The Coumesourde Stone
Part 2: Say it with a stone
One stone for all, and all stones for one
four versions in circulation, it is clear that the tenors of the enigma
were not uniform in their approach as to what the design on the stone represented.
Why no-one enquired why these versions were so divergent, and why each one
who created a new version did not refer to the fact that he was not conforming
to a previous design, are important questions – which no-one seems
to have had the desire to ask.
In the absence of others having asked these questions before, we will continue to do so on our own. To recap, the various tracings – if that is what they are – show (Cros and Charroux) an outline without any information about the setting, whereas de Sède and Cholet seem to suggest it is placed within a square/rectangle.
To this, we need to add that de Sède not only presented a setting, but also offered a text that came from the back of the stone. That too is set within a frame, thus suggesting that what he had drawn, was the actual size of the stone itself – and implying that he had seen the original, for how else would he know what was on the back? Let us note that Ernest Cros never makes any reference to an inscription or anything else on the back, even though it seems he is the only one of those writing on the stone who has actually seen the object!
Furthermore, based on the report published by Pierre Jarnac (aka Michel Vallet), Cros never stated that the Coumesourde stone was a detached stone, except in one instance, “other interpretations: the stone is a border stone of a property of a nobleman.” Indeed, a border stone can have – and often has – the shape of a freestanding stone, but we should stipulate that Cros is nevertheless not explicit it is a freestanding stone. Indeed, the author seems to abandon this “third option”, arguing it’s impossible, “an opinion very hard to maintain, given the text and the presence of the words ‘PS PREACUM’”, which hence suggests it is not a detached stone at all.
Which, in short, begs the question why Gérard de Sède presented this stone as such, even with a text on the back, with the risk of being exposed for what it seems to be: confabulation. Furthermore, if the real stone was ever discovered, he would have been exposed for a liar. Of course, it is possible that the stone never existed to begin with – the favourite explanation of the sceptics – but it bypasses the obvious, which is that no-one has pointed out that de Sède went far beyond the available evidence – whether genuine or created by Corbu or someone else.
The shadow of the Priory on top of a stone
to the notion that this stone was an invention: though possibly, the question
is why, for the stone has never really been pulled into the “real
mystery” of the Priory of Sion, largely always having lived a life
on its outskirts.
To this, we do need to add that “Coume-Sourde” never appears in any of the “Plantardised documents”, or the Dossiers Secrets. Hence, to argue that the Coume-Sourde was central to the Priory mythology, seems hard to maintain. Hence also the fame of the Coume-Sourde is no doubt secondary to anything else “out there” in the public imagination. It is no doubt also the reason why few researchers were interested or cared about this stone and why the above inconsistencies in the accounts were seldom – never – pointed out.
As to Gérard de Sède, we need to add that it would last until the intervention of Jean-Luc Chaumeil who, in his publications, showed that the version of de Sède was created for a specific cause, namely furthering, if not proving, the existence of the Priory of Sion. Chaumeil argued that the stone was a topographical encoding, which, when placed on a map of France, revealed certain key towns and cities that the Priory held as “dear” to their cause. It did not, however, seem to be a treasure map.
The engineer and the first secret elements
our opinion, this stone existed – exists – and we will see later
why we have this conviction. But before doing so, we need to state that
Ernest Cros, if he indeed found this site, could have made a tracing, conform
to reality. It would have been a firm start and might have prevented the
mushrooming of versions later on. If he ever made such a tracing, it has
disappeared – or he secreted it away himself.
Cros had studied at the Polytechnical School and ended his career as the Chief engineer for the State Railway. He was interested in cartography, archaeology, history and would hence have had all the necessary skills and interests in carrying out such a tracing. In fact, if Cros never made such a tracing, it is most likely because it was hard, or impossible, to do one. Perhaps the engineer was confronted with an engraving on a piece of native rock, too large to be transferred onto paper, or perhaps situated in an awkward – dangerous – place.
