|The Pumaz Report|
The missing document
every story, there are claims and allegations and “shady dossiers”,
from the intelligence dossiers about the invasion of Iraq to mythical reports
that no-one has ever seen. The story of Rennes-le-Château is no different.
And in the latter, there have been a number of instances in which tall claims
were made, only to be exposed as hoaxes. Fortunately, many, most if not
all of the latter examples are short-lived and are shot down before the
entire world falls victim to them. Often, they go against elements that
are not well-known or not yet in the public domain, but carefully sat upon
by a small number of researchers, that can be used to measure the new or
assumed missing pieces of the puzzle.
Still, it is known that a faked document can be used to create a certain reaction, as seems to have been the case with the enigmatic “manuscripts” that Saunière allegedly discovered in Rennes-le-Château and which became notorious with Gérard de Sède’s primer on the mystery. Though there is little doubt that he found some type of document, it is now clear that the two parchments which De Sède introduced as the key of the mystery were forged by the likes of Pierre Plantard and Philippe de Cherisey. The question as to why they forged parchments, is of course of interest, and few have addressed, let alone answered, that question.
True or fake?
quagmire has meant that after several decades, it is often difficult to
separate the true from the fake. And this quagmire, we exclude certain confusions,
such as the photograph of Alfred Saunière which some mistake for
Béranger, or the photograph claimed to be Saunière on his
deathbed when in truth it is an altogether different priest!
Within the jungle that has thus been created, there are few who have dared to address the key topics – let alone discover the key items – and subject them to a thorough analysis. Yet, amongst those who did and succeeded was a person using the pseudonym “Pumaz”, who in the Rennes-le-Château community is almost a mythical person, known best for his enigmatic “Dossier Pumaz”. But unlike some rumours, this dossier definitely exists.
all began in 1970, in a magazine called “L’intermédiaire
des Chercheurs et des Curieux". A second intervention by our author
occurred in issue 246 in June 1971, column 792. It is a short intervention,
titled “Abbé Béranger Saunière (1970)”.
It speaks of a veritable treasure of Rennes-le-Château, which apparently
was not discovered by Saunière. It goes on to explain that it was
abbé Bigou, the priest of the village from 1774 to 1791, who had
with “an extraordinary ingenuity” woven his signature into the
gravestone of the Lady of Hautpoul. He used, it was argued, a “very
apparent key” which allowed the reconstruction of a simple cipher.
The announcement was signed “PUMAZ”, followed by a short description
of the location where the deposit was presumably in situ, which, of course,
was nowhere near the two Rennes.
Another text, slightly longer, appears to be a reply to certain people, whose comments we do not have. This time, the method of the cipher is clearly and precisely explained, stating it is found in the Roman letters LIXLIXL. This explanation is very rigid and shows that the author is very familiar with this type of decodation; he is definitely not an amateur.
On to issue 283, dated October 1974. This time, Pumaz replies to certain comments made by René Descadeillas, Conservator of the municipal library of Carcassonne, who appears to be agitated by Pumaz’s allegations. “You have found the signature of Bigou. Ok. And what now?" Pumaz remains calm to the extreme: “The name of Bigou, found in an inscription with the aide of a key that is placed in the other, shows that this one is the complement of the former and that it could not have been fabricated later in time, by an independent researchers, as M. Descadeillas maintains.” And that, it seems, is as far as this battle goes.
November 1975, issue 296. Pumaz states that people should direct their attention towards the church of St Sulpice in Paris. In a few lines, he explains that the enigma of Rennes-le-Château is linked with a fresco, “Heliodorus chased from the Temple”, painted by Eugène Delacroix.
Five years have now passed since his first intervention, but it seems that Pumaz had been working on this material since 1968. We know, as he told us. Though Pumaz is definitely not seeking the limelight, it is clear that he is engaged with the tenors of the debate. Towards 1973, there is a rapport with Pierre Jarnac/Michel Vallet, who is equally convinced that the story of Saunière is not confined to that man alone and it seems that he is perfectly in agreement with the conclusions that Pumaz is setting out.
The Pumaz file
is, of course, a pseudonym. Whereas this should be a reason for concern,
as those who hide behind pseudonyms normally only have things to hide, in
this case, we do indeed know the reason why this person needed to hide his
true identity: his profession.
