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Henry Ridgely Evans Comte de Cagliostro & The Egyptian Rite Of Freemasonry

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  • Henry Ridgely Evans Comte de Cagliostro & The Egyptian Rite Of Freemasonry

    Henry Ridgely Evans Cagliostro & The Egyptian Rite Of Freemasonry

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Henry Ridgely Evans Cagliostro & The Egyptian Rite Of Freemasonry.jpg Views:	0 Size:	27.7 KB ID:	5383

    YOU Only Need To Read Page One, And See The Masonic Threat Of Shhhh

    Henry Ridgely Evans 33° Grand Tiler of the Supreme Council of Freemasonry for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States.
    Exposition of the First Degree of the Egyptian Rite

    “Unparalleled Cagliostro ! Looking at thy so attractively decorated private theater, wherein thou acted and lived , what hand that itches to draw aside thy curtain and, turning the whole inside out, find thee in the middle thereof ?

    In the Rue de Beaune, Paris, a few doors from the house where Voltaire died, is a shabby genteel little hostelry, dating back to pre-revolutionary times; to the old regime of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. You ring the bell of the concierge's office, and the wrough iron gates open with a clang. Mine host welcomes you at the portal and, with the airs and graces of an aristocrat of the eighteenth century, ushers you up to the state bedroom.
    Ah, that bedroom, so old and quaint, with its huge four-post bed, garnished with faded red curtains and mounted upon a raised dais. The chimney-piece is carved and hears the half -obliterated escutcheon of the builder of the mansion— a noble of the old regime.
    Over the mantle hangs a large oval mirror set in a tarnished gilt frame. Think, dear reader, of the hundreds of human faces that have peered into that ancient glass, and then passed forever into the land of sahdows. From everyone, say the occultists, issues an aura, a subtle, magnetic force that attracts or repels other souls and exercises an influence on inanimate things.

    If this be so, then everything must be affected by it and why not the sensitive surface of a mirror, just as the photographer's negative is affected?
    Think of the psychic impressions that must be stored up in an old looking-glass of the kind described above. In the summer of 1893 I was in Paris on business and pleasure bent, and I found a lodging at the little hotel of the Rue de Beaune an old street, once aristocratic, but now fallen into decay, and silent as the grave. The hum of Paris is but faintly heard here. By good fortune I was assigned to the state bedroom. A sultry evening was closing in. Storm clouds hung low in the heavens, presaging rain before morning. I had picked up on the Quai Voltaire a battered volume of Dumas’ Memoirs of a Physician , and sat down to read it by the light of wax candles stuck into an antiquated candelabrum.

    The book is fascinating. I first read it when a boy, and implicitly believed every word of it. It is replete with magic and mystery. In rapid succession Dumas passes before you pictures of Louis XV, the Countess du Barry, the Dauphin and his beautiful consort, the unfortunate Antoinette; the brilliant prime minister, Choiseul ; the Cardinal de Rohan; and towering above all, Cagliostro, the necromancer of the ancient regime.
    I read Dumas’s delightful novel until midnight and then retired to rest in the antique four-poster. The storm broke and the rain fell in torrents outside, splashing against the window panes like the dashing of the sea against the closed ports of an ocean liner. The thunder rolled over the house, and the lightning flashed vividly. Gradually the storm died away and nothing was heard but the soothing drip, drip, drip of the rain drops falling from the eaves of the house upon the flagged courtyard below, like the drip of the rain upon the Ghost’s Walk of Chesney Wold -the haunted mansion of the lock family of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House.

    With my mind filled with strange fancies about Cagliostro and that old Paris of long ago, 1 dropped off to sleep and was soon in the land of dreams that crepuscular country, midway between this mortal life of ours and the realm of spirit, where the soul revels amid such fantastic scenes.

    I seemed to be standing before the mirror, gazing earnestly into its crystal depths. The reflection of my own face was no longer seen, but a strange phan- tasmagoria passed before my entranced gaze. Let me see if i can recall it. It is night. The lanterns swung in the streets of old Paris glimmer fitfully, Silence broods over the city with shadowy wings. No sound is heard save the clank of the patrol on its rounds. The Rue Saint Claude, how- ever, is all bustle and confusion. A grand soiree magiquc is being held at the house of Monsieur le Comte de Cagliostro. I can see heavy, old-fashioned carriages standing in front of the door, with coachmen lolling sleepily on the boxes, and link boys playing rude games with each other in the kennel. A rumble in the street— ha, there, lackeys! out of the way!

    Here comes the coach of my Lord Cardinal, Prince Louis de Rohan. There is a flash of torches. Servants in gorgeous liveries of red and gold, with powdered wigs, open the door of the vehicle, and let down the steps with a crash. Monseigneur le Cardinal, cele- brant of the mass in the royal palace at Versailles, a man of pleasure and alchemist, descends. He is enveloped in a dark cloak as if to court disguise, but it is only a polite pretense. He enters the mansion of his bosom friend, Cagliostro, the magician. Within, all is a blaze of light. Visitors are received in a handsomely furnished apartment on the second floor. Beyond that is the seance-room, a mysterious chamber hung with somber draperies. Wax candles in tall silver sconces, arranged about the place in mystic pentagons and triangles, illuminate the scene.

    In the center of the room is a table with a black cloth, on which are embroidered in red the symbols of the highest degree of the Rosicrucians. Upon this strange shekinah is placed the cabalistic apparatus of the necromancer- odd little Egyptian figures, of Isis and Osiris, vials of lustral waters, and a large globe full of clarified water. It is all very uncanny. Presently the guests are seated in a circle about the altar, and form a magnetic chain, Cagliostro, the Grand Kophta, enters. He is habited in gorgeous robes like the arch -hierophant of an ancient Egyptian temple. The clairvoyants is now brought in, a child of angelic purity, horn under a certain constellation, of delicate nerves, great sensitiveness, and withal, blue eyes. She is hidden to kneel before the globe, and relate what she sees therein.

    Cagliostro makes passes over her, and commands the genii to enter the water. The very soul of the seeress is penetrated with the magnetic aura emanating from the magician. She becomes convulsed, and declares that she sees events taking place that very moment at the court of Versailles, at Vienna, at Rome,

    Enough ill has been said of Cagliostro. I intend to speak well of him, because I think his is always preferable, providing one can. Baron de Geek'hen
    Attached Files

  • #2
    C AGLI( )STROS — the name is one to conjure with. It has a cabal- istic sound. Who in reality was this incomparable master of mystery, this Rosicrucian and arch- necromancer of the eighteenth century, who suddenly emerged from profound obscurity, flashed like a meteor across the stage of life, and then vanished in darkness in the gloomy dungeons of the castle of San Leon, Italy, charged by the Church of Rome with magic, heresy, and Freemasonry?

    He hob- nobbed with princes and potentates ; he was the bosom friend of the Cardinal de Rohan, grand almoner of the court of France; and he was the founder of the 1 Egyptian Rite of Freemasonry, lie claimed to be able to evoke the spirits of the dead. In fact, he was the proto- type of the modern spirit medium or psychic. Was he a knave or a martyr? The question is worthy of investiga- tion. One hundred and twenty- four years have passed away since his death. In drama, romance and history his personality has been exploited. Alexandre Dumas made him the hero of his novel, The Memoirs of a Physician . Grim old Carlyle penned an essay about him full of vituperation and condemnation. The great Goethe wrote a drama in five acts port raving his career, called Per GrosCophta.

    Perhaps there never was a character in modern history so de- nounced and vilified as Cagliostro. Were there no good points about him? Was lie simply a charlatan preying on a credulous public, heartless and un- scrupulous? Did he not have some re- deeming traits, some ideals? In the year 1910 a voluminous work was published in London, which treats the subject of the arch-hierophant of the mysteries in an impartial manner. It is entitled Cagliostro, the Splendour and Misery of a Master of Magic, by W. R. H. Trowbridge. The author has, in my opinion, lifted the black pall of evil which has rested upon the character of the sorcerer for over a century, and has shown very clearly that Cagliostro was not guilty of the heinous crimes imputed to him, but, on the con- trary, was in many respects a badly abused and slandered man. As all read- ers of history know, he was mixed up in the Diamond Necklace trial, which dragged the fair name of the beautiful and innocent Queen of France, Marie Antoinette, in the mire.

