Intuitive Research in Channel of the Grail

The Author in Dachau Concentration Camp 2011

Luck, accident or chance? Any writer worth the title has to wonder when elements of a story fall together so perfectly that the resulting fiction is more authentic than reality. With the experience recurring, the faculty that works such magic is upgraded from random happenstance to an internal quality we can call intuition.

While the phenomenon, no matter how often it occurs, always leaves one breathless, the manifestation is particularly stunning when it occurs in so concrete a form that the connection between prior thought and current demonstration must be drawn. On this site’s Parapet page I give an example of such intuition unfolding while researching my first novel, The Anathemas.

Were the Cathars and Templars Connected?

Similar uncanny experiences, which now perhaps greedily I have come to expect, occurred during the development of  Channel of the Grail. One such happened on my trip to southern France in 2010. Previously, I had noticed in a scan over 13th century history that two controversial groups, the Cathar heretics and the Knights Templar Order, existed in the same time period and locale. Remnants of the fortifications of each were situated side-by-side in the Languedoc; and yet few if any historians drew a connection between the two groups.

The  Templar Commandery of Mas Deu

The entrance to the Templar Commandery of Mas Deu with the gate open

In Channel I was not particularly focused on the Templars (their story has been well told), but I stumbled across a brief reference to one of their establishments, the commandery of Mas Deu, where, the tidbit noted, several Cathar sympathizers were buried, later to be unearthed and burned by the Inquisition. Why, I wondered, were Cathars heretics buried honorably on the grounds of an institution dedicated to the very pope that ordered the Cathar massacre? A fascinating question—and I leave that open here so as to avoid spoilers—but the article also stated that only an insignificant wall fragment along a remote highway remained of the Mas Deu site.

On my 2010 trip I spent the night in Perpignan. Looking over my notes that evening, I saw that the Mas Deu location was on the way I planned to take the next day. Only a wall to see, I thought, but why not take a look? I knew of the psychic ability called psychometry, the supposed ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them, and thought to give that old wall a chance to say its piece.

An example of the ruins of Mas Deu

The next day, I found the place easily; it was marked with a sign. But imagine my excitement when, instead of a mere fragment, I drove up to a large gated establishment surrounded by a sturdy new stone wall. And, talk about luck, there was no one around and the high gate was ajar. Needless to say, I grabbed my camera, walked through, and began snapping pictures as fast as I could.

Improbable, not Impossible

This sequence of events  stunned me, not so much that the report I’d read about this was an extensive and still undeveloped ruin was so off the mark, or that it looked like its restoration was planned in the near future and I’d been given a sneak preview. I was awed more by the improbable chain of events that led from the casual reading of that blip to arriving to the supposedly insignificant site on a morning when the gate was wide open. Am I susceptible to believing that I was led to that spot at that time by some inexplicable power that knew I needed that evidence to set my story right? You can bet I am.

This was only one instance. Two others critical sites that I explored intuitively before going on location and capturing them on video are now on YouTube. The first: the ruins of the chateau of Montsegur where the last formal battle of the Cathar Crusade was fought. The second: the remains of the lesser known fortress of Montreal de Sos, where impressions that came to me on that mountaintop later formed the second-to-last chapter of Channel of the Grail.

I claim no greater psychic gifts than anyone else, but I remain wide open to such synchronicity and pay close attention, expecting it to come. Twenty-some years of meditation and thousands of journal pages over that period have given me confidence in these skills. In them I see the signs in my own person of the emergence of the next evolutionary level. And this it is, clumsy prototype that I might be, that drives me to continue to ponder, explore, and write about what I am privileged to view on such fantastic journeys.