But before revealing that aspect of the man, we need to sketch his initiatory voyage into the enigma, which begins, as with so many, by reading Gérard de Sède’s “L’or de Rennes”, in 1967. For Pumaz, it is what he has labelled “a personal research”. Nevertheless, it appears that rather than a private desire, there are other voices who claim that Pumaz was in fact “requested” if not “ordered” by “a high authority” to try to solve the enigma of Rennes-le-Château. Though this allegation can never be proven, it should not by default be listed as an invention.
first “Pumaz file” was finished in 1977, but the final version
was written in 1985, 17 years after the start of his research. The “Pumaz
file” or “Pumaz Dossier”, as it has become known, has
never been officially published, at least not by the author. The first official
edition appeared in “Le Dossier Pumaz” in late 2006, though
an unauthorised version appeared earlier by Philippe Marlin, in the columns
of his magazine. Rather than “the Pumaz file”, Pumaz himself
titled the work “A PROPOS D’UN CURE (En auscultant Saunière)”
and is dated Neuilly, 1977. Though 17 years in the making, it only contains
44 pages, format A4. The only original document known to exist is in our
possession and is dedicated by the author to the person he gave it to: Lucienne
Julien, friend of Déodat Roché and a researcher in her own
name, through whom we received it.
The work contains an old map of the county of Razès, an ancient engraving (Amphithéâtre de l’Eternelle Sapience), a photograph of the St Sulpice painting, a drawing that explains the photograph, as well as a drawing of the two sides of the Coumesourde stone and the two tombstones of Marie de Negri.
Pumaz used a typewriter and was never intending to publish. Hence, a copy was not sent to the National Library to be registered there. The method of his writing makes it equally clear that Pumaz was not writing for the general public; instead, he uses dry technical language. It is clear that it is an account of his research, which is either merely for his own personal use, to have a record, or is a report he is submitting to a small number of expert readers.
first reaction should indeed be to think that this is yet another attempt
to explain the mystery of Rennes-le-Château. If Pumaz had published
it in 1970, he would be amongst a handful of such individuals: by 1985,
there were enough theories out there to fill a medium to large-size insane
asylum with its authors.
But a reading of the document makes clear that his does not fit in that category. Though it may seem to be bizarre to read such a document (which largely makes use of the elements as they were in 1968 and hence does not devote any ink to the more outlandish theories that have become the standard recently), it does not read outlandish.
Saunière is depicted as a man who was “piloted” to certain places whom he could not have discovered alone. We read: “A few years later, with money in his account, Saunière carries out the most urgent reparations and attacks the restoration of the altar, for which a pious person has given a special donation. This restoration, a request to Saunière, is very important for it leads the priest to displace the altar and, in doing so, allows him to restore in his church the drawing to find on the ground the hiding place of the treasure.” It argues that Saunière could have been manipulated, knowingly or unknowingly.
Furthermore, throughout the document, it is clear that the author suspects that higher religious authorities were involved in the works that Saunière carried out, and that he was not the sole agent in them. He adds though that there is no link between the prosperity of Saunière and his supposed discovery. It is, he writes, “without foundation”.
So: though the priest may have discovered a fabulous treasure, it appears that this treasure itself was not the source of his wealth. He argues that the work was carried out with the permission or the help of his bishop, as well as with the help of several other people. But can we believe that, once the treasure or secret is discovered, everyone is no longer interested and does not want to have a part of it? And that they all leave it for the priest to take what he wants and do with it what he wants? Pumaz does not believe so.
we find several other players that are now well-known to be part of the
“mystery”: Vincent de Paul, the Lazarists, etc. Specifically,
he lists Bigou as a key player, a man who left his imprint and knowledge
behind, before leaving and dying n Spain. And he argues that this knowledge
is also about other locations, though these are not part of the mainstream
interest in the enigma. He lists Bézu as one such site, stating:
“There is a small church there which today is abandoned. In this building,
a statue of John the Baptist, with his right arm broken and stuck back on
the wrong way around (after 1959) appears to indicate a point of the vault.
What can John the Baptist show us with his cut and turned over wrist?”
Let us note that since, the church of Bézu has been partially restored.
We also find certain notes to other seldom mentioned sites, in regards to
Notre Dame de la Salette and Isère.
Though discussions about St Sulpice are now commonplace (and definitely so after The Da Vinci Code), at the time of writing, the observations Pumaz made were less if not ill-known. “In the church of Saint Sulpice in Paris: the stations of the cross; the reversed N in two signatures of the painter Signol; in the crucifixion painted by this artist, the plaque at the top of the Cross of the Saviour where the three lines are written from right to left, the Greek and the Latin thus the other way around.”
Speaking of inversions: Signol becomes Longis, which is the name of the soldier who allegedly pierced the side of Christ. Such displays of ingenuity underline his professional acquaintance with ciphers.
