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23.5 Degrees: Fee, Fi, Faux Fun

Dragging the skeletons out of the closet.

By Stella Maris     May 31, 2008


La Belle Rosine
© Antoine Wiertz, 1847

Welp, I still haven’t received my review DVD of Bloodline - The Movie, so I guess I'm just going to have to resort to the outright gossip column angle for this week, instead of being able to cite specifics. From what I hear some of the "experts”, who had generously given up their time to be interviewed for the film, still haven’t received their usual customary complimentary DVDs, either.

Ironically, this is also a favorite tactic of the pranksters who perpetuate the fabricated artifact and dodgy document scenarios. They'll tell you that they have a gen-u-ine ancient document in their possession that absolutely, positively, definitely proves that The Aliens buried the Holy Grail on Mont Canigou, but they can't possibly show it to you, so you'll just have to accept their word that it's all for real and that the proof is safely secreted away for the benefit of all mankind.

Of course, delaying disclosure of the evidence for independent analysis conveniently serves the purpose of perpetuating the wild goose chase indefinitely, because then there's actually nothing that can be concretely refuted. We are tersely scolded that we should at least keep an open mind until we have seen the "evidence", which inevitably never gets produced.

To this end, pranksters are often featured on television documentaries theatrically waving documents around in front of a clueless presenter or performing what we call the "strip tease" act of revealing a misleading part of the document without allowing the actual content to be seen or verified. Or, they'll give you their own home-made transcription of the text, which they expect the erstwhile Grail hunter to unquestioningly accept as the gospel truth.

But the new-style pranksters really don't have to worry about planting their artfully crafted documents nowadays because most amateur Grail hunters will only go running off to a graphologist to verify the style of handwriting instead of consulting a forensics expert who can date the document by analyzing the paper sample, ink composition, and even the type of nib used to write the text.

If you don't happen to know any forensics experts, a reliable auction house such as Christie's or Sotheby's can spot the elements of a fabricated document in a millisecond, if you can get them to stop laughing at you long enough to hold the paper still.

However, ever since the Hareng Rouge investigation team identified Mary Magdalene's infamous Arques Sekhmet as a cheap 1980s tourist trinket a few years back, the pranksters have had to step up their performances a notch. For one thing, it is now a basic requirement to source artifacts which actually date to the alleged time frame that they are trying to recreate in their performance art pieces.

And, nowadays, you'll often see prankster operatives cruising the rural French junk markets looking for antique books, old hotel notepaper and letterheads, invoices, and other useful paraphernalia which can be used to fabricate documents that will slip through a cursory examination.

The usual trick is to slice the preliminary blank pages, that serve as the printers place-holder before the title page, out of a conveniently dated secondhand book to use as "notepaper" so that the age of the paper will correctly correspond to the date on the fabricated document or letter.

Of course, this ploy becomes even easier if the prankster happens to own a secondhand bookstore where one can monitor the steady stream of books and old family documents, that pass through, at their leisure. And house clearances of recently deceased widows are especially useful.

Okay, so what's the inside poop on the tombs and caves?

There have been so many rumors that have been disproved over the years that most of us don't pay much attention anymore and are quite astonished that anyone actually takes the matter seriously.

One gossip thread centers around a well-known French prankster who has been generating artifacts and documents regarding secret tomb locations for years. This appears to have generated even more inventive spin-off performances designed to send Grail hunters chasing their tails around in circles indefinitely.

The rumor goes that the tomb featured in Bloodline - The Movie was actually a red herring set up to divert attention away from a "real" tomb. The red herring tomb is said, by some, to have been created just a couple decades ago or, by others, up to a century ago at the earliest.

All I can reveal about the "real" tomb without incurring the risk of being boiled in oil is that, according to several contradictory sources, it can be identified by a mark consisting of three chevrons. However, this tomb - if it actually exists - isn't claimed to be that of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, or anyone remotely associated with their "Bloodline", but to someone with a completely different backstory.

However, the chevron itself is an interesting glyph which occasionally turns up in other intriguing places. On one level it is used as a heraldic device symbolizing "protection". Enticingly, three chevrons can be found on the arms of the House of Levis, which the pranksters have long tried to tie into the Davidic bloodline by claiming they were descended from the tribe of Levi, which we all know isn't actually true.

But most insiders agree that the "clues" leading to the “Bloodline” tomb were devized and planted relatively recently in order to lead Grail hunters to a location that has long been known about within inner circles.

Therefore, we are all currently placing bets on who will claim credit for the game once Bloodline fever dies down. A local French group originally claimed the credit years ago when the website announcing this exciting tomb discovery was first launched, but my money is on the spinning of another Texan Tall Tale...

On the other hand, we may not ever get to the bottom of the matter and, in reality, it doesn't actually matter.

