AN INTERVIEW WITH HENRY LINCOLN
The study of Rennes-le-Château is indebted to Henry Lincoln. Without his contribution, the story would have been a footnote in the annals of alternative history, and not the film and publishing industry it is today. Quite simply, Lincoln is the Godfather of Rennes-le-Château. And that demands respect.
Lincoln was the first to elevate the enigma of Rennes-le-Château and Berenger Saunière to the masses, and his discovery of pentagonal geometry in the landscape took the mystery to a new level. And at the ripe old age of 76, he (along with journalist, researcher and writer Jean-Luc Chaumeil) is the surviving member of the Rennes-le-Château rat pack, a group that included Pierre Plantard, Philippe de Chérisey and Gerard de Sede; men who shaped the legend all those years ago.
Born in London in 1930, Henry Lincoln, a pseudonym for Henry Soskin, has had a remarkable career. His credentials are sensational and include the following:
Co-authored several Doctor Who episodes in the 1960’s and appeared in television programmes such as the Avengers. He also co-wrote the screenplay to the 1968 Boris Karloff film The Curse of the Crimson Altar and specialised for a time in writing scripts for historical documentaries, suchas The Tomb of Akhenaton, Nostradamus, and The Man in the Iron Mask. He wrote the first of three BBC documentaries about Rennes-le-Chateau, The Lost Treasure of Jerusalem, in 1972.
Co-authored 1982’s landmark The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (along with Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh).
Co-authored 1987’s The Messianic Legacy (with Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh) and authored 1991’s The Holy Place: Mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau – Discovering the Eighth Wonder of the Ancient World, 1998’s Key to the Sacred Pattern: The Untold Story of Rennes-le-Château and co-authored 2002’s The Templars’ Secret Island: The Knights, The Priest and The Treasure (with Erling Haagensen), which was also made into a four episode TV-series, The Secret of the Templars.
I visited Henry in August of 2006, in the garden of the Villa Bethania in Rennes-le-Château. Although advanced in years, Henry was as razor sharp as ever. His highly provocative and uncensored banter reflects a lifetime of research, revelation and intrigue, and makes for essential reading.
1. Henry, Arcadia is thrilled to welcome you to ’17 Questions’. Let us begin. How does it feel to be the Godfather of Rennes-le-Château lore? Does that seem fair? Or should that title go to Pierre Plantard?
Well I don’t know if fair is the right word, but I suppose it is true, in that he (Plantard) fed the material to Gerard de Sede, and de Sede was the first person to write a book about it. There had been newspaper articles, but he wrote a book and generated a small interest in France and then, ya I picked it up in 1969. And I suppose if I had not made my first film for the BBC nobody would have heard of Rennes-le-Château. So, yes I suppose it’s true, I could be called the Godfather of it all.
That goes back to…it’s 1972 isn’t it?
1972 is when the first film went out. Of course I was working on it for about 2 years before that. The first film was broadcast in February 72 and ya, it got a very strong reaction so we continued with it. There was obviously more to discover, and I am still waiting for genuine discoveries after all these years. Everything has been wishful thinking and guess work. I am waiting for people to make a genuine discovery. I am no longer interested in hypothesis. I am only interested in that which is demonstrable and provable. And now that we have got that, there are only three people who have made genuine, provable discoveries.
And who are they?
The three people who I consider to have made genuine provable discoveries? The first is David Wood, who saw the film in which I first presented the geometry, which I had found, and he wrote a book developing that geometry. And I confess that had he not, I would have never have realised that the geometry went beyond what I had already found; which was the pentagram of mountains here, which is demonstrable and provable. Ah, without his discovery I think that I would not have realised that it went further. Unfortunately, he is locked to his one, what he calls, the extended pentacle. He cannot see the rest of it, which is a pity because his expertise is very good. If he turned his vibes to what is beyond his small piece, he might have found some very interesting things. However, that is David Wood.
The other was a mathematics teacher in Brittany, who read an article I had written for a magazine in which I had asked the readers to look for the church measure, the defining measure of the Rennes-le-Château geometry, and she found the locked hexagon and pentram in the North of France. Although she did not know I found it, she just found the repetition of the measure which I asked her to look for and I was able to identify the hexagram and pentagram there.
And of course, the other important one was Erling Haagensen, who had been working on Bornholm and had discovered the sacred geometry there, and not realised its connections. So the work we had done since, we now established the connections between the geomotry in the Baltic’s and what’s happening down here. The link is hardly known at all to the French – the link with the Danish, because it was the great Burgundian families who are at the origins of all mystification around this story, the grail legends, the establishment of the Templars through Bernard of Clairvaux, all those great Burgundian families, their origins are on the island of Bornholm and that is not known very well in France. Also that the archbishop who was in control of Bornholm and the time of Bernard of Clairvaux. They were very, very close friends.
