Thursday, February 25, 2021

HGB Ep. 374 - The Legend of the Count of St. Germain

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Moment in Oddity - The Iceman Curse

Two German hikers discovered a well-preserved human mummy in the Ötztal Alps in September of 1991. This was on the border of Italy and Austria and was the oldest mummy ever found in Europe. Evidence revealed that the Iceman had met with a violent end. He was shot with an arrow and then his head was crushed. Scientists believed that he was a shaman who had been killed by his enemies. Perhaps that is why there are claims that the Iceman is cursed. Seven people who were connected with the discovery died in the thirteen months that followed. Some of those deaths were violent or odd themselves. Rainer Henn was the first to die. He worked as a forensic pathologist and he put the Iceman in a body bag with his bare hands. On his way to do a presentation on the Iceman, he was killed in a car crash. The guide who lead Henn to the body was next. An avalanche got him. The man who filmed the recovery was the third to die and this was from a brain tumor. One of the hikers who discovered the mummy went missing in 2004 and when he was found he was at the bottom of a 300 foot cliff, face down in a stream. A man on that rescue team dropped dead of a heart attack after the hiker's funeral. The next victim proclaimed the curse a bunch of rubbish and said, "The next thing you will be saying I will be next." And he was. The final victim initially got sick in 1992 right after he started working with the Iceman, eventually dying in 2005. Having all these deaths occur in connection with discovering the Iceman, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Mary, Queen of Scots Beheaded

In the month of February, on the 8th, in 1587, Mary, Queen of Scots, was beheaded at Fotheringhay, England. Mary Stuart had been born in 1542 and was the only surviving legitimate child of King James V of Scotland. She accended to the throne when she was only six days old because her father died. She would reign over Scotland from December 14, 1542 to July 24, 1567. She grew up in France and married Dauphin of France, Francis. He died in 1560 and she went to Scotland where she married her half-cousin and became Mary Stuart. They had a son named James.This new husband was nurdered two years into the marriage and Mary then married James Hepburn whom it was thought helped plan the murder. The country rose up against the couple and Mary was thrown into Loch Leven Castle and imprisoned. She abdicated the throne to her son and fled to England for protection under her cousin Queen Elizabeth I. The Queen of England thought that Mary was actually coming to take the throne, so she had her imprisoned. Over the next 19 years, she was moved from manor house to castle to manor house. During the Protestant Reformation in England, Mary got caught up in the events surrounding that and she was charged with complicity in a plot to assassinate Elizabeth. She was sentenced to die, but her legend continues as one of the most complicated characters in British and European history.

Legend of the Count of St. Germain (Research Assistance from Scott Booker, Suggested by Abby Richmond)

One legendary person in history that has been fascinating to us is the Count of St. Germain. This was a man who not only claimed to be hundreds of years old, seemingly finding the secret to eternal youth via alchemy, but sightings and stories about him throughout the centuries seem to indicate that he may have been telling the truth. Who was this man? Was he even a Count? Could he have been a time traveler? Was he a vampire and that is why he never seemed to age? Join us as we explore the legend of the Count of St. Germain.

The Comte de Saint Germain went by many aliases and has been known as several men through the centuries. There was the Marquis de Montferrat, Comte Bellamarre, Chevalier Schoening, Count Weldon, Comte Soltikoff, Graf Tzarogy, Prinz Ragoczy, Marcus S. Garmin, Master “R” and Jacque St. Germain. Regardless of what name he was introducing himself by, he was always described with similar traits as a man with a head full of black hair, appearing to be around thirty years old, handsome, robust and of medium height with barely a wrinkle on his face. The Count was rich and dressed elegantly and knew how to throw a party. The Fourth Earl of Oxford, Horace Walpole, wrote to his friend Horace Mann about the Count, "An odd man, who goes by the name of Comte St. Germain. He had been here these two years, and will not tell who he is, or whence, but professes that he does not go by his right name. He sings, plays on the violin wonderfully, composes, is mad and not very sensible. He is called an Italian, a Spaniard, a Pole; a somebody that married a great fortune in Mexico, and ran away with her jewels to Constantinople, a priest, a fiddler, a vast nobleman. The Prince of Wales has had unsatiated curiosity about him, but in vain."

