Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Saturday, March 6, 2004day link 

picture Max and I spent the day driving around a bit and looking at old mysterious places. The old medieval walled city of Carcassonne, Nostradamus' house in Alet-le-Bains, Quillan, and Rennes-le-Chateau, the most famous mysterious place around here. See here or here if you don't know the story. It involves Abbe Berenger Sauniere who found something strange while restoring the old church. Documents or a treasure, exactly what isn't exactly clear. But he came to a considerable amount of money, allowing him to fix up the place, decorating the church in strange ways, adding various buildings for himself, such as the Magdala Tower on the picture. He traveled in occult circles and had unusually many celebrity guests for a priest in a small country church. An enormous amount of stories and speculation exist about what he might have done. It involves possible hidden treasures from the Visigoths, the Templars or the Cathars.

Very interesting to finally go there and walk around in his house and his tower and in the church. Well, if I didn't know that it is supposed to be a strange and mysterious place, I'm not sure I would have caught it. It takes some scholarly knowledge and close observation to notice that the church is arranged in unusual ways and that the inscriptions are remarkably strange. I wouldn't say that the place particularly indicated great wealth. I mean, there's a little church, a house, and a tower. Without knowing the story, that might not seem unusual.

But, generally speaking, there is a mysterious and deep aura over many parts of the Lanquedoc region. Mountains, caves, forests, rivers, medieval villages, castles, ruins, ancient history, war, massacres, alchemy. So, plenty to keep exploring in the future.

On the way back we drove past Montsegur, the location of the last stand of the Cathars, before the last bunch of them were burned alive. But, well, it was getting dark, and it way up on top of a very steep mountain, so that will have to be another time.
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