The short version of the modern mystery of the Church of Mary Magdalene has it that one day in 1891 while making repairs on the badly decaying church altar, a dirt poor Catholic priest name Berengere Sauniere allegedly discovered a cache of ancient parchments concealed in wooden tubes.

Two of these parchments are said to be comprised of genealogies, one dating from 1244, the other from 1644.2 The other two were composed in the 1780's by the Abbe Antoine Bigou, one of Sauniere's predecessors as the parish priest of Rennes-le-Chateau.3

In January, 1781, on the eve of the French Revolution, Lady Hautpoul, owner of the chateau and trustee of the Rennes secret was dying. Having no sons to bequeath her secret to, she decided to confide her family's past history, its secret, and some top-secret papers containing white-hot secrets, to her confessor the abbe Antoine Bigou.4

On January 17, 1781 the lady Hautpoul died, but not before asking abbe Bigou to pass along the Rennes secret to someone who would preserve it. The abbe was terrified by what he learned.5

Abbe Bigou decided to pass the buck. He concealed all four documents (and possibly a fifth) in the hollow Visigothic altar pillar inside the church of Mary Magdalene.6 Bigou then had to figure a way to communicate his secret. For starters, he he devised a cipher, which was inscribed on the tombstone of the Lady d'Hautpoul and a stone slab (which was placed on her grave), with the secret.

Then he turned a large 8th century slab set in front of the altar of the Church, the "Dalle des Chevaliers," face down.7 The "Dalle des Chevaliers," the Knight's Gravestone depicts two scenes, both of which involve an arch or a gateway. The first is a knight on a horse sounding a horn or tone while his horse drinks water from a trough. The second shows the same knight, this time with a staff in his hand, and a child. Did the knight go through the arch and return with the child in tow? This scene is duplicated on the 12th century seal of the Knights Templar (shown here).

William Henry at the door to the Church of Mary Magdalene.

With this discovery, and the secrets these scrolls contained, voila, Sauniere soon went from rags-to-big time 'nouveaux riche' and from lowly churchman to the highest echelons of occult Parisian society.

The two genealogies are claimed to concern the Merovingian dynasty.7 The Merovingians are reported to be 'pagan kings of the cult of Diana.' Merovee, who gave his name to the dynasty, is said to be the result of the blending of the genetic material of a half-man, half-fish god-being and a his human mother.8 The authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail suggest this legend is an allegorical representation of the intermarriage between Merovee's bloodline and the descendents of Jesus and Mary Magdalene that became the bloodline of Jesus - the Meru or Merovingians.9 I will provide an alternative identification for the half-man, half-fish being later.

Among these parchments was one we'll look at in detail momentarily, which I call the Blue Apples Parchment. It should be stated that these parchments have never since seen the light of day. Copies abound however the originals are missing.

There is enormous controversy over the alleged ancient pedigree and authenticity of these parchments. Some claim they're not ancient at all. Rather they're the modern work of the mother of all secret societies, the Priory of Sion, whose earliest members are reputed to have founded the Knights Templar.10

Whatever their source or age, the parchments remain remarkably instructive. In fact, the content of these parchments is breathtaking in their possible meaning.

The first parchment, what I'll refer to as the SION Parchment, tells of Jesus and his disciples exploring a cornfield on the Sabbath. The story has been pulled together from three separate sources; Matthew 12:1-8, Mark 2:23-28, and Luke 6:1-5.

Closer inspection reveals that this parchment contains a cipher which contains the message: TO DAGOBERT II KING

AND TO SION BELONGS THIS TREASURE AND HE IS THERE DEAD.11 This cipher has been used by many seekers to pry open the Rennes mystery, in particular the connection with the Priory of Sion.

For others, this message also revealed a treasure map. It is of immense interest to those seeking gold and other treasure in the area of Rennes.

The strange arrangement of its letters concealed also a sacred geometry whose decoding ultimately revealed the existence of a twenty square mile pentagrammal temple as a landscape feature of Rennes to Henry Lincoln12 and to mathematician David Wood13 for one example. It also revealed the alleged location of the Tomb of Jesus to Richard Andrews and Paul Schellenberger (authors of The Tomb of God)14 for another.

The second parchment I call the Blue Apples parchment.

"What the hell did they think they were doing when they wrote this parchment?" I asked myself over and over while looking at the cipher.

It looked Greek to me.

Actually it's an archaic Latin text, an excerpt from New Testament stories of Jesus.

The Blue Apples Parchment begins with the word 'jesus'. It tells the New Testament story of Jesus having dinner (with wine I presume) in Bethany with Lazarus and Mary Magdalene.

Sprinkled throughout this parchment are a number of extra letters that form the basis for a coded message. These letters are from an unidentified independent text, without which this message or key is simply gibberish. A Frenchman, Gerard de Sede, however, claims to have had the means to decipher this text provided to him by, the Priory of Sion.15

The story of de Sede's decipherment of this coded manuscript is a fascinating (though complicated) tale best told by other authors.

Suffice it to say its decipherment required that the letters be laid out on a chessboard (a favorite Templar symbol for the soul's life on earth). Then, the decipherer had to make a series of Knight moves.16 On a chessboard a Knight moves in 'L' shapes. This made me think of the directions to Never-Never Land: "second to the right (two chessboard squares to the right) and straight on till morning."

The proper moves revealed a strange message provided by de Sede.

The literal translations into English of this message vary. However, they approximate the following message:

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