November 2008

André Douzet remains one of the highest profile researchers in the Rennes-le-Château genre. He’s also one of the most controversial.

Douzet’s most significant contribution to the study of Rennes-le-Château is his discovery of a topographical Model, alleged to have been commissioned by Bérenger Saunière, shortly before his death in 1917. The Model illustrates the primary sites associated with the biblical Passion of Christ in Jerusalem, including the location of two notable tombs; that of Jesus Christ and his uncle, Joseph of Armatheia. Douzet’s controversial research concluded that the Model did not portray a landscape in Jerusalem, but rather an abandoned village called Perillos, near Perpignan, in the South of France.

Douzet has also championed the notion that Saunière traveled to Perillos and beyond, to Lyon, where he was involved in a variety of religious and esoteric societies. His recent work has explored the veneration of Egyptian artifacts in caves and churches in and around the Pyrenees.

His ongoing research is published on Société Perillos, a popular multi-lingual web-site dedicated to the study of relevant esoteric subjects.

Logo of the Société Perillos website


Douzet’s books are available on Amazon and include:

Saunières Model

 Secret Vault

Wanderings of The Grail

Criticism of Douzet has mounted over the years, due to the fact that he has refused to produce supporting evidence for his provocative claims. I recently met Douzet at his home near Perillos and documented my impressions of the encounter. The following interview was conducted soon after, in July of 2007. According to Douzet, his critics will soon be silenced as he prepares to reveal the proof they have been waiting on for over a decade.




André, welcome to 17 Questions.

1. How has your life changed since discovering what is arguably the most important relic in the Rennes-le-Château mystery – Bérenger Saunière’s Model of the Passion of Christ?

In the beginning not much changed. I had discovered the last thing Saunière ordered, and at first this did not change the focus of my research. Before long however, it was the beginning of another search, more accentuated. After a few months, then a few years, everything changed, and I realized that I had discovered the end of Saunière’s quest.

André, with Saunière’s Model © Andrew Gough


Name / Title on the Model © Andrew Gough

2. For some time you believed that the Model depicted the topography around Rennes-le-Château. What first led you to look in Perillos and how did you know that this was the region the Model depicted?

Before the discovery of the Model we had already stumbled upon Perillos. Our research led us there. We knew that Saunière had gone to Durban-Corbières. He had recuperated certain archives which the lords of Durban had recovered themselves. There were indications that priests, including Bigou, had been interested in that area.

Church Statue – Durban © Andrew Gough


After the Model was recovered, for a period of almost two years, we believed it represented the landscape around Rennes-le-Château, as it could not be Jerusalem. We compared it with Jerusalem, but it was impossible. It did not correspond, despite what was written on the Model. Hence we thought that it was Rennes-le-Château that Saunière was referring to. We searched for two years around Rennes-le-Château, but found nothing. We were helped by our friends from Terre de Rhedae and several times we thought we had identified the landscape, but had not.

Then, we were asked to put the Model on loan for an expo in the Domaine (the Villa Bethania) in Rennes-le-Château, which was run by Jean Luc Robin at the time. A double of the Model was being made, so in case of an accident or theft there would always be a backup. And to accomplish this, a negative mould had to be made. It was when we were looking at this (mould) that we saw for the first time that the Cistern on the Model was actually the Roc Redon (a unique landmark in Opoul-Perillos), which we had known about for a long time. That’s when we knew.

Opoul Sign Post – Opoul Castle in the distance © Andrew Gough


Roc Redon, just outside of Opoul – André’s Model marker © Andrew Gough


3. Why after all this time (12+ years) have you not published the evidence linking the Model with Saunière? Would that not hush the constant drone of skepticism?

Indeed. In the beginning, people doubted me as they “knew” I made “Models”. But this was when I was young, and they were Model airplanes, with a little motor. So they accused me of fabricating the Model and my reputation as a “Model maker” stuck.

But Jean Luc Robin knew about antiquaries and realized that the Model was old. We know that the foundry was going to make a bronze Model. With the order, there were two documents written by Saunière. Two other pieces of information had disappeared. We had some of the replies of the foundry, the doubles – carbon copies at a time when photocopies did not yet exist.

