May 2007

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.

© Andrew Gough



Patrice welcome. Loved the book. Very illuminating! Thanks for speaking on 17 Questions.

Thank you. I’m glad you liked the book!

1. So let’s dive straight in. What did Saunière discover in the church in Rennes-le-Château all those years ago?

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)


2. When did you first realize that Girona was something special, something significant, and what made it so?

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)


3. For the benefit of those who have not read the book, how would you describe the information that was ultimately revealed to you about the significance of Girona in the context of the Rennes-le-Château mystery?

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.

Are we talking about the Grail?

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.

Good. Please do. I’m going to hold you to that.

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.

And what about Saint Sulpice? How is it related to the Girona / Rennes-le-Château mystery?

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 © Andrew Gough


4. As City of Secrets unfolds, it feels like you have travelled on a hero’s journey and that you were personally selected, in the end, to disseminate information that has been guarded for centuries. Why do you think you were chosen and why would the powers that be want this information shared now, after all this time?

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.

5. Do you personally subscribe to a Kabbalistic philosophy?
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)


6. In hindsight, is there any aspect of the process, either the timing or the source of the information that now seems suspicious in any way?

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.

The people who shared the information with you, do you believe they are part of the Priory of Sion, or another esoteric organization? If so, do they have a name?

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.

7. Tell us about your source material. What exactly were you shown or given that allowed you to draw the conclusions you have reached?

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.

What other artefacts have you collected besides letters?

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.

That’s amazing, how did you ever acquire that?

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.

An Org Chart of the Society from 1851? That’s when the tower was built, no? What does it say exactly?

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)


What about those documents (I point at other papers Patrice is holding)? What do they reveal?

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…

There is a big monastery up there, is there not?

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)


So you are saying there is a cache of artefacts buried on Mt. Canigou?

Yes, most likely. I believe there were a lot of artefacts and amulets and such.

And were these required to activate the Grail?

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.

So where is the stone is today?

I believe it’s in Perpignan, or so I am told.

The Sun Stone (© Patrice Chaplin)


Interesting. I suspect it’s in the possession of the Perpignan based La Sanch Society then?

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.

(Looking at a map of Girona that Patrice had just pulled out of her briefcase) So that’s the house and tower here – what’s that bit over there?

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)


Your source material is certainly impressive. How did you know where to look for this evidence? Where you guided by the Society?

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.’

8. Could you recount what you experienced the first time you visited the church of Saint Mary Magdalene in Rennes-le-Château, all those years ago, before it became the tourist attraction it is today?
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.

What did you see?

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.’

9. In the book you produce letters written by Bérenger Saunière and a woman in Girona, Maria Tourdes, who appears to be his lover. Do you think it is odd that the priests tone and language is not more personal or suggestive?

No, I don’t think it’s odd because I’m sure there are other letters where it is more suggestive. I think he covered his tracks enormously well anyway.

Maria Tourdes – Saunière’s good friend and possibly lover (© Patrice Chaplin)


Where are the letters today and have they been validated?

Some of the letters are in the book, and yes, at great expense they have been confirmed to be of the authentic handwriting of Saunière.

One of Patrice’s Saunière letters (© Patrice Chaplin)


10. While it seems quite plausible that Saunière travelled to Girona, as the letters indicate, it’s surprising that there are no photos of him there? Have you come across any?

At the end of my research I was presented with two photographs. There’s an old woman of ninety-three, she was ninety-one then, very clear, very wonderful, and she was a great friend of Maria – the woman who was a friend of Saunière’s. She gave me one hundred and twenty letters written by Maria and she also gave me photographs. There were two photographs in sepia of the priest alone in Girona. One of him against a wall and the other with a background of some children.

There was another which I didn’t get which was of the priest in the French woman’s garden. The garden is where he entertained. Some of his guests were well known at the time. I think Claude Debussy was one of them. They used to come from Paris to see him, as did the Habsburgs when Rennes-le-Château was too hot for these people, and there was no point in going there.

Everything was in Spain, and Saunière took many trips to Girona, on average one trip a week at one point. He would do the entertaining – Maria was the cover. Saunière’s brother Alfred used to visit a lot, too. Anyway, the sepia photographs. I was in such a rush to get these eighty-six pieces of evidence, I just bundled them all in a hotel room and I didn’t look at them for some time.

