Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Alchymists: Dream Gold


Have been reading the section on Alchymists in a facimile edition of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.
Been entertained by Mackay's comments on the various adepts and hermetics who at one time or another claimed to have the Philosopher's Stone, elixir vitae and/ or the ability to transmute lead and other inferior substances into pure, sonorous gold.
A common fraudster trick used a double-bottomed crucible, with a small quantity of gold or silver in the bottom separated by a false bottom of wax from the lead, quicksilver or other ingredient poured in for all to see - before the crucible was set over the fire.
Ta-da!
A hollow stirring wand, filled with gold dust, the ends stopped with wax also might deposit gold into their concoction, while the magnus conducted distracting incantations.
M'Lords, as you see...
Lumps of lead, hollowed and filled with molten gold was another device.
Yet another was to solder a composite nail, a knife, a wafer, of half iron and half gold or silver and then paint the precious half to resemble to dross. The secret elixir or strong alcohol dissolved the camouflage to the wonder and astonishment of those assembled.
Eureka!
Very like the various scam artists and false agents who afflict the fringes of the publishing industry.
For the deposit of a little seed money in the way of impressive websites, and joyous advertisement, they confidently claim they own the secret mechanism that turns dreams into gold...

15 comments:

Ric said...

All that glitters is not gold.

There's a sucker born every minute.

Nothing is free.

A fool and his money are soon parted.

Publish America is the new future.

Dennie McDonald said...

aw man - Ric got all the best lines...

Bottom line is, once the book is written it's a business and you have to treat it like you would any other venture and weigh the options and research the places you are shopping your product. You wouldn't invent a new device and sell it to the first guy that passes you on the street 'cause he said he like it - soooo... that is the limit to my deep thinking this early in the morning (and w/ only one cup of coffee....)

Bernita said...

It's amazing the number of otherwise intelligent and canny people who get taken in, Ric, both historically and presently.

Listen up, People!
Dennie is not a one-book wonder.
Dennie is not a two-book wonder.
Dennie just sold her third novel to Samhain Publishing!

Ballpoint Wren said...

Bernita, I bet you got a perfect score in vocabulary in school! I need to use language like this every day!

Bernita said...

Huh?

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Hey...Ric stole my lines!I got one he forgot...

"If it looks to good to be true...it usually is"

Dennie..three books...Wahoo!

kmfrontain said...

I think Ballpoint Wren was referring to your very intelligent use of language in your actual post, Bernita. And I agree with her intent to praise. :D

Bernita said...

Um...thank you both.
Much flattered.

Pity the dream-lost, Bonnie and Ric.
And yes, Dennie's on a roll!

Gabriele C. said...

If only we could inflict some Mediaeval punishment upon them. Like chaining up in a rat filled dungeon for years, hack off a few limbs, and finally tie them to a pillar of shame on the marketplace for everyone to see.

Wait, the last is called googlebombing today.

Dennie McDonald said...

thanks - I am pretty excited about it!

Bernita said...

So you should be, Dennie!
Your hot stuff is hot stuff!

The gleeful thing, Gabriele, is that the result of the admonitions are clearly visible no Google.
Wonder how the subject has reacted.I'm sure she didn't expect the worms to turn.

S. W. Vaughn said...

WOOT! Congrats, Dennie! :-) Samhain intrigues me mightily.

As for the gold-plated wolves of publishing, I gots only one thing to say about Publish America:

Atlanta Nights by Travis Tea

Look up the story. Download the e-book. Laugh 'til you cry...

crabbycows said...

That picture inspires many stories.

#1.

Bernita said...

Read parts of it, SW.
Priceless QED!

And artists as well, Cow Lady.

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