Historians disagree as to the biography of the Count of St. Germain with good reason. There seem to be no definitive records about him and he refused to give his true name. Most historians agree that he was born in the late 1600s. Biographer and Theosophist Isabel Cooper-Oakly reported in her book, "The Comte de St. Germain, the Secret of Kings" that he was born the son of the Prince of Transylvania, Francz-Leopold Racoczi, and his wife, Princess Charlotte Amalia of Hesse-Wahnfried, in the late 1690s. She claimed that he was probably born in Bohemia. His parents were unable to raise him because the political environment was becoming dangerous and he was sent to Gian Gastone, who was the last of the Medici Family, to be raised. This was his mother's brother-in-law. Under the care of Gastone, the Count would receive a great education. But there are those who disagree with this origin story.

Some historians claim that his father was Comte Adanero and his mother was Marie de Neubourg, the  widow of King Charles II of Spain. Others believe that he had been a Portugese Jew. P.T. Barnum wrote "The Humbugs of the World" in 1886 and in it he related about the Count, "The Marquis de Crequy declared that St. Germain was an Alsatian Jew, Simon Wolff by name, and was born at Strasbourg about the close of the 17th or the beginning of the 18th century; others insist that he was a Spanish Jesuit named Aymar; and others again intimate that his true title was the Marquis de Betmar, and that he was a native of Portugal. The most plausible theory, however, makes him the natural son of an Italian princess and fixes his birth at San Germano, in Savoy, about the year 1710; his ostensible father being one Rotondo, a tax-collector of that district."

The Count spoke so many languages, it was as if he was from everywhere. These languages included: French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and English. As part of his education, he he also was experienced with Chinese, Latin, Arabic, Greek and Sanskrit. The Count was accomplished in so many ways. One area was music and many pieces of music are attributed to the Count, It is said that he contributed some of the songs to L'incostanza delusa, an opera performed at the Haymarket Theatre in London. The Count was an artist with a gift for painting. And he could write, but no one knows for sure if works attributed to him really were written by him. One of these would be La Très Sainte Trinosophie, The Most Holy Trinosophia, or The Most Holy Threefold Wisdom. This was a French esoteric book. There are those who claim the Count authored it, but others give Alessandro Cagliostro credit for the work. The only reason this has been connected to the Count is that there was a handwritten note on the inside cover of the original manuscript claiming that it belonged to St. Germain. The material could be his as well as we will soon discuss his interest and seeming expertise in alchemy, the esoteric and the mystical. This 96-page book written in the late 18th century is divided into twelve sections representing the twelve Zodiac signs and inside is information about masonic, kabbalistic and alchemical mysteries. Another tome attributed to him was the The Triangular Book of St. Germain or The Triangular Manuscript. This was an untitled 18th-century French text written in code and the book is literally shaped like an equilateral triangle, hence the name. The contents feature information on how to extend life and find treasure via magic. One has to decipher the code to uncover that.

Everywhere the Count went, people loved him. They wanted to be a part of his circle and attend his parties. He traveled extensively throughout Europe in the mid to late 1700s. He mesmerized people with his knowledge of jewels and since he was rich, he made jewelry a big part of his dress. He even studded his shoes with jewels. He claimed he could grow pearls to large sizes. He had perfected a technique for painting jewels and developed a special pigment that could reflect light and make jewels gleam in such a way that they were life-like. His knowledge with jewels is traced to five years that he spent in the Shah of Persia's court in the mid 1700s where he learned the jeweler’s craft. And we should mention that although the Count was famously rich, he held no bank accounts anywhere. As a matter of fact, a French ambassador in London wrote that the Count had to be a spy because "...he has cut a fine figure here, receiving great sums and settling all bills with such promptitude that it has never been necessary to remind him. Nobody can imagine how a man who was simply a gentleman could dispose of such vast resources, unless he were employed as a spy." Although he clearly would have been a catch for any woman, he never married or had any children. 

