Arnold of Villanova

Arnold of Villanova was born in the year 1240, and studied medicine with great success in the University of Paris.

He afterwards travelled for twenty years in Italy and Germany, where he made acquaintance with Pietro d’Apone; a man of a character akin to his own, and addicted to the same pursuits.

As a physician, he was thought, in his own lifetime, to be the most able the world had ever seen. Like all the learned men of that day, he dabbled in astrology and alchemy, and was thought to have made immense quantities of gold from lead and copper.

When Pietro d’Apone was arrested in Italy, and brought to trial as a sorcerer, a similar accusation was made against Arnold; but he managed to leave the country in time and escape the fate of his unfortunate friend. He lost some credit by predicting the end of the world, but afterwards regained it.

The time of his death is not exactly known; but it must have been prior to the year 1311, when Pope Clement V. wrote a circular letter to all the clergy of Europe who lived under his obedience, praying them to use their utmost efforts to discover the famous treatise by Villanova on The Practice of Medicine. The author had promised, during his lifetime, to make a present of the work to the Holy See, but died without fulfilling it.

In a very curious work by Monsieur Longeville Harcouet, entitled “The History of the Persons who have lived several centuries, and then grown young again,” there is a receipt, said to have been given by Arnold de Villeneuve, by means of which any one might prolong his life for a few hundred years or so.

In the first place, say Arnold and Monsieur Harcouet, “the person intending so to prolong his life must rub himself well, two or three times a week, with the juice or marrow of cassia (moelle de la casse).

Every night, upon going to bed, he must put upon his heart a plaster, composed of a certain quantity of Oriental saffron, red rose-leaves, sandal-wood, aloes, and amber, liquified in oil of roses and the best white wax.

In the morning, he must take it off, and enclose it carefully in a leaden box till the next night, when it must be again applied. If he be of a sanguine temperament, he shall take sixteen chickens — if phlegmatic, twenty-five — and if melancholy, thirty, which he shall put into a yard where the air and the water are pure.

Upon these he is to feed, eating one a day; but previously the chickens are to be fattened by a peculiar method, which will impregnate their flesh with the qualities that are to produce longevity in the eater.

Being deprived of all other nourishment till they are almost dying of hunger, they are to be fed upon broth made of serpents and vinegar, which broth is to be thickened with wheat and bran.”

Various ceremonies are to be performed in the cooking of this mess, which those may see in the book of M. Harcouet, who are at all interested in the matter; and the chickens are to be fed upon it for two months.

They are then fit for table, and are to be washed down with moderate quantities of good white wine or claret.

This regimen is to be followed regularly every seven years, and any one may live to be as old as Methuselah!

It is right to state, that M. Harcouet has but little authority for attributing this precious composition to Arnold of Villeneuve.

It is not to be found in the collected works of that philosopher; but was first brought to light by a M. Poirier, at the commencement of the sixteenth century, who asserted that he had discovered it in MS. in the undoubted writing of Arnold.

Basil Valentine

 

Records of the life of Basilius Valentinus, the Benedictine monk who for his achievements in the chemical sphere has been given the title of Father of Modern Chemistry, are a mass of conflicting evidence. Many and varied are the accounts of his life, and historians seem quite unable to agree as to his exact identity, or even as to the century in which he lived. It is generally believed, however, that 1394 was the year of his birth, and that he did actually join the Benedictine Brotherhood, eventually becoming Canon of the Priory of St. Peter at Erfurt, near Strasburg, although even these facts cannot be proved.

Whatever his identity, Basil Valentine was undoubtedly a great chemist, and the originator of many chemical preparations of the first importance. Amongst these are the preparation of spirit of salt, or hydrochloric acid from marine salt and oil of vitriol (sulphuric acid) the extraction of copper from its pyrites (sulphur) by transforming it firstly into copper sulphate, and then plunging a bar of iron in the watery dissolution of this product: the method of producing sulpho-ether by the distillation of a mixture of spirit of wine and oil of vitriol: the method of obtaining brandy by the distillation of wine and beer, rectifying the distillation on carbonate of potassium.

In his writings he has placed on record many valuable facts, and whether Basil Valentine is the correct name of the author or an assumed one matters little, since it detracts nothing from the value of his works, or the calibre of his practical experiments. From his writings one gathers that he was indeed a monk, and also the possessor of a mind and understanding superior to that of the average thinker of his day. The ultimate intent and aim of his studies was undoubtedly to prove that perfect health in the human body is attainable, and that the perfection of all metallic substance is also possible. He believed that the physician should regard his calling in the nature of a sacred trust, and was appalled by the ignorance of the medical faculty of the day whose members pursued their appointed way in smug complacency, showing little concern for the fate of their patients once they had prescribed their pet panacea.

