. They wanted to stop me getting to information, which they didn’t do. I got a massive amount of information. I wouldn’t have gone for that much if the publisher hadn’t pushed for it. I think I would have left it with what I’d been given and said thank you very much and gone from there and written the book. But as it was I got over eighty-six pieces of evidence. We’re talking documents, plans, maps, photographs the lot. And I think that when they realized I had it, what they wanted to try and do was to frighten me.
Well in addition to what I just told you I have a hundred and twenty letters from the French woman. They were all in a cupboard. The old woman who had kept them opened the cupboard and they all fell out, along with loads of photographs. The thing is that being Catalan, and I mustn’t criticise them, but they are very mercenary, and when they began to realize the value of what they had, the price of some of the material went up substantially.
They would say things like, ‘well yes I do have that letter and it was in the care of my family, but I have to ask my son because I can’t just give it to you.’ The son is consulted and invariably there’s a price to be paid. Some people gave for nothing because they want the story out. So yes, I’ve invested a lot of money in getting this stuff.
Well, maps, diagrams, transactions, ritualistic documents, these are all relative to the house. It was all about the house with the tower, ultimately. These things were not easy to get hold of. Most of it has been put away. That is the original house document (Patrice points to an old, worn looking document she has brought along). It illustrates the history of the house, all that happened to it, how it went from one person to another, the dates, the making of the tower, etc. It goes on forever that house.
With great difficulty, thank you! It’s the original. Here’s another transaction (Patrice points to other documents she has in her collection) to do with the house, and this is the Kabbalah; the numbers they used in the secret society, and that is an organisational chart of the Society from 1851.
Yes, that’s right! It’s all the different people that have been involved in the Society. A certain family remains associated with it to this day.
And this is a map of the Jewish centre. This is what Jose opened up, and that’s where it fits in with the whole city.
Archway of the House of the Cannons, as it appears today (© Patrice Chaplin)
That Saunière was there, in Girona - in the house. I got them back for a short while and they’ve gone back again, but you see the thing about all this material is a lot of it has gone back to the mountain. When Jose went back to the mountain (Canigou) he was carrying sacks of stuff…
Saint-Martin-du-Canigou, yes. They’ve made it very formal there and you can’t get anything from them. When all this started up they closed it. There is also a worldwide big group that was started by a Habsburg that’s supposed to run the world called the Bilderberg Group. It’s said by many people that they’re after all this – what Jose knows. I think that’s why it had to be hidden away – on Canigou.
Saint-Martin-du-Canigou – Mt. Canigou (© Patrice Chaplin)
Yes, most likely. I believe there were a lot of artefacts and amulets and such.
No, there was a stone, the Sun Stone. That you had to have. But that’s gone now. It was hidden in a fish pond, right under people’s noses for a while as I recount in the book. It was enormous.
I believe it’s in Perpignan, or so I am told.
The Sun Stone (© Patrice Chaplin)
I don’t know about them, but Jose would. I was the pipe through which it all flowed. My job is to write it all down. I didn’t find anything other than what I‘ve said. So I think the interesting thing is the journey of these people in trying to hold this secret together, and did they hold it together? Well they did for hundreds of years. I know Jose’s a Mason, it’s a Scottish line, so they’re very high initiates, and I think they control what they want to control. It’s a city of invisible controls.
That’s the Jewish centre. Its a few minutes up the narrow streets of the city from the house and tower where Maria lived and Saunière visited. Nobody remembers it. Or rather, they pretend not to.
The courtyard at Jose’s Kabbalah Centre (© Patrice Chaplin)
It’s just like the famous apparition of our Lady of the Cup in Girona that I mention in the book. Her shrine, well they changed it from the Magdalene to Jesus. They’ve made it as they want it to be. That story was incredible, but they discredit it. Again, like the house and the French woman, all these things come out years later. No-body claims to know about the French woman - Maria. Very few people knew she was there and many who do prefer to pretend she never existed.
Patrice’s map of Girona – Jose’s Kabbalah Centre outlined in Yellow (© Patrice Chaplin)
No, I had to track down one after the other. I mean the point is the custodian for many years was Jose and his family, and he had a heart attack and realized he was mortal and decided to reveal it to me. That’s really what happened, after the heart attack he came to me and gave me the story. He’d already mentioned it in 1992, but he came back with it again very, very sincerely. Most significantly when I was doing a play out there for the Girona festival, but the thing was he gave me the material because he wanted to keep it in good hands. I said, ‘well what’s the best thing to do with it?’ And he said, ‘well write a book.’
I first visited the church in Rennes-le-Château in the 60’s. I went with Jose and a doctor to check that the French woman - the friend of Saunière who moved to Girona at roughly the age of 16 and lived in the house with the tower that inspired the Tour Magdela, hadn’t left any incriminating evidence in Quillian in the house which the priest let to her. He had various properties. The people in the town knew about that.
And so when we went there the doctor said ‘lets just check out the church’, and we drove up that winding hill. Remember this was way before it was famous, and we went into the church, and let’s just say I experienced an encounter which was beyond reality as I know it.
I would say it was very much in the realms of darkness. I can remember it as clearly as if I was seeing it today. I’ve never forgotten it. It was beyond anything I could expect in my life. It had a depressing and powerful enmity about it. I don’t know if it was meant to warn me off I have no idea, but I ran out of there screaming.
Well that’s in the book. I will say that some years later I used to live near Rennes-le-Château, in a town named Ceret and occasionally I used to visit Rennes-le-Château. I thought ‘I’m strong enough to be over that now’, but when I went in that church I had that sense of what I’d seen all those years before and I wanted to get out of there. Recently, when I went at Christmas to get some more material for the book, I went into this church that I know so well now, and I thought, ‘I haven’t won’, it’s like the presence of this place has won.
So my best bet is to stay out of it. I think it left a darkness inside of me. I’m psychic, I suppose I could be shown things like this and I just have to know how to deal with them. Yes, it’s left me with a sense that there’s more to life than I can know, well I rather hope there is. Jose once said ‘if this is all there is, boy I’m going to be disappointed.’