The ingredients of a mystery
Chapter three discusses the various ingredients of the enigma and several are often thrown out, without remorse, it seems. In this category are the parchments deposited in the National Library in Paris, the parchments which according to de Sède are the core of the enigma. Still, it seems that these documents have some importance to Pumaz, though not for the normally cited reasons. He shows the parchments cannot predate 1860, this for technical reasons. “We can be certain that these papers are false and that they do not date from the era from which they pretend to date; everyone is agreed on this issue. Gérard de Sède has written that they do not predate the Renaissance, and R.P. Gepetti who made the expertise at the request of Descadeillas is even less generous. I agree: these parchments can not predate 1861, due to the reason of the role played by the 128 letters inserted in the former and the graphic of ISCI in the other.” He then goes on to substantiate why he thinks so.
may thus be considered to be something of a debunker, but his tone changes
when he tackles the Delacroix painting in St Sulpice. In fact, from the
way he tackles this, it becomes clear that those who have cracked the puzzle
of Rennes-le-Château – or those who have always known –
have a certain devotion to this painting.
Pumaz seems very animated: “Heliodorus is a simplified map of the area around the two Rennes and it allows one to locate the treasure cache of the Razes. But this treasure is not made up of vulgar wealth. One only needs to know how to read the fresco of Delacroix! A detail five times represented by the artists allows one to know how and this fivefold sign is given to us through a play on words […] It is hard to explain how Eugène Delacroix […] painted two years before his death a fresco with a double meaning on the account of a band of jokers or for the benefit of people who would be born almost three quarters of a century later.”
becomes even more animated and serious when he tackles the decodation of
the writings that are inscribed on the tombstone of Marie de Negri. He argues
that indeed someone could make one if not several mistakes, but when it
comes to writing NOBLe, with a minor e, that this is an unheard off remark
of stupidity: though the inscriber may have made a mistake, he would never
have put that e as such, but would have continued his error, writing NOBLE.
Furthermore, he wonders whether “CATIN” – whore –
could have been left without anyone objecting to it… unless the person
ordering it, wanted it there for a very good reason. “It is clear
that the workman has recopied, in precise detail, a model that was given
to him, and these two anomalies, like the others, have a precise meaning.”
He then goes on to explain how we can retrieve the name of Bigou from this,
through the usage of a key. In fact, he makes his explanation so simple
and straightforward that it puts most of the researchers who have tried
to “break this code” to shame.
For Pumaz, Bigou is not a small-time priest in a godforsaken village. In fact, elsewhere, in the researchers’ magazine, he wrote that “If I come across Bigou in the other world, I will be happy to talk to him a bit…”
A treasure map
Then, using Boudet’s book and establishing a “Boudet meridian”, he comes to the conclusion that there are three potential locations for this treasure. He adds: “Here we are therefore confronted with a double (or triple) cache, spiritual and material. In the Razès, one can only think about the Cathar treasure, to whom such a double nature has often been attributed.” He then goes on to explain how he has gone to these sites to verify his remarks. He then quickly moves on to state that apart from those on-site inspections, he had certain encounters with people who lived there: the names are well-known: Déodat Roché, Franck Marie, Lucienne Julien, Jean Robin and Pierre Jarnac.
is around 1978 that there is a rumour doing the rounds about the presumed
existence of a document known as “the Pumaz report”. No-one
is able to find any trace of it and enquiries made to the National Library
(where it was not deposited) came up blank either. Some thus conclude that
there is no substance to the rumour and is nothing but an invention.
Nevertheless, there are contacts in that period, specifically between 1973 and 1975, with the author of this report, but as the man is using a pseudonym, and the contacts occurred with the man’s real name, no-one puts two and two together.
first mention of the name Pumaz was, as mentioned, in 1970. Every intervention
by this person tackles the enigma of Rennes-le-Château and specifically
Saunière’s role. The tone and type of comments interests certain
researchers and they try to establish contact with Pumaz. On most occasions,
it seems that he uses the pages of this magazine to reply, evading all attempts
to uncover his real identity.
Still, there is another text, published in the newsletter of the “Société du Souvenir et des Etudes Cathares”. The organisation is presided over by Déodat Roché (whose family house would later be converted into the Cathar Museum in Arques) and has as secretary Lucienne Julien, living in Narbonne. We note that both names are present at the end of the Pumaz report as some of the people with whom Pumaz has corresponded, if not spoken to. Furthermore, we know that Lucienne Julien was for Pumaz a valuable source on Catharism, the region, its history and its legends.
As a consequence of this friendship, an article by “Pumaz” finds its way into the “Cahiers d’Etudes Cathares”, issue 96, dated winter 1982. Still, there is hardly a reaction to this article and few researchers are aware of it. And the reason for this is quite simple: rather than signing Pumaz, he has this time used his real name: Georges Cagger. Let us note that it is an article that is nine pages long and has “Notes sur Rennes-le-Château” as title.
