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The Priory Hoax
The Priory of Sion, according to The Da Vinci Code, is one of the oldest secret societies still in existence. It is the Priory that has been charged with guarding the secret of the true Holy Grail, starting in 1099 when the Knights Templar discovered long-lost documents beneath the ruins of Solomon’s Temple. Leonardo da Vinci was Grand Master of this society, says Robert Langdon, from 1510 to 1519. The only problem is this: It is all a hoax.
Brown relies on a 1982 publication, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, for his information on the Priory of Sion. The authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail relied on documents provided them by Pierre
, taking the name from a nearby mountain. Their club’s “cause” was the call for more low-cost housing in France. The club dissolved in 1957, but Plantard held on to the name.
- Throughout the 1960s and the 1970s, Plantard created a series of documents “providing” the existence of a bloodline descending from Mary Magdelence, through the kings of France, down to the present day to include (surprise!) Pierre Plantard. He began using the name Plantard de Saint-Clair, saying the Saint-Clairs were direct descendants of the line of Jesus and Mary.
In 1993, Plantard’s name came up in light of a political scandal involving a close friend of then French president Francois Mitterand. Plantard had, in one of his documented lists of the Priory of Sion, listed Roger-Patrice Pelat as a Grand Master. When called before the court to testify, Plantard, under oath, admitted he had made up the whole Priory scheme. The court ordered a search of Plantard’s house, which revealed further documents that proclaimed Plantard to be the true king of France. The judge gave Plantard a stern warning and dismissed him as a harmless crank.
If that judge had known the far-reaching impact of Plantard’s fraud, he might have taken stronger action to censure the materials that Plantard had generated. While there are numerous books and articles revealing Plantard’s hoax for what it is, they do not prove as exciting as a conspiracy thriller. Thus, millions of readers are being reintroduced to Plantard’s fantasies through the writings of Dan Brown in the fictional The Da Vinci Code.
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