Count Cagliostro's Biography (Photos)
Of his birth and early life nothing is accurately known. He was a member of the Rosicrucian Brotherhood and remained so until his death, which occurred in 1795 after serving four months of a sentence to perpetual imprisonment in Italy, by the Inquisition.
He was confined in the Castle San Leo. Ignorant writers have stated that he was expelled from the Brotherhood, but this is no doubt due to the confusion of his identity with that of the notorious swindler Giuseppe Balsamo.
He became a Freemason in London in 1776, and was an initiate of the "Order of Strict Observance" connected with Masonry. He was the originator of the rituals of "Egyptian Masonry." At Strasbourg in 1780 he performed the operation of transmutation, and was a miraculous healer of all diseases. His friendship with the Cardinal de Rohan proved eventually his undoing. He suffered many vicissitudes, including imprisonment for his alchemical practices, in the Bastille.