Whilst perusing more about La Vrai Langue Celtique, i found this review by one of the founders of the Société d'études scientifiques de l'Aude Germain SICARD. It was published in 1928.
There is a strange proliferation of mysterious 'heads' in the folklore of Rennes-les-Bains. Henri Boudet, in his book 'La Vrai Langue Celtique', described a "head of the Saviour" which used to be found on top of a menhir in the local area which he claimed had 'existed for 18 centuries'. And yet Antoine Delmas - an earlier priest of Rennes-les-Bains [who is known to have looked for archaeological relics] does not one reference to this head. Should we assume that this Boudet 'head' did not exist in the 18th century [at the time of Delmas] - and should we assume that Boudet 'invented' it in much the same way he invented his Celtic Cromleck. Why would he do this?
"the “tête du sauveur” [is] a menhir [i.e. a standing stone] preserved on this site [a hill above Rennes-les-Bains] and it is a [head] which is carved, in high relief, and represents a magnificent head of the Lord Jesus, the Saviour of Mankind. This sculpture, which has seen approximately 18 centuries, has given its name to this part of the plateau, Cap de l’Homme, the Head of Man, referring to the man par excellence, filius hominis. It is deplorable that we were obliged, in December 1884, to remove this beautiful sculpture from the location it occupied, to remove it from the ravages of a pick-ax of an unfortunate young man, who was far removed from being able to understand the significance and its value.”
The account is interesting in that it suggests a date of circa. 84AD for the origin of this 'head' - an impossible statement as chronologically Christianity hadn't reached this part of France and in fact did not even exist as a religion then. Perhaps Boudet was trying to suggest a continuation of a tradition by linking the Roman era of the local village with the modern village in his lifetime?
One could ask why anyone would want to create such a sculpture as this? Boudet refers to the standing stone as originally being part of a pagan temple, which was converted into a Christian church and later destroyed by a fire. He adds that the head looked out over the valley “and dominated all of these Celtic monuments that have lost their teachings”.
This 'Head of the Saviour' was described as being attached to a menhir. Its not altogether clear if this is a prior sculpture set upon the top of the menhir or whether the statue was intrinsically an actual part of the standing stone as in an 'anthropomorphic' menhir [see below].
In “La Vraie Langue Celtique” Boudet mentions clearly the existence of an antique grave in Rennes-les- Bains, writing that menhirs are ancient graves and that a cromleck is always built around a menhir. Is this his way of saying to us that the artificial cromleck which he draws attention to contains an ancient grave? Is the Menhir with the carving of the Head of the Saviour the centre and important part of the Cromleck?
It certainly would seem so. However, several other heads have been confused with this one. There is the head on a boulder or rocky outcrop - also associated with Rennes-les-Bains! This is a 'female' head later transferred to the presbytery wall at Rennes-les-Bains! Local archaeologists around the time of Boudet criticised him for his account of a head that he found and they determined that what he describes is not the same as the head which was later cemented into the presbytery wall of his church.
This 'other head' is known because of another account associated with Boudet. Nevertheless it does not resemble the description given in his book. Viz:
"Madame TIFFOUS, born Alys GRIFFE, in 1886, at Rennes-les-Bains, said: "Mr De GROSSOUVRE mining engineer in Bourges, Colonel TOUCAS, Périgueux, and my father Joseph GRIFFE of Rennes sought the veins of ore at the Pla de la Côte or Pla des Bruyères, on land owned by Count H. De Fleury. They found a boulder which seemed interesting, brought it to my father and the Abbe Boudet [of Rennes les Bains] to have it cleaned up and [we] saw it was a head. MARTIN, mason, on the order of Abbe Boudet placed the head at the place where it is still, [and] this happened around my twelfth year, i.e. about 1898."