Eskill not heard of in France, but the Archbishop and he were the one who established what happened on Bornholm. It’s a complicated story, as you know…
2. Do you consider there to be a mystery associated with Rennes-le-Château aside from the pentagonal geometry?
I don’t know if it is the word mystery or mystification? I think that this place, because of its very special nature and because of what I found, it is a very special place. So I think it has been surrounded by mysteries for a very, very long time. And it’s hard to know why the mystification has been piled onto it.
3. There is a famous quote of Gerard de Sede, I believe it was in 1970, when you asked why he had published the parchments in his book, “The Accursed Treasure”, but not decoded them. And he said, ‘because we thought it might interest someone like you to find it for yourself’. After all these years, how do you reflect back upon that statement? Was Plantard aware of just what he was involved in?
Well, it is hard to know because now you are asking me to guess and your guess is as good as mine. I am only interested in that which is demonstrable and provable. I know longer entertain entering into a hypothesis, and so to guess what de Sede might have meant or what Plantard might have known, my guess is no more valid than anyone else’s. But I have a suspicion that, well, what did they mean by someone like me? Someone who had access to the media? After all I was a writer for the television. But no, it does not seem that. Someone who was capable of finding the secret messages? Because after the very first one, which was such baby and child’s play, I am amazed that people could look at it and not see it. But then most people do look at the reproductions of those parchments and don’t see it. So maybe they were looking for someone like me with my curious sort of mind who would be able to unravel some of the things which they themselves could no longer understand. I must admit I have certain evidence which implies that.
Can you elaborate on that?
Slightly. Not easy to make clear. When Gerard de Sede first published, he wrote the book called, L’Or de Rennes, or The Accursed Treasure, which was the one I bought, and which is the one that I had found the secret messages in. (long pause).
There were more than one original edition. There was obviously the paperback which was the one I picked up which was not illustrated; there were just a few line blocks, which included the parchments. But there was a hard back edition which had illustrations and which I acquired. And there were some extra things in there of course, which were the captions to the photographs, in the hardback edition. And the captions of the photographs were strange! Ah, so what do I mean by strange? Well, for instance, there was a picture of… Now let me jump back, I don’t want to discuss that one yet.
First of all when I came down here to look, I found that de Sede’s picture which he had put into the book saying ‘here is the grave of Berenger Saunière’, was not anything of the sort. The picture does not show Saunière’s grave at all. The next curiosity I found was a rock on the hillside at Rennes-les-Bains called the Devils Armchair. He printed the photograph upside down. That could have been an accident. But more curiously, there were things written under the photograph. For instance, Station 6 of the Stations of the Cross. Stations of the Cross, which are in all catholic churches, sometimes, simplified, merely with numbers 1-14, sometimes very elaborate paintings. Here at Rennes-le-Château they are taken from the mould of the bass relief’s, and you can see them at other churches, but the background detail is painted on! And the caption for Station 6, which is always ‘Veronica wipes the face of Jesus’ that caption read, ‘high shield, half the power, Veronica with the cloth. Simon is looking’. Now what the hell sort of caption is that?
That intrigued me no end.
But, that’s not all. For I said there was more than one edition. There was also a Book Club edition; a limited number edition. And I got a copy of that. And there were some more curiosities in there, especially in relation to the illustrations. The caption to Station 6 of the Stations of the Cross was the same but there were other illustrations. For instance, there was an illustration of what the caption told us, was that the dining room door in a hotel at Rennes-les-Bains. And it was a picture of a woman in plain cloths standing in a circle and a bee in each corner. Now there was absolutely no reference to that in the book at all. I found that strange that there was a picture of the dining room door with an odd caption, and no reference in the text. But that does not create a mystery, necessarily, and I wondered if there simply had been an explanation for this when the book was being prepared for publication, and they cut that piece of text, and it was just too late to remove the photograph, and so the photograph survived. However when I got the Book Club edition, that proved not to be true, because although the picture of the dinning room door was there, it was no longer the same picture. One had been a harsh tone print; the other was a line block drawing. Therefore, the illustration was there deliberately. But there was no mention of it! There are curiosities in those books. And maybe, going back to your original question, maybe someone like me was someone who was capable of unravelling those sorts of oddities.
