Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Lovecraft had a practical knowledge of alchemy from years of study of chemistry and qabbalism. The July 31, 2006 issue of Chemical and Engineering News (p. 15) discussed the International Conference on the History of Alchemy and Chymistry, The conference took place between July 19 and 22 in Philadelphia, Pa.

We usually (as did HPL) think of alchemists as a dark bearded medievalist in pursuit of a means to convert lead into gold or to find the elxir of life.

Prior to this gathering, the last conclave of scientific historians was in Groningen, the Netherlands, 17 years prior.

A highlight was Indiana University's William R. Newman who argued that mid-17th century American alchemist George Starkey had a pivotal influence on the English chemist Robert Boyle. Newman also revealed that isaac Newton's manuscript (Dibner 1031B) was written backward and upside down over two manuscript pages in Latin were a list of Newton's elaboration on the subject 'sal nitrum theory of metallic generation'. Metals form in the earth via interaction with sulfurous vapors rising and vitriolic salts descending. Newton exclaims, "these wander all over the earth and bestow life on animals and vegetables".

Political machinations of alchemists were considered at the conference as were the many items in use by alchemists.

Lovecraft would have loved to have attended this!!

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