Alessandro Cagliostro: a sorcerer in someone elses homeland


"This is an extraordinary man, a born liar, without any hesitation, as something self-evident, said he was 300 years old, he owns a panacea for all ills, that Nature has no secrets from him, that he is able to melt diamonds … "So Casanova said the Count Saint-Germain, a teacher of Count Cagliostro. The same word can be attributed to the student.

Secrets have always attracted people. Including mystery stories. Although, if you think logically, from history can not be secrets (unless pseudohistory), and in secrecy can not be history if to tell her, the mystery immediately cease to be a mystery and becomes a fact in point on the sequence of events. Count Cagliostro (aka Joseph Balsamo, aka Count Phoenix, aka the Marquis de Anna, also known as the Marquis de Pellegrini, who is also a vice, he's Melina, who is also Belmonte) has left us a point on the line instead of just a lot of crooked commas.

Some said that he was the son of a Portuguese Jew from Brazil, others believed that he was the son of the Neapolitan barber, others considered illegitimate offspring of Louis XV, the fourth claimed that his parents — the couple devout Catholics who traded cloth in Palermo … One story has it that the future " Count Cagliostro "(which borrows its sonorous name, and not due to him the title of count from prematurely deceased aunt) was a child expelled from school for stealing, effectively blocking access to education. And after the unfortunate parents to re-placed careless son to the monastery, it was accused of fraud, soon drove vzashey from there. On another, more mysterious version (voiced by the infamous Madame Blavatsky), "their universities' Earl has received from" the great sage hermetic "Altotsa first in Rhodes and then Malta, was extremely honest person and as a prominent occultist , had a wonderful magical secrets.

No one knew and did not know what it was for the people. Do not even have searched the inquisitors who tortured him 43 times in the past four years … When the church after a long investigation finally issued the death sentence (at the last minute the burning at the stake was changed to life imprisonment) against Cagliostro were made just two exhaustively proven, but mutually charges : the first — is that he warlock, that is a wizard, and the second — he cheater, that is disguised himself, for selfish reasons, a sorcerer, and as such he is not at all …

Cagliostro managed to confuse not only bloodthirsty inquisitors, but also less biased researchers of his biography, and historians. There are two main versions. In fact, they repeat the sentence of the Holy Inquisition or the count was one of the galaxy of eminent men of the eighteenth century, the daring explorer of nature, a talented chemist and physician, advanced adept secret doctrines of the East and a miracle worker, "the Great Copt" Masons, or that the upstart was none at all, and spent his life cheating gullible for profit at home and abroad. Curiously, in the case of his sentencing, and during the life of the graph it is often believed, and that, and another at the same time.

Cagliostro was rightfully one of the most revered and hated men of his time. He won the London, Paris, Rome has made it an unheard of luxury and honors usually provided only a prince of the blood, has earned the respect of the powerful and prominent thinkers (among his loyal fans were Schiller and Goethe), and finally, enjoy this worship of the crowd — only to that every time in the end to be dethroned and exiled (and always without good reason).

A similar story is crowned and unusual adventures Italian in Russia, with the difference that here he was met with little enthusiasm and adoration, and escorted without burning hatred. Despite the thorough self-promotion (Cagliostro said that it was in Russia, he will reveal his true name and appear in all their greatness), in the Italian city of Petra was adopted without much honor: a sort of infamous and misunderstood "prophet in his own country." The history of this significant visit in detail and exciting, though perhaps not always historically accurate, was described by Symbolist poet Mikhail Kuzmin in a three-volume novel "The Wonderful Life of Joseph Balsamo, Count Cagliostro" (1919) and inspired by the mystical Alexei Tolstoy and heartwarming story " Count Cagliostro "(1921).

"The Count of Phoenix," as presented Cagliostro in Russia, managed to amuse many Orthodox people, creating "a little miracle in a cold country," bringing to life different events, to combine its real and fictional being, truth and fiction, showing it from different sides: the unselfish healer and an unscrupulous adventurer, a generous patron of the arts and mercantile businessman. Contemporaries found it difficult to distinguish one from the other, but even more so now I can not tell.

Having driven in Russia with forged documents as "Sir Count Cagliostro, gishpansky Colonel", an enterprising Italian first did not cause any suspicion: mainly thanks to a recommendation by the line of Freemasonry. Upon arrival, Cagliostro took spacious apartments at the Palace Embankment, in the general's house. In addition to private rooms, it was built there room for the medical practice and the hall Ouija.

Wealthy clientele among the capital's elite Cagliostro acquired almost immediately after his arrival, having cured from hoarseness of his countryman, Italian tenor Giovanni Locatelli. Soon Earl Phoenix famous for its miraculous healings of the entire St. Petersburg. He treated not only a favorite of Catherine G. Potemkin, an influential Freemason IP Elagina and wealthy Baron A. Stroganov, but also the common people: the footmen, cooks, coachmen, postilions and maids. With the poor, he did not take the money, and sometimes even sponsored a needy; also took from the rich do not hesitate crazy amounts, giving rise to many argued that his charity, in modern language — pure PR. However, the well-known Soviet historian Valentin Pikul still called it then "friend of the poor."

