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TMC goes back to the heart of the case of the Order of the Solar Temple

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A captivating four-part documentary looks back at the affair that shook French-speaking Switzerland, France and Quebec. But also on the friendship of three journalists who conducted the investigation at the time: Gilles Bouleau, Arnaud Bédat and Bernard Nicolas.

The trailer for the docu-series “Solar Temple: The Impossible Investigation”, to discover on TMC from June 17.

TMC

Twenty-eight years after the start of the events, the massacres of the Order of the Solar Temple (OTS) retain all their power of fascination. How were 74 people able to die, in Switzerland, France and Canada, in circumstances that remain, in part, mysterious? By what means did the gurus of the sect, the Belgian homeopathic doctor Luc Jouret and the crook Jo Di Mambro, who also died during the mass killings, manage to indoctrinate people who were in no way enlightened? What exact role did conductor Michel Tabachnik play within the Order?

Nearly thirty years after the OTS affair, journalists Bernard Nicolas, Gilles Bouleau and Arnaud Bédat have remained great friends.

TF1

TMC invites viewers to an exciting four-part documentary on Fridays June 17 and 24. “Solar Temple: the impossible investigation” is not only a richly illustrated dive into the intricacies of this dark affair which hit French-speaking Switzerland head-on in October 1994. It is also the story of three young journalists, fine sleuths, who have combined their skills in order to advance the international investigation: the Swiss Arnaud Bédat, and the French Gilles Bouleau and Bernard Nicolas.

even children

It all started on September 30, 1994 in Morin Heights, Quebec, where five people died in a house. Barely a few days later, twenty-five people were found dead in Salvan (VS) and twenty-three others in Cheiry (FR). In Valais, the victims were injected with a poison. In the canton of Fribourg, they were shot or suffocated with a plastic bag.

On September 30, 1994 in Morin Heights, Quebec, five people were found dead in a house: no one knows it yet, but the OTS affair has just begun.

On September 30, 1994 in Morin Heights, Quebec, five people were found dead in a house: no one knows it yet, but the OTS affair has just begun.

TMC screenshot

In December 1995, sixteen people (including three children) were discovered immolated in the Vercors (F). All were killed by gunfire. Fourteen were executed. Both shooters committed suicide. Finally, in March 1997, five last members of the OTS were found dead in Saint-Casimir, Quebec. Miracle, three teenagers have escaped this disastrous fate, after having begged their parents to let them live.

The mysterious Dr Jouret, guru of the OTS.

The mysterious Dr Jouret, guru of the OTS.

TMC screenshot

In the name of what were these massacres committed? Are these collective suicides? Mass killings? Who gave the orders? Are there any leaders of the Solar Temple still alive? Who knew what was coming? In 1997, the musician Michel Tabachnik was the sole defendant in this strange case. He was released in 2001. Tried again in 2006, the conductor was once again released.

A lifting of bodies like the case of the OTS has, alas, known so much.

A lifting of bodies like the case of the OTS has, alas, known so much.

TMC screenshot

End of the story? Arnaud Bédat, Gilles Bouleau and Bernard Nicolas, who have become the greatest specialists of the OTS, deliver their point of view in “Solar Temple: the impossible investigation”. Co-authors of reference books, they tell in detail how they conducted their investigations, for Swiss newspapers and for TF1. “We were always ahead, at the time, by this young Bédat, remembers laughing Bernard Nicolas. We all decided to join forces”. A meticulous teamwork that will even rock the investigation, when Arnaud Bédat gets his hands on photos directly implicating Tabachnik with the OTS.

Gilles Bouleau, Bernard Nicolas and Arnaud Bédat in 1996, when their first book devoted to the OTS was released.

Gilles Bouleau, Bernard Nicolas and Arnaud Bédat in 1996, when their first book devoted to the OTS was released.

TF1

Unpublished testimonials

Directed by Raphaël Rouyer and Nicolas Brénéol, produced by Elodie Polo Ackermann for Imagissime in partnership with Attraction Images, “Solar Temple: The Impossible Investigation” follows like a real thriller, both captivating and chilling, often surprisingly moving, through France, Quebec and, of course, French-speaking Switzerland.

One of the images found by Arnaud Bédat which will tip the investigation: we see Michel Tabachnik (on the right) in the middle of the OTS procession.

One of the images found by Arnaud Bédat which will tip the investigation: we see Michel Tabachnik (on the right) in the middle of the OTS procession.

TMC screenshot

Many of the protagonists in this affair express themselves freely, often for the first time. Even Michel Tabachnik agreed to take part, giving himself up like never before about this drama and letting go that “despite the horror he suffered, this affair allowed him to experience good things that might not be otherwise occurred”. This docu-series is also a tribute to the profession of journalist and an ode to the friendship between three fine sleuths, Bouleau, Nicolas and Bédat, who, year after year, have sought to bring the truth to light.

“Solar Temple: The Impossible Investigation”
Episodes 1 and 2, Friday June 17 at 9:15 p.m., on TMC

To be continued on lematin.ch:
Interviews with directors Raphaël Rouyer and Nicolas Brénéol, and producer Elodie Polo Ackermann (Thursday June 16)
Interviews with Gilles Bouleau, Arnaud Bédat and Bernard Nicolas (Friday June 17)

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