Skip to main content

Strange History: The Count of St. Germain

                                                Depiction of The Count St. Germain, from a painting by Marie Klement

The Count of St. Germain has been a shadowy figure throughout history, and while few credible accounts of his life exist, he has been described as everything from a charlatan to an occult figure revered by Theosophists and mysticists, who refer to St. Germain as Master Rakoczi.

One of the first printed accounts of St. Germain was written in a 1745 letter by Horace Walpole, the Fourth Earl of Orford, who described the arrest of a man named Count of St. Germain on espionage charges.  Since the arrest took place during the Jacobite Uprising, one would assume that St. Germain was a political activist.  However, Walpole's letter portrays Count of St. Germain as an odd and eccentric fellow who was a musically gifted nobleman, concluding that the old man was rather senile.

Other accounts from the period describe St. Germain as being everything from an alchemist and prophet, to an immortal spiritual being.  Some even believed him to be the mythical "Wandering Jew", who ridiculed Jesus on the way to the crucifixion and was cursed to roam the earth until the Second Coming.  Still others, skeptical of St. Germain's abilities, have referred to him as a master of quackery.

Even though his life is shrouded in mystery, a surprising amount of biographies have been written about Count of St. Germain.  Not surprisingly, however, is the fact that every biographer's account of St. Germain's life varies greatly from the next.  In all probability, the man known as Count St. Germain was most likely a PT Barnum-esque figure who projected a larger-than-life persona while being a master of manipulation.
St. Germain has thousands of followers and "disciples" to this day, thanks in part to the teachings of Madame Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society, who asserted that in previous incarnations, St. Germain has been everyone from Francis Bacon and Christopher Columbus to Merlin, Plato, and even the ruler of a 70,000 year old Saharan civilization.  These disciples continue to persist, even in spite of Blavatsky's exposure as a fraud by many researchers, including Richard Hodgson in the 19th century and author Paul Zweig in the 1980s.

The man known as Count of St. Germain, whether immortal in real life or not, has attained a certain type of immortality in the form of a fringe culture icon.  St. Germain has been portrayed on the silver screen, described in literature and music, and has even recently made a few appearances in comic books and video games.

Popular posts from this blog

The Incest Capital of the World?

At the far eastern edge of Kentucky, nestled in Appalachia, resides Letcher County. In spite of its isolation and poverty (approximately 30% of the county's population lives below the poverty line), Letcher County has managed to grow at an impressive rate, from a population of just 9,172 in 1900 to a present-day population of nearly 25,000. However, even if Letcher County tripled or quadrupled its present population, there's still a pretty good chance that virtually all of the county's inhabitants would be related to each other-- thanks to one particularly fertile family whose astounding rate of reproduction can put even the friskiest rabbit to shame.

Around the year 1900, Letcher County was the home of a man by the name of Jason L. Webb, who made national headlines for having the one of the largest families in the world. According to newspaper reports of the era, Jason had 19 children, 175 grandchildren, and 100 great-grandchildren. Perhaps even more impressive was his b…

Remembering the ill-fated voyage of the Aerowagon

From 1917 to 1922, the Bolshevik-led Red Army battled the anti-Communist White Army during the Russian Civil War.  By the end of 1919 the Bolsheviks had taken the cities of Omsk and Kiev, and had successfully repelled the White Russian siege of Petrograd.  However, the Bolshevik's momentum would be short-lived as the White Army, after retreating across the Baikal, regrouped and joined forces with Gigory Semyonov's Transbaikal Cossacks.  As the Red Army's losses began to mount, especially in Poland, the Bolsheviks attempted to gain a competitive advantage by embracing new technologies, sometimes with disastrous results.  Such is the sad tale of young inventor Valerian Abakovsky and his Aerowagon.

Abakovsky was a Latvian-born inventor who earned his living as a chauffeur for Cheka, the state security organization created by Lenin.  His position granted him access to many high-ranking Soviets and, although details are scarce, Abakovsky most likely used his influence within t…

Jenny Hanivers, Mermaids, Devil Fish, and Sea Monks

Three centuries before P.T. Barnum attracted flocks of crowds with his mummified Fiji Mermaid (which turned out to be a papier-mâché creation featuring a monkey's head and a fish's body), sailors around the world had already began manufacturing "mermaids".  Known as Jenny Hanivers, these creations were often sold to tourists and provided sailors with an additional source of income.  These mummified creatures were produced by drying, carving, and then varnishing the carcasses of fish belonging to the order rajiformes- a group of flattened cartilaginous fish related to the shark which includes stingrays and skates.  These preserved carcasses can be made to resemble mermaids, dragons, angels, demons, and other mythical creatures.


Jenny Hanivers became popular in the mid-16th century, when sailors around the Antwerp docks began selling the novelties to tourists.  This practice was so common  in the Belgian city that it may have influenced the name; it is widely believed …