The Alchemy web site on

A strange 19th century story about transmutation

Back to transmutations .

A Strange Story.

Mr Malcolm Kinnear, in his ‘Travels in Asia Minor, Armenia', 1813, etc, relates that the British resident at Balsora, Mr Colquhoun, was visited by an Arabian philosopher, who sought with him protection from certain Arabs who had purposed to torture him out of the secrte which he possessed of making gold, and from whose power he had escaped. He proferred to perform this in Mr. C's presence, and accordingly, after retiring for a few moments returned with a crucible and chafing-dish of coals. When the former had become hot, he took out four papers, each containing a whitish powder, out of his pocket, and asked Mr. C. to fetch him a piece of lead. Mr. C. went into his study, took four bullets, weighed then, and returned. These the alchemist put into the crucible, and the whose was immediately fused. After twenty minutes he desired Mr. C. to take it off the fire, and put it into the air to cool. The contents were then removed by Mr. C., and proved to be a piece of gold, valued at ninety piastres (somewhat about £23), and exactly the weight of the four bullets - the which he left with Mr. C. and engaged to return next day. That night he was carried off by the Sheik of Grani (whence he had escaped) with a body of armed men; and never again, says Mr. Kinnear, heard of.