    But the necro- mancer was acquitted, after having been imprisoned for more than a year in the Bastille. He was afterwards banished from France by order of Louis XVI. He took refuge in England. At the time of the affair of the necklace the French police did their best to throw light on Cagliostro’s past, but all their efforts were baffled . It was in September, 1786, that the assertion was first made by the Courrier de V Europe , a French newspaper published in Lon- don, that he was Joseph Balsamo, a forger and swindler, who some years before the advent of Cagliostro in Paris had made a criminal record for himself in France and other countries, and then had mysteriously disappeared. The editor of the above-mentioned journal was That even can de Morande, a notorious blackmailer and spy in the pay of the French Government. His at- tempts to besmirch the character of Cagliostro were doubtless instigated by the French Minister of Police in order to discredit the alchemist and wonder- worker in the eyes of the English public, more especially the Freemasons.

    Cagliostro, in his famous Letter to the French People had attacked royalty in France in no uncertain terms, and the pamphlet had been widely circulated in Paris and throughout France.

    Chamber, purporting to be a life of Cagliostro, with an account of his trial by the Holy Inquisition, also identifies the necromancer with the criminal Ral- samo, but no dates are given. It is special pleading from start to finish, full of bitter clerical invectives against Masonry, and, as a biography, totally unreliable. Upon the articles by Mo- rande and the so-called biography pub- lished by the Inquisition, all subsequent authors have based their opinions that Cagliostro, the occultist, was Joseph Balsamo, blackmailer, forger, swindler and panderer for his own wife; a man “wanted” bv the police of K ranee, Italy, Spain and England. “Rut,” says Mr. Trowbridge, “there is another reason for doubting the identity of the two men. It is the most powerful of all, and has hitherto apparently escaped the at- tention of those who have taken this singular theory of identification for granted. Nobody that had known Bal- samo ever saw Cagliostro . “Again, one wonders why nobody who had known Balsamo ever made the least attempt to identify Cagliostro with him either at the time of the Dia- mond Necklace trial or when the articles in the Courrier de Europe brought him a second time prominently before the public.

    Now Balsamo was known to have lived in London in 1771, when his conduct was so suspicious to the police that he deemed it advisable to leave the country. He and his wife ac- cordingly went to Paris, and it was here that, in 1773, the events occurred which brought both prominent ly under the notice of the authorities. Six years after Ralsamo’s disappearance from London, Count Cagliostro appeared in that city. . . . How is it, one asks, that the London police, who ‘wanted’ Joseph Balsamo, utterly failed to recognize him in the notorious Cagliostro?” And so with his identification in Paris. The Balsamo legend seems to he punctured. But, after all is said, who. was Cagliostro? He admitted that the name was an alias. Balsamo was devoid of education, and even the ap- pearancec of respectability ; grasping, scheming and utterly disreputable.

    Count Cagliostro was a highly accomplished man; a chemist of no mean ability; an empiric, who made many remarkable cures of diseases that baffled the medicos of the period ; a psychic and a mesmerizer. He was charitable and generous to a fault, and gave away immense sums of money to the poor. As Grand Master of the Egyptian Rite, he was fairly worshipped by his fol- lowers. Mow could Balsamo have transformed his character so com- pletely from a common crook to a humanitarian. As Trowbridge says; “Whoever Cagliostro may have been, lie could certainly never have been Joseph Balsamo.” Now let us turn to the man whose impenetrable cognomen of Comte de Cagliostro puzzled all Europe. In July, 1776 — the exact date is un- known — two foreigners arrived in London and engaged a suite of furnished rooms in Whitcombe Street, Leicester Fields. They called themselves (Count and Countess Cagliostro. They were presumably of Italian origin, and pos- sessed money and jewels in abundance. The Count turned one of the rooms he. had rented into a chemical labora- tory. It was soon noised about that he was an alchemist and a Eosierucian. To please some people he had met he fore- told the lucky numbers in a lottery by cabalistic means. Refusing to be mixed up any further in such matters, he was persecuted by a gang of swindlers, and spent some months in the King’s Bench prison on various technical charges. To avoid any further trouble — and the evidence is conclusive that he was the innocent victim of sharpers, who wished to use him as a tool to obtain money for them by predicting lucky lottery numbers— he left England.

    But before doing so he was initiated into a Masonic lodge in London. It was known as Esperance Lodge, No. 369, and was composed mainly of French and Italian residents in London, hold- ing its sessions at the King's Head Tavern, Gerard Street. It was attached to the Continental Masonic Order of the Higher Observance, which was supposed to be a continuation and per- fection of the ancient association of Knights Templar. The date of the initiation of the famous psychic was some time in April, 1777. Deeply im- mersed in the dreams of the Rosicrucians and mystics, Cagliostro deter- mined to found an Egyptian Rite of Freemasonry upon the first three degrees of the fraternity, in which magical practices were to be perpetuated. According to the Inquisition biographer he borrowed his ideas for the ritual from an obscure spiritist, George Cos- ton, whose manuscript he picked up in a bookshop in London. In his magical seances, Cagliostro made use of a young boy ( pupille ) or young girl ( colombe ) in the state of virgin innocence, to whom power was given over the seven spirits that sur- round the throne of the divinity and preside over the seven planets. The boy or girl would kneel in front of a globe of clarified water placed upon a table, covered with a black cloth embroidered with Rosicrucian symbols, and Cagliostro, making strange mesmeric passes, would summon the angels of the spheres to enter the globe ; whereupon the youthful clairvoyant would behold the visions presented to his or her view, and often describe events taking place at a distance.


    • #3
      Many eminent persons testified to the genuineness of the feats performed. This is what is called “crystal vision” by students of psychi- cal research, although the object em- ployed is usually a ball of rock crystal and not a globe of water, such as Cagli- ostro used. The Society for Psychical Research has shown that persons in a state of partial or complete hypnosis frequently develop clairvoyant and tele- pathic powers. The crystal is used to promote hypnosis, also to visualize the images that appear in the mind. Un- doubtedly Cagliostro was an accom- plished mesmerizer. He possessed re- markable psychic powers which he confessed that he did not understand. But, like many mediums who have such gifts, he sometimes resorted (if his enemies are to be believed) to trickery and sleight-of-hand to accomplish re- sults when the real power was not forthcoming, We have seen this in the case of the extraordinary materializing medium, Eusapia Paladino, who died a few years ago in Naples, after a somewhat lurid career. But that is another story, as Kipling says.

      To return to Cagliostro. From England the arch-enchanter went to The Hague. Throughout Holland he was received by the lodges with Masonic honors — “arches of steel,” etc. He discoursed learnedly on magic and Masonry to enraptured thousands. He visited Mitau and St. Petersburg in 1779. In May, 1780, he turned up at Warsaw, where he “paraded himself in the white shoes and red heels of a noble.” In September, 1780, he ar- rived at Strasbourg, where he founded one of his Egyptian lodges. He lavished money right and left, cured the poor without pay, and treated the great with arrogance. The Cardinal de Rohan invited the sorcerer and his wife to live at the episcopal palace. Cagliostro presented the cardinal with a diamond worth 20,000 livres, which he claimed to have made. The church- man had a laboratory fitted up in the palace for the alchemist, where experiments in gold-making were undertaken. The cardinal, in fact, declared that he saw Cagliostro transmute baser metals into gold. Spiritualistic seances were held in the palace, with all the mise-en- sccne with which Cagliostro knew how to invest such occult doings. The skeptical Baroness d’Oberkirch, in her memoirs, says that while at Strasbourg, Cagliostro predicted the death of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. “He even foretold the hour at which she would expire,” relates the baroness. “Cardinal de Rohan told it to me in the evening, and it was five days after that the news arrived.” In the parlance of modern psychical re- search this feat savors of 'telepathy. In the year 1785 we find the count at Lyons, France, where he founded the world-famous lodge of Triumphant Wisdom and converted hundreds to his mystical doctrines.