I gave the photos to my publisher to have them copied because they all had to be sent back to Spain. Some time latter the publisher said to me ‘these photographs look strange. They look as if they’ve been tampered with, could you have a look at them?’

I’m no good at photography so I wouldn’t know if someone had done something or not. Anyway, I took them to Girona and took them to a man that worked in the Municipalities – we don’t worry about his credentials, he’s much respected. I showed them to him and said ‘are these the ones we got from the old lady?’ I said ‘yes.’

He looked at them and said ‘my god, no.’ He said ‘ditch these, this is discrediting’, so I said ‘what do you mean’, and he said ‘you’ve gone to far with it now, you’re being discredited, so what they’re going to try and do is point the finger at the photographs and say how can she come out with these – these are not authentic so her book is untrue.’

So I phoned up the publisher and said ‘you’re right, these photographs are funny. These photographs are definitely wild ones, ditch them.’ So I said to him ‘who could have done it?’

All he said to me was ‘don’t be anywhere on your own.’

11. In your book you discover that Bérenger Saunière built the Tour Magdela in Rennes-le-Château to mirror a similar tower in Girona, and that when harnessed in ritual, the relationship between the two produced powerful energies and images –apparitions by a more familiar name. Do you have any theories as to why the tower in Girona was really torn down? And who built it?

This I heard from many people in Girona about the mirroring of a similar tower in the North. The tower in Girona is called The House with the Tower, and this of course is mad, to have a tower on that simple country house in the midst of this gothic, pre-roman even, city. So suddenly we’ve got a neo–tower from 1851 sticking up there, and no one ever questioned it. The two towers produce what is called the Golden Cut, which is to do with the energy; to unite the North and South. And if you do not unite the North and the South then the portal for the next realm of experience cannot appear.

They also said that the centre of the two towers is what’s really important. I’ve put that in the book so I won’t go into that. It’s what’s in the middle, that’s what’s special.

That would be Mt Canigou, right?

Yes. It’s in the book.

The Torre Magdala – Girona (© Patrice Chaplin)


12. Also in the book you share that Gérard de Sède met with Maria Tourdes while she was in Paris, when she was quite old – after the war.

Yes. Saunière’s lover Maria met Gerard de Sede in Paris. He was after the story.
That’s how the whole legend started.

Given what we know today, how much of the total story do you feel Maria revealed to de Sede?

I don’t think she gave him that much because I read his book and there wasn’t that much in it. I saw him in the flat in her apartment in Paris when she was ill, and that must have been in the early 60’s. He was a young author. I didn’t register him. There were so many people around, and she was dying. Jose was dead against her talking to him, that’s all I remember. I only remember recalling that he was there.

But how did he find her?

I don’t know. I have no idea.

It’s like a needle in a haystack. You would have had to have connections with the society, no?

That I don’t know. There’s a lot of talk about the towers in Girona by people that know about Saunière’s visits. These are the children of the people that remember Saunière coming to the city, and there are a lot of them. Who built the tower, well, the society built it. The society built the tower in Girona, without doubt. They organized it, they paid for it, and they had a front man to do it. He was a lawyer, I think. Most of the story has lawyers not far in front.

Train Station – Girona, in the time of Saunière (© Patrice Chaplin)


You write about Abbe Bigou having stayed in Besalú, a medieval town near Girona that features in your book; in your Rennes-le-Château story. The conventional story says Bigou fled to Sabadell, in Spain, before the Revolution. What can you tell us about this enigmatic priest?

Besalú, yes, it’s a mysterious place. It’s where Bigou hid. Yes, they said he went to Sabadell, but he didn’t. He went to Besalú. One day we travelled to a private chapel in the middle of a forest, just outside of Besalú, next to a house where Bigou stayed. The people who had the key were unwilling, but we got in, and as we were entering this chapel in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of hundreds of trees, suddenly there’s a crunching of branches and along come two guys in suits wearing shades. I mean these don’t look like your average walkers through the forest.

I don’t recall this bit as having been in your book?

It was, originally, but it was taken out.

