(Lyon, 1940 - Saint Tropez, 1983) was a french public figure on 70's. He claimed to be the Comte de Saint-Germain and appeared in numerous european televisions transmutating lead
without apparent tricks.
The magic career of Richard Chanfray started on 1973 on a parisien theater, where he was announced as "the man who transmutes lead into gold". Apparently, he was able to do that without any tricks. No one discovered his secret.
He was born in 1940 in the french city of Lyon. Grown in the streets, with casual works, often stealing, he finished striking an old woman with a plum bar to get her money. He was arrested and condemned to six years. Street was his school, and prison his university. He abandoned the jail with a new fabricated personality.He was read some antique books, and learned about Comte de Saint Germain, the misterious alchemist, capable of transmutate plumb into gold, brew potions, and immortal. Richard adopted that personality, exploiting the high society likes for magic and esoterism. In a few month, he became rich. He was counselor of lots of famous people, with profecies quite accurates.
In 1976 he met the singer Dalida, on her highest moment of fame. Her husband (Lucien Morisse) and her lover (Luigi Tenco) both commit suicide in a tragic manner. When Dalida met the false count, felt in love immediatly.
Chanfray was a paranoic, and Dalida realized quickly. He always slept with a shotgun under the bed. When, after arriving home late on night, he found a naked man on his kitchen, he shot them. He was the noun's lover, and fortunatly only was wounded superficially. However, Chanfray spent a year in prison, and have to pay the man one half million of francs.
That was the beginning of the end. They runned out of money. Richard tried with music, painture, sculpture; all without success. Dalida and the count separated.Despite his problems, Richard continued being part of the star system of Paris
and Saint Tropez. He becomes the lover of the Trintignan "baroness",Paula de Loos, whose title was so false as that of the "count" Saint Germaine. But she was millionare. Chanfray started to suspect about the movements ofPaula's money administrator, and finished pointing at his neck with a rifle.
Another demand, another judgment and once again prison and indemnization. The baroness, overwhelmed by credits, couldn't help him.Last appearance in public was in a party in Saint Tropez, in June 1983. He was very thin, he has white hair and an exhausted sight.
In 14th July, on a town next to Saint Tropez, Paula and Richard ingested a great quantity of barbiturates while inhalating the gases of hiscar. Near, a letter of goodbye: "I leave and I bring her with me, because she is so like me..."
Richard Chanfray proclaimed to have lots of powers, most of them related with alchemy
He always said that his knowledge came from a misterious man whom he met in the past. He sweared not to reveal his identity, and never did it.Some of Chanfray's powers were:
• Transmutation of lead into gold. Chanfray made this trick several times on public. Lots of european televisions recorded him transmutating the metals.Magicians, scientifics and jewellers were invited to some of these soirees, and none of them discovered the trick, if any.He encouraged people to bring their own pieces of lead, just to demonstrate there was no trick. Metal analisys of the resulting "gold" demonstratedit was real gold.Chanfray said it hadn't the knowledge of transmutation, only an ancient crucible
that the strange figure gave to him long ago. The crucible was a littlemetal box in which he inserted lead. Put to the fire, lead decreased in size and change color just to convert as a few gold pieces.Also, he reasoned that he didn't make a fortune transmutating, because he would attract the envy of robbers, risking his life.
• The powder of immortality
. Traditional alchemy considered those two powers (transmutation and immortality) the hightest mastery. A famous spanishreporter, José María Íñigo was invited to Chanfray's house. On José María's words "he throws a bit of this powder over a dog's corpse. After a few spasmodicmovements, the dog arised and walked a few steps before falling again and remain dead".
• The capability of remembering past lives. When invited to old palaces or castles, he claimed to have been there before, in a past life.He demonstrated it explaining how was the distribution of the house, where there was an stair, a secret passage, etc.It's supposed Chanfray studied the maps of the buildings, open to public, before going those places.
• Richard Chanfray was terribly attractive. He was capable of convince everyone with his natural charisma.
http://www.editorialbitacora.com/bitacora/germain/germain.htm A webpage where are transcribed parts of an article appeared in 1983 in the spanish magazine El Caso about the history of Richard Chanfray.