As long as there’s money to be made, or fifteen minutes of fame to be had, the bloodline bandwagon will roll on…

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 10
1 
kamchatka 5/31/2008 4:52:42 AM
Dear Miss and/or Mr Stella Maris,<br /> <br /> Another pearl of wisdom from your secretive typewriter! Thank you. I don’t know if you read comments your fans write about your outpourings. Mostly, they write rubbish, but sometimes only they are not so. I have a question to you.<br /> <br /> I have been thinking for many months now about joining a secret society. Do you know which are the really good secret societies? Which ones have the best secrets? In ideal case, it should be secret society in north of Tbilisi. If they had weekly newsletter, where they send out new top-secret secrets to their members, that would be very nice too. Are there any secret societies where members receive a badge which they can wear under the lapel of their coat, so they can identify each other? I would like that very much.<br /> <br /> Once I joined secret society in south of Tbilisi (I won’t tell you the name! Maybe you know it), but they had sign of “Kulak†(clenched fist) outside the front door. I thought it was connected with “kulakâ€, name of capitalistic landowners, humanely crushed by our Great Leader, Stalin, in 1930s decade. I hoped that this gentlemen-only secret society would allow me to investigate with my new secret friends many great mysteries and secret places. But at initiation ceremony for me, they played too loud rock music and told me I have to take off my trousers! Then, I was shocked to discover, very muscular man in charge wanted to investigate my private secret places! As you can imagine I am sure, I was even amazed, because they were many gentlemen watching and grinning like horse. So I ran away. You will understand, I am sure, I was too frightened to go back and collect my trousers!<br /> <br /> So, if you know good secret society to recommend, not Minnie Mouse one like “Kulakâ€, I shall be very grateful to you. I am very interested in secrets, but I definitely don’t like monkey-business!<br /> <br /> Meantime, Dear Mr and Mrs Maris, please keep writing secret articles. If “25.3 degree†club has newsletter, could I receive one please? I promise not to tell anyone the secrets in it, even unless I am tortured. If there was a “25.3 degree†secret badge, that would be great too!<br /> <br />
buzzkill 5/31/2008 1:40:09 PM
Kamchatka (thanks, with a splash of grapefruit juice please), if you were to ingratiate yourself, say, with Prince David Bagration-Moukhrani, the head of your former royal family, you might get into the Order of the Eagle of Georgia and Seamless Tunic of Our Lord Jesus Christ: http://www.royalbagration.com/Dynastic_Orders.html Maybe not as secretive as you would like, but you would be in pretty distinguished company, and of course if you were to meet the right people, well...anything might happen. You might even find out some of the backstory that ties into Pierre Plantard himself. Of course, the Bagrations live in Spain now, so you would have to brush up on your Spanish.
Mnemosyne 6/1/2008 5:02:06 AM
Intriguing odd twist to the story--meaning that one tomb has been set up to protect the identification of the other tomb. Anyone know more about this House of Levis?
buzzkill 6/1/2008 10:41:45 AM
Sorry Berlioz, we do get a little carried away at times. Bloodline isn't an industry film, it wasn't made with studio backing. Strictly independent. Cinema Libre films is just a distributor, and a fairly bargain-basement one at that. They've never released a film that grossed even half a million, and with Bloodline's piddly $33K in gross sales, it's Cinema Libre's 7th highest grossing film to date. They've put no money into promotion, if you go to the Bloodline website you'll see that they're begging people to download their posters and put them up themselves. They're renting theaters by the week to show the film. Given its low grosses, it doesn't seemed destined for a long theatrical release. I don't think there's much of a chance for subjective interpretation becoming "gospel" in this case. It's simply not that well done. People who have a background in the details of the RLC story are tearing this film to shreds. The ones who are keeping the low-frequency buzz going are those who wouldn't be put off by flagrant fabrications anyway.
Mnemosyne 6/2/2008 3:59:05 AM
hmmm...I found that the house of Lévis, were the seigneurs of Mirepoix--famous name in Languedoc at least in the 11th century. Now, interestingly, a Mirepoix can be the French name for a combination of onions,carrots and celery....hmm...3 like the 3 chevrons
Mnemosyne 6/5/2008 3:52:26 AM
Berlioz writes: "PS It looks as though Rob Howells is "Arcadia", who in his comment makes ad hominem arguments against Stella Maris and advocates we all go and see the movie. Shame, it would have been a good opportunity for Mr Howells to respond to the many points that have been raised about his film." Mnemosyne asks/says--I'm having a hard time wading through the interview. What arguements against Stella Maris if any could Mr. Howells give? Can you give an example? EVEN BETTER, why doesn't Mr. Howells write a comment here? I did hear a little bit of the interview before giving up in frustration. Frankly, rather than discuss anything of real substance it was more like a cheerleader infomercial, discussing how everyone LOVED the movie and how everyone was coming up to them (Howells, Barnett, Burgess) and telling them how THANKFUL they were for them exposing the secret. I do think it would be good to hear from someone at Bloodline to clear up any mythconceptions.
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