When Ben Hammott first fought his way through the overgrown brush to find the hidden cave entrance, he saw to his dismay that someone had been there before him. On closer examination he determined that the footprints were not new. Perhaps the Abbe Sauniere had been there. The shoes of a turn-of-the-century priest would leave far different impressions than those of a hiker with modern tread-patterns.
Is this the cave entrance to a tomb?
"The Parchments, the Priest, and the Tombstone"
Since Sauniere deliberately defaced the 19th century flat cover-stone of the last surviving member of the Hautpoul-Blanchefort line, it is obvious that he had found the cache to which the alignment indicators pointed. Was this the recently discovered Templar tomb up in the hills?
The encoded message in the first Blanchefort parchment declared that: "This treasure belongs to Dagobert II King and to Sion and he is there dead." The mention of "Sion" refers to the Hebrew - Merovingian lineage of King Dagobert II, and it would seem that his treasure was located within a tomb. The 2nd parchment makes references to landmarks and to the blue apple windows of Rennes-le-Chateau church. The text mentions the "demon guardian" as well. It was the demonio statue at the entrance to that church that guided Hammott to the maps drawn by Beranger Sauniere and left buried in wine bottles. Another clue was in one of the painting that the priest obtained on his trip to Paris, that of the Teniers "St. Anthony and St. Paul". The 2nd parchment says "…no temptation that Poussin Teniers hold the key…." This was the only Teniers painting of St. Anthony that was not a "Temptation of St. Anthony" - "no temptation". The two saints sit outside the entrance to a cave which is the main clue to the finding of the tomb. The other landmarks mentioned in the 2nd parchment probably form a triangulation. Trigonometry, the science of triangles, was the method used by the Templars to construct maps. They learned it in the Holy Land during the Crusades.
Ben`s first trip up to the cave that he found using the clues left by Beranger Sauniere was taken in the company of his brother. By the light of his flashlight he saw to his dismay that someone had been there before him, but there were none of the usual carvings or initials on the cave walls to indicate that the priest had been there. The cave reached 20 meters into the cliff and in places there was just enough room for a man to stand up. A tight curved passage-way turned a corner and it was filled with bats and spiders. Ben crawled back there as far as he could, but saw nothing. He then thought to press the record button on his video camera and push it around the corner using a tree branch. That was when the camera dropped down and disappeared. Fortunately the shaft it fell into was not straight down. It descended at a slight angle so that the camera was retrieved without too much trouble.
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