Jean-Jacques Henri Boudet was born on November 16, 1837 at Quillan, in the Aude. He was ordained a priest on Christmas Day, 1861, after having attended the Seminary in Carcassonne. He succeeded Abbe Jean Vie, the former vicar in Rennes Les Bains, in 1872, a position he held until 1914. It is believed that Abbe Boudet inherited knowledge of a great secret from Abbe Jean Vie, who inherited it from Abbe Cauneille, who received it from Abbe Antoine Bigou, who had heard it from the noble Marie de Nègre d' Ables. It is also believed that Abbe Boudet is responsible for having changed the date on Abbe Jean Vie's tombstone from the 31st of August 1872 to the mysterious, recurring date of the 17th of January, which is also the date of St. Antoine’s feast day and “blue apples” day in Rennes-le-Chateau.
Abbe Boudet was good friends with Berenger Saunière, the priest in nearby Rennes-Le-Château. The two were very close. Thus, it is likely that Abbe Boudet, being Sauniere’s confessor, might have entrusted Sauniere with his secrets and vice versa. Inexplicably, Abbe Boudet is known to have provided large sums of money to Saunière's housekeeper, Marie Denarnaud, and Archbishop Billiard, despite having died a pauper. The source of his apparent fabulous wealth, like that of his friend and colleague, Berenger Sauniere, remains a mystery.
Both Boudet and Sauniere attended the funeral of the vicar of Coustassa, Antoine Gelis, after his bizarre murder on November 1, 1897, All Saint’s Day. First hand accounts of the rather reclusive Gelis are more than a little gruesome."Lying in a pool of blood, his cassock lugubriously soiled, the victim's hands were placed on his chest and one of his legs was bent and turned inward...The struggle must have been terrible and the blows violent, judging by the victim's many wounds. Spots of blood were seen on the furniture, the walls and even the ceiling. The Abbé Gélis, hit by his murderer with extraordinary violence and determination, bore no fewer than fourteen horrible head wounds, just above the nape of the neck; the cranium was fractured in several places, and the brain exposed, three wounds of lesser importance spread over the ashen face of the corpse." "Theft does not appear to have been the motive of the crime. Drawers partly opened still contained écus (crowns) and even 1,500 Francs in cash.”
One cannot help but notice that the careful positioning of Gelis’s body corresponds closely with that of the hanged man, the twelfth trump in the tarot deck, which was known in former times as “the traitor”. Curiously enough, Abbe Gelis, like Boudet and Sauniere, also donated rather large sums of money to various people’s in the region. Of course it being the Razes area it is alluded that he stumbled upon some huge treasure that he hid within various coded places, but the only evidence that was found at the murder scene was a pack of Tsar brand rolling papers (Gelis was an avid non-smoker) bearing the mysterious inscription, “Viva Angelina”.
During his time as the abbe of Rennes-les-Bains, Boudet wrote La Vraie Langue Celtique et le Cromlech de Rennes-les-Bains (The True Celtic Language and The Stone Circle of Rennes-les-Bains), which was completed in 1880 and published in 1886 by Francois Pomie, the printer to the Bishop of Carcassonne. 500 copies were produced for a fee of 5382 gold francs, paid for out of Boudet’s own pocket. Of the 500 copies, only 98 were sold, 100 being given to libraries and institutions and a further 200 given away by Boudet as gifts to friends. The remaining 102 copies were destroyed, with Boudet's consent, in 1914. This act was initiated at the insistence of the Bishop de Beausejour, which then deprived Boudet of his income.
Abbe Boudet held a degree in English and was proficient in many languages and dialects and was a prodigious writer. His most curious book was the aformentioned, The True Celtic Language and the Stone Circle of Rennes-les-Bains (now available in English for the first time). In this book he describes in numerous examples that the oldest languages, such as Hebrew, Latin, as well others, have a unique common root which is English. Using a phonetic wordplay, he illustrates that the word Occitania actually can be broken down to hog-sea, hit-hand or “the hand that slaps the porpoise.” This book, as suggested by conspiracy theorist’s par example, may contain codes and riddles which signify that a hidden treasure or secret is preserved in the region of the Razes, and that a giant stone circle encompasses the area.
Author Jonathan Swift may have been the inspiration behind Boudet’s book, In 1719 Swift wrote a book called the Ars Punica, or The Art of Punning, which outlines the highly imaginative theory that English was once the common language of all mankind. Professor Jean Richer at the Faculty of Letters in Nice has argued that this work of Swift's is based on the rules found in alchemical texts, mainly the “secret language of the birds” or the phonetic cabala (see Fulcanelli portal for a description of “Art Cot” or the “Art of Light” and the language encoded within the medieval cathedrals. Check out the link to Fulcanelli’s Mystery of the Cathedral’s for an excellent introduction to “the language of the birds”).
Boudet published many more texts which were highly regarded scholastically in his day. The most notable of these being Lazarus Come Outside in 1890, but was banned by his Bishop for reasons unknown and never saw the light of day.
He spent his remaining days at Rennes-les-Bains until April 30, 1914, when unable to pay the rent on the presbytery and in poor health, he retired to his family home at Axat, where he died from intestinal cancer on March 30, 1915.
He was buried at Axat, next to the grave of his younger brother Edmond. The tomb has an unusual headstone bearing the inscription 31OXI (Jesus or Ixthios (Fish)) and a carving of a closed, rather than open book, perhaps alluding to subtext, or that which in hidden, rather than in plain sight. It has been suggested that 31OXI refers to chapter 11, page 310 of La Vrai Celtique (the French edition). Following Henri's death his books and papers were thrown upon the rubbish dump at Axat and were recovered by a local family in whose possession they remain today.
“The only real mystery is that at the end of every thermal season in Rennes-les-Bains, Boudet would meet up with a friend who brought a stepladder with him and they would both disappear into the hills for some time...If you could comprehend the circumstances or the relevancy of these unexplained excursions, then you might come closer to understanding the true secret of Rennes-le-Chateau…” Jean-Pierre Motes, 1988.