Joanna Gaskell of the Standard Action web series joins us to discuss the history and “science” of alchemy, including the philosopher’s stone and elixir of life, transmutation of elements, the universal solvent, homonculi, famous alchemists and frauds. Plus alchemy portrayed in film, comics, TV, literature, and video games.

Music: “There’ll Be Some Changes Made” by The Boswell Sisters




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Showing 7 comments
  • zuzu

    only 25 minutes in and already the funniest episode in a while XD

  • Pai

    Nicholas Flamel actually was a real person. Probably not an alchemist, though.

    • Generaleesimo

      I was aware that he was a real person, but scholars now almost unanimously agree he had nothing to do with alchemy in real life, but was attributed with many wild claims about his alchemical skill according to texts written almost 200 years after his death.

      So, the “alchemist” Flamel is in essence a fictional character. Probably should have clarified within the episode, but in the interests of brevity we definitely glazed over it. Mea Culpa.

  • Anders

    For pop reference you missed a French movie, “Vidocq” starring Gérard Depardieu, the antagonist is an alchemist who uses the blood of virgins to maintain eternal youth.

    Otherwise entertaining as per usual… 🙂

  • Kabur Naj

    The second episode of “Todd and the Book of Pure Evil” featured a homunculus of the main character. No YouTube clips with the little guy seem to be available, but the show can be found on U.S. Netflix.

  • Derek

    The one thing I always remember hearing about Sir Isaac Newton was that he spent a whole day, sitting on the edge of his bed, poking a pencil down alongside his eyeball and examining the bizarre colours and visual distortion that he experienced. No idea if it was true, but it’s hard to forget. Nice ep, everyone. 🙂

    • Pavel Lishin

      I read about that in Neal Stephenson’s door-stops; I always wondered how accurate it was. (In the book, he uses a needle.)