      But his greatest triumph was achieved in Paris, A gay and frivolous aristocracy, mad after new sensations, welcomed the ma- gician with open arms. The way had been paved for him by Mesmer and St. Martin. He made his appearance in the French capital on January 30, 1785. The Cardinal de Rohan selected and furnished a house for him. Houdon, the celebrated sculptor, executed his bust in marble, from which numerous replicas in bronze and plaster were made and sold. Engravings of him by Bartolozzi were to be had in the print shops, bearing the following in- scription :
      De Tami des humains reconnaissez les traits; Tous ses jours sont marques par de nou- veaux bien faits, II prolongc la vie, il secourt I’indigence, Le plaisir d’ etre utile est scul sa recompense.
      He was called “the divine Cagliostro.” His house in the Rue Saint Claude was always thronged with noble guests who came to witness the strange seances where ghosts from “the vasty deep” were summoned. How were these phantoms evoked?
      Confederates, con- cave mirrors and images cast upon the smoke arising from burning incense may explain many of the materializa- tions witnessed in the “Chambre Egyptienne I do not doubt the truth of the tele- pathic, hypnotic and clairvoyant feats, for I have seen enough to warrant the genuineness of such phenomena ; but I must take the so-called materializations with a grain of salt. Says Trowbridge : “To enhance the effect of his phe- nomena he had recourse to artifices worthy of a mountebank. The room in which his seances were held contained statuettes of Isis, Anubis and the ox Apis. The walls were covered with hieroglyphics, and two lackeys, clothed like Egyptian slaves as they are represented on the monuments at Thebes, were in attendance to arrange the screen behind which the pupilles or colombes sat, the carafe or mirror into which they gazed, or to perform any other service that was required.

      To complete the mise-en-sccnc , Cagliostro wore a robe of black silk on which hieroglyphics were embroidered in red. His head was covered with an Arab turban of cloth of gold ornamented with jewels. A chain of emeralds hung en sautoir upon his breast, to which scarabs and cabalistic symbols of all colors in metal were attached. A sword with a handle shaped like a cross was suspended from a belt of red silk.” Speaking of Cagliostro’s career in Paris, Arthur Edward Waite says: He assumed now the role of a practical magician, and astonished the city by the evocation of phantoms, which he caused to appear, at the wish of the inquirer, either in a mirror or in a vase of clear water. These phantoms equally represented dead and liv- ing beings, and as occasionally collusion ap- pears to have been well-nigh impossible, and as the theory of coincidence is preposterous, there is reason to suppose that he produced results which must sometimes have aston- ished himself. All Paris, at any rate, was set wondering at his enchantments and prodigies, and it is seriously stated that Louis XVI was so infatuated with “le divin Cagliostro” that he declared that anyone who injured him should be considered guilty of treason.

      At Versailles, and in the presence of several distinguished nobles, he is said to have caused the apparition in mirrors and vases, not merely of the specters of absent or deceased persons, but animated and mov- ing beings of a phantasmal description, in- cluding many dead men and women selected by the astonished spectators. An interesting pen-portrait of the en- chanter is contained in the memoirs of Count Beugnot, who met him at Madame de la Motte’s house in Paris. Says Beugnot: Cagliostro was of medium height, rather stout, with an olive complexion, a very short neck, round face, two large eyes on a level with the cheeks, and a broad, turned-up nose. . . . His hair was dressed in a way new to France, being divided into several small tresses that united behind the head, and were twisted up into what was then called a club.

      He wore on that day an iron-gray coat of French make, with gold lace, a scarlet waist- coat trimmed with broad Spanish lace, red breeches, his sword looped to the skirt of his coat, and a laced hat with a white feather, the latter a decoration still required of mountebanks, tooth drawers, and other medical practitioners who proclaim and re- tail their drugs in the open air. Cagliostro set off his costume by lace ruffles, several valuable rings, and shoe-buckles which were, it is true, of antique design, but bright enough to be taken for real diamonds. . . . The face, attire, and the whole man made an impression on me that I could not prevent I listened to the talk. He spoke some sort of medley, half French and half Italian, and made many quotations which might be Arabic, but which he did not trouble him- self to translate. I could not remember any more [of his conversation] than that the hero had spoken of heaven, of the stars, of the Great Secret, of Memphis, of the high priest, of transcendental chemistry, of giants and monstrous beasts, of a city ten times as large as Paris, in the middle of Africa, where he had correspondents.

      On August 22, 1785, Cagliostro was arrested under a lettre de cachet and cast into the Bastille, charged with complicity in the affair of the Diamond Necklace, an intrigue that involved in its toils a queen, a cardinal, a courtesan and a conjurer. Cagliostro refuted with wonderful sang (raid the charges brought against him. 1 fe appeared in court proud and triumphant in his coat of green silk embroidered with gold. “Who are you, and whence do you come?” asked the attorney for the Crown. “I am an illustrious traveler,” he answered bombastically. There was great laughter in court, in which the judges joined. He informed the judges that he was unacquainted with the place of his birth and the names of his parents, but that he had spent his infancy in Medina, Arabia, and had been brought up under the cognomen of Acharat. He had resided in the palace of the Great Muphti, and always had had the ser- vants to attend to his wants, besides his tutor, named Althotas, who was very fond of him. Althotas had told him that his (Cagliostro’s) father and mother were Christians and nobles, who died w hen he was three months o 1 d , leaving him in the care of the Muphti. On one occasion, he said, he had asked his preceptor to tell him the name of his parents. Althotas had replied that it would be dangerous for him to know ; but some incautious expressions dropped by tbe tutor led him to believe that they were from Malta. When twelve years of age he began his travels, and learned the languages of the Orient. He re- mained three years in the sacred city of Mecca. The sheri f or governor of that place showed him such unusual atten- tion and kindness that he oftentimes thought that personage was his father. He quitted this good man, he said, with tears in his eyes, and never saw him again.

      “Adieu, nature’s unfortunate child, adieu !” cried the sheri f of Mecca to him as he took his departure.


      • #4
        Cagliostro declared that whenever he arrived in any city, either of Europe, Asia, or Africa, he always found an account opened for him at the leading banker’s or merchant’s ; he had only to whisper the word “Acharat” and his wants were immediately supplied. He really believed, he said, that the sherif was the friend to whom all was owing, and that this was the secret of his wealth. He denied all complicity in the necklace swindle, and scornfully refuted the charge of Madame de la Motte that lie was “an empiric, a mean alchemist, a dreamer on the Philoso- pher’s Stout 1 , a false prophet, a profaner of true worship, the self-dubbed Count de Cagliostro.” “As to my being a false prophet,” he exclaimed grandiloquently, “I have not always been so ; for I once prophesied to the Cardinal de Rohan that Madame de la Motte would prove a dangerous woman, and the result has verified my prediction.” Cagliostro was acquitted. He drove in triumph from the Bastille to his residence, after hearing of his order of discharge. His coach was preceded by a fantastic cripple, who distributed medicines and presents among the crowd. He found the Rue Saint Claude thronged with friends and sympathizers, anxious to welcome him home. At this period revolutionary sentiments were openly vented by the people of France.

        The throne was being undermined by the philosophers and the politicians. Any excuse was made to de- nounce Louis XVI and his queen. Scurrilous pamphlets were published, declaring that Marie Antoinette was equally guilty with the de la Mottes in the necklace swindle. Cagliostro con- sequently was regarded as a martyr to the liberties of man. His arrest under the detested lettre de cachet , upon mere suspicion, and his long incarceration in the Pastille without trial, were indeed flagrant abuses of justice. The day after his acquittal he was banished from France by order of the king. At St. Denis his carriage was driven between two dense and silent lines of sympathizers ; and, as his ves- sel cleared the port of Boulogne, 5,000 persons knelt down on the shore to receive his blessing. He went directly to London. On June 20, 1786, he addressed his Letter to the French People , in which, says the Inquisition biographer, “he seems clearly to predict the approach- ing revolution in France; for he prophesies that The Bastille shall be destroyed and become a public walk/ and announces that ‘a prince shall reign in France who will abolish lettres de cachet , convoke the States-General and reestablish the true religion/ ”

        But we have a different opinion expressed by W. R. H. Trowbridge: “Nearly all who have written on Cagliostro have erred in stating that the letter contained the ‘predictions that the Bastille would be destroyed, its site become a public promenade, and that a king would reign in France who would abolish lettres de cachet and convoke the States-General 1 — all of which ac- tually occurred three years later, in 1789. The predictions are the invention of the Inquisition biographer, to whose shortcomings, to put it mildly, attention has been frequently called. Cagli- ostro merely says that if in the future he was permitted to return to France he would only do so ‘ provided the Bas- tille was destroyed and its site turned into a public promenade/ A copy of this letter, now become very rare, is to be seen in the French National Ar- chives at Paris/ 5 The letter nevertheless created a pro- found sensation. “It was,” says Sax Rohmer, “the first tocsin heralding the Terror.”

