So who was le Comte de Saint-Germain, this never-aging man of mystery who left us so few clues behind? How could he hobnob around Europe throughout the 170o’s and never appear to grow old? Was he a charlatan, alchemist or something more? The answer lies in which source you trust. He used a French title but was admittedly not French. To confuse matters more, the Count employed other names during the 18th century to remain incognito. This should not cast undo suspicion upon him. Many aristocrats traveled under an alias to avoid unwanted attention, whether for affairs of the state or the heart.
So let’s review the eleven best theories … both wild and weird:
- Some believe him to be Cartaphilus – the legendary Wandering Jew, who mocked Jesus on the way to the crucifixion, and was doomed to walk the earth till the end of days …
- Others think he was no less than King Arthur’s Merlin the Magician, dabbling in magic and alchemy, only this time for French King Louis XIV rather than an English one.
- Still others guess he was alchemist and alleged immortal Nicolas Flamel, 13th century scribe, made famous in the book and movie Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone.
- Or if you prefer, all the above, the reincarnation of all the above mystics, including Sir Francis Bacon, retaining the secrets and knowledge of each of his previous lives.
- Maybe he’s an immortal ‘Ascended Master,’ born in the days of the Egyptian pharaohs and now existing on in another plane. A belief shared by Theosophists, I AM Activity and Summit Lighthouse church.
- How about the last survivor of Plato’s Atlantis, gifted by the Gods on Olympus with immortality in order to retain the knowledge and culture of their fallen empire.
- Perhaps he is a fallen angel or Watcher, a la the Book of Enoch, cursed from heaven – – not to hell – but Earth … doomed to wander the planet until the end of time.
- A Time Traveler from the distant future, which could explain his prodigious knowledge of history. Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander novels and Starz program use him as a protagonist in book/season 2.
- An Alien from a distant galaxy? Who with his non-human longevity observes the earth over the centuries, and occasionally helps the hapless human race.
- Or (not surprisingly) a handsome immortal Vampire, cursed to live forever, taking beautiful lovers in each century. The Chelsea Quinn Yabro novels exploit this idea quite well.
- Lastly, was he simply a mortal man, the last son of Hungarian Prince Rakoczi. with a lucky youthful appearance that happened to last decades (ala Dick Clark)?
Modern science has mapped the human genome and begun to unravel the genetic secrets of aging. We understand why the ends of our chromosomes degrade over time and our cells loose their vitality with each replication. Our skin sags, muscles grow weaker, bones more fragile. We are certainly no less obsessed with staying young than Marie Antoinette was 200 years ago. Perhaps the Count had a simple gene alteration that somehow increased his longevity?
Whatever the case, scientific or fantastical, the Count remains to this day a curious and puzzling enigma worth investigating further.