- For centuries the whereabouts of the Holy Grail, supposing
it exists at all, has exercised the minds of scholars and tested the endurance
of treasure hunters.
- Unsurprising, then, when the codebreakers of Bletchley
Park announced they were going to give details of a cryptic inscription
said to point to the location of the vessel which Christ reputedly used
at the Last Supper, the world's press turned out in force.
- War veterans who helped crack the Nazis' enigma code
during the second world war were back at Bletchley yesterday to explain
the theories which might, just might, lead to the unearthing of the holiest
of relics. Cryptographers explained the intricacies of methods used to
try to work out the inscription to be found on a monument in the grounds
of society photographer Lord Lichfield's ancestral home in Staffordshire.
- The favoured solution turned out to be more convoluted
even than the plot of Dan Brown's blockbuster The Da Vinci Code, a modern
fictional hunt for the grail, and without - for the moment at least - a
- It was in May that the race to break the Shugborough
code began in earnest when the stately home announced that it was teaming
up with Bletchley Park to try to solve the mystery.
- For 250 years the code, found on the Shepherds' Monument
at Shugborough Hall, has mystified visitors, including Charles Darwin.
- The monument includes a marble relief of Nicholas Poussin's
17th century painting Les Bergers d'Arcadie II, though the image is reversed.
In the picture a woman is pointing at the inscription "Et in Arcadia
- Beneath it on the monument, commissioned by a member
of the Anson family in the mid 18th century, are the letters: "O.U.O.S.V.A.V.V"
flanked on one side by a D and on the other an M.
- Where does the Holy Grail fit in? For a start, the Anson
family reputedly had connections with the Prieure de Sion, a secret society
which had its origins in the Knights Templar, the legendary keepers of
- The choice of the Poussin picture could also be significant
- he was said to be a member of the Prieure de Sion - while the fact that
the image was reversed may also be important because members of the society
were keen on inventing codes which involved mirror writing.
- Bletchley Park and Shugborough have been bombarded since
May by amateur, and possibly some professional, codebreakers keen to solve
- Some have been given short shrift, such as those who
have spotted a connection with UFOs and Nostradamus. One woman who said
she had the vessel in her attic was dismissed as a crank. Others, however,
- According to the codebreaking centre in Buckinghamshire,
the most compelling theory comes from an American defence expert based
in the UK who has asked Bletchley Park to keep his identity secret.
- He tried using a "decryption matrix", a common
device in codebreaking, to find out whether a message was hidden in the
letters on the monument and in the phrase "Et in Arcadia Ego".
- After painstakingly drawing up 82 matrices, the letters
"SEJ" popped out. He realised that if these letters were reversed
they spell: "JES". Reversing the letters was just what a member
of the Prieure de Sion might have done. From this he hazarded the guess
that "JESUS" was a keyword which would help him crack the code.
- The man drew up another type of code-breaking chart,
a flag grid. Using the keyword Jesus he came upon another phrase: "Jesus
H Defy". The codebreaker believes - though he has not said why - the
H stands for the Greek letter X which has the meaning of "messiah".
- He thinks the phrase can be translated as: "Jesus
(as a deity) defy." A jumble to the modern ear, perhaps, but it might
have made sense to a member of the Prieure de Sion, which believed that
Jesus was an earthly rather than a heavenly king.
- The codebreaker's next job was to try to prove he was
right to use Jesus as his keyword. Employing a very complex technique,
he turned crucial letters into numbers. The sequence 1,2 2,3 appeared.
- He spent a day in the archives at Shugborough trying
to find out the significance of the numbers. He found nothing, but just
before leaving went for another look at the monument and says he spotted
the sequence faintly scratched around the sides of it. Oliver Lawn, 86,
who helped break the enigma codes, was impressed by the American codebreaker's
work. His wife, Sheila, who also worked at Bletchley during the war, was
less so. She prefers the more down-to-earth theory that the message was
a romantic one intended for a lamented family member or sweetheart. It
may stand, she believes, for the Latin phrase: "Optima Uxoris Optima
Sororis Viddus Amantissimus Vovit Virtutibus" - "Best wife, best
sister, widower most loving vows virtuously".
- Other staff at Bletchley are quietly sceptical about
the mysterious American's work. Shugborough's general manager, Richard
Kemp, prefers the American's theory: "I think it's proof that the
monument does have a grail connection." The American was last seen
heading back to Staffordshire to test his theory that the alignment of
other monuments built by George Anson on the estate might point to the
grail's position. "I really think that might be it, don't you?"
- Maybe, but it isn't time yet to call off the search.
- Believe it or not
- Other theories put forward by would-be codebreakers
- * Inscription tells of location of biblical tablet captured
by member of Anson family from a French ship, and treasured by Knights
- * Bumps on monument correspond to Turkish maritime maps
and so pinpoint position of the grail
- * Letters could be made to spell out Hebrew phrase: Why
Feather Curve. Could a feather from monument point to the position of the
grail, one codebreaker wondered. Sadly, there is no feather on the monument
- * Code refers to prophecies of Nostradamus. Or they have
something to do with UFO visitations - estate is favourite for UFO spotters
- Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited
- From Mary Sparrowdancer
- "the H stands for the Greek letter X which has the
meaning of 'messiah'."
- I'm not sure what the "H" stands for, but the
Greek letter "X" is simply "chi"
- Perhaps the writer was thinking that the X with a Greek
"P" placed over it was the referenced indication for the christos
- the christed one.
- That would be more accurate. The P in Greek is pronounced
as a "Rho." So, an X with a P over it in Greek would be pronounced
as Chi-Rho. Cairo...and so on.
- Greek reads from left to right as you look at the text.
Hebrew reads from right to left. Neither language is accurately transliterated
verbatim - no languages are - and I suspect that Latin is also figured
into the "Code."
- Are we to understand that we might go into any direction,
at any point, in order to decipher this Code?
- The important thing for us all to understand at this
important point in time in history, is that the Hebrew Old Testament, as
translated into English, is not accurately translated.
- There was not ever "one god." There were many
- There were gods of war, and then there was something
else - something of which and of whom Jesus spoke: a core that was of
compassion and wisdom, and when he spoke of this core for our beings, he
never spoke in favor of any wars, any murders, any transgressions against
people, any rapes, and most certainly - most certainly in his words - he
told us not to ever harm children.
- If you are someone who seems to be drawn to the words
of love spoken by Jesus, then be careful of pledging allegiance to the
gods of war.
- The two are not compatible.
- mary sparrowdancer