East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

The Wonderman

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But at the same time I am writing a story featuring the Count of St. Germain. The guy that Voltaire nicknamed The Wonderman.
The story is fully outlined but – for some strange reason – every time I sit down to start writing it, I get interrupted, usually by some nuisance that not only interferes with my writing work, but actually leaves me irritated and annoyed.
Go figure.

CITTADINI-DELLE-TENEBRE-di-Peter-Kolosimo-Oscar-Mondadori-1978-179-pagine-311575338279-500x710Now, I jumped at the idea of writing a story about St. Germain because he is one of the first mysterious characters I met as a kid, when I was reading books about mysteries and weirdness. I actually found him in a book I already mentioned in the past, Peter Kolosimo’s Cittadini delle Tenebre, sort of a young man’s primer on the occult, and a really fun book.

For the uninitiated, this weird chap was one of the sensations of the mid 1700s – considered a philosopher, an occultist and an alchemist, possibly even an immortal – he variously claimed, or let other assume that he was 180, 200, 500 or even 2000 years old. But he was also a composer and an adventurer, and he dabbled in diplomacy and even espionage. He claimed to have founded freemasonry, and the Rusicrucians are convinced he is still alive today, and was once known as Francis Bacon.
Horace Walpole, who writes of his arrest as a spy in London, was not impressed by him…

He sings, plays on the violin wonderfully, composes, is mad, and not very sensible. He is called an Italian, a Spaniard, a Pole; a somebody that married a great fortune in Mexico, and ran away with her jewels to Constantinople; a priest, a fiddler, a vast nobleman.

An awful lot was written about him by his contemporaries and by later authors, and yet we do not even know his real name – but some sources give Claude Louis as his first and second names.
Giacomo Casanova considered him a scoundrel, and as they say, it takes one to know one…

st-germainThis extraordinary man, intended by nature to be the king of impostors and quacks, would say in an easy, assured manner that he was three hundred years old, that he knew the secret of the Universal Medicine, that he possessed a mastery over nature, that he could melt diamonds, professing himself capable of forming, out of ten or twelve small diamonds, one large one of the finest water without any loss of weight. All this, he said, was a mere trifle to him. Notwithstanding his boastings, his bare-faced lies, and his manifold eccentricities, I cannot say I thought him offensive. In spite of my knowledge of what he was and in spite of my own feelings, I thought him an astonishing man as he was always astonishing me.

St Germain was the subject of a biography published in 1912, that you can find here, or buy on Amazon for cheap.

And doing some background checks on the Count – one of the great men of mystery of European history – I found that the guy had laid a claim to the place where I live. No, not the house (the bank actually claims it), but the whole territory.
St Germain was in fact also known as Marquis de Montferrat, Comte Bellamarre, Chevalier Schoening, Count Weldon, Comte Soltikoff, Graf Tzarogy and Prinz Ragoczy.
Yes, Marquis de Monferrat.
Weird, really weird.
I will have to use this tidbit in my story.
If only I will be able to start writing it.

And here’s an example of the mysterious count’s musical production. Not bad, all things considered.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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