On the subject of the perfection of metallic bodies, as in his reference to the Spagyric Art, the Grand Magi-strum, the Universal Medicine, the Tinctures to transmute metals and other mysteries of the alchemist’s art, he has completely mystified not only the lay reader, but the learned chemists of his own and later times. In all his works the important key to a laboratory process is apparently omitted. Actually, however, such a key is invariably to be found in some other part of the writings, probably in the midst of one of the mysterious theological discourses which he was wont to insert among his practical instructions, so that it is only by intensive study that the mystery can be unravelled.

His most famous work is his Currus Triumphalis AntimoniiThe Triumphal Chariot of Antimony.

It has been translated into German, French, and English, and has done more to establish his reputation as a chemist than any other. The best edition is undoubtedly that published at Amsterdam in 1671 with a commentary by Theodorus Kerckringius. In his preface Kerckringius states that he had actually spoken with Valentine besides studying his works. He speaks of Basil as ‘the prince of all chemists’, and the most learned, upright, and lucid of all alchemistic writers. He tells the careful student everything that can be known in alchemy; of this I can most positively assure you.’

A perusal of this book makes it quite evident that Valentine had investigated very thoroughly the properties of antimony, and the findings on his experimental work with this metal have.been brought forward as recent discoveries by chemists of our day.

His other works are The Twelve KeysThe Medicine of MetalsOf Things Natural and SupernaturalOf the First Tincture, Root and Spirit of Metals – and his Last Will and Testament.

It is alleged that this last work remained concealed for a number of years within the High Altar of the church belonging to the Priory. Such a story is quite feasible, since alchemists both before and after this era, deeming their works unfit for the age in which they were written, are known to have buried or otherwise secreted their writings for the discovery and benefit, as they doubtless hoped, of a more deserving and more enlightened age. Such manuscripts would very often not be discovered for several generations after the death of the author.

In view of his other outstanding achievements as a chemist of great ability, it seems not illogical to suppose that Valentine’s Universal Method of Medicine should be capable of achieving as great a measure of success as his other somewhat more prosaic discoveries.

*Image Info: “Visita Interiora Terra Rectificanto Inveniens Occultum Lapidem”
L’Azoth des Philosophes, Basil Valentine, Paris, 1659.

God VS Pegasus

Many of us are familiar with those philosophical type questions that really are quite impossible to answer, the little ones, like for instance the first two that come to my mind is, the old how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, or can God create a rock that even he cannot lift? Well in one of my late night thinkings I have developed one of my own.

What is the difference between God and Pegasus?

And well it does not have to be Pegasus in specific but that is sort of a symbol of all things mythological, it might at face vale seem like a silly question but if you really think about it, what answer can one possibly give? There is nothing solid or tangible that anyone could point at that would in fact give God more validity over Pegasus.

The reason people in this day and age do not believe in Pegasus is for one because the idea of such a creature seems physically impossible, there is no hard core evidence, no bones, or any other such things that can prove that such a creature had at one time existed, and no one has seen one, at least not as far as we know in this day and age have their been reports of any Pegasus sightings. But the reason why we even know what Pegasus is, is because at one point in time there were people that reported having seen such a creature but the is no proof to say that is really what they saw or if in fact they had seen something that did not yet understand or have a name for and so dubbed it Pegasus.

Well if you read all of the above but replaced the word Pegasus with God, well it really would not change all that much, for the same could be said equally as true. Of course religious people will try to refer to the bible as proof of God, but that is an invalid argument, for one thing it was written by men, men who lived in the very same time period that believed in Pegasus. And well just as people can try to point to the bible as proof so can I find text that makes reference to the

Pegasus, myths and legends which refer to the creature. And there really is no rational and logical way a person can argue that the bible is somehow a more valid source then any work of mythology. The fact that “you believe it is true” does not really count as an argument.

There is also the matter which has always fascinated me, about the fact that it was not just one isolated area that believed in Pegasus and other assorted creatures of myth, but rather cultures from all over the globe have had their own such similar creatures and their own similar myths.

