Monday, April 6, 2009

The Saenz de Castillon Diary


Hello MJA,
Thanks for your latest, always pleased to receive interesting material. Castillon's diaries are in French so presumably the coded bits when deciphered will be as well. As to transcribing it well as I said a lot of it is pretty banal day to day stuff which is interesting as a picture of the times but hardly spellbinding which means that anything really interesting must be in the coded bits. For example in one entry he describes attending a soiree at the house of a certain Comtesse Ernestine Vigy Le Breanne in Paris during the course of which a woman who appeared to be of "Middle Eastern" origin but who who was introduced only as "Semiramis" performed a rite which she, or rather her companion or manager or whatever,one Tamara Arkadovna Pregashvili. who claimed to be a Russian Georgian Princess, said was Ancient Babylonian and that Semiramis was an avatar of the Great Mother Goddess Cybele. Semiramis was clad in the sort of costume which seems to have been quite scanty and sounds from his description to have been of the type favoured by Mata Hari and other "exotic" dancers of that period i.e. jewelled bra and Turkish pants and slippers and gauzy veils, the sort of outfit "belly-dancers" wear today. Then of course, typically, when it comes to describing the actual performance of the rite he changes to his code - all very frustrating. The date for this entry is 10th October 1900. From later entries it would seem that he formed a close liason with "Semiramis" He was married but estranged from his wife Elena who lived a sort of reclusive life in the Castillon villa in Vaulx-en-Velin just outside Lyon. There is a lot of potentially fascinating stuff here I must admit if ever the code is cracked!

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