What Cros did not accomplish, none of the others accomplished either. None were able to show a tracing of the inscription. Furthermore, as mentioned, none of the more recent authors (de Sède, Charroux, etc.) spoke of, but did not provide any details as to where it was precisely located.
we are to assume that several researchers were able to find the key to the
message that was left by this stone, there are several “realities”
that we need to take into account. First of all, we should thank each and
all authors for being so generous as to share their discoveries and the
wealth of the treasure with all their readers; it is a form of altruism
that seems typical of writers – and few others. But equally, we should
note that many of these writers relied on tracing lines and shapes on IGN
and other types of maps, each of which did not exist at the time –
the only available map in those days was the Cassini map, which was often
difficult to get a hold of for the common folk. Hence, if this message was
coded in the 18th century, by a lord, the Marquis Paul-Vincent de Fleury,
it is possible that he had these maps at his disposal. If he encoded the
mystery topographically, then it would nevertheless imply that the decodation
would involve the same type of map, and not modern ones. But for anyone
who had the proper maps, the decodation would have been simple. For a man
like Ernest Cros, an engineer with the railways, this would have posed no
Still, if a “treasure map”, as the more popular accounts have made the stone out to be, requiring a triangle and a fourth point to identify a location is rather over the top. If it is a topographical location, there is no need for such a complex system of identifying a location. Hence, in our opinion a topographical approach is less likely and the transmission of information more so – that is, of course, if the basic ingredients, as given by the authors, are correct.
Once more, three points
There remains the delicate problem of Ernest Cros, “a brother of the three points”. What motivated him? Curiously, Michel Vallet goes to some length to try and show that he was not a Mason, based on the testimony of the parents of Cros. It is unfortunate he instead did not rely on the list of the Vichy government, which identified each and every Mason… and where Cros is listed as a Mason. Hence, the choice of Cros coming upon a document that uses “three points” to identify something should perhaps not be seen as a coincidence, if only because the three points conform to the method in which Masons position their three points. And the method of doing so, is linked to identify the “Unknown Master”. Furthermore, the method in which the Coumesourde is inscribed, namely a tracing on a “tablet” of rough stone, which was worked but not finished, should also ring further Masonic alarm bells. Thus, even if the Coumesourde were a modern fabrication, at least it was fabricated within a Masonic context – something the sceptics have definitely failed to point out.
The dangerous secrets of a Spanish exile
we continue the basic storyline of the legend, it appears that the stone
was buried and hence could not be seen by everyone. Only those who knew
where to look, would be able to find… and having found the stone and
decoded its meaning, would be able to find the location of the treasure.
Hence, it is a system of double encoding, which at first sight, might seem
an excellent method of secrecy management, but which would also greatly
confuse things. For if someone is deemed to be “on the level”
to be told the secret of the stone’s location, it implies he was also
trusted to find the treasure – so why not just tell him where the
Despite this inconsistency, the stone would enable the transmission of the secret (location), across time, without the required presence of the person transmitting it. This is therefore an excellent mechanism if the transmission would occur over a long period of time… or if its transmitter had to flee the country, for example Father Bigou at the time of the French Revolution.
Indeed, if there was a need for a quick encoding of anything, we should once again look towards this priest, whom previously, we know, was able to encode his cemetery so that his successors would be able to learn some of its subterranean secrets. If the priest was aware of anything else – another treasure, or another location of importance – than it is likely he would have gone about it in the same manner.
But in this logic – and with Bigou’s track record – the position of the Coumesourde stone itself might have been more important than the message on it; or at least the two may have been linked. In the popular account, the position of the Coumesourde has been deflated, with its inscription taking the limelight. That may be a serious error, for if only the inscription mattered, why did the encoder not leave it in a safer, more accessible position?
A Masonic Intervention
provide further insights into all of these scenarios, and especially the
“Bigou route”, we should note that this priest’s writings
while in exile remained, until the 20th century, the private possession
of a religious society in Spain. We could call this “the Priory”,
not of Sion, but of Spain. As to where we should find this organisation,
it is known that this was in the larger area of Gerona.
