Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018
AREZZO

'Cagliostro ghost sightings' spook Arezzo

English
© ANSA

Arezzo, November 15 - Italian paranormal-phenomena
experts have been called to the Tuscan hilltown of Arezzo to
probe a dozen alleged sightings of the ghost of legendary
18th-century alchemist, adventurer, con-man and occult dabbler
'Count' Cagliostro.
"We aren't here to 'bust' any ghosts, we simply study
phenomena which appear strange," said Massimo Merendi of the
National Ghost Uncover (NGU) association.
The sightings, "of a two-metre-tall cloaked figure" have
occurred in the centre of the town, near its famous Duomo,
between March 2011 and last month, Merendi said.
An alchemist, fake physician and necromancer, Cagliostro
became extremely rich selling miraculous cures and elixirs of
youth, also posing as the founder of an occult branch
of freemasonry.
Although he was an impostor, his daring and ingenuity
briefly made him the darling of Europe.
He was wined and dined by high society across the continent
and wound up marrying a member of a high-born Roman family.
His real name was Giuseppe Balsamo and he was born to a
poor family in Palermo in 1743.
Wanted for a number of petty crimes, he fled Sicily and
embarked on extensive travels that were to take him to such
far-flung places as Greece, Egypt, Arabia, Persia, Rhodes, and
Malta.
In France, he became a close friend of the influential
Cardinal de Rohan but scandal eventually led to his downfall and
he was slapped into the Bastille and later banished from the
country.
Arrested for heresy in Rome in 1789 he was condemned to
death but the sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment
and he died unsung in a prison in the hilltop town of San Leo
near Urbino in 1795. He was 51.
Legend has it that he placed a curse on the town but
townspeople regularly assure outsiders they are protected by St.
Francis.
Every year on August 26, the anniversary of his death, a
bouquet of flowers is found in Cagliostro's former cell,
reputedly put there by a mysterious lady in black.
Cagliostro's travels and exploits have been described in his
memoirs and those of other adventurers including Casanova,
inspiring writers such as Alexandre Dumas, but he has not been
previously linked to Arezzo.

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