I was perusing my old copies of the Rennes Observers (the journal of the now defunct Rennes Group - although i hear things are afoot to try and revive it) and in Issue 52 there was a short article written by Stephen Anderson about the 'Original Parchments' held by Jean-Luc Chaumeil. It was interesting and set me thinking. Having seen the work of my fellow researcher Paul Karren (see HERE) i am convinced that he has found a 'key' on the so called Small Parchment and therefore in light of Anderson's comments it became important which 'parchment' in the saga of Rennes-le-Chateau was the 'orignal'.
I had already touched upon this idea before. HERE i discuss the source of Parchment 1, which is of course the Codex Bezae.
Obviously there is no 'code' on the original Codex Bezae - (by code i mean the dots and strokes that are apparent on the 'popular' representations of the Parchments famous in the Rennes research community) - and this is there for all to see and verify on the digitized copy of the relevant source page found on the Cambridge University website.
However, if there is a code implied by the dots on the Rennes 'version's' of the parchments [as suggested by Karren] when were they placed there and who by?
Visual copies of the Codex Bezae only became available when the Codex was first printed - this would presumably represent the earliest date of when the relevant 'paragraph' could have been manipulated/copied etc. While i have in the past speculated that in theory anyone who had access to the Bezae document when it first arrived at Cambridge University (1581) and, in fact, any of those who were guardians of the manuscript prior to this - could have copied the text out and 'added' the code at any time using their available implements - i chose to go with the more obvious theory if you will, which suggests that the earliest 'easy' way to copy the document would have been from 1899 when Scrivener edited the text and when photographic facsimile's of the manuscript were published.
There are those who believe the codes were created by Boudet or even Sauniere and in that case the dates would still fit these timelines.
However, until proved otherwise, the working hypothesis of most researchers is that Cherisey is to be accepted at his word in this instance and his answer that the parchments were created for a radio show. I have always found this odd though as what use would created 'visual' documents be for a radio show? Its not like the listeners would be able to see the documents on the 'radio' so why bother creating them?
Anderson began by saying in his article:
"In the Timewatch documentary 'History of a Mystery' Jean-Luc Chaumeil waved around what he said were the 'original parchments' along with a note purportedly from Pierre Plantard written in red ink on the snaller parchment where he allegedly gave these as the 'originals' of the 'false documents'. He doesnt mention that at the top of that note can clearly be read 'photocopie' (which makes Chaumeils assertion that he had these parchments tested and founded them to be modern ridiculously unnecessary, since photocopying did not exist in Bigou's time, of course)."
Anderson then went on to say:
"In 'Le Testament du Prieure de Sion', Chaumeil reproduces the smaller parchment in the Plates section, but somehow the note from Plantard has disappeared. Examination of Chaumeils 'Manuscript II' has all the earmarks of a 'copy of a copy of a copy' (with successive generations of photocopying, the white spaces tend to get darker), certainly not the original he claims to have".
This led me to actually take a closer look at the earliest renditions of the parchments (particularly the small one) and when they were first published and where. You can see my suggestions below (although of course the list may be incomplete and different in the case of French researchers, please up date me if you would like to):
The timeline of parchment publications that i am aware of are as follows:
1967 Both parchments shown in de Sede's L'Or de Rennes. The first ever publication of the parchments.
As i am mainly at this time concerned with the small Parchment here is de Sedes copy close up;
Note here, that in its 'original' and FIRST publication - the dots etc are in place. Whoever supplied de Sede with the Small Parchment, the dots were already present and obviously intended to be in place and seen.
In 2006 however Chaumeil published his 'Testament of the Priory of Sion". Here is a photograph i took of the page in the book showing the same Small Parchment:
As one can see the copy seems to be a 'clean' version of the Small parchment with the extra dots and additions missing. How is it that in 1967 a version of this parchment is published with dots etc but that in 2006 a version was published which was clear of these markings and is said to be the original?
In 1971 Cherisey produces his novel CIRCUIT. In this novel, the small parchment is replaced by a drawing/diagram of the headstone of Marie de Negri's burial. The Large Parchment is the same as the one we are used to seeing (see below).
