Tuesday July 3rd
On 1st November 1897, All Saints' Day, in
Coustaussa, a small village in the Aude départément, a few kilometres
from Rennes-le-Château, news broke out of an abominable crime committed
on the person of the Abbé Gélis, the village priest.
The body was discovered the same day by his nephew,
worried at not having seen him:
"He went into the kitchen, calling
out again when, tripping on a shapeless
mass, he nearly fell; then looking at his feet, by the light
filtering in through the closed
shutters of the kitchen, he saw and recognised
his uncle lying lifeless in a pool of blood. In a panic over what he had
seen, he went out to the street, where he nearly fainted."
Given the horror of the crime, measures were
immediately had the doors of the presbytery closed, and sent an
express to Couiza in order to alert
the law and the police. Also alerted, Monsieur Pugens, justice of the
peace in Couiza, travelled immediately to the scene of the crime where,
while awaiting the arrival of the parquet of
Limoux, he proceeded to affix the seals."
It would appear that the victim defended himself:
"Lying in a pool of blood, his
cassock lugubriously soiled, the victim's hands were placed on his chest
and one of his legs was bent and turned inward...The struggle must have
been terrible and the blows violent, judging
by the victim's many wounds. Spots of blood were seen on the furniture,
the walls and even the ceiling."
The murderer, who persevered, tried and succeeded
"On a table temporarily installed in
the kitchen using planks resting on two trestles, the body of the victim
was placed and Doctor Benoît carried out the autopsy. The Abbé Gélis,
hit by his murderer with extraordinary violence and determination, bore no
fewer than fourteen* horrible head wounds, just above the nape of the
neck; the cranium was fractured in several places, and the brain exposed.
Three* wounds of lesser importance spread over the ashen face of the
The authorities used all means possible to catch
an unknown assassin:
According to "le courrier de l’Aude",
cited by Patrick Ferté:
"All the police brigades were out; they
received the order to survey the roads and the countryside. The police of
Perpignan watched the border; those of Limoux, Couiza and the environs
intensified their zeal and vigilance."
The assassin searched the house, but not in order
"Theft does not appear to have been
the motive of the crime. Drawers partly opened still contained écus
(crowns) and even 1,500 Francs in cash. However, the assassin must have
searched, but for other motives that the inquest
will no doubt establish."
* Note: "14 and 3", or 3.14 (p), secret of
the angle of 17° hidden in the Gnomon
of the St Sulpice church...
The newspaper confirmed the next day:
"The drawers were open, all the
furniture had been searched! Why, if it wasn't to steal money, shares or
other assets? Did the assassin, who snooped so meticulously everywhere,
have by chance an interest in removing a paper, a letter of exchange, the
acknowledgement of a debt? This is a simple supposition among the many
that are circulating in the streets and that we report without attaching
The Abbé Gélis must have believed he was safe,
because the newspaper noted:
"The presbytery is in the heart of
the village and is surrounded v
ept with his shutters closed, surprising above all
in summer, and he had a bell put in at the entrance of the presbytery to
announce any visitors."
Patrick Ferté comments:
"But then what was he afraid of in his barricaded presbytery, opening
only after a
password? What document was he hiding in his drawers, more
preciously than his money and his
On 9 November:
"The rumour of the arrest of the
assassin continues to circulate in our town. According to our personal
information, we can affirm that no arrest has yet occurred...all we can
say is that the law has its suspicions and that it is carrying out its
inquest actively but secretly."
The discovery of an encoded document marked the
turning point in the inquest:
On 21 November, returning to this affair,
the Courrier de l’Aude
"A precious document in this affair has just been sent to Paris to be
submitted for appraisal."
If the document was "sent to Paris", this was to limit to the
maximum the number
of people likely to have knowledge of it; in fact, it contained the
encoding of the Great Secret...
Patrick Ferté added:
"What is certain and disturbing, is
that with this dispatch, IT WAS NO LONGER A QUESTION of the inquest on the
In fact, the authorities, knowing the motive for the crime, had deducted
from it the identity of the murderer(s).
And to conclude:
" - Le
courrier de l’Aude - had asked this
question from the outset:
God only knows who is guilty. But will God allow this guilty person to
Apparently God allowed this; in any case, somewhere in the wings, THEY
seem to have managed to obtain His permission."
AN AFFAIR OF STATE OR AN AFFAIR OF
According to two lawyers, Maîtres J. Coudy and M.
Nogué, who carried out an inquest in 1975:
Gélis opened [the door] late. For whom did he open it? And why did he
take the precaution, underlined by the police reports, of releasing the ad
hoc string, the alarm bell that didn't ring, that night?"
Patrick Ferté adds:
"Some have suggested that the
assassin came to borrow money from the priest, or that he came to retrieve
a promise of debt: this doesn't wash. Because the mysterious visitor was
not received as someone in obligation, a dominated debtor, but on the
contrary as a "master", since he smoked in front of the Abbé,
who was known to detest tobacco, since he drank, as witnessed
by the tobacco odour, the Tzar cigarette paper and two opened
bottles of Banyuls and Porto."
