Giuseppe Balsamo, known as the Count of Cagliostro, was a Palermitan compulsive gambler, wrangler, swindler, healer, spiritist, alchemist, and heretic.
Once he had preached and spread to various cities of Europe the impious dogma of the Egyptian sect – through which he had attracted innumerable followers by deception – and after being released unharmed by his deceptive arts, he was eventually convicted by a judgment of the Inquisition and sent to the prison in the fortress of this town.
Little is known about Count of Cagliostro’s life, but certainly much less about death. He was born in 1743, and he appears to died in prison in 1795. Giacomo Casanova defined him as “a slacker genius who preferred the life of a vagabond rather than a laborious life.”
Those of lively intelligence were attracted by the work of the chemist – monks, doctors, assistants, and nurses who ministered to the sick. The Count begun to play with drugs and herbs until he was able to create poisons and drugs that he used to hypnotize his victims.
He traveled far and wide; we don’t know if it was to escape the police or for the pleasure of learning about and experiencing new cultures. Cagliostro himself often claimed to be from foreign countries; he spent his childhood years in Mecca and purported to know the ancient mysteries of Egyptian priests.
Although the Inquisition identified him as a swindler and crook, he remains one of the most fascinating and mysterious personalities of the last centuries. Although he was forced to suffer repeatedly in the course of its existence the most infamous allegation, he enjoyed public approval.
I am not of any age or any place. Outside time and space, my soul lives its eternal existence. I was born neither from the flesh, nor by the will of man. I was born from the spirit. My name is just what I chose to appear in your midst.
Walled up alive in the fortress of San Leo, even in this circumstance he left so much mystery behind as his corpse has never been found.