The most notorious miracle graph Phoenix in Russia was getting rid assessor Ivan Isleneva from a severe form of cancer, again "wonderful" way. Healing really was instantaneous and complete, but resulted in a slight blissful dementia heal: recovery, Islenev began to drink and wander the streets, endlessly praising Cagliostro and cast down all that horrified his respectable wife. However, this is quite difficult to be surprised Isleneva natural behavior!

The most curious thing Cagliostro in Russia was a case of the demoniac Basil Zheluginym which elderly parents were forced to put in chains, as he beat them, calling the "slaves" and saying that he had "God of hosts." It is said that in this case, the Phoenix did not use any black magic, and took Zhelugina boating and in the middle of the Neva unexpectedly dropped demoniac in cold water (it was winter). Calculation of Cagliostro was true: after a "shock therapy," the patient fully recovered, threw remember God the Father, acknowledged parents and even managed to immediately pull the mage gold snuff-box!

And the most influential patron Count Phoenix in Russia itself was His Serene Highness Prince Grigory Potemkin, the favorite of Catherine II. Cagliostro offered Potemkin, who was one of the richest men in Europe, tripled its gold reserves, when the prince agreed to pay him a third of the profits: that is, such an agreement Potemkin get twice as much gold as he had. Potemkin either of merchantability, whether out of curiosity agreed. And the most interesting thing is that after a dubious magical manipulation of Cagliostro gold really was exactly three times as much! The Italian got his fee, and Potemkin necessarily imbued with confidence in him and placed him, and with it some and Catherine, and the entire court.

The very "mother Empress" was a person down to earth and wonderful service "gishpanskogo" magician neglected, but it recommended that its nationals, as she put it, "for the good in every respect." Cagliostro (continuing its charitable medical practice!), Literally bathed in glory and money due to fees for various "magical services", seances and the successful sale of "elixir of youth" and is composed of the usual herbs …

However, the happiness did not last long touring prophet. Shortly opened scandal Potemkin, imperious and resolute man, started the affair with his wife Lorenza Felichiane Cagliostro (which was the most beautiful woman in Rome), and openly appeared with her in the light, and almost officially made his mistress. After learning about this behavior, favorite, Catherine got angry, ordered Cagliostro and his wife to get out of Russia "Elika perhaps hastily," and even composed a piece of comic content of the "Twister" designed to ridicule and discredit the graph (taken in it by the name of Kaliflakzherstona).

Soon followed was even worse. At Duke GP Gagarin became deathly ill-year-old son, Paul, and all the best doctors in the North of the capital have recognized that his position is quite hopeless. The count remained one hope — a sorcerer Cagliostro. After seeing the kid magician admitted that the situation is bad, but still took to treat the child if the parents give him up to the time of treatment in an Italian home and will not be for some time to see. What to do? The parents gave their consent. Two weeks later (filled to the Gagarin, as they say, anxious waiting) Earl said that child recovered, and returned the boy. Immediately rumors that Cagliostro just replaced the child by buying like a boy from the poor peasants for two thousand rubles, and this Pavlusha Gagarin allegedly healed to death even told that the corpse of the child was burned during a botched magic ritual of recovery. But be that as it may, the Count himself and his son admitted to the joys of Cagliostro gave a thousand gold imperials (almost 12 kg of pure gold!). And Pavel Gagarin, whoever was there that he was not in fact, grew up healthy and strong, became an officer, fought and retired general … However, for a medical career Cagliostro in St. Petersburg, this case has received such negative publicity, was fatal.

It used to slander and St. Petersburg Aesculapius "old school", and particularly excelled in this field, court physician of the empress Rogerson. It is by hook or by crook tried to prove that his rival Cagliostro — medic and generally worthless charlatan. At some point, Cagliostro even offered to resolve the case by a gentleman, a kind of "medical duel": they will share with poison pills, and the one who is able to make an antidote to remain alive and, perhaps, become famous. Life medic refused to fight a duel.

After the incident with the baby allegedly healed "legend" of "gishpanskom Colonel" was subjected to verification. Italian ambassador in St. Petersburg checked military lists with names of Cagliostro, of course, was not there. In April 1780 a slip sorcerer decried as an impostor, and announced a criminal investigation … In the end he and his charming wife, sued on the heels of the king's agents managed to escape with impunity in Russia (again, no other Masonic connections helped). These events inspired by Aleksey Tolstoy's story "The Count of Cagliostro", in Soviet times, successfully converted by Mark Zakharov and Gorin in the TV movie "Formula of Love".

And ended — to date — the visit of the prophet unrecognized in cold Russia. Mystery of Cagliostro — whether prominent adherent of the secret sciences, or at least the outstanding crook — so nobody and was not disclosed. It is believed that the magician died in prison in the castle-fortress of San Leo on a cliff, but when was later opened his grave, no remains were not found. Some fans of his dubious talents even think that freed thanks to the magic of Cagliostro secretly returned to Russia (or America), where he lived incognito until the end of his days, and can be, and still lives, for he, they say, had the elixir of immortality.

PS You and I still have the opportunity to discover the secret of Cagliostro, and finally check "by heart" of his magic art. The fact is that in his visit to the Russian Count Potemkin Masonic secret revealed: say, in the basement of the pavilion "Rotonda" Yelaginsky Palace in St. Petersburg buried sarcophagus Homer. Investigating the mystery, the Secretary Elagina damaged mind. However, the savvy modern researchers have every chance to put an end to this mysterious story.

Alexei Sokolov

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