There is absolutely no evidence that Emma Calve, the famous opera singer, and Berenger Sauniere, the priest of the small hilltop village of Rennes-le-Chateau, ever knew each other! And yet, Henry Lincoln still recites this story on his tours and when they visit the Lovers Fountain near Rennes-les-Bains, as he points out the rock where he once discovered a carving that was evidence of Sauniere’s love relationship with Emma Calve, and holds up a photograph of the heart.
Tour with Henry Lincoln sitting on the rock where he discovered the alleged Calve Heart
But how did this come about? Why did Henry allegedly hoax the Calve Heart?
They were using de Sede’s book Tresor Maudit, as their research bible. They needed evidence to place Sauniere in Paris so he could purchase "...reproductions of three paintings. One seems to have been a
portrait, by an unidentified artist, of Pope Celestin V, who reigned briefly at the end of the thirteenth century. One was a work by David Teniers although it is not clear which David Teniers, father or son.3 The third was perhaps the most famous tableau by Nicolas Poussin, “Les Bergers d’Arcadie’ - “The Shepherds of Arcadia’." (Holy Blood, Holy Grail.)
A liaison with the famous opera singer, would give them that.
According to my source, allegedly, "...it was after seeing the name Emma Calvet on a cross in Rennes-les-Bains, that the seed for the idea of the heart was planted."
Mission 1885 Cross in Rennes-les-Bains
In the bottom right corner is an inscription - E. CALVET
E. Calvet Inscription
"There was talk about using this inscription as evidence to back up de sade's claim that the two had met and that Emma Calve had visited the area and met with Sauniere and then rendezvous again in Paris. But the 1885 date was too early, Sauniere only arrived to take his post as Rennes-le-Chateau priest in 1885."
It is perhaps ironic, that De Sade may have seen this very same inscription and from it first decided to link Emma Calve with Sauniere.
"It was after visiting the lovers fountain that a plan was hatched and carried out that evening when it was unlikely anyone would be visiting the Lovers Fountain. A small amount of sand and cement was given to them by Henri Buthion, who owned Sauniere's domain at the time, and armed with the necessary tools, a bucket and a small trowel, the team returned to the Lovers Fountain and the rock they had picked out for the deed. After mixing the sand and cement with water from the river next to the rock, wet cement was spread into a natural dip."
This is the rock at the Fontaine des Amours and the dip on the top is where the cement was placed
"A crude heart with an arrow through it was drawn in the wet cement and then the name E. Calvet 1891 was added underneath. The date 1891 was crucial to the 'evidence' they wanted to portray as the story has Sauniere discovering the parchments during this year. Sauniere's initials were going to be added but on further thinking they decided not to."
This is what happened next:
While searching for this spring, Henry and Andrew spotted a sign that said Fontain des Amours, or the “Lovers’ Fountain.” Thinking this could be an alternative name for the spring they WERE looking for, Henry went to have a look. He writes:
As soon as I see it, I know that this is not La Source de la Madeleine. However, as I am here, I decide to photograph it. I take one shot, but the light is bad and the angle worse. There is a large rock beside the river into which the spring flows. I clamber onto the rock – and find myself confronting my first independently discovered piece of local ‘evidence’ in support of the story as reported in de Sede’s Tresor Maudit. The book had implied some sort of ‘liaison’ between Sauniere and Emma Calve, a world famous prima donna of the period. And here unexpectedly, at the Lovers’ Fountain, I find that the rock onto which I have climbed bears a classic lovers’ inscription – a heart transfixed by an arrow. Beneath it – E. Calve with the date 1891. Strange. 1891 is the year of Sauniere’s alleged discovery of the parchements. It wasn’t until a year or so later, apparently, that he met Emma Calve. Even so, the inscription is a charming link with the story. I take photographs and, very pleased with my little discovery, I call Andrew to look at it. He is as pleased as I am and suggests that we return tomorrow, time permitting, to re-photograph when the light will be better.
This incident at the Fontaine des Amours is to prove rather more significant – and even disturbing – than we imagine. It is to be the first evidence that our movements are being watched. And the watching eyes, it seems, are unfriendly and even unscrupulous. Our return visit produces a shock. The inscription is no longer there. It has been hacked from the rock. My photograph is the only evidence that the inscription ever existed.