And really if you think about it, this almost serves as one point in favor of Pegasus and one point against God as far as validity goes on account of the fact that God, or the belief in him did start in one central area and was then imposed upon other people, it was not a common belief that everyone seemed to share independently of, but one that people were forced into acceptance of and one which people had to spread the word to others about.

But as far as I know, there was not any one group or person traveling all over to inform people about the existence of Pegasus and to try and get them to accept it, but rather it seems many of our creatures of myths seemed to be collectively believed in by many different people without the influence of others upon them.

Bram Stoker

 

You cannot truly talk about vampires without talking about Bram Stoker himself. He can be seen as the father of the monder vampire, though vampires have exisisted long before Stoker, without him they very well might have faded into the background as nothing more then an old myth or folk-talk no longer relevant to society. It was Bram Stoker’s work that really brought the vampire into the public eye and made the vampire a pop icon, from Stoker’s work future generations of film makers and story writers would be inspiered to create and recreate the vampire. So most of us are familar with his work, what about the man?

Stoker was born in 1847, in Dublin, one of seven childern. As a boy he was sickly and spent most of the first seven years of his life bed ridden, where his mother would read myths, legends and true horror stories of Ireland about ghosts, banshees, demons, and ghouls. 

Bram later regained health to such a degree that at Trinity College he became a champion athelete. He was equally devoted to theater and in 1871 became the drmae critic for the Evening Mail. 

His fascination with Henry Irving, the greatest actor of his day led to his becoming Irving’s stage manager in 1878, a posistion he would maintain for 26 years. Irving was a brilliant but volatile and tempromental man, and at least one critive has claimed that Bram and Irving had a vampire like relationship.  It may be that some of the actors power helped inspire Bram to create his Dracula.

Stoker married Florence Balcombe a beautiful but cold woman who frustrated him a great deal, so much so that he sought escape with prostitues. At least one biographer suspects that his death might have been caused by syphilis not exahaustion as was officially listed on his death certificate.  The Lair of the White Worm was a bazzar novel even for him which may have been in part the work of his illness.

The idea for Dracula came from several different soruces. As a young man he read the novella Carmilla by Le Fanu, a story about a sad, lonely and beautiful woman who turns out to be a vampire. He also met Sir Richard Burton, the adventuer and Orientalist. Burton had translated into English The Aribian Nights within the volume there was a story about a vampire. In his reminiscences Stoker wrote how impressed he was by the man’s comanding apperance which included fang like canine teeth.

In his research and writing Stoker read old books on Transylvania and Vlad the Impaler, at the Brittish Museum and spent summer at a Scotoish village in the shadows of a ruined castle. 

The original titile for Dracula was The Un-Dead but he was later inspired to change the title to Dracula. The very first sucessful stage preformance of Dracula was put on by actor-manager Hamilton Deane who read the novel in 1899 and decided that there could be money in it if it were adapted into a play. The play was a hit in Ireland and then Londan, and eventurally at the Fulton Theater on Broadway.

The Teutonic Order

 

Becasue of its mention in a previous post. Here is some background infomation on what the Teutonic Order is.

A medieval military order modelled on the Hospitallers of St. John, which changed its residence as often as the latter. These residences, marking as many stages in its development, are: (1) Accon (Acre), its cradle in Palestine (1190-1309); (2) Marienburg, Prussia, the centre of its temporal domination as a military principality (1309-1525); (3) Mergentheim in Franconia, which inherited its diminished possessions after the loss of Prussia (1524-1805); (4) finally, Vienna in Austria, where the order has gathered the remains of its revenues and survives as a purely hospital order. A Protestant branch likewise subsists in Holland.

(1) There was already a Teutonic hospital for pilgrims from Germany in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, with a church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, who is still the patroness of the order and after whom the name Mariani is sometimes given to its members. But this establishment, which was under the jurisdiction of the Grand Master of St. John, was broken up at the conquest of Jerusalem by Saladin (1187). During the Third Crusade German pilgrims from Bremen and Lübeck with the Duke of Holstein established a temporary hospital under the besieged walls of Acre; this was a large tent, constructed from the sails of their ships, in which the sick of their country were received (1190). After the capture of Acre this hospital was permanently established in the city with the co-operation of Frederick of Suabia, leader of the German crusade, and at the same time religious knights were attached to it for the defence of pilgrims. The Order of Teutonic Knights was founded and took its place beside the other two orders of Jerusalem, the Hospitallers and the Templars. As early as 1192 they were endowed by Celestine III with the same privileges as the Order of St. John, whose hospital rule they adopted, and as the Order of the Temple, from which they borrowed their military organization. Innocent III in 1205 granted them the use of the white habit with a black cross. The emperors of the House of Suabia heaped favours upon them. Moreover, they took sides with Frederick II even after he had broken with the papacy and in opposition to the other two military orders. During the Fourth Crusade, when the gates of Jerusalem were for the last time opened to Christians, under the command of this emperor, the Teutonic Knights were able to take possession of their first house, St. Mary of the Germans (1229). But it was not for long and before the end of the century they left Palestine, which had again fallen under the yoke of Islam (1291).