Do you think that Plantard was manipulating Gerard de Sede and if so do you think that de Sede was aware of that?
I have certain indications that this could have been the case and that de Sede may not have been aware. This takes us to the question of de Sede, who in 1965 I think it was, offered to sell me pictures of the treasure discovered by Berenger Saunière, which he said he had seen and was prepared to let me have photographs of.
What were the pictures of?
Maybe I should go into some detail, if you like, as it is quite a story.
Well I was preparing the second film, I received a letter from de Sede saying ‘I just heard that you are making a second film, so I think you will find it interesting to know that one of my colleagues and myself have discovered the treasure found by Berenger Saunière and am prepared to offer you photographs of the 7 pieces of treasure’. And he gave me a telephone number and asked me to ring him thinking that I would be excited. Naturally, if someone offers you access to a treasure – hooray! However, I do not react like that. I sent him a simple note saying I found your letter interesting, tell me more. And so a week later I got another letter form him, this time saying that he was prepared to not to give me photographs, but a 10 minute sound film of himself presenting the 8 pieces of treasure.
Very strange, because in the first letter there had been 7 pieces of treasure, and now he was offing to provide me with film of himself presenting 8 pieces of treasure, and for me to broadcast it on the BBC. Therefore, he must have thought it was genuine himself, otherwise he would not have wanted to expose himself on the BBC presenting something that was a fake.
Was this (from the BBC Special) The Priest, the Painter and the Devil, from 1974?
Yes, that is probably the case. Yes, I think it must be.
So, he must have thought it was genuine because he was prepared to expose himself with it. I, however, was quite certain it was a fake, so I did not respond to his letter. I merely filed it and forgot it. I suppose with hindsight it was a little foolish of me. I should have let him do it. But I am not interested in that sort of level of sensationalism and playing games. I knew he was trying to play a game with me, but perhaps he wasn’t and there was somebody behind him. At that stage I did not know of the existence of someone named Plantard. So obviously someone had convinced de Sede that he had a genuine treasure. He in turn tried to convince me. But I did not rise to the bait. So de Sede and his colleague, who proved to be a man called Jean-Luc Chaumeil, who is now wheeled out as a so called expert on the Rennes-le-Château story, though I think one has to approach his expertise with some degree of caution, as he himself offered with de Sede. He was the colleague who was going to sell me the pictures of the treasure. Because I did not take it he wrote an article for a magazine called Charivari saying ‘the treasure is real, I have seen it.’ And that was obviously untrue. Some strange mystifications, being wrapped around this story and that is why nothing in the story of Rennes-le-Château is reliable. Absolutely everything is either heresy or invention. There is very little which is not heresy or invention and so should be regarded with extreme caution. There are no facts. We don’t know anything, for instance, even about Berenger Saunière; at least I don’t know anything about Berenger Saunière apart from his name. Everything else is heresy. Totally unreliable.
Is that why you say ‘don’t believe a word of it’ in your lectures?
Yes, don’t believe a word. By that, I don’t mean, I am telling lies. When I say don’t believe a word of it I am not telling lies, I am saying go out and prove it for yourself. Don’t believe it just because I say it. The only things I ask you to believe are the things that are demonstrable and provable, and I give you the mathematics; boring though they are.
4. Before we move onto the mathematics, can we go back just for a moment to de Sede, and when he contacted you regarding the tomb. That was quite a revelation.
The tomb in the Poussin painting?
It was while we were preparing the first film that I was contacted by de Sede who told me that the tomb depicted in Pousins Shepherd’s of Arcadia had been found. It was near to Rennes-le-Château and he would send me the photographs when he had them. Now, it has to be said about this question of the tomb and the Poussin painting, that again, in de Sede’s book there is a one sentence reference to the fact that when Sauniere was in Paris he went to the Lourve and bought copies of 3 paintings, one of which was Shepherd’s of Arcadia. Now that seemed to have no significance beyond a demonstration of how carefully he had done his research. After all, hooray, so the man had bought some paintings – so what. There is no other significance to that statement in the book at all. It was not until we were making the film that he said, hey we found the tomb. So we stopped at the BBC. We stopped making the film and said hey this is getting bigger and more important and so we waited and began to do the research for this and that tomb, which sadly no longer exists, was supposed in the painting, an imaginary tomb in an imaginary landscape. But it isn’t. It’s a real tomb, or was a real tomb, and it is in a real landscape. The art establishment now, happily after all these years has accepted this fact and they now do agree that Poussin did paint that landscape. So, interesting that just a few miles from Rennes-le-Château we have Arcadia – Et in Arcadia Ego; I too am in Arcadia, and there it is.