According to this paragraph the 'head' was fixed 'in the place where it is still' - i.e the presbytery. The archaeologists, however, dispute that the head Boudet refers to in his book is anything but the boulder referred to in the paragraph above. They say:
"It [the sculpture] refers to a feminine head, sculpted quite roughly in high relief in a block of reddish sandstone. One can, moreover, distinguish the chisel marks used to hollow out the block of stone scarcely smoothed out around the edges. It is actually set into the centre of the eastern façade of the presbytery at about 1.5 metres from the ground. Despite the effects of weathering which has softened the relief, it is in quite good condition and shows no significant scratch marks, only the nose is broken at the tip exposing the two drillings for the nostrils. The locks of hair are present but not heavily outlined; the upper head lightly flattened, presents a deep, more or less conical indentation....."
To further confirm our suspicions Boudet told us later what happened to the real head he was referring to. After he saved it from destruction from vandalism he wrote: "This carved head of Christ is [now] in the hands of Mr. CAILHOL of Alet-[les-Bains]".
So we have two heads, one male and one female. It is the female head which was embedded into the presbytery wall and which is now in the local museum. These are pictured below:
The only point in common for both 'heads' was their find location. This was on the rock called "Cap de l’homme’ on the boundary and along the Pla de la Côte or Bruyères. Is that significant? The general consensus was that the female head represented a Romanised cult of a local goddess. The archaeologists Gibert and Rancoule asked: Did Rennes therefore possess its own goddess or goddesses source? Our ‘head’ - does it not represent one of these goddesses? The location of the find eliminates its allocation as a decorative element placed on a building used for public worship. It seems that the size and shape prohibit this: it is either a votive or a fragment of tombstone, or the character is represented in bust or foot. We think we see in this representation one of the innumerable minor goddesses, a more or less Romanized Gallic version of a much older source.
The names reinforces our hypothesis: the place of discovery is located above the spring feeding the stream called "Las Brueissas" i.e. witches, a place that overlooks all the hot springs. A. Grenier said over the long evolution of religion: the mother goddesses became the Fairies. In our region the presence of "Dones" or "Ladies" are at water sources and creeks. This term is synonymous with local Fairies, and seems a relic of the worship of nymphs equivalent in Italian sources. We have an illustration of the Roman period on the dedications shown on the plates of lead-Amelie les-Bains or the protectors of springs which are called "Niska" (Young Ladies). These terms have often degenerated in more recent times, and this may be the case here, "Brueissas" or witches .
The next strange twist in this 'story' is the details added by Plantard et al. Plantard added that the head sealed in the Rennes-les-Bains presbytery was that of the Merovingian king, Dagobert II. The details are given in the suspect publication 'Les pierres gravées du Languedoc' (The engraved stones in Languedoc) which was published in 1884 under the name of Eugène Stublein. This literature is part of the so called Lobineau Documents and the Priory of Sion mythology.
But look at the oher details given here. This head of Dagobert was engraved 700 years after Christ (i.e. the 8th century) on a menhir in exactly the same place as was found the Head of the Saviour of Boudet and the female head [which has been identified as belonging to a head of a local female Goddess] - that is - the Pla des Bruyères [Brugos]. This may have correlates with information contained in Cherisey's novel CIRCUIT.
And while looking at the drawing of the head of Dagobert, does this really look like a Merovingian king? No. They look - especially from the styles of the hair - more like figures from the 17th century! All Priory propaganda! Even the page is numbered 186, no doubt a pun on the ever important 681 key.
For me, the head that is of 'real' interest is of course the one described by Boudet. What did it look like? Why did he give it to Mr. CAILHOL? Why was the 'head' associated with a pagan Temple? Was there ever such a Temple in the area?
Boudet's Head of the Saviour was said by him to have been engraved on a menhir on the Cap de l'Homme. These type of menhirs are known as anthropomorphic Menhirs. The best known examples of these type of menhirs are the ones found at a famous archaeological site in Corsica. There are also some in France, especially old Occitania as i have illustrated below.
Who are these figures meant to be? Archaeologists suggest that they are images of the deceased, whose presence and protection are required from beyond the grave. They therefore appear over funerary sites.
If this theory fits then Boudet and his anthropomorphic menhir of Jesus Christ, which had seen 18 centuries, originally found along the Cap de L'Homme area of Rennes-les-Bains, represented an image of the dead and its presence was required for protection from the grave. Is this really what Boudet wanted to suggest? That essentially the grave of the historical Christ is in the area of Cap de L'homme? As incredulous as it may seem the area of Rennes-les-Bains does carry ancient traditions of a burial of Christ in France [see HERE].