The Count was friends with many well known people like Giacomo Girolamo Casanova, who said of St. Germain, "This extraordinary man...would say in an easy, assured manner that he was 300 years old, that he knew the secret of the Universal Medicine, that he possessed a mastery over nature, that he could melt diamonds... all this, he said, was mere trifle to him." Madame d’Adhemar wrote "Souvenirs de la Marie Antoinette," which was published in 1836, and in it she wrote that her maid once quipped about the Count, "I thought, with all due respect to Madame la Comtesse, that the devil had long since made a mantle out of the skin of this personage." St. Germain knew King Louis XV of France and his wife Marie Antoinette and advised the king and conducted secret missions for him in England. He also seemed to be able to see into the future and he told the King that the French Revolution would be coming. This was fifteen years before it actually did happen. King Louis's chief mistress, Marquise de Pompadour, was friends with the Count as well and he visited her in 1750. The Count knew Catherine The Great and is said to have played a part in the conspiracy to get her on the throne and he advised her on the war with Turkey. He knew the philosopher and writer Voltaire whom he met in 1758, and while Voltaire found him entertaining, he thought the Count talked far too much. The last five years of his life were spent at Prince Charles of Hesse-Cassel's castle in Eckernförde. The co-founder of the Theosophical Society, Madame Blavatsky, met with the Count many times in the 1890s, clearly after he should have been dead. And even more remarkably, he claimed to have had conversations with the Queen of Sheba and Cleopatra.

The pieces of the Count's life that are very interesting to us are those that deal with the occult and his abilities with alchemy, which is a mixing of chemistry and philosophy to transmute baser metals into gold and find the elixir of life. Legend claims he discovered the true secret of Alchemy. He developed some kind of powder that turned lead into pure silver or gold when either of these metals was heated to its molten form and the powder was added to it. This same powder was also the key ingredient in his elixir of life and legend also claims this would impart immortality on those who drank it. Legend claims he could turn rocks into precious stones, take imperfections out of diamonds and even fashion diamonds out of thin air.

President of the Theosophical Society, Annie Besant, wrote in the Foreward of Cooper-Oakly's book, "The great Occultist and Brother of the White Lodge, fragments of whose life are herein given, was the greatest force behind in the intellectual reforming movement which received its deathblow in the outbreak of the French revolution.  Phoenix-like, it has re-arisen, and it reappeared in the 19th Century as the Theosophical Society, of which this Great Brother is one of the recognized leaders.  Still living in the same body the perennial youth of which astonished the observers of the 18th-century, He has fulfilled the prophecy made to Mme. d 'Adhémar that he would show himself again a century after his farewell to her, and, in the growing spiritual movement which is seen around us on every side, He will be one of the acknowledged Chiefs. Profoundly interesting, therefore, must be every detail that can be gathered of His eighteenth century life, and much is gathered here."

Annie is sharing here about the Masonic background of the Count. He was also believed to have connections to several other secret societies, including the Rosicrucians, Society of Asiatic Brothers, the Knights of Light, the Illuminati and Order of the Templars. Perhaps it was through the rituals of these groups that he perfected his special magic. The Count was so dedicated to his alchemy pursuits that he would set up elaborate laboratories wherever he traveled. He didn't just work on life elixirs and precious metals though. He made cosmetics, anti-aging cremes and hair-dyes. And many times his dyes were used for clothing as well.

One key indicator that someone has lived is the existence of a burial. Of course, that also indicates that the person died. The Count was reportedly buried on March 2, 1784 in a private grave at Nicolai Church at Nikolaikirchen in Eckernforde. The stone was rumored to read, "Deceased on February 27th, buried on March 2nd, 1784. The so-called Comte de St Germain and Weldon. Further information not known." A great storm destroyed the church on November 13, 1872 and all the indoor tombs were filled with sand. Most of the large tombstones were removed leaving the location of his body unknown. Which also leads people to believe that he is not buried in the church. No one had attended the funeral of this clearly well-known and liked man. He had nothing of value to his name at the time of his death save for some clothing and toiletries. Of course, the main reason we are talking about the Count is that many people believe he couldn't die, either because he had discovered an elixir that kept him young or he was a vampire. Reasons why people have believed that the Count had lived for centuries are the stories of him attending many key events in history. Granted, many of these are stories he told himself.