5. Can you tell me how you met up with Professor Christopher Conford from the Royal College of Art? How did that relationship come about?
That was because, when I was looking with care at Poisson’s Sheppard’s of Arcadia, I found an anomaly in the painting when I came to Paris to look at the xrays. I decided that I wanted to look at the xrays and I found a small tiny, apparent anomaly, not visible on the painting itself but only visible on the xray, and it drew my attention to the Shepherd’s staff. Because on the xray you could see through the wreaths around the Shepherd’s head and you could see that the staff, the foreground detail, had been painted before the tomb, which is a background detail.
What did that signify for you?
It seemed strange, that an artist would paint a foreground detail before he put in the background detail. So it just drew my attention to it. I need not say more than that, for when my attention is drawn to something, I look at it. And once I began to look at the Shepherd’s staff and wondered why he had painted it first, I discovered a geometry, which I was not expecting, and did not understand. So I thought we would need an expert and Professor Christopher Conford was teaching at the Royal College of Art and he had made the geometric analysis of paintings and had already done one by Poussin, so they asked if he would do a geometric analysis of Shepherd’s of Arcadia. I did not tell him what I found in order not to affect his thinking and he did the analysis and was totally staggered by what he found. It was out of Poussin’s period. Poussin should have not been using that sort of geometry.
Many classical paintings dramatise their paintings, but this one was not of Poussin’s period. Poussin had based the painting on the 5-pointed star, a regular pentagram, and that surprised him. It surprised me even more, but for a completely different reason. This was because, when examining the messages supposedly found by the priest hidden in the church, the parchments, which were supposed to be the beginning of the mystery, not only were there the secret messages, but I also found the geometric shape, the pentagram. This was meaningless when I discovered it, but it was again the 5-pointed star, the pentagram. So, twice it has surfaced in the story. So when Professor Conford found it, it was quite staggering. So it had to be looked at and had to be considered seriously. This is where we eventually then became lead to the demonstrable and provable discoveries. It was Professor Conford who said, ‘why don’t you look in the landscape?’
6. Can I ask why the pentagonal geometry was not included in the Holy Blood and Holy Grail? Was it not fully developed at that time?
Oh no, it was well developed!
I would have thought so.
Yes, it was well developed. It has been in my films. But the Holy Blood and Holy Grail, after all was the exploration of a hypothesis that there may have been a continuing blood descent from Jesus. It is a different approach to the story altogether. We were looking for a historical background, and so the geometry and in fact, anything in particularly relevant to Rennes-le-Château as such, was not really relevant to that book. In fact my two co-writers really are more concerned with historical fact than they are with Rennes-le-Château. They know not very much about Rennes-le-Château at all. It’s that historical background which is more of their interest, I think.
7. I have a very obscure question for you. Roy Davies, who produced the BBC documentary, Shadow of the Templar, consulted an expert in symbolism in Western culture and then suggested changing the end of the program to ‘As Above, So Below’, with respect to the geometry. Do you recall who the expert was?
No I don’t, and I think there have been many garbled representations of what happened. There was more in that original film, but no, I don’t think it’s possible to explore that. I don’t know what Roy Davies was looking for. It certainly was not what I was looking for. He had already attempted to make a film which somebody had told him they found the treasure, and were going to dig it up. I have never been one for galloping down treasure hunting pathways. That’s just wishful thinking. So, I think he had another agenda.
8. There is a classic dialogue between yourself and Pierre Plantard, when you inform him of the geometry you have discovered. In hindsight, do you have any additional thoughts of Pierre Plantard and his knowledge of the whole mystery?
It is very hard to know what he knew. When he saw the geometry for the first time he reacted very strongly. He was startled, let’s say. Now I don’t know whether he was startled by the site of it because he was not aware it was there, or he was startled by the fact that I had found it. So I can’t give you any valid answer about what his reaction really would have meant. So I do not know whether he knew of the existence of the geometry itself. I found that myself, independently. But when I, on occasion in a private meeting I had, put in front of him a piece of geometry, which I had uncovered in amongst all this mish mash of evidence, I showed it to him and he looked it for a moment and said ‘I find it disturbing’. And that is all he said.
