Despite a religious upbringing, Raimondo was attracted to secret societies and occult mysteries. Aside from joining the Masons, Raimondo got involved with the Rosicrucian Order, a shady 17th century secret society. They believed that they held an ancient secret of life, passed down from the Pharaohs to them. Although many of the writings surrounding the Rosicrucian Order are lost, some remain, revealing a passionate interest in alchemy from its followers and a belief in a kind of divine androgyny.
Raimondo took his interest in divine androgyny a little too far however, by essentially kidnapping young boys and forcing them to become Castratos. Legend has it, that di Sangro would visit churches in the poorest boroughs of the Kingdom of the two Sicilies, keeping his ear alert for the most beautiful singing voice emanating from a boy child in the choir. When he found one, he would bribe the typically impoverished parents for the child, promising he would whisk them away to a better life.
Instead, Raimondo had these boy children castrated, to turn them into Castratos – adult male singers who had a haunting singing voice, more crystalline than any modern soprano. The boys would receive the snip before their voice dropped – around aged 8.
Despite his passion for opera, the prince’s real motivation was securing his immortality – and he knew he needed more than singers to do so. Raimondo’s motivation for masterminding the Sansevero Chapel was to preserve his fate for all time. Raimondo’s decision to build the Sansevero Chapel where he did further incited intrigue. Neapolitan legend has it that it was built on top of a Temple of Isis – the statue of the God of the Nile around the corner only confirmed this in the popular imaginary.