Alchemy can produce real living creatures! Isn’t that something dramatically unbelievable? What if we say that those creatures are none other than humans – little humans? Before you start losing your mind or start tagging us as insane people high on crack, let us tell you that we are very much aware of what we are saying. References of homunculus of little humans produced out of alchemy can actually be found in several texts.
Homunculus literally translates to ‘Little Man’ and the first written references of homunculus can be found in texts from 16th century CE. Medieval alchemists were actually involved in creating artificial humans. Amazingly however, they were not really interested in creating full-sized humans. They were rather more obsessed with miniature humans that possessed great powers.
The idea that little humans can be created artificially evolved during the Middle Ages somewhere between 400 CE and 1000 CE. The entire idea of homunculus hinged on Aristotelian belief which advocated that sperm had a greater role to play in offspring production compared to the ovum.
Book of the Cow – an Arabic production without any specified date is said to summarize homunculus production. Things become further dramatic with the claim that the process described was actually written by Plato himself. Who wrote the book is probably not that interesting when compared to the production process.
The book is said to describe the process of production of three different types of homunculus with each variety having different powers. Let us learn each one of them separately along with the types of powers they possessed.
1st Variant of Homunculus
Requirements: The production process of this homunculus variant required human semen, an ewe or a cow and human blood. Additionally a powder made of white willow sap, green tutia (a sulfate of iron), magnet, sulfur and a mystical phosphorescent elixir known as sunstone.
Production Process: Use the human semen for inseminating the ewe or the cow and smear its genitals with blood of another animal. Feed only blood of another animal to the inseminated ewe or cow. The pregnant ewe or cow will then give birth to an unformed substance. This unformed substance is then put in the powder made of ingredients mentioned above. Doing so will then lead to formation of human skin on the substance. When that happens, the substance is placed in a large glass container for 3 days. Post 3 days, its mother (the ewe or the cow) is decapitated and the blood is fed to the blob for 7 days straight. It is only then that the homunculus will be formed.
Powers Possessed: Here is the list of powers that the 1st variant possessed:
- Was capable of making full moon appear on last day of any month.
- Was capable of allowing a person to take shape of an ape, a sheep or a cow.
- Was capable of giving people the power to walk on water.
- Was capable of giving people the power to know everything that was happening afar.
2nd Variant of Homunculus
Requirements: Instead of a cow or ewe, a female monkey is used. The powder is also made of different ingredients.
Production Process: Everything same except for the 7-day incubation period, this time you go for 40+ days of incubation.
Powers Possessed: Here is the list of powers that the 2nd variant possessed:
- Was capable of allowing people to see spirits and demons.
- Was capable of allowing people to converse with spirits and demons.
3rd Variant of Homunculus
Requirements: It is not a cow or monkey. It is an unidentified female animal this time. Also, the powder is made out of a different set of ingredients.
Production Process: Exactly the same as in case of the second variant.
Powers Possessed: Here is the list of powers that the 3rd variant possessed:
- Was capable of producing snakes extremely poisonous.
- Was capable of summoning rain during other seasons.
Apart from the aforementioned three variants of homunculus as found in Book of the Cow, there is another variant with a different production process. This method was a brainchild of an alchemist named Philip von Hohenheim who hailed from 16th century CE. Popular by the name Paracelsus, Hohenheim wrote the famous De Natura Rerum which gives a completely different homunculus production recipe.
Also Read: 20 Interesting Philosopher’s Stone Facts
According to Paracelsus, the chosen animal isn’t a cow or a monkey but rather a horse. Semen is introduced inside the horse’s womb and left for putrefaction for a period of days. After this, the homunculus will be born but with a transparent body. The homunculus is then supposed to be fed very wisely with Arcanum (elixir) of human blood. The new born creature needs to be nourished for a period of 40 weeks during which it has to be kept in an uniform heat inside the horse’s womb. After weeks, a complete human-like homunculus is born and resembles the baby born from a woman’s womb with the only difference being that the homunculus will be much smaller in size.
According to Paracelsus, the homunculus is not born without any magical powers and must be taught very wisely.
Modern scientists however reject all the alchemical writings. Some people argue that these writing are not meant to be taken literally and that they have some deep inner meaning. Irrespective of the arguments and counter arguments, there are many people around the world who are still involved in attempts to create artificial life. The only different is that alchemy and its weird methods are not tested and scientists actually use modern laboratory setups.