the well done count

Comte St. Germain (allegedly 1710-1935) has been described as an adventurer, charlatan, inventor, alchemist, violinist and amateur composer, but is best known as a recurring figure in the stories of several strands of occultism.

image found here

St. Germain never revealed his actual background and identity, leading to many speculations about him and his origin and ancestry. Some of these include the possibility that he was the son of Francis II Rakoczi, the Prince of Transylvania

still from the movie Transylvania found here

St. Germain’s first chronicled appearances were in London in 1743 and in Edinburgh in 1745, where he was apparently arrested for spying. He was released in 1746 and promptly disappeared. Horace Walpole, who knew him in London, described him thus: “He sings, plays the violin wonderfully, composes, is mad and not very sensible“.

speedy violin player, David Garrett found here

He reappeared in Versailles in 1758, claiming to have secret recipes for dyes. During his time in Paris he gave diamonds as gifts and reputedly hinted that he was centuries old. After that the Count moved into Russia and apparently was in St Petersburg when the Russian army put Catherine the Great on the throne. Later conspiracy theories credit him for causing it.

image found here

The next year he turned up in Belgium and tried to offer processing secrets of wood, leather and oil paint to the state. He supposedly turned iron into something resembling gold and then disappeared for another 11 years. In 1776 he appeared in Germany calling himself Count Welldone, and again offered recipes for cosmetics, wines, liqueurs, treatments of bone, paper and ivory. 

ivory tabernacle found here

There were rumors of him being alive in Paris in 1835, in Milan in 1867 and in Egypt during Napoleon’s campaign. Annie Besant said she met the Count in 1896. Theosophist Guy Ballard claimed that the Count had introduced him to visitors from Venus and published a book series about his channelings. 

image found here

Though he never ate any food in public, he liked dining out because of the people he met and the conversations he heard. They say he lived on oatmeal. He had an immense stock of amusing stories with which he regaled society. He was interested in the preparation of dyes and even started a factory in Germany for the manufacture of felt hats. The count claimed that he had learned how to turn several small diamonds into one large one and to make pearls grow to spectacular size.

Mr Pearl found here

In 1972, ex-convict and lover of singing star Dalida, Richard Chanfray claimed to be the Count of St. Germain on French television. He also claimed that Louis XV was still alive. During the centuries after his death, numerous myths, legends and speculations have surfaced. He has been attributed with occult practices like snake charming and ventriloquism.

Richard Chanfray found here

But even if he has never come back, even if he is no longer alive and we must relegate to legend the idea that the great Hermetic nobleman is still wandering about the world with his sparkling jewels, his senna tea, and his taste for princesses and queens, even so it can be said that he has gained the immortality he sought.

Published in: on April 3, 2012 at 10:02 am  Comments (61)  
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61 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Have an ex that reappears and haunts for 30 years. Think there is a Transylvania connection too.

    • If you have children in common then exes will always pop up again.

  2. Sounds like a real-life Doctor Parnassus

    • I haven’t seen it. Is it good?

      • It’s a bit of a disappointment actually. Wait for it to appear on TV.

  3. I’m going to change my name to Count Overdrawn and live on malted milk balls.

    • yuck malted milk balls. I’ll stick with his choice of oatmeal

      • I don’t think I’ve tried malted milk balls but they sound nice. Oatmeal is awfully bland.

      • Throw in some Brown Sugar.

      • Do you think it would detract from the oaty goodness if I also added caramel sauce?

      • Nope probably better

  4. at his age? oatmeal is probably as good of a choice as any…

    • Yeah… you need to up your fibre intake once you get past 200

  5. While not everything in life seems plausible, it is all possible.
    Coincidence – just finished “My Name is Memory” (a light read but interesting). The main character remembers all his lives – back to 520 A.D. While of course each life was different, his essential character remains the same.

    • I’d like to believe in reincarnation but I’m too practical

    • Sure sounds interesting!

  6. You had me at Charlatan.

    The King

    • you had me at king

      • Touche my sweet.

        The King

  7. My Goodness. It’s like you found my life story…

    • I didn’t find any information about the count turning into a coyote

  8. Russian Venusian Ventriloquist Transylvanians…?

    My brain hurts.

