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The hype and controversy surrounding the documentary film Bloodline has reached maximum levels in the lead-up to the first screening of the film in New York this Friday. Film-maker Bruce Burgess appeared on both Nightline and Good Morning America (click links to watch videos) to discuss the Da Vinci Code-like discoveries his team have allegedly made over the past few years. Some of the video presented includes footage of the discovery of a mummified body beneath a ‘Templar’ shroud. Bruce will also be appearing on Fox and Friends this weekend.

However, doubts about some of the discoveries have been increasing in the Rennes le Chateau research community, with this National Post article even quoting our good friend Andy Gough (from the Arcadia website) on some of the issues at hand:

The Internet hype is that Mr. Hammott has solved Sauniere’s riddles — that the Holy Grail has been found and is now held at a secure location by Hollywood producers — but Mr. Gough said Mr. Hammott’s behaviour after finding the bottles suggests a stronger interest in publicity than discovery.

“If you or I discovered a bottle that we thought contained great secret parchments and messages and codes, wouldn’t you open it? But no, they bring it back to London and take it to a symposium in Glastonbury, and open it in public, and everyone says, ‘Oh, that’s red felt-tip pen. I didn’t know they had soluble ink at the turn of the last century.’ It looked totally implausible. Then, all of a sudden, there’s three or four more bottles. And there’s spelling errors. The priest [Sauniere] spells his [own] name wrong. It goes from bad to worse … It’s like an Easter egg hunt,” Mr. Gough said.

The Rennes le Chateau Research Resource website has a detailed list of concerns about the discoveries presented in Bloodline, and the Arcadia forum has an evolving discussion with input from some of the key protagonists (or is that antagonists? You be the judge).

People familiar with the tale/myth of Berenger Sauniere’s alleged world-shaking discoveries should be used to all this cut and thrust, controversy and innuendo – after all, it’s been going on like this for decades. Which is why I think a lot of readers will enjoy this insightful essay by Mariano Tomatis Antoniono: “ARG as a new model for Rennes-le-Château phenomenon: Alternate Reality Game and the theories about the treasure of Bérenger Saunière“. I’m also currently reading Jacques Vallee’s interesting JSE paper on the anatomy of a great hoax (using the Philadelphia Experiment as an example), and I might post on the similarities to be found there at a later point.