So, I turned round and saw these men and thought this is not a very nice moment. And the shepherd who was holding the key turns round and mumbles something incomprehensible, but I thought well let’s get inside the church. So we went in and these two men came in, and I said to the friend who I was with, who’s well known in Catalonia, I said ‘I don’t like the look of these.’ So she said ‘they’re just taking a walk. It’s a nice day. They’re like us, they’re in the forest. Don’t worry.’

So I thought she doesn’t seem worried, so I get the camera out to take a couple of photos and one of them comes up and said in English ‘Madam this is a church’ and he said it in a way that had a hundred boundaries around it.

I thought I’d better put the camera away and get out of here. So my friend said ‘give the shepherd twenty euros and let’s go.’

We had to walk miles to the car around winding paths. I mean to get back to our car we had to walk a long way. We didn’t see any trace of these guys, no car, no nothing. So we finally got to the car, and I said to her ‘did you tell anyone that we were coming here?’ And she said ‘no.’

Then she said ‘oh yes I did tell’, and she mentioned the security agents name. Well I thought the thing to do with him is just face it full on and ask him how he protects a secret society. And he said to me ‘It’s the hardest thing to do, a society like that.’ So I said ‘how do you do it?’

He was evasive and said ‘well if such a society exists I would use a deterrent method.’ I said ‘what would that be’, and he said ‘well I would use a method on one of them or someone close to them that would discourage them from following his example, or any example which would keep them quiet.’

I then thought of the priest Gelis, the friend of Saunière who was ritualistically murdered. I thought ‘that sounds a bit like one way to keep Saunière on the hill and in place.’ It could have been a warning.

And so I mentioned that to him, and he said that ‘Saunière wasn’t the only priest involved’, so he obviously knew a lot more than he was saying. I said ‘if you had the material today, should it exist, and you wanted to keep it secret, would you give it to the church’, and he said ‘never’

I thought for a moment and then said ‘would you leave it with a bank?’

He said ‘no’, so I said ‘who would you leave it with?’

He said ‘the Masons might be an idea because they know what happens if they divulge secrets, or at least they used to.’

The strange Crucifixion scene at the church outside of Besalú (© Patrice Chaplin)


That’s pretty weird. So did Abbe Bigou go to Besalú / Girona specifically to perform the rituals?

Yes, Bigou went to a house in Besalú near the chapel I’ve just described. They conducted rituals there, and in Girona. In the process of performing these rituals they created visions that even non participants witnessed. However, the church declared them not miraculous, and they were denied the miracle status. The church had to deny them. You see, Catalans like things very, very real, and reality for them is stones, water and sounds. They don’t go for visions.

How did Bigou come to realize that there were rituals to be performed in the first place? Was it his relationship with the Nobles in Rennes-le-Château?


Did he bring relics or documents from Rennes-le-Château with him, to Besalú?

He brought what he had in that church in Rennes-le-Château, that’s what I understood, and he left information in the scrolls about the location in Spain. That’s what he did.

Which scrolls?

The scrolls which were found in the church. But we have to remember that according to the society in Spain, Saunière knew about all this long before he started stumbling over broken alter pieces. He was on a mission when he went to Narbonne, where he was seeking information about this enigma, and as we know it ended up with him having a huge treasure.

I don’t know what his precise aim would have been, but I would say it would have then been inspired by the control of the Rosicrucian’s and the Habsburgs – they were his pay masters. He went to that church in Rennes-le-Château with specific intentions.  

So the Rosicrucian’s and the Habsburgs were the source of his income?

Yes, and it came through to him through Maria Tourdes. She had a lot of it. She had to invest it. There are loads of documents of invested money. There were millions of pounds…

So the rituals that Bigou participated in, how do they relate to the Grail?

Well they were the grail rituals because they’re all documented on scrolls which take two hours to perform. They’re not simple. It’s at least a two hour event, and it has to be performed by initiates of a high order who have prepared for the ritual. Even to witness the rituals you have to be in a state of purification and have a very high energy level in your nervous system. So you would have been fasting, for instance.

You would have very clear thoughts, and it’s very similar, if not the same, as the one the Kabbalists did in the middle ages where they left these four dimensions and went off to other places, to other spheres. Some didn’t come back, one went mad, one ran away from Judaism, one died and the other lived and wrote a book the experience.