    • Welcome to the Gimcrack 😉

  9. I saw the Comte just a few days ago outside Belfast City Hall. He asked me where he could get some oatmeal and violin strings. I gave him directions and he thanked me profusely. Funny sort of chap, he claimed to be 300 years old.

    • Do the wrinkles get any worse after the first 200 years?

  10. It’s a wonderful tale isn’t it?

    • Wonderful and oh so tall

  11. Mad and not very sensible sounds like a fun way to go through life.

    • Except for the occasional run in with the Fun Police

  12. This is, of course, the subtext for the main character in my music clip ‘Float’


    • It’s a long time since I’ve watched that clip reverend. I’d forgotten how good it is…. and your music of course is always excellent.

  13. Those corsets made by Mr Pearl are amazing. But his own waist – the probable condition of his internal organs makes me shudder.

    • I prefer not to dwell on inner organs too often. External thwockers are another thing entirely

  14. he does sound mad and not very sensible.

    • Ha!
      That line made me laugh, too…

      • there’s a little bit of the Count in all of us 😉

  15. David Garrett is awesome

    • I don’t know much about him. Will have to rectify that

  16. Hee hee!

    • Have I tickled your fancy Syncy?

  17. He did so much…no wonder he had to stick around for so long…

    • But there must have been a few boring years in between

  18. I’m gonna have to read up on this David Garrett guy- too sexy for his own good! and.. that beautiful ivory triptych of the annunciation.
    When we were in Paris- my most romantic trip- We stayed in the Latin Quarter on Boulevard Saint-Germain in the 5th arrondissement. *sigh* I wonder if it’s any relation…

    • I’m glad you mentioned the ivory triptych… it’s incredibly beautiful

      • I used to be a docent at the Museum of fine Art in St Petersburg Florida and it was there I learned that a triptych was used originally as a replacement for what we know today as a book before everyday people could read. A lot of them were small enough to put into a pocket or a satchel. Soldiers would take these items into war. They told a story as a book would.don’t get me going on this stuff, I love it. Your posts are always so informative, I get sucked in.

      • I didn’t know any of that Lynn. You should write a post about your docent experiences sometime.

      • Naw too boring to most people but maybe if I ever get back over to Europe. My weakness was Asian art. 😦

  19. This guy Chanfray — the original St.Germain was pretty wild but Chanfray is something else! He picked up on Germain in prison — he went to jail a lot — then ran it into a huge con job, then entered into a suicide pact with a woman who everyone thought was wealthy but was actually a con artist on Chanfray’s level. I can’t help but wonder: did one of the people who killed themselves have some secret back-out plan that failed at the last minute?

    • Chanfray was a nasty piece of work. but intriguing nonetheless

  20. “He has been attributed with occult practices like snake charming and ventriloquism.”

    Ha ha!

  21. a true fairytale im sure wish i had friends who gave diamonds xjen

    • Jen, are you still trying to fix your problem with wordpress?

  22. Intriguing , as always. My wife enjoyed the Chelsea Quinn Yarbro novels about the Count. They were historical fantasies. They appealed to my wife’s background & interest in art history.
    BTW are you familiar with io9’s Secret History articles? They remind me of your posts. 🙂

    • No I hadn’t heard of io9 before. a very interesting site. I think their scope is much broader than mine.

  23. Cagliostro seemingly told all the people that he’d be a disciple of the compte. Besides the alchemistic work St.Germain seemingly was an early practioner (Does this work exist: Praktiker) in the chemist and medical trates. This Landgraf of Hassia was a notorious alchemist, as were a lot of other people in the 18th century: The age of enlightenment produced a fine assortement of Hochstapler who traveled and lived only by their wit – and the willingness of their “victims” to be fooled. Mundus vult decipi.

  24. In my youth I was briefly involved with a cult (The Church Universal and Triumphant) which venerated him as an “ascended master”. I will say no more.

  25. “He supposedly turned iron into something resembling gold”

    Like Rumplestiltskin?

  26. The Chelsea Quinn Yarboro novels are what I call “Twilight for intellectuals” but they are sexier. I highly recommend them.

  27. As an honest-to-a-fault person, I must admit I envy people like that, who can bullshit their way into great adventures!

  28. I am a big fan of the Comte. The juiciest rumor I ever heard was that he was involved in a Rosicrucian Sex Magic circle with Walt Whitman and Abe Lincoln during the Civil War.

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