Michael Baigent Holy Bloody Holy Grail The Da Vinci Code Dan Brown Jesus Christ

Vale Michael Baigent, 1948 – 2013

The sad news has been confirmed by the New Zealand Herald. Michael Baigent, Kiwi, historian, and father of four, suffered a fatal brain haemorrhage at a Brighton hospital in England on Wednesday. He was 65.

With co-authors Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, Michael Baigent revolutionised the alternative history scene with the publishing of Holy Blood, Holy Grail in 1982. Did Jesus Christ have children with Mary Magdalene, and does his bloodline survive to this day? This controversial theory not only caught the wrath of the Vatican, but inspired thriller author Dan Brown, who used it for the plot of The Da Vinci Code. Baigent and Richard Leigh filed a lawsuit against Random House, Brown’s publisher, claiming plagiarism of their work (however, co-author Henry Lincoln refused to join them). They lost, and were ordered to pay 85 per cent of Random House’s legal costs (about £1.3 million at the time). Baigent’s youngest daughter, Tansy, told the NZ Herald how much it cost them personally:

[quote=Tansy]There was a lot of stress, his partner Richard Leigh died immediately after and my father, within six months, had to have a liver transplant because he was so unwell from the trauma of the experience.

Since then he has been living in rented accommodation because he lost all of our money and had nothing, so it’s been a terrible time and a hard time. The legal battle was something he didn’t want to be remembered for but it has been such a weight, it really ripped him apart because all he was seeking was some credibility for the work he had spent so many years doing.”[/quote]

The Daily Grail might have been a completely different beast without Holy Blood, Holy Grail. The book played a part in inspiring Graham Hancock, Robert Bauval, Lynn Picknett, Clive Prince, and countless others. So we tip our hats in gratitude and thank Michael for his books that made us think and question and seek, whatever our own personal Grails may be.

Robert Bauval posted this tribute on his Facebook page:


Author and dear friend Michael Baigent passed away last night. I have known Michael for many years. I remember with great nostalgia the amazing trip we shared in Egypt in 1998. Michael (with co-authors Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln ) published The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail in 1982, a huge book that even inspired Dan Brown’s blockbuster Da Vinci Code.

Michael was a kind and gentle man, and a great writer. He was the real thing, original and with fine virtues and integrity, who wrote responsibly after carefully researching his subject. He was a Renaissance Man, a Gnostic on a quest for the divine spark. I had much admiration and respect for him.

You have left us, Michael, but your divine spark, your light, will always glow in the wonderful books you wrote fur us.

From Graham Hancock:

Michael was a good man, a creative innovator, and a great spirit. Dan Brown and Random House have their hundreds of millions of dollars from the success of The Da Vinci Code but it is Michael who rightly should be remembered by history. Rest in peace, Michael. Rest in honour.

Fellow alternative history author Dr Robert Lomas has also tweeted the following message: “Sad news about Michael Baigent dying. He advised and helped me before I wrote my first book and remained a good friend. RIP Michael”.

Thanks to LastLoup for providing updates. Greg’s original post edited/updated by Rick.

  1. WHAT???!!!
    I read this like: WHAT???!!! WTF HE DIED!!!! Oh god how I hope it’s not true, I really hope it’s not true. He is one of my favorite authors and one of the few who didn’t let the subject matter consume his ego. Now I feel sick and depressed 🙁

    Someone, please tell me this isn’t true, I can find nothing online about this.

  2. This is what I found
    Not much:

    I am really sad about this and wish there was more info out there. If he isn’t dead, the saddest part is more people not leaving there respects on his Facebook or twitter pages. I guess we will have to wait until his family releases a statement. If any of them are on Daily Grail and this is true, my deepest condolences to his family and friends. He was a brilliant author and Brother. Peace.

  3. Sad news

    [quote=]Nelson-born historian and father of four, Michael Baigent, suffered a fatal brain haemorrhage at a Brighton hospital on Wednesday. He was 65.

    “Since then he has been living in rented accommodation because he lost all of our money and had nothing, so it’s been a terrible time and a hard time. The legal battle was something he didn’t want to be remembered for but it has been such a weight, it really ripped him apart because all he was seeking was some credibility for the work he had spent so many years doing.”

    His daughter said the family would have a funeral and memorial service in England, but Baigent wanted his ashes to be returned to Nelson. “He had a very deep connection with New Zealand,” she said.[/quote]

    RIP Michael, you where a good wolf 🙁

  4. The unknown distance to the great beyond…
    My last post on this discussion, but I am deeply saddened by this. If anyone else is actually watching this post, play the song in the video above so loud that the energy around the universe rings out in sadness.

    Forever with a philosopher’s ghost,
    Is a spirit following behind,
    And as they walk together on the path above,
    So they leave stars as there footprints,
    For the ones who look up from below.
    Look up!
    Look up!
    Look up!
    For behold, the servants of the sun…

  5. Michael Baigent RIP
    Greg I was won’dring why Henry Lincoln hadn’t passed any comment on his former co-author’s death so paid my first visit to his site which rather amazingly distills much of the same eccentric bowling along at rocket speed yet somehow all the time debonair gracious and informed sheer Englishness we all witnessed in such ground breaking documentaries as The Lost Treasure of Jerusalem [which went off in my head somewhat like an archaeological equivalent of the nuclear explosion which was beholding David Bowie for the first time performing Starman in b/w on Top of the Pops!].

    Yet I couldn’t find any mention of Baigent passing.

    Then I read these two blogs about which I’ll say nothing more than they give a rounder perspective on the whole Dan Brown Da Vinci Code court affair.

    Why I did not join with Baigent and Leigh


    An Unpleasant Business


    1. A sad affair
      Hi Alan,

      Yeah, the Da Vinci Code plagiarism case was a very sad affair. I’m sure Dan Brown is saddened by the news (Leigh Teabing is a tribute to Baigent and Leigh, afterall), but can’t say a word without Random House’s lawyers breathing down his neck. I hope though that Baigent can be remembered for the light he shone on a historical mystery, rather than failed court cases and personal issues. HB, HG influenced a lot of people in the hidden history field, and TDG would be very different without it.

      PS This post was actually written by me (I edited Greg’s original unconfirmed news brief), so any mistakes are solely mine.

      PPS If anyone has a case against Random House, it’s Lewis Perdue. 😉

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