The accounts of the curé Gélis, who received
900 Francs per year, were analysed
by the examining magistrate:
"It was not Peru...he lived on 700
Francs a year. Apart from his wages, the Abbé Gélis had a few farm
rents. Nothing important."
To everyone's surprise, it emerged that the victim
had important sums of money:
The inquest revealed (see P. Ferté,
p.93) that the curé-dean of Trèbes received during the previous three
years, 1,000 Francs per year from the Abbé Gélis, to invest in railway
"The dean received a visit from him on 24 September 1897. On this
occasion, Gélis again gave him 1,200 Francs for the same purpose, adding
that HE MUST NEVER WRITE TO HIM ON THIS SUBJECT. Always secrecy."
P. Ferté underlines (p.94), that the
curé's house was stuffed with hidden treasures:
"However, these were only trifles, compared with the examining
magistrate's discoveries, transported to the presbytery of Coustaussa on
4 November 1897:
"The judge found something written by the Abbé pinned to an expense
note dated 24 September 1897, drawn up the same day as his visit to the
curé-dean of Trèbes. This document revealed that the Abbé hid 13,000
Francs (or enough to live on for twenty years!) in gold coins in various
places in the house and sacristy."! The document was coded."
The judge made an inventory:
"4,000 F under a tabernacle, 2,000 F
under a ratchet. This in the sacristy
"buried in the earth in the second cellar". Then "in the
presbytery were discovered 1,000 F in
jaunets (gold coins) in the fireplace
mantelpiece in the bedroom; the same amount in the prayer stool, the same
amount under a stone in the privy, the same amount under the attic floor;
the same amount in an outbuilding, without mentioning the various sums in
the books in the library. There were 11,400 F all over the place, in
napoléons (coins) of 20 and 10 F contained in old bits of a stovepipe, or
in white iron tubes."
Why on earth would the Abbé Gélis have encoded
the location of his hiding
"According to Maîtres Coudy and
Nogué, only the 1,000 F reported in a cellar were not found. They are
undoubtedly still there. Amateurs take note." And to crown their
interesting article on these crucial questions: "Since when has this
treasure existed? Why? How? What hidden language had the priest used so
that the judge understood the indicated places of the caches only after
their discovery?...The affair will remain mysterious forever."
The answer is simple: he didn't do this; the encoded
document contained another Secret!
The assassin would have made a
surprise attack on the Abbé Gélis, with the tongs used to stir up a
chimney fire; then, given his resistance, would have pursued him fiercely
in order to kill him with a hatchet...(= l’erminette (adze) = aire mine
Alet: Alet mine area).
According to the examining magistrate, Raymond Jean, having carried out a
savage murder, "violent and bestial", the murderer must
have suddenly changed attitude and shown, according to the official report
of 2 November, "an unbelievable presence
Since the murder had been committed on 1
November, it was clearly premeditated, because the phonetic cabal details
one of the secrets (no. 3) hidden on the tomb of the Abbé Boudet. (Eccl.
The Abbé Gélis had to die on a 1 November...
Gélis* 1 Nov. = Je lis 1.11 (I read
Having restored order in the kitchen, the murderer
dragged the corpse to the centre of the room and placed the hands on the
chest, like a recumbent
statue. This attitude could lead one to believe that this involved a
He put his signature to the crime as a warning for the use of initiates,
counting on the Press to report it:
Angelina", a reminder of the mysterious
This was written on one of the leaves
of a book of cigarette paper that
he had brought with him, a very little known brand, "Tzar**",
"in a hand little used to
writing" = griffonnée = griffon nez... (scribbled)
Patrick Ferté reported (p. 103) that according
to Maîtres Coudy and Nogué:
"The preliminary inquiry made this -
silent witness - talk to the maximum. They interrogated all the
tobacconists in the département. No one sold, no one had ever sold,
cigarette paper called "Le Tzar". It had come from beyond the
département with its holder. Our research has not allowed us to know who made it and where?"
It would be necessary to associate the name
of this brand of cigarette paper with the existence of a bank account of
the Abbé Saunière, in Hungary...
In our view, the Abbé Gélis, having used financial blackmail on
his colleagues Saunière
and Boudet, could have been "executed" in order to preserve the
secret... The large sums
of money found at the Abbé Gélis' premises were spurned by
the assassin, who had paid them to him, in order to show that the money
was not the motive of the crime. (He was
* The sceptics should compare this with the false
date of death of the Abbé Jean Vié: Jean Vié, 1 7bre = 17 January...
** We should note, with Patrick Ferté (p.106), that Maurice Leblanc
alluded in his novel "813", which we decoded in "THE FIRST
REVELATION", to an
assassination linked to a cigarette case, containing Russian tobacco
and bearing a mysterious inscription
designating Alet: "813".