Because of a random act of vandalism, presumably that Boudet came upon while walking the area, he was obliged to move the menhir [how can you remove a sculpture embedded into a menhir such as this?] because the young man defacing it with a pick axe 'Did not understand the significance and its value.”
Everything about this menhir doesn't ring true! None of it makes sense. Is it wishful thinking, trying to understand any alleged coded message from Boudet? Perhaps not. The anthropomorphic menhirs referred to above [from Corsica] surmount stone funerary coffers rather bizarrely named 'corn-silos'. The legends in Corsica say that these monuments, the 'silo's', contained gold ingots. We know Boudet often referred to corn and silo's in code too. For example a key word that Boudet uses [in La Vrai Langue Celtique] is 'kairolo' - which he describes as a word made up of the English term `key' – which no doubt is a “coincidence” where the pun was intended. It appears in the translation of "Kaïrolo", page 295.
Here, Boudet analyzes this word by making it derive from `- key', key, `- ear (ir)' ear of corn, `- hole' small house, attic "and can be the silo or underground containing invaluable cereal…"; here is the typical style of Boudet: under cover of a key word, he indicates to us that the corn was stored in an underground room, with all allusions relating to corn, as well with gold when using slang, but also with the parabola of the sower: if the grain does not die..."
Perhaps then, this head of the Saviour, near Cap de L'homme - which may or may not conceal an antique grave may also contain some ancient gold! When all is said and done it was an anthropomorphic menhir found near Pla de la Côte or Bruyères. Boudet said it looked over the valley and this might be visualised as below:
Here we see that it is the same 'view' that Plantard and Cherisey see as significant. That is a view from Cap de L'homme towards the church at Rennes-les-Bain and its valley ...
What is fascinating is that local postcards [thought to date around the last century] of the area of Rennes-les-Bains depict this celtic Cromleck of Henri Boudet's. How on earth could this happen, when it is quite clear that the Cromlech does NOT exist? Someone certainly didn't want us to miss this book .....[see below].
While searching for images of Coustaussa castle i came across the above picture. The blurb that came with the image was as follows: A strange and secretive pendant found in the 19th century amongst the ruins of Coustaussa castle, Languedoc. It is impossibly encircled by a gold ring, both it and the cross being inscribed with mysterious Latin riddles.
According to Paul Smith [HERE]:
"....Stéphanie Buttegeg [in] Les Mines Légendaires Antiques de Rennes-les-Bains (A la Recherche du Secret Perdu, Légendes d’Oc, avril 2013), concluded [that] the source for the TEMPLE ROND at Blanchefort were the 1989 articles in Vaincre".
For Smith the idea of an underground 'Temple' therefore originates in the Priory propaganda of Pierre Plantard, a propaganda which is carried on by Plantard's son, Thomas. Smith quotes an article by Norberto called "Le Symbolisme de l’Echiquer” [from Vaincre], pages 17-19; ".... The Round Table is located at Le Roc Nègre near Rennes-les-Bains in the Aude. "This was constructed from 1780 to 1782 by Brother DUBOSC at 28 metres below-ground" in the old mines and underground passages. A superb square-mosaic paving covers the centre of the floor. According to some documents, all that Brother DUBOSC did was to hollow out a chimney to reconnect with the Round Table as the usual entrance had ceased to exist by 1780 (and, indeed, had not existed for more than a century before that date).”
This DUBOSC (Is Norberto calling him Brother DUBOSC to imply that he was a member of the Priory of Sion?) referred to here actually did carry out mining activities in the area of Rennes-les-Bains. There are files relating to it in the archives.
