Obercit, Jacques Hermann (1725–1798)
Swiss mystic and alchemist. He was born December 2, 1725,
in Arbon, Switzerland, the son of a scientist keenly interested
in Hermetic philosophy. Early in his life he decided to search
for the philosophers’ stone, hoping to resuscitate the fortunes
of his family, which were at a low ebb. The young man worked
strenuously, maintaining that whoever would triumph in this
endeavor must not depend on scientific skill alone but rather
on constant communion with God.
Notwithstanding this theory, he soon found himself under
the ban of the civic authorities, who came to his laboratory and
forced him to forego further experiments, declaring that these
constituted a danger to public health and safety. Obercit was incensed
and appears to have left and gone to live for some time
thereafter with a brother of the noted physiognomist Johann
Lavater. At a later date, Obercit renounced the civilized world
altogether and took up residence in the Alps.
However, he did not live the solitary life of a hermit, since
according to his own account, he took as bride a shepherdess
named Theantis. Obercit’s writings include Disquisitio de Universali
Methodo Medendi (1767) and Défense du Mysticisme et de la
Vie Solitaire (1775). He died at Weimar, Germany, February 2,

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