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Alchemists and the Men in Black

Updated on June 8, 2013
Sulphur and Mercury unite to form the Philosophers Stone
Sulphur and Mercury unite to form the Philosophers Stone | Source

Alchemists were concerned with the Philosopher's stone, which converted base metals to gold. They also had a philosophy of personal transformation and Jung and others read most of the alchemical manuals as coded references to this process.

However there is some evidence suggesting a way of transmuting lead into gold had been discovered.

In the Journal of the Alchemical Society (London) [vol.1 part 4, April1913] GAJournal of the Alchemical Society (London) [vol.1 part 4, April1913]. Gaston De Mengel describes three cases where he cannot convince himself fraud was involved, though he seems well aware of the prevalence of charlatanism in this area.

In each case the alchemist was a reputable citizen (though given the way bankers and other respectable pillars of society engineered the 2008 recession this is perhaps not a meaningful recommendation), performed the transmutation themselves and was surprised it works. Also they considered the possibility they had been deceived.

An abbreviated account of De Mengel's article appeared in Issue 55 of Fortean Times.

Alchemists change lead into gold

In several cases an alchemist was given the means to effect the transmutation of lead to gold by a stranger, and had done it themselves. T

here was, apparently no attempt by the strangers to follow up and ask a price for the secret, which rules out any conventional fraud, and I am not aware of any of these alchemists becoming rich suddenly, as might have been expected if they had discovered the secret but wanted to keep it to themselves, perhaps for fear of the church.

Helvetius was visited by two strangers, suggesting a group of people who know the secret.

The question I asked myself was why the demonstration of the stone's power was given? Why was the secret not revealed? And who were the strangers?

The devil and the Men in Black

In medieval times there were reports of people being approached by a mysterious stranger dressed in black and offered benefits or invitations to a sabbat. The stranger was usually taken to be the devil, though the reason for his behavour is unclear:.

In modern times those who saw a UFO tended to be visited by mysterious “Men in Black” who behaved like non-physical beings. These sightings are less common nowadays, and would seem to be projections from the unconscious mind. They also appear to have little intelligence, which fits the role they often adopt, of low level government agents.

Some mysterious strangers appeared after the Satanic Ritual Abuse hoax of 1987 posing as social workers.

Bogus Social Workers

After the Satanic Ritual Abuse fiasco of the late 1980s where the UK Social Services were infiltrated by Rabid Christian Fundamentalists, who duped gullible colleagues into a belief in widespread Satanic Ritual Abuse there was an epidemic of BogusSocial workers calling on families with children and demanding to examine the children. Some of these appear to have been real people, as in this case from 2009 , but a few appear to be updated versions of the Men in Black and as far as I know no one has been prosecuted., but they seem to be more than urban legends.


Strangers gave Helvetius and others samples of the Philosopher's Stone, a Man in Black would give medieval travellers good things, sometimes with a sting in the tail, the Men in Black tried to scare UFO contactees and Bogus Social Workers appeared after a moral panic. And Phantom clowns have been reported for a long time

Are these figures projection of our fears and hopes, is there a secret society of ghosts and magicians dedicated to this sort of confusion? Why show transmutation is possible? If as has been suggested, a parallel society of sorcerers exists, why would they bother with normal society and advertise their existence

Unless contrary evidence turns up It seems reasonable to assume these figures are manifestations from the unconscious. But then where did the gold the alchemists produced originate? Unlike the case of the Mince Pie Martians who left a witness with mince pies of uncertain origin, or the pancakes one UFO inhabitant handed over to a witness, the gold could not have been produced and refined n a fit of absent mindedness


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    • AlexK2009 profile image

      AlexK2009 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Thanks CR. I also think that if the Satanists religious fundamentalists claim to exist actually do exist then they would have infiltrated or founded an extreme Christian organisation as that would give them excellent cover and allow them to discredit the religion by their actions and attitudes.

    • CR Rookwood profile image

      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Hey Alex I just discovered this, and do you know how? You came up #1 on my Google search "alchemy and Men in Black'! Way to go!

      Anyhoo, great article, and I have these kinds of questions myself as you have likely guessed by now. What intrigues me about alchemy is that apparently there was none of this detached observer stuff (or much less of it), and the inner symbolic work and outer practical work were connected in the craft. Myth and symbol were crucial to its understanding, and the muddier and more obtuse it all got, the better. I think today it is very very hard for people to see the use of that, but I think I do.

      Funny you should mention the societies of sorcerers questions. I've thought many times that if such societies existed, they would have such an easy time of it today. They could easily hide in plain sight. No one would even believe such a thing possible. Thanks for getting me thinking. :)

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 8 years ago from Chicago

      I have always been fascinated by alchemy. Thanks for this fine article. I enjoyed it very much.

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 8 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      These men in black are a new concept to me. Thanks for the interesting tidbits.

    • AlexK2009 profile image

      AlexK2009 8 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      What is reality? I think there is evidence humans can create spirits: in fact that is an important part of Tibetan religion, if what I read is right

    • metaphysician profile image

      metaphysician 8 years ago

      That is a tough question. But I believe that every thing is possible, if we could imagine that, even for things that we have not seen. They might be the projection of the unconscious and yet they might be real.

      When the mind observe a thing, it already exist in the mental plain and if more people getting involved in the game, more energy get flowed to the same thing and soon it becomes alive.

      They are lot of eastern myths on this part and yet people could see those unreal characters alive in front of their eyes.

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 8 years ago

      The Buddha never answered questions on metaphysics. It appears that humans get fascinated by all of this, magic [smiles] and this is another thing that distracts them from the path. There are people who are so in tune with their surroundings they can manifest miracles, in front of thousands of followers. These are documented in Indian literature.

      I will tell you from an unnamable source, an eyewitness to a seeming miracle. Once a guru "manifested" a fifty peso bill, about 40 years ago. In a nunnery, there was no food. For some reason or another they only had enough food for that day. The wife of the guru told him to "make" money because 30 nuns will be hungry the following day. The guru obliged. He took a piece of cement paper, cut it to the size of a bill, put it in his mouth while crying, out came a 50 peso bill wrapped in his saliva. He gave it to the wife and off went the wife to buy food. He did not want to do it. He knew the price of following egotistical needs, for in any reason that someone manifests a seeming miracle, it is still deeply rooted in the ego. No matter what the reason is. The price for this miracle? He spitted blood for a week.

      So yes, I believe in magic. It is magic only because our logical minds ten to think only of reason and based on the laws that we accept.

      Does Merlin really exist? Can Saruman really call the wind to bring down the mountain on "The Fellowship of the Rings?" or are these only a product of man's unlimited imagination?