Lost Wonders: The Cosmoplanetary Messiah - Atlas Obscura
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Lost Wonders: The Cosmoplanetary Messiah

article-imageDemolition of Cosmoplanetary Messiah (via arras-france.com)

Travelers between the French towns of Castellane and St. André might be startled to see a 72-foot-tall silver statue of Buddha draped in a rainbow and a 69-foot-tall Jesus armed with a sword and shield, but there was once an even more spectacular statue: an 108-foot-tall Cosmoplanetary Messiah.

article-imageMandarom, with the Cosmoplanetary Messiah on the right (via arras-france.com)

The messiah in question was Gilbert Bourdin who in 1969 founded the Aumism religion (considered by some to be a cult), which collages together the highlights of the world’s religions. The walled city of Mandarom in France is the headquarters of Aumism, and there among the mosque, temple, and other clustered shrines of worship, the giant statue of Bourdin loomed until 2001. Unfortunately for the staggering statue, its builders hadn’t acquired the appropriate permits, and after years of court battles it was ruled illegal.

article-image(via arras-france)

It took two days to destroy the steel reinforced statue with jackhammers and dynamite before it tumbled down the hillside. Bourdin himself had passed away in 1998 from heart disease, despite having declared himself immortal. His remaining believers, who number around 400 and still don colorful robes and head pieces decorated with mirrors in Mandarom, hold that he will someday emerge from the tomb. For fear of him being dug up, or perhaps that it might be true, local authorities have put concrete over his grave. 

You can still visit Mandarom on a guided tour, although the Cosmoplanetary Messiah is unlikely to rise up again. Here’s a 2009 video from the colorful French “holy city”:

COSMOPLANETARY MESSIAH: MANDAROM, La Baume, France


Lost Wonders are our explorations into the world’s missing marvels, lost landscapes, and places we wish we could have seen. Check out all the vanished splendor here >