        While in London Cagliostro was attacked by the editor Morande, as I have previously stated. Disgusted with his treatment by the Freemasons and de- sirous of escaping from the harpies of the law, who threatened him with a debtor’s prison, he fled to his old coign of vantage, the Continent, where his great successes had been achieved. But he was forbidden to practice his peculiar system of medicine and Masonry in Austria, Germany, Russia and Spain. Drawn like a needle to the lode-stone, he went to Rome. Foolish Grand Cophta !
        Freemasonry was a capital offense in the dominions of the Pope. Cagliostro made a feeble attempt to establish an Egyptian lodge, but was betrayed by one of its members, a spy in the pay of the Holy Office. Suddenly on the evening of December 27, 1789, he and his wife were arrested by the dreaded sbirri of the Holy Inquisition and incarcerated in the fortress of St. Angelo. II is highly prized manuscript of Egyptian Masonry was seized, together with all his papers and correspondence.

        Among his effects the Inquisition found a peculiar seal, upon which were engraved a serpent pierced by an ar- row, and holding an apple in its mouth, and the mysterious letters, “L. * .P. * .D.” Fliphas Levi (Alphonse Louis Con stant), the celebrated French occultist, in his History of Magic , has the following to say regarding the seal :
        As explained by the Cabalistic letters of the names Acharat and Althotas, it expresses the chief characteristics of the Great Ar- canum and the Great Work. It is a serpent pierced by an arrow, thus representing the letter Aleph, an image of the union between active and passive, spirit and life, will and light. The arrow is that of the antique Apollo, while the serpent is the python of fable, the green dragon of Hermetic philosophy. The letter Aleph represents equilibrated unity. This pantacle is reproduced under various forms in the talismans of old magic. , . . The arrow signifies the act- ive principle, will, magical action, the coagulation of the dissolvent, the fixation of the volatile by projection and the penetration of earth by fire. The union of the two is the universal balance, the Great Arcanum, the Great Work, the equilibrium of Jackin and Boaz. The initials L. P. D., which accompany this figure, signify Liberty, Power, Duty, and also Light, Proportion, Density; Law, Principle and Right. The Freemasons have changed the order of these initials, and in the form of L. * .D. ■ .P. ■. they render them as Liberie de Penser, Liberty of Thought, inscribing these on a symbolical bridge, but for those who are not initiated they substitute Liberie de Passer, Liberty of Passage. In the records of the prosecution of Cagliostro it is said that his examination elicited another meaning as follows: Lilia destrue pe dibits : Trample the lilies under foot; and in support of this version may be cited a Masonic medal of the sixteenth or seventeenth century, depicting a branch of lilies severed by a sword, having these words on the exergue: Talem dabit ultio messetn — Revenge shall give this harvest.

        Cagliostro is supposed by some writers to have been an agent of the Illuminati, a secret order pledged to over- turn the thrones of Europe and estab- lish democracy. If this be true, the mystical letters I \I\ :.D. have especial significance, as Levi explains. The fleur de lys was the heraldic device of the Bourbon kings of France; hence this trampling upon the lilies alluded to the stamping out of the French monarchy by the Illuminati, which was an order grafted on Freemasonry. Levi contends that the name of Ac ha rat, assumed by Cagliostro, when written cabalistically in Hebrew characters expresses the triple unity. “The name Althotas, or that of Cagliostro’s master, is composed of the word 'Phot, with the syllables Al and As, which, if read cabalistically, are Sala, meaning messenger or envoy. The name as a whole therefore signifies : Thot , the messenger of the Egyptians ; and such in effect was he whom Cagliostro recognized as his master above all others/'

        Some think that Althotas was identical with Kolmer who gave instruction in magic to Weishaupt, the founder of the Illuminati. Both the names, Cagliostro and Bal- samo, have an occult significance, according to Alexander Wilder, who says ( Notes and Queries, v. 25, p. 216): “The cognomen of Balsamo is itself but Baal Samen, the Phoenician name of the sun. Cagliostro is made up of Kalos, beautiful, from Kas, to burn ; and Aster , a star or sun.” After a long imprisonment and many examinations by the inquisitors of the Holy Office, Cagliostro was finally con- demned to death as a heretic , sorcerer and Freemason, on March 21, 1791 ; but Pope Pius VI commuted the sentence to life imprisonment. At first he under- went his punishment in the castle of St. Angelo, but was subsequently trans- ferred to the fortress of San Leon, in the Duchy of U rhino, where he fretted away his life in silence and darkness until August, 1795. The cause of his death and the place of his interment have never been revealed. The secret is buried in the archives of the Holy Office. The Countess de Cagliostro died in a convent at Rome, where she had been forcibly detained.

        Such, in brief, is the history of a remarkable man ; a most sphinxlike character. That he believed in his mis- sion to enlighten the world through his mystic doctrines admits of no doubt in my mind. Had he been a mere char- latan he would not have practiced his system of medicine and Masonry in such a humanitarian manner. That he made use of natural means, at times, to accomplish his wonders, such as the instruments of conjuring and phantas- magoria, with all the effective tnise- en-scene of lights, draperies, Egyptian and Rosicrucian emblems, etc., may be admitted ; but that does not detract from his undoubted gifts as a genuine psy- chic, as I have previously noted. Those who dabble in “psychic research and spiritism” (as I have done these many years) have learned to discriminate be- tween what is false and what is true ; and to make due allowance for the weakness of human nature. In the last analysis we are all enigmas to each other !


        • #5
          “If it be true that a man's works are the key to his character, nothing reveals that of Caglio- stro more clearly than his system of Egyptian Masonry." — W. R. H. Trowbridge: The Splendour and Misery of a Master of Magic.
          To Understand Cagliostro and his Egyptian Rite of Free- masonry you must know the epoch in which he acted his strange world-drama, its philosophical, religious, and mystical background. You cannot dissociate an individual from the period in which he lives and judge him as an isolated phenomenon, naked and unadorned. You are compelled, if you wish to do him justice, to consider his environment. The arch- enchanter appeared on this mortal scene when the times were “out of joint.” It was the latter part of that romantic eighteenth century of skepticism and credulity. The old world, like a huge Cheshire cheese, was being nibbled away from within, until little but the rind was left. The rotten fabric of French society, in particular, was about to tumble down in the sulphurous flames of the Revo- lution, and the very people who were to suffer most in the calamity were doing their best to assist in the process of social and political disintegration.

          The dogmas of the Church were bitterly assailed by learned men. But the more skeptical the age the more credulity ex- tant. Man begins by denying, and then doubts his doubts. Charles Kings- ley says: “And so it befell, that this eighteenth century, which is usually held to be the most ‘materialistic’ of epochs, was in fact a most ‘spiritualistic’ one.” When the Zeitgeist or Spirit of the Age, verges towards materialism, groups of men will detach themselves from the skepticism of the schools and form societies for the propagation of mys- tical and occult doctrines. Freemas- onry played a no inconsiderable part in the eighteenth century in fostering such' ideas. Says Una. Birch, in her Secret Societies and the French Revolu- tion .* The true history of the eighteenth cen- tury is the history of the aspiration of the human race.