(2) A new career was already open to their warlike and religious zeal, in Eastern Europe, against the pagans of Prussia. This coast of the Baltic, difficult of access, had hitherto resisted the efforts of the missionaries, many of whom had there laid down their lives. To avenge these Christians a crusade had been preached; a military order founded with this object, the Sword-bearers (see MILITARY ORDERS, THE), had not been very successful, when a Polish duke, Conrad of Massovia, determined to ask the assistance of the Teutonic Knights, offering them in return the territory of Culm with whatever they could wrest from the infidels. Hermann of Salza, fourth Grand Master of the order, was authorized to make this change by Honorius III and the Emperor Frederick II, who, moreover, raised him to the rank of prince of the empire (1230). The knight Hermann Balk, appointed Provincial of Prussia, with twenty-eight of his brother knights and a whole army of crusaders from Germany began this struggle which lasted twenty-five years and was followed by colonization. Owing to the privileges assured to German colonists, new towns arose on all sides and eventually Germanized a country of which the natives belonged to the Letto-Slavic race. Thenceforth the history of this military principality is identified with that of Prussia. In 1309 the fifteenth Grand Master, Sigfried of Feuchtwangen, transferred his residence from Venice, where at that time the knights had their chief house, to the Castle of Marienburg, which they made a formidable fortress.

The number of knights never exceeded a thousand, but the whole country was organized in a military manner, and with the constant arrival of new crusaders the order was able to hold its own among its neighbours, especially the inhabitants of Lithuania, who were of the same race as the natives of Prussia and, like them, pagans. In the battle of Rudau (1307) the Lithuanians were driven back, and they were converted only some years later, with their grand duke, Jagellon, who embraced Christianity when he married the heiress of the Kingdom of Poland (1386). With this event, which put an end to paganism in that section of Europe, the Teutonic Knights lost their raison d’être. Thenceforth their history consists of incessant conflicts with the kings of Poland. Jagellon inflicted on them the defeat of Tannenberg (1410), which cost them 600 knights and ruined their finances, in order to repair which the order was obliged to have recourse to exactions, which aroused the native nobility and the towns and provided the Poles with an opportunity to interfere against the order. A fresh war cost the order half its territory and the remaining half was only held under the suzerainty of the King of Poland (Treaty of Thorn, 1466). The loss of Marienburg caused the transfer of the Grand Master’s residence to Königsberg, which is still the capital of Prussia properly so-called. To maintain itself against the kings of Poland the order had to rely on Germany and to confide the office of Grand Master to German princes. But the second of these, Albert of Brandenburg (1511), abused his position to secularize Prussia, at the same time embracing Lutheranism (1525). He made Prussia an hereditary fief of his house under the suzerainty of the Crown of Poland.

(3) Nevertheless, the dignitaries of the order in the remainder of Germany faithfully preserved its possessions, and having broken with the apostate chose a new Grand Master, Walter of Cronenberg, who fixed his residence at Mergentheim in Franconia (1526). After the loss of Prussia the order still retained in Germany twelve bailiwicks, which they lost one by one. The secession of Utrecht (1580) meant the loss of the bailiwick of that name in the Low Countries. Louis XIV secularized its possessions in France. The Treaty of Lunéville (1801) took away its possessions on the left bank of the Rhine and in 1809 Napoleon abandoned its possessions on the right bank to his allies of the Confederation of the Rhine. The Teutonics retained only the bailiwick in the Tyrol and that in the Austrian States.

