Alessandro de Cagliostro, né Giuseppe Balsamo
, 1743-1795. From early failures as a monk
, took up alchemy
, married Lorenza Feliciani
and ended up "telling fortune
s, selling alchemical secret
s, raising spirit
s, and doing whatever itinerant magician
s 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.