At the time of the discovery of the Model there was the danger that people would consider it a fake. But I took the precaution of showing the Model along with 10 lines from one of Saunière’s letters to the Foundry, so that people could do a graphological study – for which 10 lines would suffice – to prove it was not a fake.

10 lines From Saunière’s letter to the Foundry © André Douzet


At the time, I thought this was enough. But certain people always wanted more. I realized that the revelation of the two letters would stop this suspicion, but it would also allow some people to identify and contact the Foundry, and to understand that part of attached pieces would reveal that they came from archives of the Pyrenees Orientales (the region of which Perillos is part) and that it contains certain details about the landscape itself – where the tombs are.

I knew that any advantage I had would disappear and that my effort would be doubled by those who had more means than I. Thus, I made the decision that I would never show more than those ten lines, which were clearly in Saunière’s handwriting. But this secrecy will now end, as we will show one part, a half, of Saunière’s letter and one of the carbon copies.

When can we expect that?

Certainly by the end of the year (2007).

Great. We will look forward to that.

4. As I understand it, Tomb 2 (the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, according to Saunière) had been opened and violated by the time you discovered it. I’ve seen some of the artifacts you uncovered from the tomb. In your opinion, what was ‘missing’ that you would have expected to have discovered?

There are two tombs depicted on the Model. I leave it to Saunière to take responsibility for the titles he has them. One is indeed named Joseph of Arimathea (tomb 2). It has been violated, not by me, but before I discovered it. It is well hidden, deep, in a cavern, but nevertheless violated. Around the entrance, just a few centimeters in, there is money, weapons, pottery; various objects. But specifically the money is from different eras, some bronze and silver, some gold.

Some of the rings I discovered had their precious stones removed. We have reconstructed this and believe that based on the position of the money, it could not be in its original composition, for it is from different eras, thrown outside, and whoever did this violation, left that which is of little value, or was not interested in it. I do not know how deep it goes, that is to say the violation, but it is certain that not everything has been removed. It is difficult to access after a few meters. The second tomb has never been violated. It is intact.

Artifacts from Tomb 2 © Andrew Gough


5. In the past you have shown a picture of Tomb 1 (that of Jesus Christ, according to Saunière) at various conference lectures. What precisely has stopped you from entering the tomb? Or have you…?

I have not entered the tomb, simply – well, because of the fact that it was not already violated. Originally I thought it was discovered at the same time as the other tomb – that identified as belonging to Joseph of Arimathea. I felt that the person who violated it had stopped at the second so they could do the same. But as they did not, there was perhaps an important reason why they did not do so. Perhaps it was something they left for later.

Firstly, I had no right nor means nor reason to violate the tomb. Secondly, I did not violate the first either and have not entered it deeply. This means that in the eyes of the law, I have not done anything that might have consequences. Violating the second location would be a violation of French national property. It is an archaeological treasure. It is furthermore a matter of conscience. What could push me to violate a sepulcher in such a cavalier manner, without knowing the cost, both financially and morally? It is a matter of conscience that has stopped me.
6. To your knowledge, are others aware of the tombs’ location?

Yes – but only in the past. Today, I am not so sure. Today, I think people have a knowledge that has been transmitted – has endured – in different environments; some religious, some neo-something, but they have lost the meaning of the knowledge. Take for instance the “Grand Relique” of an important and intriguing organization known as La Sanch. It is clear from other witnesses that in previous centuries, this knowledge was more widespread and some knew almost where or even precisely where these sites were located.

Specifically, I refer to Cassini, who in the first ever topographical survey of France spent almost 1½ years in Opoul, which is an extraordinary amount of time for a small territory, relative to the rest of France that he had to map. He lived in modest conditions in Opoul, despite the fact that he normally lived in luxury and was treated like a prince. One could say his conditions were almost miserable. Although he spent a lot of time there, he did not provide a detailed survey of Perillos, at least not the area that the Model depicts and where the tombs are. Cassini is not a joker or hoaxer. He was a scientist and a member of certain hermetic if not secret societies. He knew part of this knowledge.

