The woman I am referring to is Patrice Chaplin, author of City of Secrets. Patrice graciously made herself available for a phone interview with me from her
I hate to give away too much for those of you who will pick up the book. Let’s just say that the Tour Magdala in Rennes-le-Chateau is a near exact replica of a tower in Girona. That is just the beginning of Patrice’s investigations into the connections of all things Rennes-le-Chateau…
Patrice’s story beings as a simple tale of teenage wanderlust. While traveling in 1955 with a friend, Patrice found herself in the Catalonian burg of Girona. As in many stories of teenagers looking for adventure, Patrice found herself involved with a dashing Catalonian named Jose. It is through her connection with Jose, she was introduced to a cast of esoteric and politically underground characters
Patrice and Jose shortly after they met in Girona
Patrice was thrust into the world of Franco Fascism mixed with the ever present undercurrent of the esoteric. Jean Cocteau, Salvador Dalí and Umberto Eco intermingle in the micro chasm of her association with Jose and his seemingly ordinary friends. Interspersed in their talk of the banal are hints of rituals, guardians, hidden societies, elusive “materials” and how they somehow connect to a Frenchwoman who lived in town.
Over the next fifty years, Patrice stepped into and out of the story of Girona. Each visit to the town or with its denizens brought her a little closer to piecing together their clipped conversations and sub-rosa activity. At the center of this wheel was always Jose. Patrice’s sometimes synchronistic meetings with Jose eventually brought into focus her understanding of how the activities of the “society” in Girona and their guardianship of a ritual that brings the Grail into our realm.
Notably, the “society” in Girona contained a cadre of women sometimes its avowed guardians. In many descriptions and crypto-historical accounts of secret societies, the role of females seems to be relegated to that of support or overlooked entirely. Patrice seemed to think that the veneration of the Magdalene and practical matters made women’s roles in so prevalent. Since many of Girona’s leading families were involved in the society, the men took on “traditionally” high profile social stations. This left their wives free to conduct the business of the society with less notice.
Patrice views her work as more of a journalist than an active participant in esoteric Girona. The people she had met over the years opened up to her because she was not viewed as an outsider. That trust seems to run both ways. Patrice commented that because of her long standing association with those involved, she has confidence in their story. “I’m a writer, I stand behind my work and what was told to
So what’s next for Patrice? Currently she’s doing research into Salvador Dali’s connection to Girona,
Best of luck with your new project Patrice, the Grail Seekers team will be waiting for it to come out.