But is the idea of an underground Temple in the area of Rennes-les-Bains only found from 1989 onwards and only with Plantard et al? Well it depends on how you interpret history. There is some evidence - archaeologically speaking - of structures underground, near to the spa area of the village. We know that Henri Boudet was aware of these archaeological discoveries in the area of Rennes-les-Bains - he himself found several artifacts, some of which he gave to his friends and furthermore, in a book he wrote called La Vrai Langue Celtique he has a chapter called "LES ROMAINS ET LA SOURCE THERMALE DE LA REINE". In this chapter he writes:
"The southern countries of the Redones had long been part of the Province, and the Romans had built a temple in the valley of the Sals, and baths at the source de la Reine. A new village was built on the plateau of Villanova, overlooking the spa's north-east side. The Romans left many traces of their extended stay in the Cromleck, medals and coins of gold, silver and bronze, from the triumvirate of Antony, Octavian and Lepidus, until the reign of the Emperor Gratian, whole amphorae, broken statues carved in white marble, capitals and bases of columns and carved inscriptions in stone".
Some of these assertions reflect what abbe Delmas had written in various manuscripts. He was a much earlier priest of the parish of Rennes-les-Bains [the 1700's] and he wrote of the Roman occupation of Rennes-les-Bains, its colonisation by the 7th and 10th Legions of the Roman army, a probable mysterious tomb in the area and the many Roman coins found in the area. Boudet did not just pluck out of the sky the idea that the Romans built a Temple in the valley of the Sals. He based it on local archaeology and opinion. For example more than four hundred medals in gold, silver and bronze were collected in Rennes by abbé BERTRAND. Also found at the Fontaine du Cercle was a basin and some Gallo-Roman capitals. SAGE, in a paper read at the Academy of Sciences of Toulouse in 1746 reported [in the office of the late President CAULET] a "remarkable antique" - an object that was held by the priest Delmas. It was a sepulchral lamp which the Romans used." One wonders why it was a 'remarkable antique'! The Delmas cited here is the same priest who wrote about Rennes-les-Bains and the sepulchre of the unknown Roman. The fact that he [Delmas] had a remarkable sepulchral lamp that the Romans had used somehow conjures up images of Delmas already accessing some kind of dark crypt or tomb from whence he found this mysterious Roman lamp!
The Hotel de la Reine itself also appears to have been built on very old substructures. Repairs carried out to a house [near the Hotel] in 1928 showed "large block foundations" that Mr. ROUZAUD, former president of the Archaeological Survey of Narbonne, attributed to ancient Roman buildings, temples and palaces. Some of these structures are said to be under the current floor level. In 1799, when repairs to the source of the Reine were being carried out, a stone arch was found, collapsed in a pool - 16 feet long and 12 wide, and the bottom was paved with white marble and surrounded by a hard black shale and a beautiful polish. This vault was destroyed during the construction of the hotel de la Reine. At the entrance of Rennes, a little to the south of the spa station, a piece of land labelled Section B on the cadastral map of the town, in which, after some recent plowing, it was possible to collect fragments of pottery and vases of red clay of all forms and to which all had the characteristics of Gallo-Roman pottery. A little below the baths of Rennes, on the right bank of the Sals, there was also discovered the ruins of an old house with mosaic pavements, shards of old pottery and tile's. Collected from the slope opposite the Hotel des Bains de la Reine, shards of pottery of various forms of crockery, glass perfume bottles, fragments of plaster of apartments, bones of edible animals, oyster shells and other shells. It is in this place that Louis PECH of Narbonne in 1844 guessed the location of a Roman house (left bank of Sals, at the upper entrance to the park). In the ruins of the house, crushed by a boulder, were further bricks, broken glass, animal bones, oyster shells of the Mediterranean, ancient manufacturing nails, a piece of thick greenish glass, similar to glass removed from the excavations of Pompeii.
So there are extensive archaeological vestiges and historical references to possible underground Temples or palaces perhaps beginning with a Roman origin. This is difficult to assess because up til now there has not been any official archaeological investigation's in the village.
In his book 'The True Celtic Language' - Boudet speaks of many things but we can say with certainty that the book is not really concerned with 'the true Celtic language' or with the imaginary 'cromleck' that does not exist in the region. Boudet instructs us however that what the book is really about is to 'penetrate the secret of a local history by the interpretation of a name written in an unknown language'. And, via a quote from Joseph de Maistre, Boudet notes later in the following pages of his book: 'Dialects and the names of people and places, appear to me like mines that are almost unexploited, which are the source of great wealth'.