The Count claimed to witness Jesus change water into wine at the wedding of Cana. The First Council of Nicaea was convened by the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great in 325 AD and St. Germain claimed he was present at that. The Count claimed that in 600 BC he received the Staff of Moses from one of Moses’ Great Grandson. This was the time of Cyrus in Babylon. St. Germain claimed that he had rooms at the Tower of London under King Edward II’s rule between 1307 and 1327. He also claimed to have spent time studying Speculative Chemistry with Francis I from 1501 to 1540. The Count was seen at the Coup D’état when Napoleon Bonaparte overtook the French Consulate in 1799. In 1821, he seems to disappear from history and this is when legends claim he started using aliases.

Around this time, Albert Vandam, who was an English journalist wrote about a man he met named Major Fraser, "He called himself Major Fraser, lived alone and never alluded to his family. Moreover he was lavish with money, though the source of his fortune remained a mystery to everyone. He possessed a marvelous knowledge of all the countries in Europe at all periods. His memory was absolutely incredible and, curiously enough, he often gave his hearers to understand that he had acquired his learning elsewhere than from books. Many is the time he has told me, with a strange smile, that he was certain he had known Nero, had spoken with Dante, and so on." Vandam said the man looked just like pictures he had seen of the Count of St. Germain. Major Fraser eventually died with no family. His possessions were sold and given to the poor. If he died, then he probably was not the Count. Jessie at the Finding Count Germain website, posted a possible obituary for Major Fraser.

Napoleon was suspicious of the Count, so he had people start investigating him. This started in 1870 and this special commission stored the information that it collected at the Hotel de Ville. The investigation ended in 1871 when the hotel burned down. The cause of the fire was a mystery.As mentioned earlier, Madame Blavatsky met the man in 1890 and the two stayed in contact for ten years. How would that be possible? At this point, he would be 200 years old. There is supposedly a photo that was taken of the two of them together, but we haven't seen it. In the 1920s and 1930s he appeared to other people and in 1972 he made his final appearance. A man named Richard Chanfray came forward and claimed that he was the Count. When he was pressured to prove it, he went on French television and changed lead into gold using a camp stove while the cameras rolled. He committed suicide in 1983. Chanfray did favor the count. He had a similar nose structure and the same cleft in his chin. But the similarities stop there. Chanfray had a clear biography of being born and growing up, becoming a thief and spending time in jail and he seemed to have none of the other talents of the Count. He read about the man and then became a magician and psychic after getting out of jail. Just before joining into a suicide pact with his lover, he was seen in public looking very thin with white hair. Actor Kevin Pollack favors the Count a bit too, but well, if everything we've heard about the Count is true, Pollack is definitely nothing more than a doppelganger for the famous Count.

As open-minded skeptics, of course we need to look at theories as to how the Count of St. Germain came to be known by all of us as this strange figure in history. Passports have been around a long time and early on, these passports were blank so that people could travel under assumed names. Is it possible that various people claimed to be him as they traveled? It's not like they had magazines and televisions back then, so some people would not have known what he looked like. The English mime and comedian, Mi'Lord Gower, often impersonated Saint Germain in Paris and he would tell wild stories of his exploits like he had been an adviser to Jesus. Magicians would claim to be the count as they traveled around performing. Teachings in the I Am Movement by Guy Ballard and Summit Lighthouse, that were run by Mark and Elizabeth Prophet, claim The Count Of Saint Germain as an Ascended Master. Elizabeth wrote many things as she claimed to be channeling the Count. The Ascended Masters, known in the East as Bodhisattvas, were once human beings on the Earth. These teachings lead people to believe he was reincarnated over and over until he reached ascendancy. 

