Its fascinating researching into this idea that a 'cult of the dead' led by Sauniere was apparent at Rennes-le-Chateau. While i, personally, currently believe this to be unsubstantiated - it is interesting when reviewing all the information published by the researchers advancing this theory to gauge the direction where the theory is leading. An interesting article (see here ) makes it somewhat clearer as to the nature of the 'beliefs' of this 'cult'. In the article it is stated:
'Penitents believe that Christ was never resurrected, that His rise did not occur. However, in their peculiar belief system, Christ's dead body is associated with a mummified corpse, and they believe that worship must be paid to the dead in order to enable them to be reincarnated on this earth. Amongst other things, it accounts for their worship of the Holy Sepulchre, and all the depictions of a dead, bloody Christ lying in a coffin that can be found in Catholic churches across the world'.
They further assert that:
'A prime example of the mingling between Christianity and the Babylonian Cult of the Dead created by the penitent confraternities: a depiction of a dead Christ, lying in a glass-windowed coffin. Therefore, the object of worship here is not really the person of Jesus-Christ and His life, but his dead body, his tomb (the Holy Sepulchre), and by extension, death itself, and any corpse of any origin'. (see photo above).
So what was Sauniere doing with the Talisman of Salvation? What was the aim, with his mortuary rite? If these beliefs of the cult were the same as those held by Saunière when he carried out rituals over dead bodies what on earth was Saunière advocating? What is this to do with a Book of Tobit, which absolutly has nothing to do with magical rituals over dead bodies, which i shall show ....
Its also interesting to note that although the authors in this article mention a quote by René Descadeillas where he muses that "The priest had caused several of his fellow townsmen to complain
to the Prefecture'. Descadeillas further wrote... 'Saunière locked himself in the cemetery at night and caused strange upheaval. The order was given for Saunière to stop turning the cemetery upside down. But what was he doing there? Why did he damage the graves? It's a mystery."
However, a close reading of the texts from the letters of those complaining about Saunière's activity of the time do not suggest that Saunière was 'turning the cemetery upside down'. What they refer to are that "M. l'Abbé had no right, after we had put crosses or crowns, to move, lift or dislodge anything" & "We are upset about the work being carried out in the cemetery, above all in the
conditions it has been up to now. Crosses have been removed, as well as gravestones, and at the same time this said work is neither for maintenance, nor for anything else". These letters were written in March 1895 and constitute the only evidence (i am aware of) where the parishoners are complaining about Sauniere's activities in the cemetery! That evidence suggests that Saunière was removing and repositioning crosses from graves and the gravestones/headstones themselves. Granted the parishoners may not have been fully aware of the extent of the activity of Saunière. If Saunière was indeed digging up the bodies of the ancestors of the local parishoners it seems remiss of them to just complain that he had moved the headstones and crosses on their graves!
Welcome to the blog of Rhedesium
My name is Sandy Hamblett, inspired and passionate researcher of the mysteries at Rennes-les-Bains.