Cagger was a man who had a profession that could be described as of “primary importance”, working as a cipher expert for the French government, with the grade of “Contre-Amiral”. It should now become clear why he was so good at his decodation and specifically why he may have been instructed by others to carry out his research into this subject. Though this may not necessarily mean that the French government was actively searching for the treasure of Saunière, it may merely have been that the French government wanted to see which specific cipher was applied and what the message of Saunière or de Sède was saying. After all, perhaps de Sède could have been using his publication to pass on secrets to the Soviets… which itself may have been a perfect pretext to instruct Cagger to carry out his analysis.
‘En auscultant Saunière’
His identity now known, let us return to his report. Though we are the first to have published this report, let us note that he spoke to others about his finding. This list includes Jean Robin and it seems that he too at least saw or had a copy of this report, for there are large extracts from it in his “Les Sociétés Secrètes au rendez-vous de L’apocalypse”, published in January 1990. Though the publication showed clearly that the Pumaz report was genuine, it equally left all readers hungry for more, as we know that it were the most uninteresting aspects of the report that Robin selected for publication.
Amongst the list of people he contacted and thanks, we single out Lucienne Julien, if only because she is probably the least known publicly and the best-known to us personally. Over many years of having her as a dear friend and confidant, she believed that she was in a privileged position in regards to Cagger, as he came to consider her an important gateway into a dimension of the region that she possessed and/or had access to: she was born there, knew most if not all of the researchers, was renowned for her erudition, her library and her means to carry out certain specific investigations, if so required. For other reasons, which we cannot divulge here, she was also entrusted by Cagger to carry out specific researches on his behalf.
Let us note that at that moment in time, no-one is still in the possession of the full report. By 1986, the rumour of the report’s existence is slowly ebbing away and apart from one or two individuals, no-one will ever see it. And it is then that Lucienne Julien meets and even lodges Georges Cagger, though it appears that the reasons for these encounters are different from the contents of this report. As thanks for her help, she receives an original “edition” of this document.
Heir to the document
is in 1990 that Lucienne, unfortunately, feels that her time on this plane
is almost at an end and decides to give me not only the file, but also some
of the context of the report. Fortunately, her demise was at the time not
imminent, though she has since come to pass.
But in 1990, Georges Cagger himself was still alive and he and I exchanged several letters. Each time, he gave us new avenues of research or new elements, most of whom were not included in the report. He tells us about the church of Saint-Laurent Montferrand and St Laurent de la Cabrerisse, both of whom have never cropped up in any written material about Rennes-le-Château.
Furthermore, he tells us that he has recovered the trail of the notes that Bigou had confided to one of his colleagues, this at the time of his Spanish exile, which he takes while passing through Durban and Perillos. In 1985, there was even a rumour that there was a role in this enigma for a priest by the name of Cauneille, as well as two books, whose existence remained unproven – or non-provable. Cagger, the man he is, makes certain enquiries and discovers that there is indeed such a person, whose name is largely written like Cauneille, but not precisely. Furthermore, no-one has devoted any attention to his man, simply, it seems, because he is a Catalan priest and – of course – most tenors of the debate exclusively focus on the Aude region, confusing the mystery of Saunière with that of his vilage. As to the two books, these are the two notebooks, which are located in Spain. He adds that he has been able to recover this information by making use of his “position”.
Let us finally add that in his unpublished material, there was also much more information about St Sulpice and the church of Bézu.
An unknown dimension
It seems that this side to Cagger was unknown to those who were closest to him, including his closest friend and the executor of his will. In fact, after Cagger’s death, this person explains to us that there is no possibility that Cagger was the author of such a file, only to be confronted with the available evidence, which convinces him otherwise.
But even before his demise, with the document in our possession, certain researchers ask both Lucienne Julien and me whether this document should not be published. We both feed back to Cagger, who accepts that the manuscript can be made public. On May 3, 1995, he puts this in writing. The only clause is that we need the authorisation of Jean Robin, as his book already contained a section of the work. On May 9, 1995, Jean Robin states that he has no objections.
It took a further eleven year before this work was finally printed, in its entirety, with the supporting documents as they appeared in the other magazines. Lucienne Julien did not see the publication and neither did Cagger. Unfortunately, French scavenger publishers took the work and published it illegally, without our authorisation.
In the final analysis, the Pumaz report is therefore real. It provides a unique insight into an expert’s mind who tackled the enigma… and there are few like him in the field!
The “Pumaz Report” is available from the Société Perillos. It contains an English introduction, followed by the French language original pieces, including the articles by Cagger and Pumaz in various magazines, followed by the French – original – edition of the report itself.
by Société Perillos
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