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SYMHC Classics: Johann Dippel and the Elixir of Life

2019-11-16 | 🔗

This 2012 episode from previous hosts Sarah and Deblina covers Johann Dippel. Originally a theology student, Dippel began dabbling in chemistry, medicine and alchemy. Today he's remembered for creating a panacea that was used on a variety of ailments.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Boston. You take yourself out to lunch, and you never say things like synchronized synergies because well it sounds ridiculous. Neuro small business owner born to be your own boss and annex can help with payment flexibility. So you can keep doing what you were made to do that power backing of American Express dont do business without it terms, apply, learn more american, Express Dotcom, slash, business, Happy Saturday, everyone something we ve mentioned on the show before is that, even after years of crawling through the archive and listening to episodes by previous hosts, sometimes we still stuff on two things that we didn't realize we had before sometime that's, because the name was not a familiar wine until something we researched ourselves and that's what happened this time scrolling through the list and a name ring a bell thanks to a recent episode, and that was Johan people, and yet
Conrad Double came up in our life. Hard cast the mysteries of the color blue and insurance previous ho. Sarah and bloom, it did a whole episode on him back in November of twenty twelve so enjoy welcome You missed in history class of production of Iheart Radios House of works, Welcome to the pod counts time to bring a truck the boarding and I'm scared out and were technically past October and that spate of spooky episodes that comes along with it, but the subjective, Episode Persona, Johan, Conrad Devil could really right in with that batch. An Lastly, I have to confess here he probably would have been without batch. If this book that I had ordered for two dollars and fifty nine cents had come in time a little peak into our world, I know we're always I dont want
complaining were always tell telling people- I guess special people who write and about books that we don't really have a research budget year on the waiting list for this book at the library waiting for this cheap book to come from Amazon, whatever it is so we were kind of at the mercy of what's available of time, just like everyone, I'm yeah. So if we take a while to do your request, sometimes this is why we're just we're just waiting to be moved up on the waiting list, but back to story. Double story really straddles a line between spooky and science, and I think that's why why it makes a good non hollowing episode to I mean we really come to love these science episodes that we ve done, and in this really fits in with that gather, a lot of fun there popular with listeners- and I don't know that the little outside of our are normal repertoire. Almost there's this guy
It combines a lot more than your typical of scientific pursuit. He does and his life's work. We find a mix of theology, science alchemy in medicine and if that's not. Christine enough. There are also the rumours that are involved in this tale. Rumours of mist serious experiments involving the reaffirmation of of we don't know what something maybe people may be animals and also rumours of body snatching. So if you didn't already guess it from that description, there is a way here, or maybe just the supposition of a link to Doktor Frankenstein. the character from Mary, Shelley's famous novel, and that's probably the main reason that people as a frequent request from our listeners me be a lot of them believe that he was the inspiration for that character and, of course, if this is starting to some kind of familiar, we already did an episode last year called who is the real Frankenstein and it was about Giovanni Aldini, but the character of frankness.
mine is kind of like the one of Indiana Jones. There are several different historical figures that people believe could have been possible inspirations and We named a few of them in that who was the real Frankenstein podcast Maybe one reason why we didn't explore that possibility. More, though, is because there are some legit son reason cited as to why do people couldn't have been the Frankenstein inspiration which we of course going to mention later on, but the potential Frank and and connection. While it may have been the reason we heard about dimple. That's not The only reason that we became interested in learning more about him. He was also just this rascally controversial figure, and you know how we love those. He also created a action that seems fit for some sigh horror story, but according to an article on medical history, by E Isley and W H, Campbell was real, included in pharmaceutical books as a sort of Universal Madison until the early nineteenth century and at this concoction was called
People's oil and people thought it to be the elixir of life. Okay. So what reasons why it so hard to know whether devil truly could have been. The inspiration for Frankenstein is that old, head of the details of his life are pretty sketchy according to reduce fluoresce, grew in his book in search of Frankenstein. This is pretty because a lot of primary sources related to depose life, including his doctoral dissertation, were straw during the allied bombings of Darmstadt and Geese she is where he studied. So all these papers about his life are no longer with us and fortunately, for us his own biographical. Sketch of Devil is one that we refer to a lot and he put it together. Studying more than seventy works, which tipple composed, including one that contained autobiography as well as dimple biographies by other writers, including carve so well.
