The Order of the Solar Temple

A Summary of the Case

The text has been extracted from an article published by CICNS, which can be accessed in it's original language (French) here.

The Order of the Solar Temple

A Summary by CICNS

TFI stated in 2001, that "the various massacres linked to the Order of the Solar Temple, occurring at the same time as various other international scandals linked to sectarian movements, have strongly contributed to a stronger movement against sects in France."

Today we can see how these highly publicized tragedies cause panic and affect judgments and hatred. The public is poorly informed with regards to the grey area of all these cases. They are only provided with the perspective that incites fear.

The Order of the Solar Temple, or OST, became notorious with five murders: on September 30, 1994, five members of the Solar Temple died in a house fire in Morin Heights, Quebec. On October 5, 1994, 48 charred bodies were found in Switzerland, 23 in Cheiry, and 25 in Granges-sur-Salvan, including the two masters of the Solar Temple, Luc Jouret and Joseph Di Mambro. On December 15, 1995, 16 people burned in a clearing in the Vercors, including 3 children, and the wife and the son of Jean Vuarnet. March 22, 1997, five followers of the Solar Temple, including three French, were charred in Saint-Casimir, Quebec.

Three Men Significant to the Order of the Solar Temple

Joseph di Mambro, a former jeweler, prior to founding the Order of the Solar Temple was prisoned for 6 months for fraud. Subsequently, although still prior to the Solar Temple, he attended a grouping of successors to the SAC (service of civic action, a parallel police force founded by Charles Pasqua), who was involved in at least one of the massacres.

Luc Jouret, a former Maoist, who di Mambro had asked to integrate an esoteric Order, the Renovated Order of the Temple, to take possession as a result of the death of his master. What did Luc Jouret do? He re-named this order: The Order of the Solar Temple.

Michel Tabachnick, a musician and the third man of the order is at the base of the esoteric fundaments of the Solar Temple, which are found in his writings, "Archée" (written long before his time with the Order of the Solar Temple).

In the 1980s, the number of followers of the Order of the Solar Temple in Quebec was growing. Many were executives of one of the most prominent companies in Quebec, Hydroquébec, integrated into the Order, fascinated by the theories of Luc Jouret on a variety of subjects.

The Massacres

Di Mambro, in this period, had a child, Emmanuel (a girl, actually, who is presented as a boy) that he claims to be the new Christ. Later on, other members have a boy, whom they also call Emmanuel. According to the sectarian theory, di Mambro had said that he was the Antichrist and sponsored the slaughter of 1994 in Canada (during which the child was killed with a stake planted in the heart), the first of the series presented as ritual sacrifice.

The murders of Cheiry and Salvan followed, and the sectarian theory and collective suicide was followed by the Court and the media. Further investigation became impossible because the Judge Piller burnt all the exhibits. A journalist, Éric Lemasson, even stated that he had found tapes of hallucinogenic conversations on “trips to Venus or Jupiter" in support of the theory of madness in the garbage of the destroyed house (that the police had neglected).

One year later, in 1995, the massacre of Vercors displays disturbing elements. According to Gilbert Lavoué, the legal expert in charge of the investigation, fire victims could not burn in a fire wood ritual, but rather through the phosphorus used by flamethrowers. The marks of violent blows to the victims indicated that they were not willing and, more surprisingly, two of the victims were members of the General Information, including a certain Lardanchet, towards whom Luc Jouret had expressed suspicions of infiltration in the Order to “destroy the Order of the Solar Temple” (a letter from Jouret was found describing his accusations against him). These facts raise important questions. The story presented by Yves Boisset indicates another correspondance found between di Mambro, addressed "Dear Charlie," accusing Charles Pasqua, then Minister of Interior Affairs, of "wanting to destroy the Order of the Solar Temple in preparing a collective massacre."

Serious Doubts Regarding the Sectarian Theory

These gray areas give rise to new suspicions and the less popular theory of outside intervention begins to take shape. The lack of fingerprints and the disappearance of most of the key evidence has finally convinced a number of people, and especially many families of the victims, that people fled the scene following the massacre (not ‘suicide’) destroying all traces of evidence, and that something else much less folkloric than the sectarian theory, was the actual case.

But it’s not everyone who wants the anti-sect explanation to be swept away. A sister of one of the victims, Ute Verona, testified to the presence of a man, who introduced himself to her as a policeman, at the apartment of her sister, just before the discovery of the body. She observed, through the peephole of her door, the man bringing several garbage bags into her sister’s apartment before disappearing. After revealing what she had seen, she subsequently faced threats over the phone.


Wheeling and Dealing in Real Estate, Money Laundering

With the murder of Yann Piat, a French female politician, in February 1994, the tracks of multiple relations in connection with real estate projects on the French Riviera, crossed paths with that of the Order of the Solar Temple. Indeed, after the massacres of the Order of the Solar Temple, two members of the SAC, which could have been the culprits of the murder of Mrs. Piat (rather than two insignificant thugs who were designated as responsible yet claimed they were innocent), were found to have “committed suicide” with CO2 poisoning from their car in their garage, with capes from the Order of the Solar Temple in their car and multiple books of the Order.

According to Alain Vuarnet, a parent of two of the victims, the Order of the Solar Temple served primarily to "white wash money.” Sums of several million francs have been discovered in accounts in Australia (in total, $186 million) on behalf of various people, including, di Mambro and other individuals, which was denied by the authorities immediately following their discovery, thereby completing the long succession of blunders, denial, and errors in the investigation since the start of the case.

According to Alain Vuarnet, everything was done to guide public opinion, the Court, and the media towards the theory of a sect and mass suicide, so that no one took notice of the affairs occurring in the background. Unfortunately, the parallel investigations were obstructed (according to a report made by Yves Boisset, a judicial police commander—Gilbert Houvenaghel—even asked the families who had made the complaint to withdraw their complaints) and the Court was not interested (for the families, it was a "blind, deaf and dumb" Court).

It’s as simple as gauging public opinion to see that this sectarian theory has taken hold. Few people have a clear idea about what took place in 1994 and 1995. Under the cover of a mass suicide committed by an esoteric sect, this actually resembled a politico-mafia case under the guise of anti-sects, conveniently occurring a year after the Waco case. As will also be the case in future situations.

*The original article can be found on CICNS' website.