Cassini’s peculiar map of Opoul-Perillos
(Courtesy of Société Perillos)


Then, in the 17th century, when the Roussillon is annexed to France, there is one royal notary amongst those chosen to make an inventory of that which will be part of this transfer from one country to another; his name is Courtade. His mission was to determine who owns what in Perillos. He too knows something of this site but without stressing it, he transmits the knowledge without knowing the importance.

A close up of André’s Courtade Document © Andrew Gough


7. Has you life ever been in danger due to the secrets you keep?
The sensation of being threatened, not really. But the sensation of being under surveillance, if only by someone curious, yes! There is proof for these statements. I received telephone calls that were taped by the answering machine that I had at the time. I was told to shut up – and I am citing what I was told. One letter said that I had 40 days to change my opinion and to denounce my research on the internet as being false, but that after this statement, that I should nevertheless continue my research and that they would make contact with me to discuss matters.

I have received letters stating that I would be killed if I did not stop. I went to the Gendarmes with this, who wrote down what was said and who of course requested the letter as evidence. But they said that if someone wanted to kill me, they would not announce this to me beforehand. In their opinion, this was a bad – a very bad joke. But there have been other acts of intimidation, including some that said they would do things to my daughter.

There have also been funny incidents with my telephone, or the internet messages that did not arrive, or that I could send; strange incidents with the postal deliveries. These are not imaginary, but real and I have written proof to back this up. And they are not isolated incidents. For instance, letters get lost, phones do not work, email too. But this is repetitive over a period of many years, so we can conclude there is something more to it. Finally, there is the Renseignements Generaux (French Secret Service) and other Intelligence agencies who have politely advised me to stop with my quest, abandon it, that it could become a great cause of concern for me.

8. That all sounds rather unsettling. What is the most unusual instance of an organization or individual offering you something in exchange for details of ‘Ground Zero’ – the location of the two tombs?

Everything has happened. Even people stating they were the incarnation of the Archangel Gabriel and Michael have contacted me – and visited. At first, these contacts were quite sympathetic. But then they demanded I reveal my secrets. If this was all true, I am sure that the Archangel Michael would know more than I about Perillos and would not need my modest knowledge about where to look. But when I refused, they became angry and threatened to strike me down with celestial light if I did not co-operate more willingly.

There have been others who believed that in exchange for certain money, with which they wanted to sponsor Les Carnets Secrets (a French magazine), that they could demand knowledge of this central point. Others believed that they could crack me so that I would tell where they were.

But curious things have happened too. Agents of the secret service came at a time when I was in great cardiologic crisis, in the hospital, and told me that if my life were to stop abruptly, perhaps it would be good for my conscience to share what I knew. It would have been funny, had it not been for the circumstances. The truth is this was irritating. Others have tried to entice me with money, and in most cases, the sums involved have been impressive. I would like to add I have never accepted any of these offers.
9. So what do you really think is contained in Tomb 1?

I see several possible possibilities. First, if we take word for word what Saunière wrote on the Model – and I once again leave it to his responsibility for what he wrote – as the sites have not been opened and we do not know what is inside. But why would he lie about such a detail that is so extraordinary for a man of the cloth? So there could be human remains inside the cave, this sepulcher. This would appear to be an old mortuary site – very old – which conforms to the Jewish custom for burying important dead.

The second option is that we have knowledge – a secret that was not transmitted, but rather deposited, and that the name “tomb” was used to identify the location where this information was placed. This could be a carved stone, maybe a document. And if so, we can only hope that it has survived the test of time and has not been reduced to dust. So perhaps engravings…

It could be either of these options. Now even if there are human remains inside, nothing says this is or must be Jesus. But it is clear it could be important elements of something if Saunière advertised it as such. Perhaps it had to do with the early origins of the Church or the end of the life of this individual.

The third option is a mixture of both option one and two, and could be information about an event about which we know little of, and which is linked with the first two possibilities.

10. A recent twist in the study of Rennes-le-Château and Bérenger Saunière involves the Perpignan based society known as La Sanch. I understand you’ve joined the Society. Who are they, what is their real charter, and what have you learned?