Many years later  a British expert in megaliths - proposed a hypothesis that wherever one found a megalith it was often associated with a mine. Perhaps Boudet himself subscribed to such an idea, and was 'ahead of his time'? Might not Boudet be telling us that the true subject of his book is the secret of a mine bearing vast riches that can be located through a study of the local history, most notably by studying his Cromleck? And if you take together his meanderings in the local countryside and his falsifications perhaps in the cemetery at Rennes-les-Bains - we are indeed met with a priest with a message to tell.
Boudet trudged the mountain slopes removing something here, adding something there. He added and removed crosses. He even managed to carry off a 'head' located on a menhir - because after all, do we really think an unknown young man hacked the face of a menhir that had already seen 18 centuries? [i.e. a date that would place the face on the menhir's origin back to the 1st century AD, the height of the Roman occupation]. There is a map in the back of his book, perhaps related to all the changes he had made in the landscape, detailing his imaginary Cromlech and grave, which he associates with the Resurrection. Boudet had written that
menhirs are ancient graves and that a cromlech is always built around a menhir. So if we put things together Boudet is suggesting that:
1) there is a secret in the local history of Rennes-les-Bains.
2) there is an underground mine that is almost unexploited, which is the source of great wealth and might even house a tomb
3) his imaginary cromlech & menhir surrounds this ancient grave. The grave, for him, is associated with the Resurrection.
There has been published a book [by Stéphanie Buttegeg] on the mines of Montferrand [and an alleged Underground Temple] in the area. The author is quoted by Paul Smith at the top of this post but she also said in summary of the history of Rennes-les-Bains and its mine's;
"All indications are that a dark secret lurks in the bowels of Rennes-les-Bains! But is it a simple gold mineral deposit, a former monetary deposit, or a sacred historical treasure [or] an ancient temple? To find out go back over the whole history of mining in this country ... Whether in antiquity, the Middle Ages, in the 18th or 19th century, the mines of Baings de Règnes appear repeatedly! Marie de Nègre d'Ables & le comte de Fleury guarded [them] jealously, Boudet seemed to attach importance and more recently Pierre Plantard has even [spoken] of an ancient Celtic temple! Through unprecedented historical records, we will try to shed light on this mystery, where legends and historical realities mingle".
It seems that the idea of an underground Temple may have begun with Boudet and the local archaeologists of the 19th century, maybe even earlier [back to abbe Delmas]. Boudet is certainly suggesting that down an ancient mine is something spectacular to be found. Plantard and Cherisey must have believed this - because their writings suggest it. It remains to be seen as to whether their suppositions are correct and whether anything will ever be found!
HERE on Paul Smith's website - after he may or may not have read my page on Cholet - posted some clarifications on the arrival of Cholet to Rennes-le-Chateau. He makes reference to the Maraval document [aka the “parchment” of Brother Dominique de Mirepoix"] saying that it 'has been described as one of the very earliest Rennes-le-Château fakes. Even the believers in the “mystery” of Rennes-le-Château don’t believe these stories.' and 'What Cholet did mention in his Report was “a document is dated and signed by Brother Dominique de Mirepoix on 29 June 1249” (a document found in a well around 1961 by Cholet’s last excavation partner Rolland Domergue). Patrick Mensior describes the “discovery” as the result of a prank played by two local villagers who had set out to dupe Cholet and Domergue – the parchment in question being the last page of a book from the 17th century inserted into an old bottle swollen at the mouth dating from the time of Saunière."
I did find this interesting as a well known French researcher first talked of the so called Maraval document - and passionately i may add too. The Maraval document is alleged to have been a hand drawn map of the locale of Sauniere's domaine, found in the archives of the Aniort family. Elsewhere Smith had alleged this is the document of Dominique de Mirepoix. Anyway he gives a picture of this document on his site which is below. Next to it below is the Maraval document. I confess to being confused about which document is which and which is supposed to be the fake?
Even to my untrained eye, these do not look the same document!
Welcome to the blog of Rhedesium
My name is Sandy Hamblett, inspired and passionate researcher of the mysteries at Rennes-les-Bains.