          In France it was epitomized. The spiritual life of that nation, which was to lift the weight of material oppression from the shoulders of multitudes, had been cher- ished through dark years by the preachers of Freedom, Equality and Brotherhood. From the Swedenborgian stronghold of Avignon, from Martinist Lyons, from Narbonne, from Munich, and many another citadel of freedom, there flashed on the grey night of feudalism, unseen but to the initiates, the watch-fires of great hope, tended by those priests of prog- ress who, though unable to lift the veil that shrouds the destiny of man and the ends of worlds, by faith were empowered to dedicate the future to the Unknown God. In all great transition periods when worn-out dogmas are relegated to the dust heap and old idols are broken, we find doctrinaires and honest enthusiasts promulgating their schemes for the moral and physical regeneration of mankind. We also find quacks, adventurers, and impostors preying upon the credulous masses, taking advantage of the loosening of old bonds of religious faith. Carlyle, with bitter pen, de- nounces this transition period of the eighteenth century as “the very age of impostors, cut-purses, swindlers, double- goers, enthusiasts, ambiguous persons; quacks simple, quacks compound; crack- brained or with deceit prepense ; quacks and quackeries of all colors and kinds. How many Mesmerists, Magicians, Cabalists, Sweden borgiails, Illuminati, Crucified Nuns, and Devils of Loudon!”

          One cannot deny the rogueries and quackeries of the eighteenth century, and yet one must look deeper to find the truth. I should not mix up the Cab- al ists and Swedcnborgians among doubtful people. But Carlyle, with his bilious temperament, could see nothing in occultism but sheer madness or im- posture. He knew little or nothing about Freemasonry and its humanita- rian aspirations, and denominated it “ mumbo- jumbo ” and va’n foolishness. Following the old, beaten track of the Inquisition biographer, and swallowing the lies of blackmailer Morandc, he penned a virulent diatribe against Gagliostro, in which he held him up to the scorn of the world as the Arch- Impostor and Quack. Strange, is it not, that the great majority of Masonic writers, among them being Albert G. Mackey in his encyclopedia of Freemasonry, should have blindly followed the Inqui- sition report on Cagliostro and his Egyptian Rite rather than take the trouble of delving into more reliable sources for information? The very fact that the Holy Inquisition at Rome had a hand in Cagliostro ’s condemna- tion should have made anything eman- ating from that terrible tribunal suspect. I know of but one Masonic encyclopedia that attempts in some measure to do justice to Cagliostro (the Masonic .Mar- tyr)

          Freemasonry on the Continent was deeply embued with occultism at the epoch of which I write. The Martinist Order in France was theosophical in the extreme, and so was the Swcdcnbor- gian Rite in other countries. Both of these rites were engrafted on Free- masonry proper. The old Rite of Per- fection, which was the basis of our present Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of F reemasonry , had within its system degrees that savored more or less of Rosicrucianism and Hermeticism. It was an age of magic and mystery, and the manufacture of higher degrees of Masonry of a Cabalistic nature. To my mind that fact makes the history of Continental Masonry more interesting than it otherwise would be. English Masonry, because of its rigid orthodoxy, played a very inconsiderable role in the eighteenth century. It was mostly given up to conviviality.

          When an attempt is made to stupefy the soul with the anodyne of materialism, we always see a great reaction. There was a tre- mendous recrudescence of the super- natural in the eighteenth century be- cause of the skepticism and atheism openly advocated by scientists and metaphysicians. The occult assumed bizarre and fantastic forms. But we see the very Same Thing" transpiring today despite the materialism prevalent in the great institutions of learning. The fact is that mankind cannot live on nega- tions. The soul turns instinctively towards its Divine Source like a flower to the sun. Says Trowbridge: Never has the belief in the supernatural been more flourishing and more invincible than at present. Side by side with the positivism of modern science marches the mysticism of the occult, equally confident and undaunted, and equally victorious ... To deride it is ridiculous.

          Occultism is not a menace to progress, but a spur. Its secrets are not to be ridiculed, but to be explained. Today we do not invest the occult with the mise-en-scene of the theater, but we study it scientifically in the labo- ratory. Telepathy, clairvoyance, hyp- notism, medium ism, and all the phe- nomena of the subliminal self are subjected to most careful tests. Some of our greatest investigators, like Sir Oliver Lodge, Sir William Barrett, and Professor Ply slop, have been convinced of the reality of spirit messages, and proclaim their belief in the Unseen Uni- verse. The scientific men of the eighteenth century refused to study the phenomena, like many of our materialis- tic scientists of the present time, and left the matter entirely in the hands of those who posed as necromancers. Cagliostro found the stage set for his appearance as the grand exponent of mysticism and Masonry of the latter years of the eighteenth century. The Illuminati, whose program was the liberation of mankind from the thrall- dom of Church and throne, was still an effective though expiring force. In Ger- many its members had been perse- cuted and imprisoned. Church and State were in league to repress by violent means the growth of free thought. It is claimed that Cagliostro was the secret agent of the Illuminati; which fact accounted for the great sums of money he had at his command. He rarely received fees for his medical services. If the Inquisition biographer is to be believed, Cagliostro confessed, at his trial, that he had been initiated into the Illuminati in an underground cave near Frank fort-on-the-Main.


          • #6
            This seems probable. When the society was suppressed in 1784, Cagliostro had no need of funds from that source, as he realized large fees from the Egyptian Rite. John Yarkcr, in his Arcane Schools (Belfast, 1909), says; “The Rite of Cagliostro was clearly that of Pasqually, as evidenced by his complete ritual which has recently been printed in the Paris monthly, Initiation; it so closely follows the Theurgy [of Pasqually] that it need leave no doubt as to whence Cagliostro derived his system; and as he stated himself that it was founded on the manuscript of a George Cofton, which he had acquired in London, it is pretty certain that Pasqually had disciples in the metropolis. ”

            It was the late Dr. Encaussc, Grand Master of the Mart mists of France, who published the ritual of the Egyptian Rite in U Initiation (Paris) some thirteen years ago. He positively as- serted that it was authentic, haring been copied from a transcript made by M. Morison of an original manuscript book on Egyptian Masonry which had been composed by Cagliostro, in the French language, for the use of the Egyptian lodges. M. Morison declared that there were three copies of the above-mentioned book, signed by Cagliostro and stamped with his peculiar seal, one of them having been the property of the Mother-Supreme Lodge of Lyons. The copy seen by M. Morison had passed through several hands ere it came to his notice. I see no reason for doubting the genuineness of the ritual published by Dr. Encaussc. The Egyptian Rite was widely diffused in France, and copies of its ritual were in the possession of the masters of the various lodges in Lyons, Paris, and other cities. Unfortunately I have not been able to secure copies of U Initiation containing the Fcllowcraft and Master Mason degrees. To obtain further light on the tenets of the Egyptian Rite I shall have to seek for it in the bro- chures on Cagliostro published in France and Germany, and in the Inquisition biography. The Holy Office took pos- session of all Cagliostro’ s books and papers at the time of his arrest at Rome, among them being the manuscript of Egyptian Masonry.

            How far the Inquisition biography tells the truth is a matter of conjecture. That the book was written to prove, among other things, that Freemasonry is the spawn of Satan no one will deny, but nevertheless it possesses a certain evidential value as regards the Egyptian system, although its statements have to be taken cum grano satis. The writer had an axe to grind and he ground it to the best of his ability. A very good resume of the Egyptian Rite is contained in Mackenzie’s Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia . It is based to some extent. on the Inquisition book, I quote as follows;
            Martines Pasqually founded a Masonic Rite in 1754. Its seventh degree was that of Rose-Croix. The ceremonies were of a theurgic or magical nature. Communications were sup- posed to be had with the spiritual world.
            Vic do Joseph Balsamo, connu sous lc nom de Comte Cagliostro; extraite de la procedure instruite contre lui a Rome, en 1790, traduite d’apres I’original italien imprime a la Chambre Apostolique.
            Mackenzie, Kenneth R. H. Royal Masonic cyclopaedia of history, rites, symbolism, and biography. New York, 1877. Pp. 89-100. 4 The statement regarding George Cofton is given in the Inquisition biography.
            Having acquired certain knowledge, according to his own statement, from the various occult students he met with in the East, Count Cagliostro resolved to communicate the results to persons properly fitted to receive them. Barruel (Hist. Jac.. vol. iii, p. 8) says that this Egyptian Masonry was intro- duced into Europe by a Jutland me "Chant, about 1771, who had been in Egypt — his name was said to be Ananiah. He remained some time in Malta, where Cagliostro may have seen him. His doctrines were those of Manes. Other statements aver that he bought certain manuscripts from one George Cofton in Lon- don leading up to the idea.

