Raimund Diestel was the first incarnation of the Black Flame.
In 1910, a young Raimund Diestel had a vision of a black goddess while attending a field trip to a Berlin museum exhibit on Babylonian artifacts.
Diestel served in the Imperial German Navy as a Petty Officer on the S.M.S. Emden in Tsingtao. When World War I broke out, the Emden was detached for independent raiding in the Indian Ocean. When the Emden reached the Cocos Islands, Diestel was assigned to a landing party to destroy a British wireless station and communication facilities. Fortunately for the landing party, the Emden was discovered and destroyed by an Australian cruiser. The landing party evaded capture and made their way to the Dutch port of Padang, where they arranged a transport for the Ottoman Empire. Diestel, however, chose to desert after having enough of the war. He traveled to Siam where he spent several years in opium dens before eventually becoming a local guide. He also become acquainted with Sarah Jewell.
In 1923, Diestel was hired by Sarah Jewell to help find missing girls that were abducted by a cult.