Cagliostro, Count Alessandro di

Cagliostro, Count Alessandro di, the assumed name of Giuseppe Balsamo (1743-1795), an Italian swindler and adventurer. He was born in Palermo, Sicily. Visiting many countries of Europe, the “Count” deceived people by selling alchemistic powders and mixtures and by other swindles. He later posed as the founder of a new form of freemasonry and claimed to be able to work miracles and foretell the future. Cagliostro died in prison.