9. Do you believe that the Priory of Sion is an ancient organisation or is it Pierre Plantard’s creation from 1956?
Both! There are people now who write books the Priory of Sion. They do not know anything about the Priory of Sion. They only know what they have been told; and that is totally unreliable! Plantard certainly was instrumental in creating an organisation and calling itself the Priory of Sion in 1956, and that’s the evidence for it being registered at Annemasse. But whether that was indeed a continuation of the historic Priory of Sion or was a pure invention, minted in the 50’s, is another matter. There certainly was an organisation, historically, in the remote past, which was either a Priory or an Order; it was something with the label Sion. When the Knights Templar were established they took their name because they were stationed in the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. At the time that Godfrey of Bouillon and the crusaders took Jerusalem, there was this mysterious conclave who offered the crown to Godfrey. Now who were these people with the right and authority to offer the crown to Godfrey? Anyway, this mysterious conclave, whoever they might been, seemed to have been the ones concerned with the establishment of a church which was known as the mother of all churches, which was built on Mount Sion in Jerusalem. And so as the Templars, because they were established on the Templar Mount, took the name Templars, it is not unreasonable that those who were established on Mount Sion took the name Sion. It’s possible that that conclave, whoever they were, were the same people who were the Order on Mount Sion at the time of the First Crusade. So yes, an historical organisation, but I have no proof that Plantard’s 1956 Priory is a direct link.
Have you been in contact with the Priory of Sion or anyone who claims to be representing the Priory of Sion since Plantard’s death?
No, and I have not been in touch with them for many, many years before, because I realised that they could in no way help me to understand the genuine discoveries which I found. I am not interested in the mystifications or treasure stories. I think I have already said this once. I am only interested in that which is demonstrable and provable and that is the geometry which we found. And that sounds dull and boring, but it is extremely important because it makes this place a holy place and it drags in what a lot of what people, I think especially the feminists and especially in America, get totally excited about the whole business of Mary Magdalene and her relationship with Jesus.
That was the case of answering another very simple question. Why is the church in Rennes-le-Château dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalene? I try when I work to ask all the questions I could think of and try to find the answers to all of them but that one did not seem to relate to anything in particular, but it was another one of the pieces of research.
And then I discovered that Mary Magdalene was looked on in the middle ages as the medium of the secret revelation; being the first to see the risen Christ. As medium of the secret of the revelation, she was given the symbol in the heavens of the planet of Venus, and Venus like all the other planets makes alignments with the earth and sun. And each planet makes a different number of alignments. Mercury makes 3, Mars makes 4. And each one makes a geometric figure which you can trance. Only one makes a regular figure, and that’s Venus. And she makes a perfect pentacle. Every 8 years Venus draws a 5-pointed star in the heavens. She is the only planet that makes a perfect geometric form. And when Professor Conford said to me look in the landscape, what I discovered in the landscape was the 5-pointed star laid out in the ground created by 5 natural mountain peaks. Therefore created by God, if you like. And so we have the 5-pointed star on the ground at Rennes-le-Château and the 5 pointed star in the heavens representing the goddess. As above, so below. We have the mirror on earth here, of the goddess in the heavens. Therefore it is a sacred place and must have been recognised as such in the remote past and that’s why this place is the centre of so much mystification.
10. In The Key to The Sacred Pattern you write about the centre of the natural pentagram. Having travelled there you discovered some interesting things. I believe you came across a cement pool with blood and some unusual goings on? Do you have any further insights as to what is at the centre of the pentagram?
I think you are over dramatising! Things never look dramatic like that to me. What I found at the centre of the pentagram was that the exact geometric centre that was on a rough slope and it was not possible to stand up right. All I knew about a pentagram in those days was that it was used by magicians for conjuration of raising spirits or whatever. And if you wanted to use that pentagram, well I looked at aerial photographs, and the nearest flat useable piece of land was a triangular filed which appeared to have crop marks in it, which looked liked a large winged figure. So I came down and took a look at it. And there indeed, yes, I found a pool. It was not cement; it was stone, yes with a cement skim over it. It was fed by a natural spring. And it was concealed by trees. And its purpose well, anybody’s guess. When Roy Davies inquired to a local farmer, he happily accepted the explanation, ‘Oh I think the local women use it to wash their clothes’, which I have to say is extremely unlikely given that all the neighbouring farms have their own spring so why would they want to wander into the middle of nowhere to wash their own clothes?
Did you not find it in a very odd state on one particular visit, was it the 17th of January that you visited one year?
I was not there on the 17th of January. I came early in February for the first time, and I noticed when I was looking at it that I could see the base of the pool. In other words, I could see the cement floor. Now I knew from the pool in my own garden that you very quickly get a build up of mud in a pool in the open air. It seemed to me, immediately, that it had been cleaned. It was the only possible explanation I could come up with. There were no leafs or twigs after all sorts of howling gales. No debris or mud. That, I thought, was curious. I think the thing that you’re remembering, which is somewhat dramatised, like an association in your mind of blood thirstiness, was that I went on another occasion to look at it, when we were filming, to look at it and someone had tied a charred carcass of a goat to one of the trees.