            However ac-quired, upon this basis like many others he resolved to build. To himself he assigned the post of Grand Kophta, a title borrowed from that of the high priests of Egypt, and he would also seem to have been the initiator of his disciples. He proposed to conduct them to perfection by moral and physical regeneration. He taught that the Philosopher’s Stone was no fable, and that belief many before and since his time have shared; and he also promised to his followers to endow them with the pentagon, which restores man to a state of primitive innocence, forfeited by Adam at the fall. Egyptian Masonry he asserted to have been instituted by Enoch and Elijah, who taught its divine mysteries, and he reintroduced adoptive or androgynous Masonry.

            The Grand Kophta possessed the power of commanding the angels; and, in all eases, he was supposed to accomplish by the miraculous power with which he had been endowed by Divine power. All religions were tolerated under this system: a belief in God was the sole qualification, with the additional necessity of having been regularly initiated into the three degrees [of Symbolic Masonry j. Three additional degrees were added, and the initiates, if men, assumed the names of the ancient pro- phets, while the women took the names of the ancient Sybils. ... In the admission to the Master's degree, great pomp and cere- mony was used, and although it is undoubted that this Egyptian system of Masonry was spurious, we nowhere find the charges of blas- phemy brought against it by the Roman Catholics justified. In this degree, a young girl (sometimes a boy), in a state of innocence, and called a pupil or dove ( colombe ), was intro- duced. The Master of the lodge then, with great ceremony, imparted to this child the power he possessed of communicating with pure spirits. These spirits were seven in number, governing the seven planets, and surround- ing the throne of the Eternal, their names being Asael, Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, Uriel, Zo- biachel, and AnachieL The dove was then placed before the master, and the members offered up a prayer to heaven, in order that the power granted to the Grand Kophta might be exercised, in which prayer the dove joined.

            Being clothed in a long white robe, adorned with blue ribbons and a red scarf, she was inclosed in the tabernacle, which was hung with white. In the door of the tabernacle was a window, through which she gave her re- sponses; and within the tabernacle was a seat with a small table, on which three tapers were burning. The Master then repeated the formu- lae by which the presence of the seven angels was invoked, and when they presented themselves to the eyes of the seer or dove, certain questions as to the fitness of the candidate were answered, and responses given, after which other ceremonies completed the advance- ment of the individual. The ceremony of admitting women to the degree of Mistress was somewhat similar. The lodges of Egyptian Masonry were dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, on account of the great affinity existing between the Apocalypse and the cere- monies of the ritual. The emblems used in the Rite were the septangle, the triangle, the trowel, the compass, the square, the gavel, the death's head, the cubical stone, the rude ashlar, the triangular stone, the wooden bridge, Jacob's ladder, the phoenix, the globe, time, and others. It seems somewhat uncertain at what time Cagliostro perfected his system. Eliphas Levi, the celebrated French occultist, in his History of Magic , speaks of Cagliostro’s scheme of moral regeneration as follows: The precepts of moral regeneration ac- cording to the Grand Copht. were as follows: “You shall go up to Mount Sinai with Moses; you shall ascend Calvary; with Phaleg you shall climb Thabor, and shall stand on Car- mel with Elias. You shall build your taber- nacle on the summit of the mountain; it shall consist of three wings or divisions, but these shall be joined together and that in the center shall have three stories.

            The refectory shall be on the ground floor. Above it there shall be a circular chamber with twelve beds round the walls and one bed in the center: this shall be the place of sleep and dreams. The upper- most room shall be square, having four windows in each of the four quarters; and this shall be the room of light. There, and alone, you shall pray for forty days and sleep for forty nights in the dormitory of the Twelve Masters. Then you shall receive the signatures of the seven genii and the pentagram traced on a sheet of virgin parchment. It. is the sign which no man knoweth, save him who recciveth it. It is the secret character inscribed on the white stone mentioned in the prophecy of the youngest of the Twelve Masters. Your spirit shall be illuminated by divine fire and your body shall become as pure as that of a child. Your pene- tration shall be without limits and great shall be also your power; you shall enter into that perfect repose which is the beginning of immortality; it. shall be possible for you to say truly and apart from all pride: I am he who is.'” This enigma signifies that, in order to attain moral regeneration, the transcend ant Cabala must be studied, understood and realized. The three chambers are the alliance of physical life, religious ’aspirations and philosophical light; the Twelve Masters are the great revealers whose symbols must, be understood; the signatures of the seven spirits mean the knowledge of the Great Arcanum.


            • #7
              The whole is there- fore allegorical, and it is no more a question of building a house of three stories than a temple at Jerusalem in Masonry. When questioned by the Inquisition regarding the occult sciences, Caglios- tro “replied enigmatically, and when accused of being absurd and incompre- hensible he told his examiners that they had no ground of judgment. ” They evidently knew nothing of the mystical philosophy of the Cabala, which takes years of patient study fully to appreciate and comprehend. The higher degrees of Masonry arc largely based on the Jewish Cabala, as all students know. I have now given the reader some idea of the Egyptian Rite. It is but a mere outline the shadow of a shade. That it was steeped in occultism admits of no doubt, but it was not peculiar in this respect, for it was only one among many of the occult societies of the eigh- teenth century that were engrafted on the original three degrees of Freemas- onry. The fantastic ceremonial with the pupils and doves may seem absurd to many of my readers; but I have witnessed stranger doings in the stance - rooms of modern mediums, with their cabinets, magnetic chains, dim lights, and “ materializations. ” Some may doubt the truth about these clair- voyant scenes as set forth by the Inquisition biographer, but I see no rea- son for discrediting the reporter. Similar scenes were enacted by Cagliostro in his magical stances in Paris, when he alone assumed the role of magnetizer.

              He was able “to transmit his powers,” as it was termed, to others; namely, to the Venerable Masters of his Egyptian lodges. As Trowbridge says: In reality it was nothing more or less than the discovery of the psychic -the word must serve for want of a better— properties latent in every human being, and which in many are capable of a very high degree of development. This discovery, till then unimagined, was the 1 secret of the veneration with which Cagliostro was regarded by his followers. Cagliostro never completely under- stood the psychism which he possessed; there are many indications that “he regarded the phenomena he performed as direct manifestations of divine power,” Sometimes he shocked the orthodox by describing himself as “I am that I am”— -the words used by Jehovah when revealing Himself to Moses in the Bur ing Bush. He used very bombastic language and could not brook criticism, if the Baroness d’Gberkirch and Count Beugnot arc to be believed.

              “ Cagliostro’s system of Masonry,” says Brother Mackenzie, “was not founded upon shadows. Many of the bSee their Memoires. doctrines he enunciated may be found in the Book of the Dead and other important documents of ancient Egypt.” The Egyptian Rite must have contained many exalted ideas — -ethical, humanitarian, and theosophical — other- wise the intense enthusiasm of its initi- ates cannot be accounted for. Many eminent men in France were members of this Order. Cagliostro always in- sisted on the moral and religious im- plications of his system of Masonry. Says Trowbridge : In 1785 a religious element was calculated to repel rather than to attract. It. was the wonder-man, and not the idealist, in whom Paris was interested. But instead of taking the line of least, resistance, so to speak, Cagliostro deliberately adopted a course that could not fail to make enemies rather than friends. Far from dropping the religious and moral character of the Egyptian Rite, he laid greater stress on it than ever, and claimed for his sect a superiority over all the others of Freemasonry, on the ground that it was bast'd on the mysteries of Isis and Anubis which he had brought from the East.