In 1978 Franck Marie then publishes his 'Critical Studies of Rennes-le-Chateau'. Here is his Small Parchment:
Then in 1986 Lincoln et al published their copies of the parchments in their book 'The Messianic Legacy'. Here they are:
Here is a close up of the Small Parchment that Lincoln et al published:
As we see again, Chaumeil's 'orignal' seems to be the same 'parchment' that Franck Marie had and the very same that Lincoln et al later had. However, de Sede - who is the earliest and first person to publish the Small Parchment - has a 'copy' that has the extra marks mostly in the form of dots etc and these appear to be exclusive to de Sede.
Does this mean essentially there were two copies of these parchments 'doing the rounds' - one with the additions and one without? Which is the more important? Are the versions held by Chaumeil, Marie, Lincoln etc not the originals? Is it possible that there was one standard 'clean copy' that Cherisey copied out from his source and another one that had the additions added. In other words one was a 'working' copy, or a work in progress? This would mean, i suggest, that the clean and simple copy is not that important but the one with the additions.
This contradicts what Lincoln says below although i would have agreed with him if it wasn't for the fact that in 1967 the two 'originals' (one clean copy and one with added additions) were both available. I would further have agreed with Lincoln if de Sede had published the blank clean version and then the one Lincoln published in 1986 had the additions .....
This leads me to a comment Lincoln made in his book 'Key to the Sacred Pattern' on page 151. He said:
"The parchments, as reproduced in de Sedes book - and in every other book and film since (including my own) - have many dots, strokes and accents inserted into the spaces between the lines of text. Many researchers have spent much time in attempting to wrest some sort of sense from these marks. The photographs i am shown demonstrate that these are not present in the originals. They have been added in blue ink, clearly visible on the glossy surface of the prints. These are de Cherisey's 'confections'".
There are several comments to be made about Lincoln's observations:
1) When he refers to the parchment photographs he saw, with the dots and strokes added on to the photos - how come what he finally published were the ones which did not show these dots and strokes? Why would he assume, if there are two versions, that the more important one is the 'clean' copy? Did he make an assumption that Cherisey was tinkering about with the 'original' clean photo for no particular reason?
2) Also, for that matter, it is not clear that what Chaumeil had are 'photos' of the small parchment. They looked like paper in the Timewatch documentary.
3) The question then - is how de Sede came by copies with dots and strokes on them because his was the first and the original. Logically the first that is published could mean his was the important one, and everyone else later got the 'blank' copies as it were. In 1967 the two versions were already 'available' and Plantard and Cherisey were perhaps dictating who got which version.
This may be a little clearer when we look at the Large Parchment version Chaumeil publishes. Here is Chaumeil's version:
Now note the version we are all used to seeing below. See the differences from the above version.
As Anderson very ably pointed out in his article, Chaumeil's version of the Large Parchment has all the hallmarks of a 'worksheet'. Perhaps the Small parchment was used in the same way?
And why all the concentration on these Parchments? Why is it important? As i am someone who thinks that Cherisey - even though he called himself the Prankster - really did believe there was something to this legend about Rennes-le-Chateau and Rennes-les-Bains - i do not think he invested all this time and energy for essentially just a 'joke' to fool a gullible public. If i was not confronted with the staggering information contained in the Small Parchment (from the research of Paul Karren) it would perhaps not be so important. I am still of the opinion that Cherisey (at this moment in time anyway, on the available 'evidence') couldnt have 'invented' this information identified by Karren alone so we remain with two possibilities:
1) That Cherisey was working from previous knowledge.
2) Or he obtained information that he wanted to code into this Small Parchment. These are not the codes that lead to the famous 'hidden messages'.
Maybe Cherisey was copying from some other source of information but the upshot is that he was dictating who got the parchments with the useful information and contrary to how other observers feel, it would be the copies published in L'Or de Rennes first that are important!
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My name is Sandy Hamblett, inspired and passionate researcher of the mysteries at Rennes-les-Bains.