Who was the Count of St. Germain?
To set the stage we must briefly discuss who the Count of St. Germain was and who he was not. In short: an 18th century person of unknown origin, good learning, highest social connections, and a few talents.
His birth and heritage is a subject of much debate with entire books dedicated to the subject. However, it does not concern our discussion here since we now live in a time where a person may be judged more by their achievements, thoughts, and behavior rather than their family tree.
According to his own words, the Count of St. Germain is an assumed title just like Count Welldon(e), Bellamarre, and all the rest. To reveal a minor mystery, his given name was Leopold.
We learn about his entrance onto the 18th-century Europe via fragments of correspondence. While initially relating to rare books and music, they eventually start to hint at something unusual about this individual. He moves fluently through high social circles of Europe and is a competent entertainer and linguist who exudes wealth and confidence.
After a decade or more of such social gossip, a new trend appears: reference to his age. At that time, life expectancy is still relatively short, even for the nobility, and his seemingly unchanging state becomes a subject of frequent discussion. While the Count consistently denies anything abnormal, save for his strict diet, the legend of a long-lived or even immortal man takes hold. His ability to speak on many subjects including antiquity, philosophy, and lands far away enhances his otherworldly image.
The Count is often mislabeled as, at best, an adventurer, and, at worst, a charlatan or outright fraud. The courts of the time are popular destinations for the likes of Casanova and Cagliostro. However, unlike them, the Count is never associated with any impropriety, whether personal, political, financial, or otherwise. Indeed, a number of prominent individuals remark that while he was suspected of being a spy or a swindler, he never broke any laws, borrowed any money, or was known to have any romantic intrigues. Casanova makes considerable effort to uncover the Count's dirty secrets but comes up empty-handed and more impressed than before.
Others attribute fantastical abilities to the Count of St. Germain, such as the transmutation of base metals to gold or fabrication and improvement of precious stones. Here they are closer to the truth, though distorted by the lack of scientific education.
The Count has a lifelong and overt interest in chemistry, especially inorganic dyes and pigments. His explorations predate general research into that area by more than a century. As a result, he is able to produce vivid colors of clothing dyes, paints, and makeup, all of which may seem miraculous to the public. When it comes to improving the quality of gems through filling fractures or alteration of colors, this was a known applied science in certain parts of Asia. A curious traveler with time and determination may become privy to such secrets and bring them back to the amazement of their peers. Along with stories to dazzle audiences hungry for novelty.
Lastly, the Count of St. Germain considered himself above all a master of the spirits. His interest and exploration of occult and ceremonial magic may seem fantastical in modern times. However, in the 18th century, this was the equivalent of the far edges of experimental science, akin to the quantum physics and artificial intelligence of the 21st century.
Thus we see an individual who explored the world beyond the comfort of his country and continent, took an interest in little understood subjects, and made some new discoveries. On its own, this is worthy of praise, though hardly the stuff of legends. As fate would have it, distorted by the lens of gossip and fantasy, this applied scientist and traveler became the Wonderman, immortal, and omniscient.