Category Archives: The Portal

Modigliani Interview

I recently did a two-part interview with Jesse Waugh in the wake of my new book, Into the Darkness Laughing: The Story of Jeanne Hébuterne, Modigliani’s Last Mistress. Here is a short extract from the interview.


To listen to the whole thing go to Jesse’s site where there are two, one hour long interviews with me:

To buy the book you can visit:

Into The Darkness Laughing

The Stone Cradle – Part 1: Arrival

According to legend, the child of light came to earth over 5,000 years ago and marked the beginning of the Precessional Age, the mystical birth of Venus as the new morning star.

The Celts called the child Lug, the Spanish Luz, and others – later – Lucifer. Otto Rahn, the German metaphysical writer who came to the area in the 1930s to seek information, believed the Grail was a stone, the third eye of Lucifer, that had dropped from the forehead as the fallen angel descended to earth. Whether this light child was Lucifer is not certain, any more than the context in which this disposed angel is seen: a deceptive creature that deflects light? A creative being that lifts our consciousness?

That there was a stone is undeniable, but it was not the Grail or the third eye of Lucifer.

I first saw this stone years ago and did not know what it was. It looked like a fruit dish, big enough for an adult to lie in. The stone was dark blue and smooth as marzipan, cold to the touch, heavy to rock with a slight tremor. The guardians told me it was one of the oldest stones on the planet. This was the Cradle that held the child of light who received from the stone nutrients essential for survival. A woman from the east came to rock the Cradle and, at this time before language, there were markings on trees and stones of a cradle shape containing a crescent moon.

Some said the stone was a meteorite that had crashed to this earth millions of years ago, near the Spanish frontier – yet it was perfectly formed. Others said it had arrived through the portal on the mountain summit. It was one of the oldest stones on the planet, yet it was not clear which kind it was. The prehistoric stone in the area, granite, did not resemble this unaging, faultless object. Writings from the 10th century described the stone as being surrounded by pieces of quartz. It had been kept in the chapel at the top of a hill, behind an abandoned hamlet near the village of Rabos, and in later times rested on a base of lapis lazuli.

Otto Rahn spent months searching for the stone and in 1933 arrived in the ancient city of Gerona (further south) with Howard Hughes – the US entrepreneurial aviator –keen to take the path to the portal, which he seemingly reached, as Hughes replicated portals in the US after the Second World War. The artificial portals did not have a natural quarantine filter, and matter from outer space got in and other material got out. NASA is said to have destroyed all artificial portals.

Otto Rahn wrote Lucifer’s Court, an account of his journey along the frontier. The artist, Salvador Dali – familiar with the Cradle – understood that it had many dimensions and at times could go so far from the four we know that it became invisible. It could even be seen from different angles in unexpected places and was observed at sunset in the sky seemingly made up of cloud.

Jose Tarres, my friend, took me on that first visit to the chapel. I remember it was lit by oil lamps long and flat – said to be from a time before Christ. I was surprised the stone could bring so many visitors and that guardians took care of the chapel.

I did not know that in the stone’s vicinity rituals were carried out and that it could deflect bad energy and assist the pathway between life and death. Jose Tarres, the custodian of the private society that for centuries had guarded the Cradle, showed me maps of the terrain and the position of the stars at the time of the child’s descent and how that changed the planet’s course irrevocably.

Powerful, mediumistic members of the society could attune back to that extraordinary time. The beneficent gifts the light child had brought were still carried in the folklore of the province. The arrival of this being had caused huge turbulence and storms in the atmosphere and the inhabitants in the mountain region were terrified, believing the sun would crash into the earth.

According to legend, all was still; the being was here. There were new lights in the sky.

A new age had begun.

The Stone Cradle

The Portal

I first heard of the Portal when I was 15 and hitch-hiking through France and into Spain with my friend Beryl. We were taking the roads as they came, towards freedom which was undeniably ours.

There was still an innocence about that time which allowed us this way of travel – not possible in later years. We were Bohemians to the core, dressed in the artistic style of the outsider: drainpipe trousers; long white fisherman’s; sweater; rope sandals and ankle chains; Brigitte Bardot kiss curls; white lipstick; black rimmed eyes.

We were stopped at the frontier by the Spanish police. They had never seen anything like us. What were we? Extraterrestrials?

‘They’ve been through the Portal’,  the men decided,  trying not to laugh.

