Bill asked the question that I was about to ask: "Wherever did you get these Madame de Volange?" I too wanted to know where did she got these extremely valuable Scientology artifacts. I also wanted to know why was she showing them us.
"My late husband Arnaud was a German scientist," Madame began. "I married him in 1935 when I was very young and he was middle-aged. It was an arranged marriage between our families.
"Arranged?" I queried.
"You should tell them Nana," insisted Natasha.
"Yes, I should. You see gentlemen, I am a Duchess, for my dear Arnaud was a Duke in the German nobility. My own father was a Duke in the French nobility and so our families arranged a marriage in order to consolidate their great landed estates along the French-German border. In this way, no matter which side won the next World War -- which all knew was coming -- our families hoped that by intermixing our French and German noble bloodlines we would be able to keep all of our lands and castles."
So Madame de Volange was actually the Duchess de Volange. This would explain the beautiful old castle in the French countryside that sat atop the old stone cellar we were in. Madame de Volange was not a guest in the cellar as I had thought, but was rather the Duchess of castle and large estate in which it stood. She was an heiress in a long bloodline of French nobles.
"Arnaud was a brilliant chemist, a true genius" she continued, "When the war came he was forced by the Nazis to work on an exotic fuel for a secret rocket program."
"The V1?" I asked.
"Yes, the V1. Arnaud worked for Werner von Braun on the fuel for the world's first rocket of war. This made him very depressed to know that the rocket would kill people. He wanted to escape with me and the children to Britain or America but it was too late by 1939. Arnaud knew the Nazis would kill him and his family if he refused to work for them. As the war and killing began, Arnaud turned to the secret of his own royal bloodline: Alchemy. You see, for hundreds of years the men in Arnaud's family had practiced alchemy. He was descended from some of the greatest alchemists in Europe."
The Duchess looked at him in a bemused way. "No my dear man," she repiled. "Arnaud practiced the true alchemy, which is to transmute the human soul into the divine."
"I thought alchemy was about gold," Bill insisted.
"That is exoteric alchemy," she answered. "The true alchemy has nothing to do with something as common as metal. Arnaud was using alchemy as a way to ennoble himself as well as find the means to secretly kill Hitler. When Hitler once came to watch an early test launch of a V1, Arnaud sabotaged the fuel system so that the rocket would explode on launch. It did. Unfortunately, Hitler was in a bunker and it did not harm him. The explosion was written off as a bad experimental result and Arnaud was never suspected by the SS.
"As World War II progressed, the V2 program began and rockets began to shower down on London. Arnaud became suicidal at the killings and would have taken his own life had it not been for his family and his many prophetic dreams. For example, one night near the end of the war in an alchemical dream, Arnaud saw Hitler shooting himself down under the earth in his bunker. He secretly shared the dream with Von Braun who knew things that Arnaud and the other scientists did not know. Von Braun knew the end of the war was much closer than any of the scientists working for him in the isolation of Pennemunde realized. Von Braun took Arnaud and a few other trusted scientists into his confidence and they began to secretly hide hundreds of file cabinets of secret scientific documents in lorries that they hid in a cave. These documents would be their bargaining chips after the war.
"Arnaud was the only scientist who knew the secret formula and techniques for making the V2's rocket fuel. For Von Braun -- as well as the Americans, the British, and the Russians, this made Arnaud especially important. Many people wanted to capture him when the war ended.