What book was that?

It was the Book of Splendour, or the Zoha. It’s in there, it’s called the Nut Garden, the actual experience, and then there was all the documentation of the experience in Girona. So what we’re really doing is going away from this planet to other places, reaching for effects from there, and resonances and bringing them here. Some people say that they’re not ours to have.

Have you participated in a Grail ritual?

No, no never.

Did Bigou succeed in experiencing the Grail?

Yes, apparently he did. I don’t know how many people actually participate in the ritual. I don’t think there’s a particular number like number thirteen or something. I feel its very dependant on the high order of the initiates. They also say that in the ceremony, if you’re not protected and careful you can die. You can have a shock. Some people say that’s how Alfred Saunière died, through a ritual, because he drank and that made him impure. The same has been said of his brother, Bérenger. He ended up not well, he didn’t just die ok, he died not good.

13. So why is the truth about the Grail rituals coming out only now?

It’s because the original custodians are literally dying off. And there’s a rift between them. This has been going on since the sixties. Some want the material given back to the church and other people didn’t think it should be so there was disparity in their thinking. The thing is now, as I understand it from Jose, is that it has disbanded. He has now become very vague and removed from it because he’s given what he can. He doesn’t want to endanger his family by going further into the material. That’s really what he said to me.

Oh, and Jose wrote a Forward for City of Secrets which some people have seen but in the end he never allowed it to be published.

I would love to read that.

So would I! I think the thing with the Catalans is they’re like rodents, they go underground and you never find them again. It’s very hard to catch them to talk because as far as they are concerned there was no house with a tower, you’d have to put the photo up and say ‘hey, there is a house with a tower!’

‘Oh I don’t know anything about that. That was before my time; don’t know anything about that.’

‘There was a French woman.’ ‘Oh really?’

‘Yeah she was out there, there’s a photograph of her!’

‘Oh yeah, I heard about that from my Grandmother.’

It’s not part of their lives, they’re not interested, and if Jose hadn’t told me then it would all be lost. It would have been gone. It happened as it is told in the book. Ok, I’ve left a few things out…

It sounds like they’ve taken a few things out as well!

The publisher’s taken things out, I’ve taken things out. But for me I’m a writer and my intention is to do a good book. That’s my intention. It’s not about being a detective. I did get very caught up with this and became totally obsessed I have to say. I was 24/7 on this. I was obsessed to get this material.

14. Tells us about Jean Cocteau. What was he like? Was he part of the Society?

He was more or less how I described him in the book. He was very pert and very sharp. He was in Girona frequently.  Jose used to go and see him. He was in love with Jose you know.

Jean Cocteau


I did three films there, one was called The Blind Man, another was about a shooter on the Edgware road, in the other I was supposed to dance. He went down there. He made a short film. He was filming the house, that’s what he was doing. For Cocteau, it was all about the house.

So Cocteau knew about the house and its secrets?

Oh yes. He wanted to get in the house; he wanted to take shots inside. I remember
when we were filming he was all the time trying to get in, but Jose wouldn’t have it. So Cocteau never succeeded in filming inside the house, but he did film in the garden. I recall the scene. I was doing whatever I did. I don’t think I had a script. I can’t remember.

Ya, so Cocteau was fascinating. It was amazing because he was also interested in this thing about Modigliani, because I wrote all this stuff on Modigliani; the play, he bought the radio play. There was almost a movie. I mean it’s been on everywhere that play has, and Cocteau was involved in that. Its strange how he’s in both these stories you know. And with Chaplin, they admired each other.

And how about Salvador Dali? From his work he seems to be an initiate of sorts. Would you say that’s true?

Yes he was, yeah. I understand that from the German Woman, the Kabbalist, but I didn’t know it myself at the time. He was friendly with a great friend of mine who was a screen writer. He did films like A Place in the Sun. He co-produced and wrote lots of things like Bus Stop and Giant. He did big stuff. He was a socialite. His mother was a friend of Salvador Dali and used to stay with Dali. Also Chaplin was a friend of Dali’s, so when my husband and I went to Cadaques, near where he lived, there was Salvador Dali and his entourage all staying on the property.

