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The Cathedral of Saint-Denis, located on the out-skirts of Paris, France, was the first gothic cathedral to be built. The innovations of the choir (built in 1140-44) are accepted as the first examples of this type of architecture. Splendid and royal, many believe Saint-Denis is the reason Louis VI decided to make Paris his centre as opposed to Orléans.
Relatively unchanged until 1838 when extensive renovations were carried out by the prolific designer Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen. Adding stencils to the walls and creating new pews using extensive amounts of new materials such as MDF.
After the renovations were completed in 1846, the Cathedral was under the control of the infamous Abbot Thieri Wogan, a cruel and ruthless man who abducted 'non-believers' and subjected them to hours of torturous droning. Many of his victims died and are still buried in the grounds of the cathedral.
After the death of Abbot Wogan in 1872, Saint-Denis was abandoned and was left derelict until 1927 when Walt Disney bought the cathedral and had the whole structure moved brick by brick to America where it was to be used as the Magic Kingdom. Eventually it was decided that it was not to be used and the cathedral once again stood empty and abandoned in a remote part of Texas, eventually being used as an elaborate out-house by slack-jawed yokels.
However, in 1971 Elvis Presley bought the deeds from the Disney corporation and had the building returned to its original location. To this day there is speculation amongst the most learned art historians as to why Presley spent the time and money carrying out such an extensive project. Some say it was for religious purposes, apparently doing so as a mark of gratitude to God. Others say he was off his face and didn't know what he was doing. In 1973, after the second restoration, Presley returned ownership of Saint-Denis back to the French state. The cathedral was once again used as a place of worship.
In 1992 Saint-Denis was to be at the centre of one of the most embarrassing incidents for the French government when a high ranking French politician was caught staging and filming sadistic sacrifices to Lucifer inside the cathedral. The tapes were distributed to the rich and famous who were all later disgraced. These include the comedian Bob Monkhouse, the entertainer Shane Richy and the thing Bernard Manning.
Today Saint-Denis is one of the most popular tourist attractions in France due to its rich and unique history.
Rev. Johnny Parker M.A, P.H.D, B.U.M.