Count Alessandro de Cagliostro, né Giuseppe Balsamo, 1743-1795. From early failures as a monk and swindler, took up alchemy in Egypt, Rhodes and Malta, married Lorenza Feliciani and ended up "telling fortunes, selling alchemical secrets, raising spirits, and doing whatever itinerant magicians must do to get along" - including, reputedly, discovering the secret of the philosopher's stone.

Became a Freemason in England, from whence he established Egyptian Freemasonry - installing himself as the Grand Copt - and cultivated a reputation among the highest of international circles, notably at the court of Louis XVI, where he was enmeshed in the Affair of the Queen's Necklace.

Was sentenced by the Inquisition for heresy and being a sorcerer in the Papal States in 1789, dying imprisoned in a Roman dungeon.

Cagliostro, Alessandro, Count of, (real name GIUSEPPE BALSAMO), a celebrated charlatan; born in Palermo, Italy, June 8, 1743. The discovery of the philosopher's stone, the preparation of a precious elixir vitæ, etc., were the pretenses by means of which he extracted considerable sums from credulous people. Died in 1795.

Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.

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