Salvador Dali


I’ve been told that he was an initiate of a high order. The German Woman Kabbalist knew him quite well. They did a lot of things with numbers because apparently, higher than seeing, are numbers; sacred numbers. That’s what the ritual is. And as a psychic I don’t link with numbers, and on the Kabbalah scale, to be a seer, to see the images, to see the reality is lower than to understand the numbers. The numbers are what makes the whole thing. The tower was about numbers and the Kabbalah’s about numbers. I was never good at math. I can say that straight away!

15. Speaking of Towers, is that where they performed the Grail rituals?

No, the towers would make the energies. It seemed to me that they had various forces at work that they could magnetise and initiate themselves. I suppose to get a result really, so the ritual could take place. I mean you couldn’t just have it here and now. As I’ve understood it, and I’ve learned a lot about kabbalah and about portals; to enter the portal or to work in and around the portal you have to be very careful because you could be destroyed. Literally!

Painting of Two Towers by the artist, La Nuit (© Patrice Chaplin)


I’m told that a portal could be in front of you and you wouldn’t know it. If you don’t know it you can’t see it, and my sources, who are experts in portals, both said Saunière was shown how to hide the sacred messages and symbols and only those who came afterwards who had knowing would understand what they meant. That’s what his job was. He had a lot of work to do. He couldn’t leave Girona as he had work to do and he had to draw the plan for those to come after to see.

And then they said read Psalm 48.

Who? Why Psalm 48?

Well, Jose and the Kabbalist told me about it. They could have taken this bit out of the book. There is much in Psalm 48. Read it. Poussin and Terniers have something in common; the letters SIN. The sacred mountain of the Sumerians was called SIN. Later it moved to Sion, and then it moved North to Canigou. So Psalm 48 is talking about the sacred mountain. It holds the key, according to Jose. The sacred mountain was key to Jose’s work. He needed to open the path for the Messiah.

So much has been revealed to you in recent years, what was it like having the love of your life know all these secrets but not being able to disclose them to you?

Frustrating. Very frustrating! I used to ask him questions and I’d get very unsatisfactory answers. There is a letter in the book about Jose saying that he was the tomcat of Girona. That letter was very specific. It says quite clearly follow me and you’ll find the lock. I don’t know anything about that because it wouldn’t be something he’d tell me.

I will never forget seeing a funny tin being wrapped up in hotel towels. That was a strange vessel. It was the one that was taken back up the mountain, up to Canigou. He said it was made of the oldest material ever, since the beginning of time.

What do you suppose it was?

As far as I know it was the Grail; the earthly Grail. As far as they’re concerned, the essence of the Grail is over there. It comes in and out of our reality, and only if we’re initiated to see it. You and I would not see it.

Does it reside on the mountain to this day?

That’s where she (Lucia) took it, she went there with it.

And she died there. Do you have any suspicions about her death?

Rather not say; have to be careful you know.

Could it have been part of the ritual?

No, she went back to take this vessel back up to the mountain to keep it out of sight.

When was that, exactly?

About twenty years go, if memory serves.

Lucia Stillman (not her real name) (© Patrice Chaplin)


16. Patrice, I am confident that the ‘Rennes-le-Château Community’ will love City of Secrets. What reaction do you expect the book will receive in the general press?

They’ll be as sniffy as hell because they hate the Grail, but the book should stand on its own merits. Usually I’ve had good press with my writing. I’m a writer I’m not a Grail person. The writing is what’s important to me.

Do you think Hollywood will be surprised to learn of your Grail experiences?

No, not surprised, but they should be very interested, especially the Jewish connection.

Are their plans to make this into a film?

There is some interest. I think it would make a very good film.

Who would play you?

I don’t know. I couldn’t even guess!

17. What element, discovery, or event would complete this mystery for you?

I don’t know. I don’t think anyone would find anything if someone in the Society hadn’t wanted to say something. Remember, you must go into other dimensions to get the Grail. That I do know. So I will just say that to complete the mystery for me requires acceptance on my part. It’s a journey not a destination and I know my role in it.

Patrice you are such a star. Thanks for your time and insight. It’s a thrill to have met you!