thing that most accounts of dimples life really agree on is how it began. He was born August ten. Sixteen seventy three at- and this is probably the biggest reasons that people may, the merry Shelly Frankenstein connection? It's because born at a place called Frankenstein so about a mile south of Darmstadt. So I'd say that's a pretty big connection. So today this castle is based lay ruin that overlooks the old involved, but it was once the home of the Baron's Frankenstein or a Frankenstein, maybe more accurate here and there, a german feudal family, but they had vacated the place by the timetable, was born. Having thought the place in sixteen sixty two by the time ball was born in the castle, however, had become a hospital for people who had been injured in the war with France and his parents. Anna Eleanora, I'm Meyer and Lutheran Minister named Johan. Philip tipple were both refugees there,
according to that medical history. Article we mentioned dimples father wanted him to become Lutheran. Minister too, he would have been the generation and his family to do so. But fluoresce good note, That deeper was always kind of a strange kid who, for one, he was kind of a loner. The other kids gave him. nickname the owl for his tendencies to keep to himself and also to read by candlelight in one of the castle towers at night, which sounds pretty gray refer young kid. He was also considered kind of odds for the way he regarded himself, but he was really smart and that seems pretty evident by pretty much all accounts. I am playing Campbell's article says that a Dippel secondary School Darmstadt gym nauseam. His name was first on the role of distinguished old boys, but Flores. Says that people considered himself quote a superior individual animated by a quote higher spirit who could figure out the mysteries of the universe. So he basically thought that has brilliance was limitless, something that make sense of.
later achievements and lie Yan, something that shows us why maybe he wouldn't have been content with following his father's footsteps as far as professionals concerned exactly so tipple enrolled at the University of Keith and in Steen ninety one. He was about seventeen years old and he was planning on studying theology still he reggie Third, under a different name, though from devil he registered with the name Frankenstein a which was another reason that the name is kind of stuck with him throughout the years the earned a patient at school for being extremely intelligent, but us, for being really vocal about debating, theological and scientific points with his professors. He grabbed He did in three years and apparently really shocked some Borders dissertation, which was entitled on and asked She was considered to be a confession of scepticism played a classic college. Kid move, though, doesn't you write your dissertation quote on now,
It wasn't too long after that. That differ adopted the Lutheran pieties point of view, and at that time the Lutheran church was divided into orthodox and pieties contingents and the Orthodox Camp informed to the Lutheran Creeds and liturgy, and the page basically believed that the quote good life was more important than sticking to a creed of that duration, makes sense to you guys according to idly and Campbells article, this Girul may not have been that big of a surprise either since dipole quote began to express doubts about the catechism at age, nine Hey miles, it's me jack and rain. Here, you right next year by next to me, just like a work, hey join with you too, people to tune in to a very special episode special year of TV,
see that he, I guess this is actually look. I know you saw the social media, at the Elliot. Oh, she said what are these two juggernaut supplied guessing doing? There Mazda calls me openly say miles. We know that you're, a loyal, Mazda owner We want to align with you because you get it. Yeah. You know what I am willing to answer the call and help Ding Ding help people understand the power of it. So well, needed, as we actually got to record of special episode in. sighed. The new modesty Ex thirty one. Talked about kind like flow states and feeling alive and how we feel alive. What makes us You'll like it was really doped actually record inside the car. I got to present lot of buttons make them mad because, like please don't fumble around in here, but they said operate out. I like to explore. Nonetheless, if you actually want to check out the first ever see Ex thirty check it out at Moscow, USA, dot com, slash, I heart or if you're trying to check it up, well, then pull up to the local dealership today.
But for us you assert but dimples tendency to change. His stance seems to have had more to do with him wanting to win a debate than any sort of real desire to find a fundamental truth, which I think is Lord of interesting. It's like he. It was more about the argument itself. Then what he was an article waved regard so this wavering stance, though he wrote extensively on theology ology and those works puzzled, alot of people, because he did kind of go back and forth. Isley Campbell site, one professor, who was really confused by tipple, theological work. He said quote a man must have the gift of divination to be able to do so, regular and consistent system of doctrine from the various productions of this incoherent and unintelligible writer, who was a cat into the bargain and whose brain seems to have been heated to a high degree of fermentation by the fire of the laboratory, know about
whenever this this makes the editor in me, just squirm Owen, know having to edit the sky, but if you look up work, about people now outline of. What's out there focuses on his theological curve. but even after earning a degree in theology, he didn't really stick to two wedding. You seem to know bass to lecturing about just the ology He was somebody who, for whatever reason, had a lot of confidence and lecturing about things that he knew very little if anything about after graduate, he didn't, get a teaching position at the University of Geese and maybe because he had a sort of rub folks, the wrong way with all of that switch rude debate. He did so. He moved on to the Imperial University of Strasbourg in sixteen ninety four, where, according to Bob currents, look man made monsters, he's started.