That’s what I am thinking of!
I think it is just someone playing games. I do not see anything sinister in it all. I think it is just ludicrous.
11. Can we talk about some other games, because there is a lot of game playing in the Rennes-le-Château story, and I speak of Emma Calve and the stone that you found with the lover’s heart with her name on it. When you went back after having photographed it a few days earlier, it had been chiselled away. Who do you think was behind that?
How would I know? How does anybody know?
Again, it is just silly games. It wasn’t a heart that necessarily had anything to do with Sauniere. It was a heart with an arrow through it. Underneath it was written E. Calve 1891. And my photograph exists as the only evidence that it was there. Yes it was chiselled out a couple of days later. I was being watched all the time because people thought I was looking for treasure! On the very first day when I filmed at the Poussin tomb, when we broke for lunch, whoever was watching us obviously thought well, they have been at it all morning and thought filming takes longer than taking a snapshot and when we came back someone had attempted to break into it. So yes, I was being watched all the time and people were thinking that I had been looking for treasure. I have not and never have been looking for treasure. Treasures, after all, are ultimately banal.
12. One of the other really interesting observations that you’ve made, I believe it was in 1991’s The Holy Place, is your discovery of the Great Camp, an area just a kilometre or two from Rennes-le-Château, and the stone huts that seem to defy category and dating; a fascinating observation. To your knowledge, has anything become of your initial observation?
The ludicrous thing so far has been that the academic world is so opposed to this that no one has simply lifted themselves up and done a serious investigation. It is beginning to happen now, but so far, nobody with the correct expertise has bothered to look at it. A lot of those huts are what many would claim them to be nothing more than structures that Shepard’s or farmers would use to store their bits of equipment, but no, there is much more to it than that. Because it is not just little beehive huts which are beautifully constructed, there are also double ramparts. There are enormous walls.
This is not just clearance of stones from a field. Roy Davies himself, when he first saw it, when I showed it to him, said he had never seen anything like it in his life since Mycenae. And we have to remember, I did not arbitrarily go there, I went to that place because the geometry led me to it. I don’t invent things and then try to suppose a story around them. The evidence leads me to certain things and in this case it was another 5 pointed star which was marked out in the landscape which was fixed on what is marked on the map as the Great Camp. So I thought it was worth looking at. But we do not know anything about it.
If those structures are truly ancient, could they be the remnants of Rheda, the romanticised ancient settlement that many believe existed in what is now modern day Rennes-le-Château?
If you want to think that? We have no evidence for that either. We don’t know. We really don’t know.
What is the evidence?
There isn’t much evidence either. There is a lot of hearsay, that’s all. And its too many years now for me, I am having to drag things up from the back of mind now to answer some of your questions because for to many years now I have been concentrating on the demonstrable and provable. I am longer interest myself in Berenger Saunière or hypothesis about Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Pure fairy stories! If you want to believe it, believe it. It is nothing but a hypothesis which Richard Leigh and myself conjured in my back garden. Why people get so dramatically overwrought about it I cannot imagine. It’s an idea. Not a fact. For heavens sake everyone – grown up! Stop looking for fantasies. Just look at the world as it is. What’s in front of you. That’s right, because some of this stuff is sufficiently complex and the academic historians say ‘oh our ancestors could not have created the geometry which you have found’. Some people insist on rushing into outer space and that super intelligences who arrived in flying saucers. What bloody screaming rubbish!
The geometry is very demonstrable.
Indeed it is.
Yet, how can we speculate on the people who are responsible for it?
We cannot, except that they were human begins like ourselves and until somebody proves to the contrary I have no reason to believe they were anything other than normal human beings like ourselves. They have an expertise and they have a science that history tells us they did not possess. It’s been lost. Why? We have to remember that in the past, the sole repository of knowledge really was in the church. And it is only within the church that people were literate even, and again we have to remind ourselves that when Galileo, now we are getting modern, when Galileo said the earth went around the sun they showed him torcher instruments and made him deny it. This was dangerous knowledge. Why it was dangerous knowledge is very hard for us to tell. People say nowadays well so what, why hide it? But then, it was dangerous. Not dangerous now. And so one needs to know why it is still being concealed. Indeed. Why?
So, you feel it is impossible to speculate who is responsible who is responsible for the pentagrams?
I never speculate.
