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Ussat-les-Bains

Village near Montsegur where Otto Rahn lived
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Montségur

Le château de Montségur (Montsegur en occitan) 42° 52′ 32″ N 1° 49′ 57″ E, construit en 1206, est un château qualifié de cathare. En effet, ce château fut implanté à l'emplacement arasé de l'ancien village fortifié qui constituait, jusqu'au siège de 1244, le lieu de résistance des cathares et des faydits. Les cotes architecturales démontrent que le château actuel fut conçu sur la base de la canne anglaise qui ne fut introduite qu'ultérieurement ce qui prouve que celui-ci a été partiellement reconstruit par la famille du nouveau Seigneur des lieux, le Maréchal de la Foi Guy II de Lévis après la reddition cathare de 1244.

Géographie

Située sur la commune de Montségur dans le département de l'Ariège et la région Midi-Pyrénées.

Le château, restauré, est situé sur le point culminant de la montagne qui surplombe le village, à 1 207 mètres d'altitude au dessus du Pays d'Olmes.

Otto Rahn: A Hero's Journey

I recently visited the former South of France residence of the legendary Grail hunter Otto Rahn, only to discover that it was scheduled to be demolished, thus ending an era, and prompting this memorial.

I believe Otto Rahn (1904-1939) was a hero; the real Indiana Jones and prototype for Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon character. A tireless explorer, Rahn was a gifted researcher, committed to the quest like no one before, or since. Quite simply, he was a grail hunter extraordinaire.

Rahn was obsessed with the Cathars, and was convinced that their treasure remained hidden in the shadowy crevasses of the Pyrenees. His research led to Montségur, which he believed to be Munsalvaesche, the Mountain of Salvation of Wolfram von Eschenbach’s epic grail romance, Parzival. Not surprisingly, the entire region around Montségur soon became Rahn’s esoteric playground.

Otto Rahn: To Rennes or not to Rennes?

Claims

“The Emerald Cup-Ark of Gold: the Quest of SS Lt Otto Rahn of the Third Reich”, Colonel Howard Buechner claimed that Otto Rahn visited the Corbières in 1937. This visit is not substantiated. However, there is little doubt in my mind that there is a strong connection between Rahn and Rennes-le-Château. I found these connecting links:
 - Rahn’s link to the Cathars whom he loved with great passion;
 - The war waged against the Cathars by the Church and the French King, a war of such ferocity that it brings into question the true nature of the cause for which the crusade against Albigensian and Cathar was really launched;
 - Rennes-le-Château is seated in the Cathar heartland; Saunière discovering something linked to the “real” story of Catholic geopolitical involvement in the West over the centuries;
 - The Vatican not speaking out against the Nazis until close to the end of WWII. What was the Church afraid of?
 - Jules Massenet and his librettist Henri Cain for the opera: Don Quichotte and the metaphysical concepts of the necklace image and of the Island of Dreams;

Otto Rahn Bio

Berlin between the wars was a city known throughout Europe for its bohemian subculture of young intellectuals.  Amongst the personalities who hotly debated the many modernist “isms” that were fracturing the old ideological certainties that had glued together the 19th century, few individuals were more colorful or conspicuous than a febrile dark-haired, green-eyed young man called Otto Wilhelm Rahn.

 Rahn was welcomed in the cafes and nightclubs of 1930’s Berlin because he was a hyper-intense intellectual – a brilliant talker with a great deal to say but he was also a conspicuous outsider in that he was unfashionably dismissive of the emergent modernism that so excited his peers. Moreover, he had even less empathy with the cynicism and decadence that colored there lifestyle. Rather, like that of most Germans outside of Berlin, Rahn’s sensibility had been molded by influences wholly incompatible with the café society avante-garde.

Otto Rahn (Dutch)

Otto Rahn werd geboren in Michelstadt (Odenwald) op 18 februari 1904. Na zijn middelbare studies (en de eerste wereldoorlog) trekt hij naar de universiteit waar hij aanvankelijk rechten studeert. Maar al spoedig gaat zijn belangstelling uit naar de literatuur en laat hij zich inschrijven aan de faculteit der letteren in Heidelberg. Zijn droom is literair recensent te worden voor een krant of tijdschrift.

Als muziekliefhebber dweept hij met Wagner. Diens "Parsifal" brengt hem in contact met de graallegenden en hun Duitse auteur Wolfram von Eschenbach. Die studie zal hem nooit meer loslaten.

Otto Rahn Biography

CHRONOLOGY 1904-1939
 
18 Feb 1904 Otto Rahn born, Michelstadt. Parents Karl & Clara (nee Hamburger)
 1910-1916 Junior school at Bigen
 1916-21 Secondary school at GrieBen
 1922 obtains Baccalaureat
 1924 obtains Bachelor in Philology and History
 1930 Rahn begins his European travels (Paris, Provence, Switzerland,
 Catalonia, Italy)
 1931 Rahn visits French Pyrenees. Visits "Spion" in Pyrenees with Himmler and Abetz
 1932 Rahn leads a Polaires expedition in Pyrenees
 13.12.33 Rahn joins the German Writers Association
 1934 publishes "Kreuzzug gegen Gral" (Crusade against the Grail)
 1935 appointed to personal staff of Heinrich Himmler
 29.2.36 Rahn joins Allgemeine-SS, member 276 208
 1936 Rahn visits Iceland with 20 men
 1937 publishes "Luzifers Hofgesind. Eine Reise zu denguten Gelstern Europa" (Lucifer's Court in Europe; Rahn sent back to Languedoc (Montsegur), says he will return in 1939. Time of alleged Corbieres visit?
 20.4.37 promoted to sub-lieutenant (Untersturmfuhrer)
 Sep-Dec1937 military service for "disciplinary reasons" at Oberbayern Regiment, Dachau

Raiders of the Lost Grail

Berlin between the wars was a city known throughout Europe for its bohemian subculture of young intellectuals. Amongst the personalities who hotly debated the many modernist “isms” that were fracturing the old ideological certainties which had glued together the 19th century, few individuals were more colourful than a dark-haired, green-eyed young man named Otto Wilhelm Rahn. His gaunt figure, swathed in characteristic black coat and fedora, casts a long shadow out of those twilight years, a ‘great silhouette’ around which the most extravagant myths accrued. He was variously said to be a Mason, a Rosicrucian, a Luciferian, an agent of the Thule Gesellschaft, an initiated Cathar and even the leader of an obscure, international secret society. As author Philip Kerr puts it, Rahn’s contemporaries might not have been surprised to see “the Scarlet Woman and the Great Beast come flying out of the front door” of his apartment on Tiergartenstrasse. One of his Nazi peers in Heinrich Himmler’s Black Order remarked in an internal memo that he “half suspected Rahn of being in league with the little people”. To this day, it is widely believed that this enigmatic young man knew the whereabouts of one of the most sacred relics in all Christendom – the Most High Holy Grail. But the truth is stranger still…