Approximately a century ago, these “heirs” of a New Age opened their ranks, for a precise mission, so that certain brothers could be admitted – brothers of the Masonic kind, not brothers of the religious kind. This “mission” was slow in development, as if the plan itself had to take its time, or run a certain course – or conform to a certain predestined timeline. But part of this transmission was the annexation of two Lodges, one from Lyon and the other from the Catalan region, a transmission in which Saunière would play an important role.
So, if someone (Bigou) encoded something, and gave the secret of the code to a secret society (a “Priory”), the code would be well-protected, and transmitted over time. When someone felt that the time was ripe to try and decode or solve the riddle, they might have decided to open up their group, if not twin it with a French lodge, as this would allow French people to join this lodge – and it might be French people were required… as they lived in France, not Spain. Specifically people from this region might have been tapped. Irrelevant of the small details, once a decision was made by this organisation to open up its ranks to Masons, Masons could have joined – for example the likes of Saunière or Cros.
Though this is a very logical – and likely – scenario, when we apply it to the Coumesourde stone, we nevertheless note that there are some problems. For example, if Cros did come into the possession of this specific secret (as opposed to other information), it appears that there is no clear evidence as to what happened with it between the moment of Cros’ death (in 1945) and the moment when it reappeared as part of the mystery of Rennes-le-Château, in the late 1960s. Still, it is possible that when it resurfaced, or made its way into the possession of Noël Corbu, it did so from Cros’ personal archives, as present in one of his properties, in Ginoles. This document could have been found when the property was broken into and looted in 1960, by an unknown vandal. It could be at that moment in time that the document was retyped, and slightly changed, to be later published by Michel Vallet. If this scenario were true, then of course it implies that the thief was after specific information – though perhaps he did not steal, but instead preserved, certain information that would otherwise have become lost. The break-in into the property of Cros – which was listed for demolition – did come at a remarkable moment in time, for it would be shortly afterwards that the stone began to make its appearance in the puzzle of Rennes-le-Château.
The astonishing adventures of Ernest Cros
the elements are correct as they are represented, then it seems that Ernest
Cros succeeded in locating this stone. But arriving in the area where the
discovery was made, it becomes quickly clear that this is not the easiest
of terrains. There are shrubs and various undergrowth that make the exploration
of the area very difficult. Even going to a predefined point as identified
on the map becomes troublesome to the extreme; a modern GPS system helps,
but though this will correctly identify where the precise location is, getting
there quickly and easily is another thing. Without GPS, progress is slow,
and if the material you have to discover is not visible to the naked eye
but hidden, the task is virtually impossible. Worse, if you are looking
for something but have no precise information about its exact location or
visual appearance, you might prefer to go and search for the needle in the
haystack, as it will be easier to retrieve. Even if, somehow, at one point
in time, you happen to chance upon something that may very well be the item
you are looking for, even then there is never an absolute guarantee that
what you found, is what you are looking for, unless the item is so distinct
there can be no doubt.
In either scenario, we have to take our hat off to Cros for going on this quest, and being able to discover something.
if Cros did set out to make this discovery, we need to underline that Cros
was a scientist, a rational man, not known for his adventures, and definitely
not for his dreams. Hence, if he set out on this quest, it is that he was
at least moderately comfortable he would recover something.
Of primary interest for Cros would have been having to know what he was looking for, and the knowledge that there actually was something to discover. What would Cros push into going out and trying to locate this? No doubt, of vital importance would have been that the discovery was… of vital importance. Also, we need to ask whether this was a personal quest, or whether someone had requested or demanded from Cros to carry out this quest on their behalf. In this case, it is clear Cros did not act alone and that Cros was largely the “labour force” these “unknown superiors” – or colleagues – relied upon.
If some of these criteria were not met, then it is still possible that Cros, who was a known amateur archaeologist, made the discovery by accident. But despite this possibility existing, it is also extremely unlikely – if only because the site where the location was made, would not be one where random discoveries are made, and specifically not if the stone was hidden.
