(With references to Nostradamus Quatrains VIII 66, I 27, II 27, IX 20,  and featuring Quatrain IX 7)

Not only do researchers listen-up to the Opera Nostradamus (each quatrain is like a crabbed canzone?) for some clues to life away from the printed page but riddle revellers also look for their Nostradamusements in apparently unlikely settings – and find them. Especially are they interested in the supposed secrets of Orval (valley of gold) in Belgium and also in the writings of one Abbé Louis Van Haecke, Chaplain of the Holy Blood Chapel in Bruges, who seems to have been of a rather stained repute. He penned the “Precious Blood of Bruges” which saw its Fourth Edition in 1900. Patrick Bernauw of Flanders (‘the Lost Dutchman’’) writes fine lines, online, about all of this at http://thelostdutchman.hubpages.com/ and http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com
and although he seems anything but lost his fascination for ‘faction’ could lead the least wary astray!

There has been a Basilica of the Holy Blood in Bruges since 1150. The worship of relics had started in the Third Century and was underlined by ‘Nicaea II’ in 787. Donations by Medieval venerators of relics was a substantial source of Church income. Even today there is an annual procession, sometimes led by ‘the Count of Thierry’ on horseback, holding high the phial of coagulated Holy Blood around the Gothic churches called Jerusalem, Nazareth and Bethlehem of the “Holy City Bruges-La-Morte”. At the privately-owned Jerusalem, wherein a downscaled Holy Sepulchre was built by the Adorni family from Genoa, there is a fake Tomb of Jesus (and a Holy Grave exists also).

Another thread seems to start from 1118 when King Baldwin II accepted the offer from a poor Crusader monk, Hugues de Payens, to protect pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land. Chrétien de Troyes of France first wrote on The Holy Grail/Sangreal which remains unidentified and enigmatic, a kind of lost treasure that would be of enormous monetary value in the right-wrong hands.

The OF word ‘grael/greal’ means a roll or record that allots certain water and forest rights OR it is a chant in the Catholic Mass.

Back to the golden valley in the Ardenne(s). Michel Nostredame stayed awhile at Fain Castle and most researchers feel sure he also spent some time at nearby Orval Abbey.  They say there is an oak tree in Orval under which Michel pleased to sit. It is in the Abbey near a botanical garden, probably of some interest to a Medieval pharmacist, a pace or two away from a level tomb with the customary “D.M.” inscription. (This pagan Roman despatch note to the gods was practiced widely in Christian burials, the religious distinction being blurred out of existence by sentiment.)

Lines 1 and 2 of Quatrain VIII 66 (1568) read ‘When the inscription D.M. is found, And an ancient cave is discovered with a lamp’. Well, there were many headstones in Europe marked D.M….

Quatrain I 27 (1555) speaks of the ‘chaine Guien’. The commonest interpretation ‘under the oak tree of Guienne’ is a clue of little distinction. How many oak trees are there in the region? Most of Guien sits on the Aquitaine Basin which terminates at foothills leading up to some higher points. Is that the ‘chaine Guien’, the chain of rocks and hills?  Somehow the expression also reminds me of the looping meander shaped like a broken link at Géant on the River Semois in the Ardennes which has a clearing all around the trees on the inside of the river bend. (But unfortunately Géant and Guien sound nothing like each other in modern pronunciation.) Or are we back at the old oak tree of Orval, still said to be susceptible to lightning strikes?

By one letter change ‘Guien’ could be OF ‘gien’ which would mean much the same as ‘chaine’, especially if we regard ‘chaine guien’ as meaning a row of stitches, perhaps in files, on a fabric. (OF ‘gien à gien’ was a vineyard term meaning row-upon-row.)

Quatrain II 27 (1555) is put forward by Brenauw as explaining the ground-level burial stone of Bernard De Montgaillard, good Abbott of Orval Abbey from 1605. He was from the South. As I now see it and if I understand rightly, Line 1, ‘Le divin verbe’ can be taken as the Latin inscription DM being Dis Manibus (yet possibly the initials ‘D M’) struck in the horizontal stone as if from overhead whilst in Line 2 the one who ‘goes no further’ is occupying the burial spot and Line 3 is the secret matter closed up. That leaves Line 4, people will stride over and before (the burial spot). A problem with this interpretation is that OF ‘dessus’ had the meaning ‘over’ in the sense ‘highest’ or ‘put up high’. However, De M’s will-and-testament stipulated that he be buried “at the foot of the dormitory stairs” in order that the brothers should walk over him regularly and he would be remembered in their prayers.

When the original monastery was first founded at Orval there was a well with old graves outside but little or no human habitation nearby. Local legend has it that the founder Mathilde had dropped her gold wedding ring into the well but then a trout surfaced with the ring in its mouth in answer to her prayers. Treasure lost and found, dispersed and resurrected in the vale of gold.

Bernard of Clairvaux, the Twelfth Century Knight Templar, acquired Orval as his fief and entrusted it to the Abbey of Trois Fontaines. After five hundred years during which the Cistercians led a sheltered life in Orval and the abbey thrived, revolutionaries burned it down in 1793. The monks left and the treasure hunters started coming.

