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MU History Department Lecture Series- Count of St. Germain

Miskatonic University Department of History Lecture Series:  The Count of St. Germain
Presented by: Dr. Charles Gerard

In the mid-18th century, a mysterious man who called himself the Count of Saint Germain started appearing in the highest circles of European society.

Some have called him a mystic genius, but others paint him as a charlatan who took advantage of superstitious royalty.

He was a renaissance man, a composer, a pianist, a violinist, an accomplished painter, and a skilled alchemist. He spoke a dozen languages fluently.

He was also said to be able to mend flaws in gemstones and make pearls grow larger, a feat he claimed to have learned in India.

He was also rumored to know the formula for the alchemical elixir of life, and he was rarely seen eating in public.

He’s been linked to several secret societies, including the Rosicrucians, Freemasons, Knights Templar, and the Illuminati. He’s credited as a founder of the Society of Asiatic Brothers in Vienna.

He’s known for regaling his hosts with stories from ancient history, and told them in such detail that he convinced figures such as King Louis the Fifteenth that he must have been present during the actual events. The poet Voltaire said he suspected Saint Germain to be immortal.

King Louis’ Minister for Foreign Affairs, Étienne-François, Comte de Stainville, Duc de Choiseul was suspicious of the count and ordered Saint Germain arrested and shot as an English spy.

But the count escaped and disappeared. Choiseul spread rumors around Europe that Saint Germain was a charlatan and a con man. But the count appeared safely in London, and then later in Russia, where he joined a conspiracy to overthrow St. Peter under Catherine the Great.

The Bonnie Prince Charlie, pretender to the thrones of Ireland, England and Scotland, said that Saint Germain died in his castle in 1784, though there are no records of a funeral. There were mysterious sightings all over Europe decades after his supposed death.

Saint Germain’s legacy includes some strange manuscripts, like the Most Holy Trinosophia, which contains a series of illustrated plates annotated with cuneiform, hieroglyphics and other ancient languages. Noted 20s and 30s-era occultist Manly Palmer Hall suggests the book contains the keys to secret societies.

Hall’s famous library contains this and another original manuscripts attributed to the count, including the so-called Triangle Book, a tome written in a bizarre series of ciphers, printed and bound in a curious triangular shape.

The count’s story has sparked several modern-day cults that regard him as an enlightened prophet. He was frequently channeled during the explosion of spiritualism and Theosophy in the 1920s. Based on the count’s writings and philosophy, Elizabeth Clare Prophet (1939-2009) founded a  New-Age cult in the 1970s in Pasadena California called the Church Universal and Triumphant.

To join a discussion of this topic and to glimpse a copy of the Triangle Book, stop by the National History Honors Society.

A hat tip to noted historian Leonard Nimoy for his investigation into Saint Germain and Elizabeth Clare Prophet.

This lecture was sponsored by the Miskatonic University Department of History.

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