Rennes-le-Château: Inscriptions on Gravestones

A Critical Review

Paul Smith

20 January 2016

Rennes-le-Château conspiracy theorists love making-up unreliable claims about the gravestone of Marie de Negri d'Ables and its “unusual inscription”. In fact such mistakes on gravestone inscriptions – that can perhaps even be deliberate – can also be found on other gravestones and are nothing unusual in the region of Rennes-le-Château. Henry Lincoln himself showed other similar examples in one of his videos – and French researchers some years ago discovered another gravestone that bore the word “catin” on its inscription.

The inscription on the gravestone of Marie de Negri d'Ables, Countess Hautpoul-Blanchefort only becomes relevant if you are a believer in the “mystery” of Rennes-le-Château to begin with and if you want to drag the “mystery” back to beyond Bérenger Saunière – and to ignore the fact that his trafficking in masses activities (the source of his wealth) only took off in a big way in 1896 (when Saunière was 44 years old), and when his superiors in Carcassonne began receiving reports from various people about his activities.

Noël Corbu introduced a fresh claim in 1962 on a Frances-Inter Radio Programme when he was interviewed by Robert Charroux and claimed there was a second gravestone of Marie de Negri d'Ables bearing the words “Reddis Regis Cellis Arcis” (that of course nobody else knew about, but Corbu pinned the source of his information on a dead man, Ernest Cros). Laughable poor quality versions of this “gravestone” were soon produced and placed in an ossuary in the cemetery of Rennes-le-Château. Philippe de Chérisey elaborated on this claim and produced an artistic impression that is still taken seriously today (but Philippe de Chérisey claimed the source of this “gravestone” was Eugène Stüblein, not Ernest Cros, thus contradicting Corbu's 1962 story).

The alleged “Cros Report” that refers to this gravestone didn't exist before the mid-1960s and it was most likely produced after the publication of the book L'Or de Rennes by Gérard de Sède in 1967. There is absolutely no evidence that the alleged “Cros Report” existed in 1958. Noël Corbu never mentioned the “Cros Report” on a Frances-Inter Radio Programme of 1962 and nobody can show from the transcript of Corbu's Radio interview that he did. Robert Charroux never asked Noël Corbu any questions about the alleged “Cros Report” on that Radio interview – like he would have done had it really existed and Corbu was reading from it in his hands. It was only Patrick Mensior's imagination that was responsible for this unjustified and unsourced claim (Patrick Mensior published the full transcript of the 1962 interview in “Emission radiophonique enregistrée en juillet 1962 avec la participation de Noël Corbu,” pages 24-40, in his magazine Parle-moi de Rennes-le-Château, N° 2, 2005).

Nobody knows what happened to the “Mort épée” gravestone if it ever existed in the first place. The infra-red photographs of it that were published in Deloux and Bretigny's book Rennes-le-Château, capitale secrète de l'histoire de France (Paris: Editions Atlas, 1982) are obvious poor fakes.

There is no evidence that Saunière “dug-up graves in the dead of night” as the conspiracy theorists claim – this was not mentioned in the two petitions of complaint about Saunière's activities in the cemetery dated 12 and 14 March 1895.

There is no evidence at all that “Bérenger Saunière and Marie Dénarnaud were the only ones who had access to the cemetery because only they had the keys to open the gate” – this is modern day conspiracy theory.

To the Rennes-le-Château conspiracy theorist, the gravestone of Marie de Negri d'Ables, Countess Hautpoul-Blanchefort acts as the touchstone that opens up the imagination of infinite possibilities“The whole mystery of Rennes-le-Château is based entirely on the decoding of the texts on these stones and the parchments which go along with them. We must focus our minds on that very fact...”

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