Oops! Did I assume that he carved the name E.Calve along with a heart and date on the rock by the Lover’s Spring? Well, isn’t that the way it usually happens? The man carves a heart and the woman’s name and the date? At that period of time, women were not generally the carvers of hearts in stone to which they signed their own names!
There was no inscription when they returned, because after a photo had been taken, the wet cement was quickly removed and the rock rinised with river water to hide all traces of the wet cement and leaving no evidence, except for Henry's photograph, that the inscription ever existed.
The alleged Calve Heart Carving Photograph
The inscription actually read Calvet, not Calve as quoted by Henry. She had dropped the 'T' by this time.
It takes a large leap of faith that Henry would only have spotted the heart after climbing onto the rock - to photograph a non-existing spring - when the path he would have walked down meant he would be directly facing it. It is also strange that all the thousands of visitors to the Lover's Fountain who passed by the rock, perhaps including de Sade who most likely visited this location, never mentioned the heart if it had actually been there.
It is obvious the inscription has been made in wet cement, as it is covered in trowel marks where the cement has been smoothed out. If you look at the right-side of the heart you can see a lip of wet cement formed when the heart was drawn. If the inscription had been chiseled in hard rock, it would look completely different. Another glaringly obvious clue that the caving is fresh, with no growth covering it like on the surrounding rock. According to Henry, this was caved in 1891, it should have aged and have signs of growth on its surface, but it doesn't. It looks as if it had just be done, as it was, allegedly.
Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln
Emma Calve related extracts from Holy Blood, Holy Grail:
In his remote and well-nigh inaccessible eyrie he received a number of notable guests. One, of course, was Emma Calve.
Despite his pastoral vocation, he (Sauniere) was known to be immersed in esoteric thought, and maintained cordial relations with the various occult-oriented groups, sects and secret societies which were proliferating in the French capital. This had brought him into contact with an illustrious cultural circle, which included such literary figures as Stephane Mallarme and Maurice Maeterlinck, as well as the composer Claude Debussy. He also knew Emma Calve, who, at the time of Sauniere’s appearance, had just returned from triumphant performances in London and Windsor.
As a diva, Emma Calve was the Maria Callas of her age.
At the same time she was a high priestess of Parisian esoteric sub-culture, and sustained amorous liaisons with a number of influential occultists.
Having presented himself to Bieil and Hoffet, Sauniere spent three weeks in Paris. What transpired during his meetings with the ecclesiastics is unknown. What is known is that the provincial country priest was promptly and warmly welcomed into Hoffet’s distinguished circle. It has even been asserted that he became Emma Calves lover. Contemporary gossips spoke of an affair between them, and one acquaintance of the singer described her as being “obsessed’ with the cure. In any case there is no question but that they enjoyed a close enduring friendship. In the years that followed she visited him frequently in the vicinity of Rennes-leChateau, where, until recently, one could still find romantic hearts carved into the rocks of the mountainside, bearing their initials.
During his stay in Paris, Sauniere also spent some time in the Louvre.
This may well be connected with the fact that, before his departure, he purchased reproductions of three paintings. One seems to have been a portrait, by an unidentified artist, of Pope Celestin V, who reigned briefly at the end of the thirteenth century. One was a work by David Teniers although it is not clear which David Teniers, father or son.3 The third was perhaps the most famous tableau by Nicolas Poussin, “Les Bergers d’Arcadie’ - “The Shepherds of Arcadia’.
We did not discount the argument that Sauniere discovered treasure. At the same time it seemed clear to us that, whatever else he discovered, he also discovered a secret an historical secret of immense import to his own time and perhaps to our own as well. Mere money, gold or jewels would not, in themselves, explain a number of facets to his story. They would not account for his introduction to Hoffet’s circle, for instance, his association with Debussy and his liaison with Emma Calve.
After reading the above book extracts you can see why it was important for the authors to have a link between Berenger Sauniere and Emma Calve.
Nowadays, Henry Lincoln says it only might have been Emma Calve's name on the heart, it could have been another person with the same name. It is no wonder Henry always adds the proviso now: "Don't believe what I say, but check the facts for yourselves."
Perhaps one day Henry will admit his alleged hoax of the Calve Heart, and perhaps a few other things as well.
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