La Sanch is a strange confraternity of penitents. It has a vocation to preserve what they call the “Grand Relique” – the great relic. It is an interesting term. For them, it is not a question of a material treasure, but it covers all and rises above all other relics and is sacred to them.

The Society has been suppressed, destroyed even. The reason given was that their public display of flagellation in the streets could no longer be tolerated. But perhaps there was another reason why they were suppressed? I am not totally satisfied with that reason. Perhaps there was another reason why their movement was stopped – one that is more important, for an organization that became more and more important over time – why it went into hibernation.…

La Sanch rituals: a mural in Arles-sur-Tech © Andrew Gough


After a while, it was reactivated, either by people who had clandestinely continued this movement – old members waiting for the right moment – or by people who were guided to act in a certain way, like Saunière. La Sanch searched for the Great Relic in a sector towards Opoul. There are statues and rituals there, as well as in almost all the territories that once belonged to the Perillos family, as far as Prats de Mollo and elsewhere. They had a certain knowledge in their possession. If you want to know what an organization is all about, you have to join them – that’s the best solution. And I was admitted and as discretely and calmly as possible, I have observed what they do. That’s why I joined.

11. The recent 10-year anniversary reissue of Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince’s The Templar Revelation presents some skeptical views of your research. Specifically, they refer to a major revelation that you promised but never produced. Ten plus years on, they claim you have not lived up to your commitment. How do you respond to this?

I will respond as such. When they did their research they came to see me. I was not aware of what they were doing or writing about and they asked me some questions. I did not know in what context they were asking me those questions. But from this information, they constructed a certain amount of elements that were written down in their book, about me. I never knew what they were writing, and I had to complain and argue before I was able to get a French version of their book so I could check what they wrote.

Back then I did not provide a time limit on what will indeed be a great announcement; one that either I or someone else will make. I could have spoken of a period, say ten years, or even fifteen, but who can be precise in such matters, specifically at that early stage of my research in this matter?

Furthermore, I want to be formal here, for their 2nd edition, as apparently there was one, no-one contacted me or came to see me. I was not asked ‘where we are today?’ On what criteria did they say I lied? Specifically, the way they treated us, and others – it is bizarre. It will happen, this revelation, but they are definitely not the ones to give me advice or lessons on what to do.

Similarly, Jean-Luc Robin presented a rather unflattering portrayal of your research in his book, Rennes-le-Château; Saunière’s Secret. What are you thoughts on this and what is the current state of your relationship with Robin?

At the time, there were one or two differences between us. These were of no great importance. However certain people have entered into the debate in Rennes-le-Château, and they have gone to him and more than likely advised him to be negative towards us. He did as such. We had a brief “update”. Today, the relationship is once again normal – amicable – warm even. I therefore consider this not to be a major incident. He was encouraged to incite against us, no doubt with a taste for controversy. Today, the incident is closed and peace has been restored.

12. That’s good news. However, I suppose a more direct question is why do so many other researchers in the genre claim that your research is not legitimate, that you have tried to flog them parchments, artifacts or other objects of questionable authenticity?

I think the Model brought about new hopes – some people thus tried to get copies and did so with a cavalier attitude. I reference an old proverb that says ‘those who want to get rid of their dog claim he has fallen victim to the rage.’ They are envious, if not jealous that they could never receive more elements and that others had, so they denigrated us, minimized us, told us that we were of no importance. This has continued now for almost 10 years, sometimes incessantly.

There have been several attacks. But I note that our site and our research advances. These people will never be able to slow us down, let alone stop us. Today, more and more people believe that what we speak about is possible. They believe that although we are certainly not correct on everything – every little detail, we are nevertheless not totally wrong. The conclusion of the last decade is that we have been able to maintain our primary goal; to have accumulated more elements.  As to those who accuse of me trying to sell things to them, let me see some primary evidence for their claims, rather than talk behind my back and make allegations.

I note that for 10 years, some of my detractors have always promised on the net and elsewhere to come to my conferences and do battle with me in front of the audience, and to reduce me to dust, show everyone my dishonesty, but they have never showed up or gone against me. I think everyone can easily draw the appropriate conclusions from this fact.