It sounded good and we asked if the Portal was a club we had somehow missed on the journey south.

One policeman pointed to the nearby mountain, Canigou, its peak visible on this bright day. He said the Portal was right there on the summit.

‘It leads from here to other places – so they say.’

Beryl liked that. ‘So you go from here to there . . . ’

‘And you don’t come back’, said the policeman.

Beryl said she would check it out one of these days.



I was driven north towards Mount Canigou by two men who worked for Dr. Arnaud, the Custodian of the Society – which held metaphysical information and secrets of the area. Near the frontier a group of men were peering into a ditch by the roadside.

‘He went too far.’ The man, a local farmer, pointed at the mountain. ‘You can’t see it, but I have heard it sucks you in.’

‘It’s on the summit. Invisible,” said a second man. ‘So they say.’

The Portal. I remembered Beryl all those years ago at the same frontier. However bizarre, her style of dress couldn’t diminish her beauty, which made being her friend, on occasion, a little difficult.

Dr. Arnaud took me away from the group and spoke softly. ‘The man went too near. That’s the verdict.’

‘Too near what?’

‘It’s the American, isn’t it? The one who has been here looking into things. They say he is CIA.’

Was he? I felt cold. ‘Its the Portal – isn’t it?’ I asked what he knew.

‘Human beings are not welcome up there. That man had no protection. You can’t just enter a Portal as though you are going from one room to another.’

‘If he was on top of the mountain how did he come down to this street?’

‘Not pleasantly,’ said Dr. Arnaud.

He held me back from the growing knot of men bent over what I took to be the corpse. I needed to know if it was the American or someone else I knew. Then Jordi, who worked for national security, arrived with more men and gave instructions to the photographer. Seeing me, he crossed the road rubbing dirt off his hands. I could tell he was surprised I was with Dr. Arnaud who I suspected he did not like.

‘Anyone you know?’  he asked me.

‘I would like to see.’ I turned to Dr. Arnaud for approval. ‘Just to be sure.’

Jordi, physical and effective, was used to danger. He brought people to safety.  He had no time for academics like Dr. Arnaud. He had never done what Jordi considered a day’s real work and nicknamed him ‘Velour hands’.

He took my arm, not waiting for Dr. Arnaud’s answer, and we crossed the street. The men made a space and we looked down into a ditch.

The thing was like a grey paperclip pulled out of shape. The body had been electrocuted to the point of non-existence and lay twisted, shrivelled, metallic, grey, the remains of his clothes still smouldering.

I allowed myself one look.

‘The American?’  Jordi asked.

‘Could be anyone.’ I didn’t look back.

‘He was sure a curious type if he climbed over 3,000 meters to find a portal.’

‘It’s not where it is, it’s where it goes,’ I remembered; the frontier police, answering Beryl.

‘Why is he burned like that?’

‘There’s a lot of electricity around that mountain sometimes. It’s said it comes from out of space. The American was too curious.’ Jordi crossed himself. ‘He was even looking into graves. But we don’t need to bury him.’ He peered down at the ditch, ‘He’s already lying in one.’

In all directions were small burial signs; broken or sinking headstones;  a cross, its message obscured; an urn half visible.

‘It’s the old cemetery outside the village, unused for years,’ said Jordi. ‘I wonder what he was doing up there.’

Whatever – you don’t come back. That other time had the answers.



The vast mountain – majestic, absolute – was unusually accessible with no shading of weather or camouflage of light to create atmospheres and promote mystery. From summit to base – it was brilliantly lit by the strong sun and  challenged to give up it’s secrets; its crimes. It was too present and the light brought it nearer to our frail, only too human, group. It was innocent with no relation to our misfortunes. I could hear my teacher from the past, her voice in my thoughts. ‘But of course you have to let go. Do you think anything is yours? What do you own?’

Not much as it happened. She had shown me that on our journey of the 11 Sites under the Constellation of the Great Bear.

Jordi took hold of my hand. ‘You will have to reach his family.’

What if it wasn’t the American in that old grave? Whoever it was, twisted over like a paperclip, they had been violently electrocuted. It occurred to me it was not caused by lightning, as the news reports suggested, but more likely an atomic blast.

‘Is a Portal so dangerous?’ I asked Jordi.

‘Oh it’s not the Portal’, he said,  ‘But what came through.’

‘From where?’

‘From out of space.’  I thought he said the stone, the cradle.