The rumours of a Bourbon war chest at Orval may have been one motive for the sacking. A royalist general, the Marquis de Bouillé, turned the fortress town of Montmédy (in the North of France just across the border from Orval) into a place of safety for the royal family. Quatrain IX 20 (1568) refers to their interrupted flight. It mentions “deux pars” which looks like a nuclear family, also a “Capet elect” which fits to Louis XVI.  According to Patrick Brauwen it was “Leonard” the coiffurist to the King who was entrusted to take the treasure to Orval. Both tresser and treasure disappeared after that.

Back to the Knights Templar. Rumours of Nostradamus and Templar treasures have sprung into book form more than once as many quatrains are about temples and/or treasure plus their air of mystery suggests to the susceptible that they are clues to something like buried treasure. There seems to have been a scattered foreknowledge of the plan that on Friday 13th October 1307 the Templars were to be arrested everywhere at the order of the King of France, despite the prior arrangements being shrouded in secrecy. The Templar treasure was to be seized but the Templar fleet made escapes by sea and a group of knights carrying precious cargo most probably sailed across to semi-sympathetic England and possibly from there up to Scotland as they sought greater safety. Of course, there must have been a scramble for survival and some wealth could have been stashed inland also, free from Philip IV the King of France. The old monastery of Orval fits that bill quite as well as anywhere and there always was a strong Flemish Templar connection (the miraculous re-liquidation of the Holy Blood of Bruges on every Good Friday then ceased once the Templars had disbanded) but nothing has surfaced on this yet.

Now back to renegade priest Louis Van Haecke. His book on the Holy Blood ends with an apparently chronogrammic poem:

thierri obtint mal vend a sauva la chere relique quebruges toujours conservera

which I would hesitantly translate as:

Thierry obtained it
Malfeasance commercialized it
The relic of the dear Saviour
That Bruges preserves ever

The erratic capitalized letter sequence of the original was IIIMLVDUVLCLIUUUUJUCV. The generally accepted date extracted from the Roman numeral equivalents herein is 1900 but if we should ignore the U’s and J (the traditional substitutes for v and i in French) then to me it sums as 1896 which was a year when Haecke was in his prime, so to speak, possibly the very year his book was written. Whatever, this ending has led to speculation that the whole book is coded. According to Brenauw the published quatrain below is a clue.

“Saint Yves était un Breton,
Avocat mais pas larron.
Le prodige serait plus grand,
Si Saint Yves était normand.”
“Saint Yves was a Breton,
Lawyer but not thief.
The wonder would be greater,
If Saint Yves was Norman.”

I find that there have been two St. Yves. One had inscribed on his tomb “St.Ivo was a Breton A lawyer and not a thief A marvel to the people”. The other studied at the Abbey of Bec in Normandy before becoming Bishop of Chartres. Ivo of Chartres  was a lawyer in canon law with strong-views about simony. The two men were both principled lawyers, one a Breton and the other with strong Norman associations.

Well, Line 2 contains the jumbled letters of Orval as would Line 1 and Line 4 if we should add an ‘l’, and Line 3 if we add a ‘v’. Yet more Roman numerals?

If we sum the included Roman numerals like this, i x 8 = 8, V x  5 = 25, C x 1 = 100, M x 2 = 2000, L x 3 = 150, D x 3 = 1500, we will get 3773.

In the Preface to Cesar we read

…the which I have desired to join up a little obscurely: and are perpetual vaticinations, for from now up to the year ‘3797’.

To which I floated a new idea in my text commentary

“We cannot tell but most will assume that this is 3797AD although I sometimes view it as an unexplained yet special entry, not quite a red-herring. Curiously, it compares to  the Hillel World Era Hebrew Calendar (following the Septuagint) that started the World from October 7th 3761BC and which had become well-known by the Late Middle Ages. In fact the difference between these BC and AD totals is just 36 years. Could this represent the lifespan of Jesus with 3761 years of the Earthly duration balanced on either side of the outstretched arms of His Earthly presence?”

The year 1 AD was first introduced long after the event it records. Jesus was 12 years old in the Hillel year 3773, the year He first flew his spiritual colours. The Bible tells us that during that year he slipped away from His family to discuss the meaning of scriptures on an equal footing with Rabbis, to their surprise, yet with a superior understanding to theirs I would guess. He countered criticism of filial disobedience by saying that he was doing His Heavenly Father’s work.

Patrick the Lost Dutchman points out that the Louis Van Haecke quatrain could link to Nostradamus Quatrain IX 7

1568 Lyon Benoist Rigaud

Qui ouurira le monument trouué,
Et ne viendra le ferrer promptement.
Mal luy viendra & ne pourra prouué,
Si mieux doit estreroy Breton ou Normand.

My translation:
Who comes to open the found tomb,
And does not close it quickly,
Ill will come to him, and may attest
Whether it be a Breton or a Norman King.

So the gist of Nostradamus Quatrain IX 7 now suggests to me a humorous warning that

‘The person wrongfully opening this tomb will be punished as for a crime but at least we shall then know which Saint Yves is in there”

a Michel de Nostredame jest that was to be repeated centuries later in the Van Haecke quatrain. But why is this occupant called a ‘King’? The whimsical answer I have found is that there was an old chanson called Little King of Yvetot or just King Yvetot (which was the supposed Lord of the Earth’s title to what we might now call his global stakeholding).

This Nostradamus Quatrain IX 7 hints quirkily at the Dark Side and was later built upon by Abbé Louis, a suspected attendee of the Black Mass.

                                                             Nigel Raymond Offord © 2012