And you haven’t.
Other people do. I don’t. They take what I write and speculate then say that Lincoln believes this, that or the other. Rubbish!
Is there a book about the geometry that you have not written? Is there something that you would like to add that you have not had and opportunity to complete?
Well, I had begun to work with Erling Haagensen, we began to look at the simplification of the geometry. When we wrote The Templars Secret Island, where we presented the mathematical proofs, so that there would no longer be any argument about it, we presented what we called the Geometric Key but it was too complicated and there were some problems with it and we have now refined it and it is incredibly simple. We found that the underlying geometry is brilliant and very simple. You can learn to draw it up in 5 minutes and once you have done that you can relate it exactly to what, I suppose we could label them ‘The Templars’, but we do not know for sure who the were. When they were building churches in the 12th century they were using this expertise. And so yes, I intend to explore that a little bit more at some point, but whether I will or not I don’t know with this bloody pain that dogs me all the time.
How are you feeling?
Form the ankles up I’m fine, thank you! (laughter)
I know the feeling.
13. So what is your next work? You alluded to a relationship between Jerusalem, Rennes-le-Château and Bornholm and in “The Templars Secret Island”, are you going to expand upon that further?
Difficult, because it is hellishly complicated. This is one hell of a complicated story. There are so many layers to it. But yes, there is a link. Like groping in the dark.
14. Do you believe that the pentagonal geometry extends over a greater expanse, possibly across the globe? Is it a uniformed pattern?
Yes! Yes, I think we are bound to find more. This because, when they built the 12 century churches on Bornholm, 4 of them specifically were constructed as observatories. They were using a science for very precise measurements of the earth, and so I am fairly sure we are going to find it in other places and that its historical background will go much further back than we expect. It is not a 12th century phenomena, it goes back to megalithic times and probably even before that.
15. Were the Cathars aware of it?
Can’t tell. I have no evidence that the Cathars were aware of it. I didn’t think I had evidence that the Templars were aware of it, but because of what we discovered on Bornholm and its relationship with the Archbishop Eskil and the fact that Eskil was such a close friend of Bernard of Clairvaux, and they were planning together, then Bernard of Clairvaux must have been aware of it and consequently on that level the church, they were aware of it. But there is a lot of speculation, maybe some of the answers are at the Vatican. Maybe they are not. I don’t know. And again, I am very reluctant ever, to speculate.
16. Can I ask you to comment on the international sensation that the Da Vinci Code has caused, not dissimilar to the sensation that you caused with some of your books? How has the study of Rennes-le-Château changed since that phenomena?
Oh, well of course people are coming now and asking where is Mary Magdalene buried. Some maniacs have written a book saying that Jesus is buried near here. This is rubbish. This is absolutely…There is not the tiniest fragment of evidence for any of this. But yes, back to the Da Vinci Code phenomena, what had happened, because again, as we did 20 years ago – 25 years ago – touched a nerve, part of the zeitgeist, and of course now with the growth of feminism everybody gets very excited about Mary Magdalene and the suppression of the feminine by the church and so on and so on. But, when we wrote Holy Blood and Holy Grail 20 odd years ago, the reaction to it was just as strong as though it has never been heard of before. But in fact it was nothing new at all. The only thing original in our book was that the blood descent from Jesus and Mary Magdalene continued. 20 years pass and a new generation grows up, especially those who were too young to have read the Holy Blood and Holy Grail or who were not even born, and so a new story hits them as if it has never been said before. And every 20 years it comes back again as if it has never been said before. And it is nonsense to react in the way that is presently going on. Brown’s book is noting more than a sort of not very good thriller draped around just the simple idea about the blood descent from Jesus.
What did you think of the film?
I have not seen it?
I am interested and may go and see it to see how Ian McKellen plays me (laughter).
Which I am told he is supposed to be doing.
I like it. I can see you in that performance (laughter).
Were you surprised that Michael Bagient took Dan Brown to court?
Do you think he really thought he could win?
I suppose so. I do not have any interest in it. Ah, No. (Pause)…. I can’t see the point.
Are you still in touch with Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh?
Can I ask how you would characterise your relationship with them today?
It doesn’t exist.
Are you on good terms but just not actively keeping in touch or were things left…
No, we just have no contact.
Well I hope and trust that the Da Vinci Code has only added to your legend.
Well it has attracted more people to the story, as those who are genuinely interested in the story ultimately get lead to the Holy Blood and Holy Grail. Um, and after all there are those who feel they have had a thriller. Pity it is not better.