13. Speaking of reputations, what is your relationship with the Major of Rennes-le-Château? Do you believe he is deserving of the accusations his adversaries have levied against him?

As to Lhuillier, the Mayor of Rennes-le-Château, there has always been a rapport, albeit not always a straightforward one, but friendly nevertheless. He always answered our questions, which were not posed aggressively or demanded a lot of detail, or went too far. As to the nature of the accusations, I am not too sure.

The Mayor of Rennes-le-Château © Andrew Gough


Apart from a Mayor, he is a person. Before being elected as the Mayor he was a soldier who occupied high ranks in that organization. He is therefore someone who is used to a strict composure, and no doubt sometimes too strict, specifically in politics, for in a village; no-one is forced to follow blindly, unlike the military.

That he is contested, that is well know, but he did certain things that are at least remarkable, such as the transfer of the body of Berenger Saunière, and for the rest, I do not possess enough elements to judge him and even then, I would not judge a mayor of a community where I do not live in or know enough of.  He remains furthermore the first magistrate of that community, the man responsible. Today, there are several reproaches against him, and perhaps there is no smoke without fire, that’s all I will say about that.

And what is your relationship with the mayor of Opoul-Perillos, which is perhaps an even more important relationship for you?

There is no longer a relationship. The mayor decided to brutally stop such contacts. But he was the first member of the Société Perillos, and at the time did everything to join the organization. He always voiced his support and even said:

“André Douzet, if there is only one person who believes in your research, it is me.”

But we saw how he evolved and it all became quite curious, and he proceeded to take the reigns of the community in a manner that has never been fully explained. Once he had the reigns, he said that he remained convinced of the reality of our research, and then chased us out of the territory on a pretext that I am ready to contest with him, in public, or on the Internet.

The politics right now are that certain homes are being restored on the pretext of an excuse. He tried to make a breakthrough and initiated the rehabilitation of the village. But it was as recent as two years ago that the village was officially catalogued as non-habitable and classified as a location where no building permits would be given. Today, we see this has been quickly changed, even though two years ago, it was impossible.

While this work was carried out, some details of the old houses have disappeared: some engravings, and other items that could be seen in certain cellars of the homes, as well as the entrances to them. Furthermore, during their work, certain material was used that had nothing to do with the nature of the work that was being carried out.

But let me note that I do not accuse the mayor of doing anything illegal, dishonest, secretive, or otherwise, and that I remain ready to talk to him at any moment in time, anywhere.

The Mayor of Opoul-Perillos (Freddy Deschaux-Baume) © André Douzet


14. Patrice Chaplin’s book, City of Secrets has promoted the importance of Girona in the mystery of Rennes-le-Château. How has this claim supported or otherwise impacted with your own research?

The book of Patrice Chaplin is very interesting. Perhaps there are certain errors in there, but there is much more that is real and of primary importance. It underlines the importance of La Sanch, the Spanish version being La Sang, but also the relationship between two lands divided by the Pyrenees, which were once one country. And there are two societies, which were once one, now two, which are still twinned.

A Tale of Two Towers: North and South
(© Corjan de Raaf)


Furthermore, Bigou took to Spain for his exile at the time of the Revolution, when he was in the possession of a part of the secret of Rennes-le-Château, which is a deviation – an annex – of that of Perillos. And on his way down, he passed by Durban and Opoul.

I’d add that in Spain, today, that there is a 2nd Model. But more than that, there is a society that has the notebooks of Bigou and which has straightforward links with the Spanish religion. So her work is important, with perhaps a few errors. But only somebody who never does anything, never commits an error.

But it takes us to Catalonia and Spain, to La Sanch and La Sang, to a knowledge that has been preserved in Spain and which in France has become focused on Rennes-le-Château, where it has turned into madness, lies, jokes, and mythomania. In Spain, the knowledge has remained almost virgin, without such deformities. So it’s very important and no doubt with some errors of little significance.


La Sang in Girona © Andrew Gough


15. In your book, The Secret Vault, you introduce evidence of Saunière’s participation in various Secret Societies. Do you believe that the priests wealth stems from these societies and if so, which one’s?

