While I was researching secret societies for Fey Tales, I came across a story so awesome that only the old adage “You couldn’t write this shit” describes it. There I was, reading a Wikipedia article for the Priory of Sion: this group probably sounds familiar to most people as it influences the basis for the plot of the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown and also seems to be where Holy Blood, Holy Grail authors Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln got the bulk of their source material (which Brown later borrowed from).
Here’s where the awesomeness comes in:
To many people the above books strike them as a contrived history that doesn’t ring true and to others, they sound like a conspiracist’s wet dream.
In this case, both groups may be correct, but not for the reasons they think: there was a conspiracy by a guy named Pierre Plantard in the 1950’s, but he wasn’t trying to prove the existence of Jesus’ descendants, he just wanted people to think that he himself owned France and he got his buddies to help out.
Here’s how I imagine the conversation went:
“Le dude, I’m the King of France!”
“Whoa!” Waves hand. “Don’t boggart.”
“Tabarnak!” (This is probably not an accurate response, nor is it likely funny outside of Canada)
So what happened after this was that Plantard and his cohorts began to feverously forge documents (also making them look older than they were) and over the years, placed them in the Bibliothèque nationale de France. These documents and Dossiers Secrets were later found by the above authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail and they most likely peed their pants with glee, thinking that they had stumbled upon a treasure that had been ignored for centuries.
And if all that wasn’t awesome enough, it gets even better:
In the 1990’s, François Mitterrand (once president of France) was being investigated in a scandal involving the Prime Minister and a banker. It so happens that Plantard (titular King of France) had spent the previous decades adding the names of important people (unbeknownst to them) to the roster of his fabricated Priory of Sion. One such person was the banker involved in the scandal.
What this meant was that now the court had to include Plantard in the investigation. His home was searched; a plethora of forged documents were found and he had to testify under oath that everything was bullshit.
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