Pech de Thauze is better known as Bugarach – the name of the village that sits at the bottom of its slopes. Bugarach is an impressive mountain, which has always spoken to the imagination of the local people. But today, its mystery has been eclipsed by another village, that of Rennes-le-Château, which in distance is close, but in interest, has attracted most of the attention.
Still, Bugarach has its own mystery, specifically the mysterious adventures of one Daniel Bettex, who came to the site, went on underground expeditions… and eventually lost his life in these endeavours.
The entire region is limestone, and hence there are numerous caves. Bugarach has its fair share of underground caverns, some of which are unknown to the general public, some of which are known to certain “initiates” and some which have perhaps never been discovered. It is an area with large underground salt deposits, specifically in the neighbouring Rennes-les-Bains, whereas Rennes-le-Château is often said to have a large underground water tank, which might go as deep as several hundreds of metres. The underground network is complex, largely unexplored, and runs for miles. It is known that an underground river near Bugarach is connected as far west as Salses… no doubt before entering into the Mediterranean basin. The river does not appear on any maps, but underneath the surface, it runs its course.
Michel Lamy is the author of a book on Jules Verne, where he explores the possibility that one of the founding fathers of science fiction was aware of certain esoteric knowledge that he worked into his novels. Verne wrote about Bugarach and the existence of an underground civilisation. Lamy wondered whether he could find this access…
The tradition of entrances giving way to large subterranean networks sits within the pagan Celtic religion, in which hollow hills were deemed to be entrances to “other worlds”, specifically the realm of the fairies. These hills were not really hollow – but that is what they were labelled; other traditions described them as crystal or glass-like.
Lamy also referred to the work of Nicholas Roerich, who wrote: “After a hard voyage, if you did not lose your road, you arrive at the salted lakes. This passage is very dangerous. You will arrive then at the mountains of Bogogorch. There an even more perilous track starts…” We can only wonder about the similarity between BoGogoRCH and BuGaRaCH (the capitalisation is taken from the work of Michel Lamy).
The people of the underground
The famous underground world with its divine, otherworldly ruler exists in legend, where he ruled over a people that were sheltered from the piercing eyes of Mankind. The notion may seem strange, but the Fortean literature – and comic books such as Yoko Tsuno – is replete with stories of strange, otherworldly and/or alien civilisations hiding underneath the Earth’s surface. Some have even spun theories suggesting that the Earth itself is hollow – that this “fact” is known to a select few and thus part of a major conspiracy… and that this hollow earth would even be a hiding place for the Fourth Reich – surviving Nazis from World War II.
It is part of the mystic lore of Bulwer-Lytton in The Coming Race, in which these subterranean people use a mysterious power source, “vril”, which will one day leave its obscure hidings and enter into the light – making us into their slave race.
More science fiction
Verne drew the reader’s attention towards Bugarach, using many of the toponyms in the area in his novels. There is the reference to a “Clovis Dardentor”, which has been explained as being of interest to the mystery of Rennes-le-Château. In this novel, the hero seeks a fabulous treasure which he can find only by using geographical data and a select few documents. Alas, the deposit is impossible to locate – very much like Saunière’s.
Verne was not the only author with such an interest. There is Maurice Leblanc, Gaston Leroux, George Sand, Andre Malraux, Louis Fédié, Henri Boudet, Daniel Réju, Serge Hutin, Luc Alberny, to quote only those. It is a long list, but when one looks beneath the surface, it becomes clear that these authors belonged to various initiatory organisations, some obscure, others better known. But in all cases, the references are few and far between. Though clear works of fiction, they are nevertheless clearly “manmade”, written by a human being, conscious of what he is writing. Can it therefore be really a coincidence? Instead, is it certain knowledge that these authors are able to pass into the public conscience, who is unaware of it, and even those who are looking will never be able to say more than observe “the coincidence”, which is all that we can do here… but is it not like the magician, who is sworn to secrecy not to reveal his act, but who can nevertheless hint and point at the mechanism of his profession… so that those who are observant, will see and learn?