I do not know too much about the financial dealings of Saunière. For several years we have had proof that he came to Lyon. He frequented two societies there – perhaps more, but we have proof of two. This society – this lodge, it was Masonic, and the second was a Martinist lodge. In Lyon, there are several masons who are Martinist, and vice versa.

Saunière’s Regalia © Andrew Gough


Saunière’s name is noted down in the register of attendance of one lodge, where he is listed as a “visitor”. We have verified this. He was not a tourist or an outsider but a visitor, someone who was therefore a member of another lodge elsewhere. Furthermore, there are archives in Lyon which show that there was an attempt to merge a Catalan lodge with a Lyon lodge.

Saunière evolved in other environments as well, in societies that could be seen as the heirs of the Angelic Society. Previous members included Charles Perrault, Philibert Delorme, Polycarpe de la Rivière, and others. Saunière was thus guided and he recuperated certain information. These people helped Saunière, that’s for sure.

Saunière was ambitious. It is known that he went fast and far where we can no longer follow. And it is possible that he was sponsored to continue his research, with a certain sense of security and support. At that time, let us note that there were certain Freemasons that were politically important, and that there was a link between Martinists and religious leaders, a power that was not – and is still not to be discounted.

16. I’ve had the opportunity to visit many of the sites featured in your book, ‘Wanderings of the Grail’. What precisely do you think the German explorer Otto Rahn was looking for and what exactly do you think he found?

Rahn is notorious. There is no doubt that he came to this sector. There is evidence of this in several places. He acted discretely. He was both an SS officer and a researcher. But one does not exist without the other in his case. He could not have moved along so quickly if he did not already possess some elements before he started. But he is once again a person who was guided.

Rahn encountered many people who knew a lot about Catharism, esotericism, and specifically locally, the Grail. This involves the research of a sacred cup, the Spear of Destiny, the crucifixion, and the death – or not – of Jesus. Rahn moved quickly, and it’s clear the Germans had certain elements.

Montreal-de-Sos: Inscriptions of the Grail, as featured by Douzet and quite likely viewed by Rahn © Andrew Gough


Rahn had one or two discussions with opponents of Nazism, such as Deodat Roché – and others. It allowed for a strange occurrence, in which two or three people decided, for a few hours at least, to forget their ideological differences and to talk together about a common search – a quest. Roché was very intelligent, but he did not support a tyranny. So there was something very important at stake that he desired to discuss this with Rahn.

Rahn was also in Rennes-le-Château – at least once – and he visited at a time when the circus of Rennes-le-Château had not yet begun. He had little time, so he needed to go straight to his goal. And his presence in Rennes-le-Château means that it was part of what he was aiming for.

Rahn knew and approached the true nature of this reality, and we should add that the Germans also had an interest in Opoul-Perillos, but this is another matter. He committed suicide, but I think it’s better to speak of the fact that he was “suicided”. He came close to his goal, and had fed back his conclusions to his superiors, and he knew of the importance of the quest. And Roché is an important element, for he too was close to Rennes-le-Château.

17. So having just celebrated your 60th, tell us what’s next for André Douzet?

I no longer have the suppleness and energy that I still had ten years ago. But there is now a solid group of researchers; they are not formed around me, no, they are an amalgamation of various individuals working together, of which I am a member.

Things are evolving quickly. An archaeologist has made contact with us, stating he has been following our work and perhaps it is going to be transformed soon, quickly, officially, but we will continue and go as quickly as possible, with all the respect that is due to the importance of the discovery which is in our hands, though not ours. It is for Mankind, not for us, we are merely the holder of certain elements that will reveal themselves all on their own.

If an announcement is going to be made, this will no doubt not be made by the two English authors, perhaps not even us, but by the authorities. They want to work with us and do not consider our work to be part of some mythomania. We are the holders of certain important information, but we hope that this will be given to all. If something happens to me personally, that stops me in my tracks; the group can carry on without me. My presence is no longer important.

André thank you for you candor and for letting me ask some rather direct questions. Best of luck, and we will look forward to your big announcement in the next few months. Oh, and happy 60th!