If the stone was encoded, then it is likely that the code was at least a century old – going back to the times of the Revolution. Also, it is highly unlikely that the people who had the key in their position to unlock it was the noble family that allegedly sought to hide the information – as the Revolution had largely eradicated nobility. Hence, another, non-family line of transmission was required, and there are only a few known to exist: within a religious society or Masonry and like.
Spain plays and wins
would have changed in the state of play on the Coumesourde stone, had it
not been for one important event. The French correspondents of the Spanish
group, which had gone public with the announcement that they possessed the
notebooks of Bigou, decided to launch a second “mission” that
concerned the Coumesourde stone. One year ago, they began to work from the
same foundation that Cros possessed – or had been given: information
present in Bigou’s notebooks.
At first, they were able to locate a mine in the area of the Rennes-le-Château – a discovery about which we reported previously. Then, we heard, at regular intervals, information about their progress in tracking down the Coumesourde stone, which was painstakingly slow, if only because of the conditions in which the quest had to be carried out – even though the general area where to look was known. It was only at the beginning of the spring of 2007 that the stone was located and verified for what it was.
delving into the story of the stone itself, we need to remain in Spain.
It is by now clear that a lot of information is beginning to point towards
Spain and the region where Bigou spent his final few years, after having
had to abandon Rennes-le-Château. We have the recent revelations from
Patrice Chaplin, we have most importantly the notes of Bigou… and
we have certain anomalous events that have occurred in front of many people’s
eyes, but which were not seen for what they were. As to Chaplin’s
“City of Secrets”, we should note that it argues that Cros was
somehow instrumental in being a liaison between Saunière and Gerona,
specifically the “exchange” of Maria Tourdes, a local girl from
Quillan, who was given sanctuary in Gerona, by a “private society”
– with which Saunière was familiar. Let us also note that this
group claimed it had sheltered Bigou… and could thus very well be
the same private society that some years ago proclaimed to be in the possession
of Bigou’s notebooks. If so, there is a logical scenario, which also
takes into account the union of two lodges.
Bigou possessed certain information, which was preserved by a society. A century later, it linked with Saunière who, with help or mediation from Cros, began an exchange. Saunière was able to decode Bigou’s “cemetery riddle”. At some point in time, later, it seems that Cros was entrusted with carrying out a similar mission, which involved the discovery of the Coumesourde stone. Each piece of this “riddle” was later seized upon and transformed by “the Priory of Sion”, with endless speculation on both subjects. Whereas it is clear that the “cemetery riddle” had all to do with how to get easy access to some of the subterranean aspects of the church, we would not, at present, like to speculate as to what the purpose of the Coumesourde stone was – except that it was no doubt not what the principal authors writing about the stone thought it was.
to the final enigmatic event that reveals a link between Spain and Rennes-le-Château:
there was the discovery of a stone in the “River of Colours”.
This event did not occur without incident. The recovery operation of this
stone from the river bed was carried out with the authorisation or knowledge
of the (then) mayor – it is difficult to hide the type of machinery
that was required for the operation. And hence, rather than try to do anything
illegal, those desiring the recovery of this – at first glance relatively
unimpressive – stone had proposed an exchange – the church of
Rennes would receive a new bell, if they could get this stone. The authorities
at the time should have questioned why someone wanted a stone no-one seemed
In the end, matters did not work out as envisioned, but we mention the story because of the fact that those putting forward the proposal were Spanish in origin. Why Spaniards would be interested in a local stone in the vicinity of Rennes is a good question – to which we will only add that it appears to have been not the only such stone that created interest from south of the border – the not too distant Coumesourde stone being another example.
also argued that “a mysterious Spanish society” had an enigmatic
archaeological stone in its possession, which had been hidden in the garden
of “the Frenchwoman” in the centre of Gerona. Later, the stone
was removed from its hiding place and apparently transferred to Perpignan,
where it remains guarded by “a private society”.
As to the stone of the “River of Colours”, did it perhaps contain certain “indications”, similar to those found on the Coumesourde stone? Or perhaps even indications on how to recover the Coumesourde stone? Perhaps the future will tell…