Micah Hanks delivered another of his “articles” that turned out to be yet one more in his series of unoriginal summaries of a book he happened to read. This time it was about the Fisher King from the Holy Grail myth, taken in large measure from The Holy Grail: The History and Legend of the Famous Relic, a 2013 CreateSpace paperback by the “Charles Rivers Editors,” an online content farm producing short, error-riddled slapdash histories for the eBook market. He didn’t bother even to look up the readily accessible texts of the medieval versions of the Fisher King story, merely copying the summary from the Charles Rivers text and delivering some canned remarks on the basic level of symbolism of the Grail and the Fisher King. To be fair, this article is a bit more than a simple summary, for it adds material from an online journal article, includes references to the Da Vinci Code, and also noticed that Doctor Who used the name “Fisher King” last season, so I guess that counts as progress.
Of course, he offered no original reporting or original analysis, and also managed to praise The Golden Bough’s discussion of dying and rising gods without recognizing the century of criticism that followed Frazer’s thesis.
It makes me wonder why he does it, writing pointless summaries and passing them off as pseudo-profound explorations of “mysteries,” and then I saw a notice for an upcoming conference.
The Space and Alien Snowfest ufology conference is coming to Big Bear Feb. 5-7. The conference features special guests George Noory and producer Tom Danheiser of the Coast to Coast AM radio show, along with Jason Martell, Mike Bara and Linda Moulton Howe, who have each appeared on the History Channel show “Ancient Aliens.” Other guests include ufologists Stanton Friedman, Micah Hanks, Richard Dolan and Chase Kloetzke.
Tickets run $209 for a three-day pass or $99 per day. Of course there’s a good reason Hanks keeps cranking out superficial crap: It’s good for business!
Anyway, as part of Hanks’s summary, he brings up the Da Vinci Code and the question of whether the Holy Grail was really Mary Magdalene, alleged wife of Jesus, concluding that the Magdalene’s status “remains a matter of scholarly debate.” Among whom he does not say.
Anyway, as most of you know, I’ve been researching the work of Louis Martin, the French writer who was apparently the first to have proposed that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married in an 1886 book called The Gospels without God. As I’ve been learning more about it, the story gets weirder and weirder, but much more interesting. It turns out that Louis Martin isn’t even Louis Martin.
While most secondary sources identify Louis Martin as a French socialist politician, it turns out that they are wrong. That Louis Martin is a different fellow, and as late as 1901 the socialist deputy from the Var was still writing letters to newspapers correcting confusion over whether he wrote the controversial books about Jesus and Freemasonry attributed to his name.
The author in question is actually named Léon Aubry (or Louis Aubry; records give it both ways), and he apparently enjoyed being a bit of a provocateur. He wrote controversial but little-read books on British Israelism, Jesus’ marriage to Mary Magdalene, and, most infamously, why the French national heroine Joan of Arc was wrong. This last book earned him a measure of fame because he claimed that Joan of Arc was in error in saving France from the English, and that both countries would have been better off had the English reigned over France and united the two cross-Channel peoples.
It’s interesting to see that even at so early a date as the 1880s, there was already a confluence of British Israelism, anti-Masonic conspiracies, and Holy Bloodline fantasies in a single author’s fringe work. While I have not been able to read these books, it almost seems like the Holy Bloodline idea came into Aubry’s head as a way of Gallicizing British Israelist ideas and returning the glory of the Davidic Bloodline to France from its proposed home in Britain. I wouldn’t presume that Aubry was quite that coherent in his work—again, I have read only secondary sources on it—but it’s a distinct possibility that the Anglo-French imperial rivalry of the 1880s and 1890s, before the Entente Cordiale, accidentally spawned the Holy Bloodline mythology out of a stew of nationalism and Provencal folktales.
The trouble for Aubry is that there was already an author named Louis Martin, and he happened to be a Freemason. His Masonic brothers accused him of being a traitor to Masonry after seeing the books they thought he was publishing, and Martin said that high ranking Masons became red with rage yelling at him. Martin sought redress from the French courts and sued Aubry and his publisher for damages. The case was heard on December 26, 1896, and the judge concluded that Aubry and his publisher were at fault for causing confusion by selecting a pen name identical to that of a better-known author. He ruled that Aubry and his publisher were together liable for 500 francs in damages. Around the same time, Aubry changed his pen name to Louis Marthin-Chagny “to avoid any confusion that might arise between us and other writers signing the same name.” The bottom line is that we learn from the court records that Aubry’s books were not major sellers. The print run for each book was about 200 copies, of which not all sold.
For the interested, I’ve translated the court’s findings here.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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