Published in various countries “The Secret of the Sacred Panel” is a historical true-crime about the occult motives behind history’s most amazing art theft.
April 1934. Two panels, John the Baptist and the Just Judges, part of the world’s greatest altarpiece “Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” are stolen from the Ghent cathedral in Belgium. Painted in the 15th century by Van Eyck the art work literally is priceless. The police has no clue who is behind the audacious theft. When all hope of recovery seems lost the detectives are contacted by an extortionist who returns the panel of John the Baptist and demands a ransom for the other, more important, Just Judges. A long and at times outlandish cat and mouse game ensues during which the detectives overplay their hand. The blackmailer disappears.
In The Secret of the Sacred Panel, Dutch investigative journalist Karl Hammer reports the amazing story told to him by Tom R., an art historian who was enlisted to spy for the CIA and MI5 during WWII in order to trace the whereabouts of the vast horde of art stolen by the Nazis. While in Munich in 1945 Tom discovers that the Nazi’s had spent three years and a fortune on tracing the Van Eyck missing art work. Apparently they had been following the events surrounding the theft long before they invaded Belgium. Tom’s superiors immediately put him on the case to find out of the Nazi’s had successfully traced the art work. This is the start of one of most curious, if not outright weird investigations the art world has ever seen. A theft that is perhaps not a theft. Of an art work that is more than an art work. And nobody seems to be who they pretend to be. Not even Tom’s superiors.
The Secret of the Sacred Panel takes its readers into a quite unexpected territory of international intelligence work and shows how religion and politics were entangled, while occult mysticism was rampant among leaders in both East and West. The book describes an amazing and personal story of deceit and betrayal, all of this verified and supported by meticulous research into religion, mysticism, and history.