A more fun theory would be that he had figured out how to time travel. It would explain his ability to provide such great advise to kings and other nobles. Time traveling would explain how he has been seen through various decades and always appearing to be around 45 years old. We've never heard anybody put forward the idea that he was a spirit, but couldn't that be a possibility as well? Some believe the Count was a vampire for several reasons. As we said, the Count loved to host parties, but one curious thing that people noticed about him was that he rarely ate at the parties. As a matter of fact, he was rarely seen eating food in public. When asked about this, the Count would respond that he so enjoyed regaling guests with stories that he didn't have time to eat. When asked what kinds of foods he liked to eat, the Count would answer oatmeal and white chicken meat. In 1760, the Count met Countess van Georgy and when he introduced himself she said she knew of a man named Count of Saint-Germain in the year 1710. Imagine her shock when he claimed to be that man. She then said that would make him around 100 years old and he responded, "That is not impossible."

Diane first heard this theory of the Count as a vampire on a vampire tour in New Orleans. The tour group stood outside of a two story building in the French Quarter with red double doors at 1039 Royal Street as the guide shared the story about a man who claimed to be named Jacque St. Germain who arrived here in 1903. He was a handsome, rich, eccentric man who liked the ladies. Whenever he strolled the streets of New Orleans, he had a pretty girl on his arm. And like the Count, he loved to throw a good party and his affairs were always lavish with the finest food and drink. He too, regaled his guests with fantastical tales of his exploits and travels. All while not eating a bite of food. Guests noticed that his stories had intricate details that would not be known to most people. And some events he spoke of happened hundreds of years in the past. And he almost seemed to indicate that he had been at the events. But that couldn't be possible.

Jacque also looked very much like the Count. Shortly after arriving in Louisiana, he started claiming that he looked similar to the man because he was a direct descendant. People were skeptical, but the picture that they had seen of the Count favored their new friend and he looked to be about forty years old. When people started to wonder if he was not just related to the Count of St. Germain, but actually might be the mysterious man, Jacque didn't discourage them. He would not confirm or deny the suspicions. Another odd thing about the man was that he clearly was very wealthy and yet he didn't seem to have the accouterments of other wealthy people like servants and monogrammed silverware. Most wealthy people in the city made a point of flaunting their wealth through highly decorated and monogrammed utensils. Jacque would pay to have his parties catered and this would include renting the fine china and silver service.

Some people started wondering if Jacque were a vampire. He never ate any food and perhaps that is why he didn't have utensils. He didn't need them. And what was that red stuff he drank from a goblet? Was it wine or something else? Jacque had been in the city for several months when a horrible event would force him to flee the city and leave New Orleans with another legend about a vampire. Jacque had brought a beautiful young lady of the evening home with him. He offered her some wine and excused himself to get comfortable. She stood in the main room where a large mirror hung on the wall and admired herself, taking great pleasure in watching herself drink from the wine glass. She heard Jacque come back into the room and before she could turn to him, she felt his lips graze her neck. The woman dipped her head back, enjoying the attention, until she felt his teeth against her neck and then he was biting her neck, his teeth digging in. She glanced into the mirror and swore she could not see Jacque's reflection. The terrified girl managed to rip herself away and she ran for a set of double doors on the upper balcony, burst through them and jumped to the street below, breaking both her legs.

Bystanders stopped to help the poor woman who was horribly injured and losing blood fast. They called for the police and then listened as she screamed erratically about having been attacked by a vampire. They thought she was delusional because of her injury. She was taken to the hospital and died later that evening. The police paid a visit to Jacque St. Germain. He was a well-respected man and seemed quite upset that the young lady had been hurt and he claimed there was a misunderstanding, so the police told him that it would be fine if he came by the police station in the morning to do an interview. He, of course, didn't show. When the police went to his house, they found him gone, but he had left nearly all his belongings. He was never seen or heard from again. While the police inspected his house, they found a bunch of uncorked wine bottles. A few had wine, but most were filled with blood, what they assumed to be human blood. People started referring to him as Vampire Jack.

Was the Count hundreds or even thousands of years old? Did he have some kind of ancient wisdom and did his practice of the lost arts lead him to create the elixir of life. He was one of the most interesting men to have ever lived. Does he still live? That is for your to decide!

Show Notes:

The Comte de St. Germain, The Secret of Kings by Isabel Cooper-Oakley:

Great blog: 

Marita Woywod Crandle's book: "New Orleans Vampires, History and Legend," published 2017 by Haunted America.

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