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21 August 2019

Fulcanelli (?1839 - ?1954) alchemist

Fulcanelli is the name, almost certainly a pseudonym, on two esoteric books, Le Mystère des Cathédrales and Les Demeures Philosophales, both published at the end of the 1920s, which discuss alchemy, architecture, science and languages.

In accordance with the alchemical tradition Fulcanelli obfuscated the details of his life. However he is reputed to have made the philosopher's stone that transmutes metals to gold and imparts longevity and androgyny.

He disappeared after his books were published, except that in 1937 Fulcanelli apparently met Jaques Bergier and Andre Helbronner, French scientists, who were working on nuclear physics, to warn them of its potential (this was five years before the start of the Manhattan Project). Bergier reported him saying:
“… the vital thing is not the transmutation of metals but that of the experimenter himself”. 
Eugene Canseliet, Fulcanelli’s only student, met him for the last time in probably 1954, when Fulcanelli would have been over 110 years old - if he had indeed made the philosopher's stone this would not be surprising. Canseliet went to Seville where he was contacted and taken by a circuitous route to an isolated castle.

Fulcanelli was there looking younger than he had done in the 1920s. In Canseliet's presence, Fulcanelli appeared in female guise, a hypostasis of the Divine Androgyne of alchemy.

  • Fulcanelli. Le Mystère des Cathédrales (The Mystery of the Cathedrals). Paris 1926.
  • Fulcanelli. Les Demeures Philosophales (Dwellings of the Philosophers). Paris 1929.
  • Kenneth Rayner Johnson. The Fulcanelli Phenomenon: the Story of a Twentieth-Century Alchemist in the light of a new examination of the Hermetic Tradition. Neville Spearman. 1980: chp VII.

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