Key to the Sacred Pattern

08 May 2008

Bloodline Press Conference

I wasn’t quite prepared for what I walked into at Monday morning’s Bloodline press conference. Set up around the Jewish Museum’s Scheuer Auditorium were TV cameras and reporters from AP and Reuters milling about drinking coffee. I was definitly the little fish in the big media pond.

Running around the auditorium was producer Rene Barnett making last minute arrangements and jolly-glad-handing the media heavy hitters. Requests from reporters were flying past Rene, and from a distance sounded like adults talking in a Peanuts cartoon. I had to just sit back and observe the spectacle of the pre-event simply as an exercise in people watching.

Standing on the stage, next to the box found at the Cave of the Magdalene, in Rennes-le-Chateau, was an imposing figure of a man dressed in black with a Templar crest sewn onto his suit coat. I came to find out this man was a modern day Templar named Victor. He and his cousin Gloria Amendola had been tasked by the film’s crew to be the security detail for the relics that were about to be presented to the world.

Chest found in the Cave of the Magdalene

In making my way to introduce myself to Rene, I caught tid-bits from the media moguls gad-flying about the room. Their timbre was less than excited about what might be presented. One local reporter was grousing about having to be there. “Yea, I’ve got this to do then I go to the Met for the Superhero as art exhibit. But that kind of ties in, Jesus was the original superhero wasn’t he?”

Finally I got over to Rene and introduced myself. The rather gracious, if not harried native Oklahoman, thanked me for coming and offered to spend some time with me after the event was over. Almost before I could accept, she was drawn over to the stage for requests to take pictures of the relics.

Reverently, Victor took the chest from the panel’s table and laid it open for everyone to see. This slightly larger than a shoe box sized chest was opened and contained: 29 coins ranging in date from 100 BC to the Crusades (30 were found in the chest originally, but only 29 were on display), a small cup, an alabastra phial, a rolled parchment and long necked jar. Could I really be looking at the Holy Grail was all I could muster in my thoughts in observing the contents of the chest.

Shortly thereafter, the press conference began. Below is the video of Bruce Burgess’ presentation. I would urge you to go to the Bloodlines web site and check out the other video clips from the news conference. I’ve looked at them all and they give a good representation of what was presented.

I was impressed with the tone of Burgess’ message. The subtext to everything was that this is a beginning point. Burgess made clear that the finds need to have further examination. He is quite sure that the relics that were presented at the conference were from the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene because of the Bérenger Saunière documents found by Ben Hammott. As to the Templar Tomb, Burgess believes that someone of importance is buried there. Is it Mary Magdalene? Burgess believes it could be, but is waiting for further excavations to make a claim of the identity of the corpse.

I asked the question in the conference what was to become of the relics and the stance of the French Government on the finds. Burgess’s answer was that everything has been done with the full knowledge of the French authorities and he would like to see all the relics on display for full public access.

After the conference was over, I ended up having lunch with producer Rene Barnett. In between phone interviews Barnett and I talked about everything from the process of “birthing” the film to the Priory of Sion. It was clear from our conversation that she and Burgess had sunk every last dime they had in getting this story out. “There were times Bruce was flying to Europe and we didn’t have the money for a hotel room for him.” she said. “Somehow we would mange to scrape together the money to put in the account for him on each trip”.

On the film’s detractors, Barnett was not too worried. In recent articles, the veracity of the film’s claims and the authenticity of the finds have come into question. Not batting an eyelash, Barnett said they had e-mails, pictures, and video to document each part of their story. Her tone was one of a person that would not associate her name with an elaborate hoax. “The film is dedicated to my daughter that passed away as filming began. Do you think I would dedicate this film to her if this were a hoax”, she said.

I then asked her about the Priory of Sion and the allusions in the trailers to their lives being in danger during the filming. “Oh, Ben’s brake lines were cut on his rental car at one point and film was stolen out of his camera. Not the camera itself, just the film.” Barnett said. I then ask if she thought they were in danger in New York. With a wistful grin, Barnett said, “If we were a little smarter we probably should be.”

I parted with Rene heading to another interview and I was left with the feeling I had just talked to a true believer. With the rest of the day on my hands, I made my way to play country come to town in the Big Apple. During my sightseeing, I was contacted by Erika Jones from the production company inviting me to dinner with Barnett, Burgess and a majority of the panel from the press conference. Well, who was I to say no?

I made my way to Harlem and Patsy’s Pizzeria for the engagement. Present was Dr. Gabriel Barkay and wife from Bar Ilan University in Jerusalem, retired Scotland Yard Homicide Detective Colin Taylor; Reverend Lionel Fanthorpe and his wife. The talk throughout dinner was of the finds, their importance, and the press conference. There wasn’t anything conspiratorial about the meeting. Everyone’s conversation was more of old friends chatting about a day at the office.

Which brings me to my conclusions about everything I had seen that day. I have no doubt that everyone I came in contact with, that had anything to do with the film, are open and honest. Everyone had the air of acting on the good faith of the evidence that had been presented to them and what they had found and examined. Now the possibility exists that Burgess and Barnett have been duped by outside forces. Then again, that’s always a possibility when dealing with anything in the underground stream. Never once did my spider sense tingle that I was being led down the primrose path by Burgess or Barnett.

So I will take the same approach that Burgess did in the press conference. Bloodlines should be a beginning point and not the final solution to the Rennes-le-Chateau mysteries. The Templar tomb, when excavated might very well be that ending point. But for now, I will wait with the rest of the world to see what the next chapter in the Bloodline story holds.


JD Walters said...

The producers may be sincerely convinced that it's not a hoax, but that doesn't change the fact that the challenges to the authenticity of the finds are formidable, and cannot be explained away through emails, pictures and video. In fact, it is the very public nature of their evidence which allows it to be scrutinized and found wanting. The main challenges are summarized here:

Can you think of a reasonable explanation for all these discrepancies?

Charlie said...

BK, that looks like a mortar and pestle rather than a cup.

Did you get to hang out with any scholars afterward?

Brian Kannard said...


I don’t think it’s my place to explain any discrepancies or voice my opinion on the authenticity of the Bloodline film. I feel that it is up to the individual to find the Grail on their on terms and in their own way. Most of my writing for this blog follows a journalistic approach. While I do some “editorial” type content, I try to make that clear as well.

My purpose with this piece was to present what I observed at the press conference. The rest is up to you to discern. I am well aware of the RLC article. Corjan, at RLC Research, e-mailed me before I went to the conference about his misgivings about the documentary. I ask some pointed questions about the RLC piece to Rene Barnett and got very straight forward answers. However, it is not my job to answer for their work. If they wish to do so, I’m sure they will.

Thank you for your comments, and keep searching for the Grail in your own way. It is many different things to many different people.


PS I have changed one piece of information, along with a few misspellings Jeff Nisbet pointed out, since I published the article. Originally, I had said that Bruce Burgess’ brake lines were cut and film stolen. It actually Ben Hammott, this happened to. Thank you Rene for catching my mistype. Also, one more small correction. Burgess’ brother Cliff was at dinner as well. This man is an excellent NYC cabbie that could drive through a hail storm and not catch a single pellet….