              As no one ever ventured to regard him as a fool as well as a knave, it is impossible to question his sincerity in the matter. At once the seventy-two Masonic lodges of Paris rose in arms against, him. He managed, however, to triumph over all oppo- sition. At a meeting held for the purpose of expounding the dogmas of Egyptian Masonry “his eloquence was so persuasive/ ’ says Figuier, “that he completely converted to his views the large and distinguished audience he addressed/* The controversy between Cagliostro and the Lodge of PhilaRthes (or Lov- ers of Truth) is an interesting episode in Masonic history. On February 15, 1785, the members of the Philalethcs, with Sav alette de Langes at their head, met in solemn convention in Paris to discuss questions of importance regard- ing Freemasonry, such as its origin, es- sential nature, relations with the occult sciences, etc. Thory, in his Acta Lato - morunt , Vol. II, gives a list of those who composed the conclave, among them being French and Austrian princes, councillors, financiers, barons, ambas- sadors, officers of the army, doctors, theosophists, farmers-gencral, and last but not least two professors of magic. M. do Langes was a royal banker, who had been prominent in the old Illuminati .


              • #8
                A summons had been sent to Cagliastro to attend the convention, and he had assured the messenger that he would take part in its deliberations. But he changed his mind and demanded that the Philalethes adopt the constitutions of the Egyptian Rite, burn their archives, and be initiated into the Mother Lodge at Lyons (“Triumphant Wisdom”), inti- mating that they were not in possession of the true Masonry. He deigned, as he said, to extend his hand over them, and consented ‘ ‘ to send a ray of light into the darkness of their temple.” The Baron von Glcichen was deputed to see Cagliostro and ask for more detailed information, and at the same time to request the presence of the members of the Mother Lodge at the convention. Renewed correspondence took place, but Cagliostro would not recede from his position. Finally three delegates from the Philalethes, among them the Mar- quis de Marnezia, of Pranche Comte, repaired to Lyons, and were initiated into Egyptian Masonry. In their report to the convention occur the following significant words: “His [Cagliostro ’s] doctrine ought to be regarded as sub- lime and pure; and without having a perfect acquaintance with our language, he employs it as did the prophets of old.” The negotiations, however, fell through, and Cagliostro shook off the Philalethes altogether.

                Shortly after the above event came the Affair of the Diamond Necklace, and Cagliostro sought refuge in England. Never again did he set foot on the soil of la belle France , the scene of his greatest exploits. Cagliostro, assisted by a number of adepts from Paris and Lyons, endeav- ored to found an Egyptian lodge in London, but the attacks of the (-our Her de V Europe effectually put a quietus on his efforts. He was continually har- rassed by trumped-up charges preferred by the myrmidons of Morandc. Says Trowbridge: The Freemasons, who had welcomed him to their lodges with open arms, as the victim of a degenerate and despicable despotism, influenced by the scathing attacks of Mo- randc, who was himself a Mason, now gave him the cold shoulder. At a convivial gathering at the Lodge of Antiquity which he attended about this time (November 1, 1786), instead of the sympathy he expected he was so ridiculed by one Brother Mash, an optician, who gave a burlesque imitation of the Grand Cophta of Egyptian Masonry as a quack doctor vending a spurious balsam to cure every malady, that the victim of his ridicule was compelled to withdraw. The mortification which this incident occasioned Cagliostro was further intensified by the wide notoriety that it was given by Gillray in a caricature entitled “A Masonic Anecdote.” Some scurrilous verses were appended to this cartoon rehearsing the libels of Morande and his tribe of blackmailers. Cagliostro endeavored to interest the Sweden borgians in his system of oc- cultism. With this object in view he advertised in the Morning Herald , calling upon all true Masons, in the name of Jehovah, to meet him at O’Reilly’s Tavern, in Great Queen Street, on November 3, 1786, to formulate plans for the construction of the New Temple at Jerusalem.

                But the Swedenborgians did not respond to his appeal. “It is a curious circumstance,” says Brother Mackenzie, “that Cagliostro’s mani- festoes while in London were issued from the Hercules Pillars, a tavern still in existence, immediately opposite Free- mason’s Hall, in Great Queen Street.” The condemnation of Cagliostro by the Inquisition, on March 21, 1791, was based principally on the fact that he was a heretic and a Freemason . The sentence caused a revulsion of feeling in his favor throughout Europe among those who had been convinced that he was a charlatan. His numerous followers in France were heartbroken over the affair. But the Revolution was at its height. The lodges were disrupted and the archives were destroyed in many instances. Most of the members of the Fraternity were of the nobility or the bourgeoisie, and they had to flee for their lives or go into hiding to escape the “Red Widow” the guillotine.

                They were powerless to aid their old chief. I quote the sentence of the Inquisition in full:
                Giuseppe Balsamo, attainted and convicted of many crimes, and of having incurred the censures and penalties pronounced against heretics, dogmatics, heresiarchs, and propaga- tors of magic and superstition, has been found guilty and condemned to the said censures and penalties as decreed by the apostolic laws of Clement XII and Benedict XIV against all persons who in any manner whatever favor or form societies and conventicles of Freemas- onry, as well as by the edict of the Council of State against all persons convicted of this crime in Rome or in any other place in the dominions of the Rope. Not with standing, by special grace and favor, the sentence of death by which this crime is expiated is hereby commuted into perpetual imprisonment in a fortress, where the culprit is . to be strictly guarded without any hope of pardon whatever. Furthermore, after he shall have abjured his offenses as a heretic in the place of his imprisonment lie shall receive abso- lution, and certain salutary penances will then be prescribed for him to which he is hereby or- dered to submit. Likewise, the manuscript book which has for its title Egyptian Masonry is solemnly condemned as containing rites, propositions, doctrines, and a system which, being superstitious, impious, heretical, and altogether blasphemous, opens a road to sedition and the destruction of the Christian religion.

                This book, therefore, shall be burnt by the executioner, together with all the other documents relating to this sect. By a new apostolic law we shall confirm and renew not only the laws of the preceding pontiffs which prohibit the societies anti conventicles of Freemasonry, making particu- lar mention of the Egyptian sect and of another vulgarly known as the Illumines, but we shall decree that the most grievous corporal punish- ments reserved for heretics shall be inflicted on all who shall associate, hold communion with, or protect these societies. Truly was a Masonic martyr ! Charlatan or no charlatan, he was the most fascinating personage of his time. I confess to a great liking for him. His sad fate ought to enlist the sympathies of the brethren. It is high time for Masonic writers to change their views regarding him. They will find in the pages of Trowbridge a wealth of bibliographic data throwing light on Cagliostro 's career excerpts from the secret archives of the Parisian police, old memoir writers of the eighteenth century too numerous to mention, Masonic authorities, etc.

                In conclusion, let me say with the Sherif of Mecca: "Nature’s unfortunate child, adieu!”


                • #9
                  CAGLIOSTRO’S house possesses a perfect fascination for me. If the walls of that ancient mansion could but speak, what tales of magic, mystery and Masonry they might unfold. But, alas, though walls are reputed to have ears, they are not cred- dited with possessing tongues. Scien- tists claim that the ultimate basis of matter is the imponderable ether. Occultists call it the astral light. "It is,” says Eliphas Levi, in his History of Magic , "a common receptacle for vibrations of move- ment and images of form, a fluid and a force which may be called, in a sense at least, the imagination of Nature.” According to the occultists this ultra- refined, jelly-like substance receives and preserves the impressions of all thoughts and ideas and the simulchra of all forms that have existed on this earth -plane. Therefore the walls of a house, in a certain sense, are like photographic plates upon which are impressed the good and the evil thoughts of those who have lived in the mansion . If we are psychic enough to gel en rapport with these thoughts, we may evoke them as apparitions or hallucinations. There is a measure of truth in the belief in haunted houses, if psychical investigators are to be credited. My visit to the house of Cagliostro was not productive of any phantasmal appearances, and yet the superb bibliography of Cagliostro is to be found in gloomy old mansion of the Rue St. Claude affected me strangely.

                  Perhaps it was my imagination. I was able to conjure up in my mind the vis- ions of an old dead past and to behold a pageant of magic and Masonry that was highly enjoyable, to say the least. One of my favorite novels is Alexander Dumas’ Memoirs of a Physician , which has for its hero the renowned Cagliostro, the arch-necromancer of the eighteenth century. Dumas, in this novel, describes the conjurer’s mansion in the Rue St. Claude with considerable accuracy, but says nothing about its history. It was my ambition when a young man to find this house of mystery, using Dumas’ description as a guide, and to give its story to the world. But Baron Haussman, the builder of boulevards in the Second Empire, had demolished so much of historical Paris that I did not feel quite certain that Cagliostro’s house was still in existence. In the summer of 1899, however, the Courtier des Etats- Unis, of New York, contained the following interesting article on the mansion.

