Frederick the Great (1712–1786) of Prussia called the Count of Saint-Germain the man who could not die, for according to the count, he had already lived 2,000 years by partaking of his discovery of a regenerative liquid that could prolong human life indefinitely.
Saint-Germain captivated the courts of Europe in the eighteenth century. He would refer to a pleasant chat with the Queen of Sheba and relay amusing anecdotes of Babylonian court gossip. He would speak with reverence of the miraculous event that he had witnessed at the marriage feast at Cana when the young rabbi Jesus (c. 6 B.C.E.–c. 30 C.E.) turned water into wine. Saint-Germain spoke and wrote Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, English, Italian, Portugese, and Spanish. He was also a talented painter and an accomplished virtuoso on the harpsichord and violin. The count was also a successful alchemist, and it was widely rumored that he had succeeded in transforming base metals into gold. It was believed that he could remove flaws from diamonds, and in this way improved one of the gems of King Louis XV (1710–1774). His chemical training far surpassed that of his contemporaries of the eighteenth century. His skill at mixing pigments was considered extraordinary, and famous painters begged in vain for the count to reveal his formulas.
It was also claimed by many that Saint-Germain could render himself invisible—a remarkable accomplishment said to have been often witnessed. He was also a proficient hypnotist and could fall at will into a state of self-hypnosis. Members of Europe's royal courts also heard him speak often of an invention that would occur in the next century and which would unite people of all lands. He called it a steamboat, and he implied that it would be he who would be on hand in the future to help create the vessel.
Who was the Count of Saint-Germain and what was his true place of origin? The mystery has never been solved, and he remains one of history's most intriguing enigmas. Some scholars have conjected that the man was a clever spy on a secret mission who had deliberately shrouded his past with mystery. Why, these scholars ask, would the skeptical Prussian King Frederick promote such fantastic tales of the count unless he had some reason to do so?
Saint-Germain seems to betray himself as a diplomat with his astounding knowledge of the political past. Having gained access to secret court files, he could have studied European history methodically and with earnest purpose. His wide range of claimed artistic talents may have been amateurish, but wildly exaggerated by those who would stand to gain by the count's missions.
Old records show that Saint-Germain died in the arms of two chambermaids at the court of the Landgrave of Hessen-Cassel, a fervent alchemist. But in spite of his supposed death, there are many recorded instances of the reappearance of the count. Many believe that he only feigned death, just as he had done many times before, so that he could go on sipping of his elixir of life and observing world events from a more quiet perspective.
After the fall of the Bastille in July 1789, Marie Antoinette received a letter of warning that was allegedly signed by the Count of Saint-Germain. Madame Adhemar, Marie Antoinette's confident, kept a rendezvous with the count in a chapel. Saint-Germain, then supposedly dead for five years, told her that he had done everything that he could to prevent the Revolution, but that the great magician Cagliostro, a fervent antimonarchist, had taken control of the events. It was further said that the Count of Saint-Germain showed himself many times during the French Revolution. He was said to have been observed often near the guillotine, sadly shaking his head at the bloody work initiated by his pupil, Cagliostro.
Today, many occult groups claim the Count of Saint-Germain as their spirit guide, and he remains popular as a spiritual mentor from beyond. Others maintain that the Count of Saint-Germain still lives, periodically feigning death in whatever guise he continues to walk the earth, so that he might on occasion offer his counsel to those men and women in high political places.