Berenger Sauniere, the priest in charge of the castle-parish, is at the center of the chateau's conspiracies. Sauniere ran the chateau from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. After finding parchments during a renovation, he became fabulously wealthy. Many wondered if he found something valuable within the chateau. The structure is loaded with many secret rooms and tunnels. There is a nearby graveyard as well.
The priest got in trouble with his higher-ups for taking money from masses that he did not perform. He was ordered to hand over his personal ledger which he refused. The priest was essentially fired. I think they call it "suspended". Sauniere spent much, much more than any priest could have afforded from his salary and supposed coffer booty. His housekeeper who was accused of grave robbing along with Sauniere claimed she knew a secret that would make one rich. She carried her secret to the grave, but before dying, she had a stroke that left her speechless before telling anyone the reason for Sauniere's wealth.
Some conspiracies speculate that Sauniere found one of the Knights of Templar treasure. Others believe he found the treasure of Blanche of Castille. Then there is the treasure of the Cathars, the Holy Grail, the Ark of the Covenant, and on and on it goes. But the hidden treasure is only one of the strange things about Rennes le Chateau. This conspiracy influenced some of the content in the famous best seller Holy Blood, Holy Grail which in turn influenced Dan Brown in his Da Vinci Code.
|Fountain inside Rennes le Chateau|
But there is more, much more, the kind of stuff that sci-fi writers live for. Some believe that Sauniere was a Rosicrucian, another secret society that doesn't get as much hype as the Freemasons. He supposedly liked to travel back and forth between the Rennes le Chateau and the city of Girona. He liked a tower in Girona that was used as a model for the tower he had built at the Rennes le Chateau. Once the tower at Rennes le Chateau was completed, many wondered if both towers caused some kind of vibration or a portal of sorts made for time travel. Some even believe that Sauniere had been through the portal, leaving many clues for others to find. The area has long been connected to UFO sightings and alien abductions. This is definitely on my bucket list for upcoming vacations!
Going to try to use this for my next book! Like history and legends, give The Best Seller a try!