An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural
Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies
Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z
philosopher's stone (also, Azoth, Elixir of Life, Grand Catholicon, Lapis Philosophicus, Powder of Projection, Prima Materia, or Universal Alkahest) The substance, spirit, or symbol by which base metals——iron, lead, copper——can be changed into gold or silver. It also imparts immortality, cures disease, and performs other miracles. It is said to be the material from which all metals derive. A charming alchemical notion not supported by reality.
The search for the elusive substance has led to the discovery of several processes of variable merit: the German Bötticher developed the method of making what is now known as Dresden porcelain, Roger Bacon came up with an improved form of gunpowder, and Johann Rudolf Glauber invented Glauber Salts.
See also alchemy.
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Copyright (C) 1995-2007 James Randi.
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