I congratulate you on the release of your book White Lie. This is a great event for all who are familiar with the work, searching and life of Otto Wilhelm Rahn. When did you first hear of him?
The first time I heard of Otto Rahn was probably during my research of the history of Montségur and the Cathars in connection with Grail lore. I never studied the man himself and only knew what most people know; that he researched Grail lore, visited Montségur and was working for Himmler as a relic hunter in a pre-war Germany. It wasn't until 2008 that a friend sent me "Crusade against the Grail" in English, followed by "Lucifer's Court" and Nigel Graddon's "Otto Rahn, Quest for the Holy Grail". I was thinking of writing a thriller book at that time about the 1st century, and the mysteries of the Languedoc. I had already done a lot of research for the book, but didn't get around to actually writing it, because the financial crisis had made me and my husband work 7 days a week to make a living. In 2011 I first had the chance to sit down properly and started writing in January. I would write almost 18 to 20 hours a day for several months and Otto slowly became one of the key players in the book.
In February 2007, Montserrat Rico Góngora published “The Desecrated Abbey”, in which he claimed that Heinrich Himmler, Hitler’s second-in-command and head of the Nazi SS, had made a secret wartime mission to an abbey in Spain, in search of the Holy Grail. Góngora even interviewed Andreu Ripol Noble, a former monk and the only person that spoke German, who was ordered by his superiors to guide Himmler during the visit in 1940. Ripol related that Himmler came to Montserrat inspired by Richard Wagner’s opera “Parsifal”, which mentions that the Holy Grail could be kept in “the marvellous castle of Montsalvat in the Pyrenees” – the mountain range that marks the border between France and Spain.
Otto Rahn and the Quest for the Grail: The Amazing Life of the Real "Indiana Jones" by Nigel Graddon
Who was the amazing Otto Rahn? How come if Rahn was such an amazing man has hardly anyone outside specialist pre-WW2 history circles ever heard of him? But is he really such an unknown? The story lines of Raiders of the Lost Ark to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade mirror Rahn’s incredible adventures in the South of France in the early 1930s.
About the Author
Nigel Graddon lives in South Wales with his wife Val, a Special Needs Teacher, and his son Lewis, a science undergraduate. Nigel has written various articles on these topics for historical societies.
Otto Wilhelm Rahn (* 18. Februar 1904 in Michelstadt im Odenwald; † 13./14. März 1939 bei Söll (Tirol), Österreich) war ein deutscher Schriftsteller, Mediävist und Ariosoph, der sich mit dem Gralsmythos beschäftigte.
Schule und Studium
Rahn wurde 1904 in Michelstadt/Odenwald als erstes Kind des Justizamtmanns Karl und Clara Rahn (geb. Hamburger) geboren. Ab 1910 besuchte er das humanistische Gymnasium erst in Bingen, wo er bis zum Beginn des Ersten Weltkriegs lebte. Sein Abitur machte er in Gießen. Dort begeisterte ihn sein Religionslehrer Freiherr von Gall erstmals für die Geschichte der Katharer. 1922 begann Rahn ein Jurastudium in Gießen, das er an der Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg und der Universität Heidelberg fortsetzte. 1925 bis 1928 unterbrach er sein Jurastudium und betätigte sich als Handelsreisender für verschiedene Verlage.
In the early 20th century, a series of palm leaves, containing anomalous writing, were apparently discovered within a hidden cache of the walls of the Cathar castle of Montségur. Though without any intrinsic value, the “wooden book” – as it became known – would become the centrepiece of the esoteric and metaphysical community; its discoverers even labelled it “the Oracle” and said it was able to contact the hidden masters of Agharta.
Montségur is seen as the final stronghold of the Cathar faith, a bastion of true devotion besieged by the worldly ambitions of the papal troops. In March 1244, the Cathars that had been locked inside the castle for months finally surrendered; approximately 220 were burned en masse in a bonfire at the foot of the pog when they refused to renounce their convictions.
666 = Satan’s Song?
Not just any other Rennes-le-Château book?
In September 2006, Dutch author Karl Hammer-Kaatee published “Satans Lied: De Jacht van de CIA op Jezus. Waargebeurd verhaal”, or “Satan’s Song. The CIA Hunt For Jesus. A true story.”
Though written in the format of a novel, the book claimed to be based on facts. The publication itself does not list an official classification (e.g. fiction) on the book itself, hence leaving one guessing as to which category it fell into.
The book claims to be the account of one “Tom R.”, who told his life’s story to Hammer in the mid 1990s. After Tom’s death, Hammer transformed the notes of a man’s life into the present book.
“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;
Very little is certain in the short life of Otto Rahn. But one of the few things one can with any confidence say about him is that he looked nothing like Harrison Ford. Yet Rahn, small and weasel-faced, with a hesitant, toothy smile and hair like a neatly contoured oil slick, undoubtedly served as inspiration for Ford's most famous role, Indiana Jones.
Like Jones, Rahn was an archaeologist, like him he fell foul of the Nazis and like him he was obsessed with finding the Holy Grail - the cup reputedly used to catch Christ's blood when he was crucified. But whereas Jones rode the Grail-train to box-office glory, Rahn's obsession ended up costing him his life.