(4) Thus the order became purely Austrian, under the supreme authority of the Emperor of Austria, who reserves the dignity of Grand Master for an archduke of his house. Since 1894 it has been held by Archduke Eugene. There are at present 20 professed knights who are bound to celibacy while they enjoy a benefice of the order, and 30 knights of honour who are not bound to this observance, but who must furnish an entrance fee of 1500 florins and an annual contribution of 100 florins. Moreover, their admission exacts a nobility of sixteen quarterings. The revenues of the order are now devoted to religious works; it has charge of 50 parishes, 17 schools, and 9 hospitals, for which object it supports 2 congregations of priests and 4 of sisters. Moreover, it performs ambulance service in time of war; it pays the cost of the ambulance, while lay Marians are engaged as ambulance bearers. Thus, after various vicissitudes the Teutonic Knights are restored to their original character of hospitallers. Besides this Catholic branch in Austria the order has a Protestant branch in the ancient bailiwick of Utrecht, the possessions of which have been preserved for the benefit of the nobility of the country. The members, who are chosen by the chapter of knights, must give proof of four quarterings of nobility and profess the Calvinistic religion, but are dispensed from celibacy. When Napoleon took possession of Holland in 1811 he suppressed the institution, but as early as 1815 the first King of the Low Countries, William I of Orange, re-established it, declaring himself its protector. The present order comprises 10 commanders, Jonkheeren, and aspirants (expectanten), who pay an entrance fee of 525 florins and have the right to wear in their buttonhole a small cross of the order.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV. Published 1912. New York

Johan Berhard

Witchcraft trials in Würzburg sparked off trials in Mergentheim. “Bernhard Reichardt, a magistrate and wealthy man of Markelsheim, had tried to give his young son, Johan Bernhard, a decent education by sending him to school at Neuen Münster in Würzburg. In December of 1627, however, the father became convinced that his son had been seduced into witchcraft there, and tranferred Johan Bernhard to the Jesuit school at Dettelbach” (Midelfort 144. By the middle of March 1628, Würzburg authorities knew that this nine-year-old boy was involved in maleficum. They wrote a polite letter to the Teutonic Order in Mergentheim asking for assistance in the boy’s extradition.

The Administrator of the Teutonic Order, Johann Caspar, replied at once. Johan Bernhard was to be formally delivered to authorities at the border. By the end of March, Johan Bernhard was in custody of the Würzburg authorities. However, the authorities did more than simply question him. On April 8, the court had Johan Bernhardt sign a confession that a classmate had seduced him into witchcraft.

Among other horror, he had denied God, Mary, and all the saints and angels. With his own blood he had written “Ich, Johannes Bernhardus Reichard, hab mich tem Teüfel vergeben.” He had flown to numerous dances and, although only nine years old, had had intercourse with the devil on numberous occasions. Like adults, Johan Bernhard always found the devil “hard as horn” and “of a cold nature.” Implicating his complices, the boy noted that he had seen three other persons known to him at the dances (Midelfort 144).

On May 9, 1628, Würzburg authorities burned Johan Bernhard along with four others. Only hearing of the execution after the fact, Johann Caspar agreed with its necessity.

Würzburg was the site of the executions of many children. From 1623 until his death in 1631, Prince-Bishop Philipp Adolf von Ehrenberg had “tortured, beheaded and burned 900 persons, including at least 300 children three to four years of age” (Guiley 1989 21).

How to Kill a Vampire

 

1. As we all know one of the most classic methods for killing a vampire is the stake in the heart. According to folk lore, the perferable wood for the steak is aspen. Ash, hawthorn, maple, or black thorn will aslo work well. The steak is best pounded in with the flat of a shovel. In addtion to a steak, throns, nails, or red-hot iron bars will aslo work. According to some the steak my be driven into the navel as well as the heart. The original notion of this idea was to pin the soul to the body but in more monderized verions a steak causes the vampire to dissolve into dust.

I would just like to add that some intresting and original takes upon the steak can be seen in the TV show Moonlight in which a steak can paralyze a vampire but not kill it. And in the book Cold Kiss in which all wood is seen to act almost as a posion to the vampire, and having contact with wood in genral can cause the vampire injury, and or death.

2. A suspected vampire corpse can be washed in boiling wine or the coffin filled with garlic or poppy seeds.

3.  Of course everyone knows fire is perhaps by fore the most sure fire way as this one had been mentioned here before. Even in mondern accoutns of vampires fire works quite well.

4. Another common one is cutting off the head, preferably with a sword or with the shovel of a grave digger.  Some say the head should then be stuffed with garlic, but it is often prefered to just cremate body and head after the decapitation.

5. Dig a vampires corspe up and reburry it again, but at a crossroads. In come locations however the crossroads do not keep restless spirits and vampires from straying, but rather sets them free.