17. In one word, the parchments that Sauniere allegedly discovered. Real or fraud?
What do you mean by fraud? There are two things to be said about them. There are some, particularly lead by the so called Rennes-le-Château expert Jean-Luc Chaumeil who says that these documents were contracted by Plantard and Philippe de Cherisey, and are fakes. What do you mean by fakes? They exist.
But are they ancient?
Does it matter? You see this again, people don’t seem to understand. It is not when they were created or how they were created. What do they say? What are they saying? Now, I asked Plantard and Cherisey to show me the originals and they said they would. What they brought for me to see, in fact on the following day, were not documents but photographs of the documents. Now those photographs are black and white glossy prints. And on them, there were blue ink marks that had been written onto the surface of the glossy print. These were all the little marks and various ticks and things that you see in the various parchments as they are now reproduced. When Mr Plantard said to me himself that they were fakes, for reasons of my own I was able to say to him, ‘no Mr Plantard’ – and he smiled broadly. And later said to me, ‘well of course they were based on very good originals’. The difference, what we now have between these and the originals themselves seems to be the addition of the blue marks, which are now no longer blue, but are just marks on the parchments, and also they are no longer in correct scale to each other, which may have some significance. Because we are told there are three documents. No sorry, there were three tubes sealed with four documents. So, it is possible that with two of them they were back to back to back. So if they were in direct scale to each other we might see something more. But, Chaumeil says they were fakes, and consequently the whole story ceases to exist. Sorry. I think from their reaction that Mr. Plantard and Cherisey did not know that the geometry was concealed in the parchments.
What is your feeling on de Cherisey’s Stone and Paper document, which describes how and why the documents were created, and that parchments were in fact, fakes?
I don’t think that they actually do that. He showed me himself a document in which he said ‘I am writing here an explanation of how the ciphers work and you will find it amusing’. But I never did get to see it, and then he died. So it matters not in the slightest whether they are modern concoctions or genuine old. If you are going to say, that because they are faked then the story disappears, then I have to say sorry, you better go look at Bornholm and the geometry that is here at Rennes-le-Château. It has nothing whatsoever to do with what is the real story that is hidden behind all this. It does not seem to relate to it and that is what people do not understand. There are of course those who cry not only that the parchments don’t exist but that the geometry does not exist. They say, ‘Oh, you can find this sort of thing anywhere’. And yes, in deed you can find geometric figures in the landscape anywhere and this is important for some of the people who will be listening to what you are doing.
So, Putman and Wood for instance, have recently published a book that says that there is no mystery and that the geometry occurs within the probability of chance.
Ya, I have had even a public debate, though most of it, the funniest part was left on the cutting room floor which I had with one of them in front of the cameras a few months ago.
You can find geometric designs in the landscape anywhere. You can find them made up by letter boxes or telephone both booths. You can find geometric designs anywhere. Yes Mr Putman and Mr Wood, I absolutely and totally agree with you. What you are ignoring and are wilfully continuing to ignore the fact that we are dealing with a fixed measure. Now if you chose to tell me that you can find a geometric design anywhere but which is yet still locked to a fixed measure, which happens to be, as a rule of thumb, 2 miles, 1618 yards, repeated over and over and over again, then bless you I will accept that what I have found is not genuine. But I am sorry; the mountains themselves define a measure which is 2 miles, 1618 yards in length. If you go to the church of Rennes-le-Château and measured its horizontal distance to Rennes-les-Bains church you will find that somewhere within that church there is a point which is 2 miles, 1618 yards form a point in the other church. If you then go to Arques church you will find that there is a point that is 2 miles, 1618 yards from Terroles church and if you go to Esperaza church you will find that there is a point that is 2 miles, 1618 yards from Les Sauzils church. No how many more times do I have to go over it before you will stop saying that it is another coincidence? This is lunacy. Within a square of 7 miles I could show you repetition after repetition of church’s which are separated by 2 miles, 1618 yards. Mr Putman and Mr Wood can squeak as much as they like about repetition of geometric designs. I am not talking about geometric designs. I am talking about designs locked to a fixed measure.
That is a very important distinction.
Indeed it is.
Fantastic. Well Henry, I have taken an awful lot of your time.
My pleasure (laughing).
Is there anything else that you would like to tell the Arcadia audience, that you have not already elaborated on very eloquently?
Not really. I could, of course go on for days.
Great stuff. So first of all thank you for your time today and thank you on behalf of your public for the immense contribution that you have made to the study of Rennes-le-Château, a study that would not exist without your presence and contribution down through the years. Thanks ever so much.
Thank you for that.
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