THE MYSTERIOUS FIGURE we now know as the Comte de Saint-Germain was first witnessed in 1710 under the name the Marquis de Montferrat. Seen in Venice by a musician named Rameau and a Parisian socialite called Madam de Gergy, he had the appearance of a man between 40 and 50 years of age. It was an appearance he would hold all his life, and he would only officially die in 1784. However, many people believe he never actually passed away. To them, this enigmatic character has become known as ‘Saint-Germain the Deathless’.
Saint-Germain’s provenance was never revealed, not even by those he had taken into his confidence. For his entire life he looked like a middle-aged, strongly built man of average height. He was an amazing raconteur with incredible stories, and had some impressive talents. He could create fantastic jewels, had a complete understanding of music and art, and was able to provide people with potions which he claimed were the elixir of youth. He was never seen to eat or drink, but he enjoyed the company of women and mixed with the aristocracy. He never seemed to age.
His great period of celebrity was in Paris between 1750 and 1760. His main role was that of spy for King Louis XV. However, his friendship with the king created many enemies within the French government and he was forced to flee to England. He resurfaced in Russia under the name General Soltikov and played a major role in the 1762 revolution. At the start of Louis XVI’s reign he reappeared in Paris and, through an old friend, the Countesse d’Adhemar, he issued a warning to Queen Marie Antoinette of the dangers that were building for the French monarchy. Saint-Germain tried to see the king personally, but the police were ordered to capture the Comte by the king’s minister. Again, Saint-Germain simply disappeared.
He apparently sought refuge at the castle of Count Charles of Hesse Cassel in the Duchy of Schlesing, Austria. It was said that he revealed many of his secrets to the count, but by 1784 Saint-Germain had simply grown bored of life and died. However, there is no official record of his death, and no tombstone bearing his name. He left all his papers, many of which concerned freemasonry, to the count, but like Louis XV, Charles never revealed anything about Saint-Germain’s real history. Indeed, even though he claimed to be sad that Saint-Germain had died, many commentators have suggested he did not appear so upset, and there is a theory that he may have been privy to a staged death.
Certainly, further reports of Saint-Germain have been recorded. In 1786 he met the Empress of Russia, and in 1788 he was apparently the official French representative at the World Convention of Freemasons. The Countess of d’Adhemar said she had met her old friend in 1789, 1815 and 1821, and that each time he looked no older than her memory of him. It is said that he continued to have an influence on secret societies and may even have been a guiding light of the Rosicrucians.
So who was the strange character? Parisians who disliked him said he was the son of a Portuguese Jew named Aymar, or an Alsatian Jew called Wolff. However, the general feeling at the time was that he was the natural son of Spain’s Charles II’s widow, Marie de Neubourg. A more recent study has suggested that he may actually have been one of the sons of Prince Francis Racoczi II of Transylvania. The prince gave his children to the Emperor of Austria to bring up, but one of them was said to have died at a young age. It is now considered that this child may have, in fact, been raised by a family in the little village of San Germano in Italy. This would account for how he assumed the name the Comte de Saint-Germain.
However, some people, particularly those involved with the Theosophy movement, believe Saint-Germain may have been one of the ‘great masters’, sent to show developed men the errors of their ways. They believe he may be still wandering the Earth, waiting for the right time to reappear and counsel Man through troubled waters. Until then, however, the enigmatic figure known as the Comte de Saint-Germain will remain a mystery.
100 Strangest Mysteries