                  Cagliostro’s house still stands in Paris. Few alterations have been made in it since the days of its glories and mysteries; and one may easily imagine the effect which it produced in the night upon those who gazed upon its strange pavilions and wide terraces when the lurid lights of the alchemist’s furnaces streamed through the outer window blinds. The building preserves its noble lines in spite of modern additions and at the same time has a weird appearance which produces an almost depress- ing effect. But this doubtless comes from the imagination, because the house was not built by Cagliostro; he simply rented it. When he took up his quarters in it, it was the property of the Marquise d’Orvillers. Cagliostro made no changes in it, except perhaps a few tem- porary interior additions for the machines which he used in his seances in magic. The plan of the building may well be said to be abnormal. The outer gate opens upon the Rue Saint Claude at the angle of the Boulevard Beaumarchais. The courtyard has a morose and solemn aspect. At the end under a flagged porch there is a stone staircase worn by time, but it still preserves its old iron railing. On looking at that staircase, one cannot help thinking of the hosts of beautiful women, attracted by curiosity to the den of the sorcerer, and terrified at what they imagined they were about to see, who placed their trembling hands upon that old railing. Here we can evoke the shade of Mme. de la Motte running up the steps, with her head covered with a cloak, and the ghosts of the valets of Cardinal de Rohan sleeping in the driver’s seat of the carriage with a lantern at their feet, while their master, in company with the Great Kophta, is occupied with necromancy, metallurgy, cabala, or oneiro- critics, which, as everybody knows, constitute the four elementary divisions of Cagliostro 's art.

                  A secret stairway now walled up ran near the large one to the second story, where its traces are found; and a third stairway, narrow and tortuous, still exists at the other end of the building on the boulevard side. It is in the center of the wall, in complete darkness, and leads to the old salons now cut into apartments, the windows of which look out upon a terrace. Below, with their mouldering doors, are the carriage house and the stable, the stable of Djerid, the splendid black horse of Lorenza Felieiani. To verify the above statement, I wrote to M. Alfred de Ricaudy, editor of L'Echo du Public , Paris, and an authority on archaeological matters, who responded as follows, January 13, 1900: The house [the exterior] still exists just as it was in the time of Cagliostro. Upon the boule- vard, contiguous to the mansion, there was formerly the shop of one Catnerlingue, a book- seller, now occupied by an upholsterer. On January 30, 1785, Cagliostro took up his resi- dence in this quaint old house. It was then No. 30 Rue St. Claude, at the corner of the Boulevard Saint Antoine, afterwards the Boulevard Beaumarchais. The Marquise d'Orvillers was the owner of the premises oc- cupied by the thaumaturgist of the eighteenth century. Her father, M. de Chavigny, captain in the royal navy, had built this house on ground acquired in 1719 from Mme. de Harlay, who had inherited it from her father, le Cheva- lier Boucherat. (See Lefeuve, Old Houses of Paris , Vol. iv, issue 51, page 24, published by Achille Faure, Paris, 1863.)


                  • #10
                    Cagliostro’s house is now Number 1, the numbering of the street having been altered in the reign of the citizen- king, Louis Philippe, of inglorious memory. Says M. de Ricaudy; The numbering originally began at the Rue Saint Louis, now Rue de Turenne, in which is situated the church of Saint Denis du Sacre- ment. When the houses were renumbered with reference to the direction of the current (?f the Seine (under Louis Philippe), the numbers of the Rue St. Claude, which is parallel to the river, began at the corner of the boulevard, and in that way the former number 30 became Number 1. The weird old mansion has had a peculiar history. Cagliostro locked the doors of the laboratories and seance room some time in June, 1786, on the occasion of his exile from France. All during the great Revolution the house remained closed and intact. Twenty- four years of undisturbed repose ensued. The dust settled thick upon every- thing; spiders built their webs upon the gilded ceilings of the salons and the Chambre Egyptienne where the magical stances were held. Finally, in the Napoleonic year 1810, the doors of the temple of magic and mystery were un- fastened, and the furniture and rare curios, the retorts and crucibles belong- ing to the dead alchemist of the ancient regime, were auctioned off by order of the municipal government.

                    An idle crowd of quid nuncs gathered to witness the sale and pry about the building. 1 M. Y. Lenotre, in his Paris rfaohition- naire , vieilles maisons , vieux papier s, re strie, says: “Since the auctioning of Cagliostro’s effects the gloomy house of the Rue St. Claude has had no history. Ah, but I am mistaken. In 1855 some repairs were made. The old carriage door was removed, and the one that took its place was taken from the ruins of the Temple. There it stands to- day with its great bolts and immense locks. The door of the prison of Louis XVI closes the house of Cag- liostro.” Life has, indeed, its little ironies !
                    My friend, Brother Felicien Trewey of Asni&res, France, who visited the place in the summer of 1901 at my request, wrote to me that it had been converted into a commercial establish- ment. The salons were cut up into small apartments. The Chambre Egyp- tienne was no more. A grocer, a feather curler, and a manufacturer of cardboard boxes occupied the building, oblivious to the fact that the world-renowned Cagliostro once lived there. Alas, the history of these old houses ! They have their days of splendid prosperity, followed by shabby gentility and finally by sordid decay — battered and repulsive looking. Yes, in this ancient house, dating back to pre-Revolutionary Paris, to the picturesque old regime, the great arch-hierophant of the Egyptian Rite of Freemasonry lived in the zenith of his fame. In those golden years of his life, was he never haunted by disturbing visions of the dungeons of the Holy Inquisition, yawning to receive him? Ah, who can tell]

                    Accompanied by Felicien Trewey, I made a pilgrimage, in the summer of 1908 to the house of Cagliostro. Leaving Trewey to talk with the concierge, I crossed the courtyard with its cordons of large stones blackened by time, passed through the somber portal, and up the great stone staircase with its wrought-iron railing, and peeped into what was formerly the Chambre Egyptienne, on the second floor. There I saw a young French workman upholstering a chair. To what base uses do rooms, as well as people, come at last! One hundred and thirty- three years ago that old apartment saw a different sight. It was ablaze with lights; the aristocracy of Paris were there to be amused or frightened, according to the temperaments of the individuals. I climbed to the very attic of the ancient mansion, and looked down into the gloomy courtyard, expecting every min- ute, in my excited imagination, to see the gilded coach of the Cardinal de Rohan come rolling up to the doorway, and the Cardinal, in his splendid court cos- tume, alight. Ah, those were the days of romance! It was something to be a nobleman and a prelate then. I slowly descended the ghost-haunted, time-worn staircase, feeling my way carefully along in the semi-darkness, and holding on to the forged-iron balustrade, thinking all the while of the high-born seigneurs and ladies who once passed up and down that winding way. I could almost hear the frou-frou of their silken coats and dresses, and the tap, tap of their red-heeled shoes on the steps. How anxious they must have been, full of emotion and curious to peer into the future. What visions did Cagliostro evoke for them in his magic glass? How many of those powdered, perfumed heads were des- tined to fall under the sharp blade of La Guillotine— the “Red Widow,” as it was called by the sans culottes !

                    And then I thought of Cagiiostro in the dungeon of the Castle of San Leon in rags and chains, lying upon a pile of mouldy straw, the wretched victim of the Inquisition. A door on the landing below me opened slowly and noiselessly. I stopped scarcely breathing, in anticipation of some mystic revelation. W as the phan- tom of the arch-necromancer coming out to greet me? No; it was but the wind! I closed the door softly behind me and hastily descended the steps. I was soon out in the sunshine. Desecration of desecrations ! — an enterprising Gaul was occupying one of the rooms on the ground floor of the mansion as a brasserie , and the name of the establish- ment was the “Bar de Cagiiostro/' Workmen in blouses were leaning against a galvanized iron counter, sipping brandy of doubtful quality. I asked the pleasant-faced concierge if she knew the history of the old house. “Yes, monsieur,” she replied, “it was once inhabited by le Comte de Cagiiostro, the celebrated sorcerer. Alexandre Dumas tells all about him in one of his novels.”

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