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Alessandro Cagliostro

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Alessandro Cagliostro
BornGiuseppe (Joseph) Balsamo
June 2, 1743
DiedAugust 26, 1795 (age 52)

Count Alessandro di Cagliostro (1743-1795) was the alias for the occultist Giuseppe (Joseph) Balsamo, an Italian who traveled around Europe selling the "elixir of life" and pretending to foretell the future.


Cagliostro played the part of a magician, prophet, and exorcist with great skill.

While in a convent in Palermo, he learned something of chemistry and medicine. In different tours through the East he perfected his dexterity and became proficient in all kinds of tricks, also learned the art of forging documents and seals. He had a practice of changing his name to suit his tricks, never told his birthplace, his extraction, or his age.

He was arrested in Rome in 1789, tried for propagating Freemasonry and sentenced to life in prison.

He was a topic in Lives of the Conjurors by Thomas Frost (1876)


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