Saunière's Demon and Angels - Are they clues to a Secret?
If Sauniere embedded clues leading to the source of his wealth, or a secret he discovered, in his church as some, including me believe, then Sauniere's Holy Water stoup just inside the entrance to the Mary Magdalene church in Rennes-le-Chateau, must be of interest. Made from statues of a Demon and four Angels, it is the first piece of Sauniere's artwork that greets you as you first enter the small Rennes-le-Chateau church and this design seems to be unique to Sauniere.
Sauniere's original Demon and the different looking heads of the new (top) and original demon's head (bottom)
The newly fashioned head of the demon now has a slightly different head angle altering it's eye-line. The demon's right hand is formed into a circle.
NOTE: The Demons hand and Head were vandalized in 1996. Read Full Article and view images of the damaged Demon.
Originally the hand held a trident which unfortunately, has now been lost, along with any clues it may have once held. This circle shaped hand position could also be a further clue to link the statue to the Devil's Armchair, as nearby a spring exists called 'Source du Cercle' Source of the Circle' But I was not the first to see the connection between this strangely postured demon, or devil, and an empty seat chiselled from a large lump of rock situated on a hillside at Rennes-les-Bains - known as, 'Le Fauteuil du Diable' - The Devil's Armchair. Many I imagine have climbed the steep track to see why Sauniere may be hinting at this strange landmark. If this is a clue, then others, I am sure, had dismissed this as a far too obvious connection and so ignored it, I however, did not. Saunière's Original Demon - Devil's Armchair and Source du Circle
To me the clues in this unusual Devil and Angel artwork were screaming out to be solved. How can anyone ignore the Latin inscription placed under the Angels feet?
'PAR CE SIGNE TU LE VAINCRAS'
'BY THIS SIGN YOU WILL VANQUISH, or DEFEAT HIM.'
Sauniere has seen fit to change the original Latin by adding, 'le' which changes it's meaning slightly. Incidentally by adding the two extra letters there are now twenty-two letters in the phrase. A number that crops up repeatedly in this mystery. The 'Him' referred to could mean the devil, or could it mean Sauniere? Is he telling us that by solving the clues hidden here we will be able to solve 'His' puzzle? Akin to beating him in a game of chess maybe, as alluded to by the black and white tiled floor the demon is staring at.
Anyway, as with much of this mystery, it's easy to speculate. Whatever the message Sauniere was hinting at, I took it to mean, 'by using this sign you will solve it.' But how was this to be done?
Sign of the Angels
The Four Angels making the Sign of the Cross with the 'sign' highlighted
The Angel Sign and then turned to become the 4 - Sign
The 'signe' is obviously the sign made by the Angels making the sign of the cross, and when turned is also a number 4.
Further credence that the Devil's Armchair might be important to the mystery is that Saunière seems to have included it in the Fleury tableau. He has also placed it as near to the Devil Statue as possible in the bottom left corner.
Devil's Armchair in the Left-Hand side of the Fleury Tableau
To keep things simple and hesitant to discount the obvious, I ignored the 'Angel sign' temporarily. After travelling to Rennes-le-Bains, I climbed up the hill along the well worn track to the Devil's armchair and the Circle spring.
Source of the Circle and the Devil's Armchair
Like most do who come here, I sat on the Devil's Armchair. Then by using a photograph of Sauniere's original demon as reference, I mimicked the Demon's posture. Marking the spot where the gaze of the demon struck the floor, I proceeded to dig. but found nothing except bedrock.
Demon from Sauniere's Church sitting in the Devil's Armchair.
Time for plan two - Realising the sign had to be incorporated if anything was to be found, I measured the distance between the fingers making the sign of the left and right angel, from the spot I had marked previously. However, this measurement achieved the same results as my first attempt, nothing of any interest.
Plan three - Studying the statue again to see where I might be going wrong, I noticed the demon's left hand. Four splayed fingers resting on his leg. The thumb turned to the side. Could this be the clue I was missing?
Maybe I had to use the angel measurement four times. The thumb an indication of the direction or angle to measure out. To put the theory to the test, I measured out four times the sign width and marked the spot. It was a bit ad-hoc but I had a good feeling that I was at last on the right track. Grabbing my tools I set to work digging a long trench to make allowance for any miscalculations in my measurements. After I had dug a trench about two metres long down to a depth of about eighteen inches. I found nothing.
Perhaps if there were any clues Sauniere had included in the Demon and Angels artwork, I had read them wrong or maybe someone had deciphered them previously and found anything Saunière's clues had led to. Alternatively, the statues hold no clues and there was nothing there to be found.
Postcard of Sauniere's Church with part view of Demon and Angels statue
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