lecturing for a short time and alchemy in Cairo Mamsie, which his fortune telling until his license to teach their was revoked. That already gives you a pretty good sense of this guy's diversity. If he's not just talking about the ology he's talking bout fortune telling yeah- and at this point I mean in alchemy to add at this point he hadn't really even studied alchemy, that much a new kind of indicated that when you said that he was always lecturing things that he really didn't know that much about he just sort of felt confident enough that he could teach other people, even though he didn't have. expertise in these areas himself but floor you also notes the dimpled. It necessarily need to find an official classroom to teach these things, while in Strasbourg he became known for lecturing and all kinds of spot: salons, taverns, chow chairs or even just lecturing out on the street, and he would look all kinds of things too, though astrology in Cairo Nancy were probably the most popular accord.
to Einstein Campbells article Duple also practised palmistry during this time. To me, an open air lecture on Palmistry sounds like it would be pretty entertain pic. I would to that lunchtime. Let our I am going to get lunch and you'd see this guy lecturing need stop for a little while, but some Do we're making him out to sound like kind of oh really, weird Kai, who maybe nobody was paying much attention to, but something It's really looked up to him, but I mean remember who is brilliant, who he was, and he captivated people about. Fluoroscope also points out that chronicles from the time a to some kind of quote, scandalous behaviour on deposed part and after living where he was for a couple years, he was forced to flee and exactly why he had do that is a bit unclear. Flare askew says that he was implicated in some body. Snatching incidents in a local cemetery idly in Campbell say that it's because people killed an opponent and endure
so very different explanation: higher birth, good reasons to get out of town. regardless of why he had to leave. Dimple did have to go and lay low for a little while, according to for rescue here, turn home for this period and home at that I'm was near Frankenstein Castle with his parents, so this is the time when people began to really seriously study in practice outcome. And he got into it when a Lutheran minister from Geese and gave him a couple of books on alchemy and these books. Who did Raymond lilies experiments and Guiana, pastels veil, raised on the mysteries of the beginning of the world. He basically push these books on death because he supposedly believe the dipper would be to understand them better than any one else. So again, kind of a nod to his posted intellect israeli and then after reading them
apparently decided that the whole making gold thing that everybody was so interested in at the time really didn't sound that tough. After all of me, you guys should go. Listen to our episode from last October on Alchemy, if you want to see really how peep. Such people bore into the room. He decided he wanted to give it a shot, and he was so confident that he would succeed that he bought an estate completely on credit to setup his lab there. It fifty thousand guilders but of course, hidden anticipate, hang. The problem would be a problem because, of course, he would be able to make golden in pay and that so in about one thousand hundred or seventeen o one sometime in there. He claimed that he had succeeded. in finding the secret formula for gold, but the crucible can Painting Matt broke into the fire and was tragically lost and
according to legend alchemists weren't supposed to use the goal that they created for personal gain So you know this idea of of buying a play, son on credit and then you'd pay it all back God you can make Nada, not legit fur, for real alchemists planning on doing that. So maybe it was a little bit about laughed a little curse like situation. going on there, but there are different. Out of what happened with double after this, according to that medical history, article that we were talking about people had to flee, again to escape angry creditors floor school, however, says that he tried unsuccessfully, to recreate this gold formula that he lost for three years after that and then wandering, I have to wonder: ok, if you'd The gold formula d write it down willing why it will take
What is the longer it takes longer to try to recreate it does an ant then, when he made it the first time it sounds like you. He was just messing around the stuff. I am a pinch of this. A little of that little philosopher's stone either way. Dimple began to want through other parts of Germany and through foreign lands to for a while settled in Berlin, which was at the time the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia and
there, he was under the protection of Count August found Wittgenstein, who I think we ve mentioned the Wittgenstein family and other episode hopped up from time to time. This message has brought to you by eighty homes. Security made easy. What does real protection mean for your home and business? It means the latest innovation and smart home security combined or twenty four seven monitoring from eighteen, the most trusted name in homes, security, you get a team of professionals designing and installing a secure, smart home. Just for you, you get eighteen thousand employees, safeguarding you with connection to first responders. You get the nations number one: smart, home security provider. You get a secure, smart home with everything from video, doorbells, indoor and outdoor cameras, smart locks on lights, controlled from the eighty app or from the sound of your voice. You get professionally monitored carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. You get a system custom designed to fit your home. You get saved
on the go in the car or when your kids are at school. With the eighty go up complete with an s o us button, so go on secure your home or business today with eighty the count convinced King Frederick, the first to set tipple up with a mansion and a nice laboratory, and it's there. He started experiments of a very different nature he set out too. scupper an elixir that would cure a variety of conditions, kind of like a universal medicine, It sounds like something that we would all kind of want, write something to cure. Whatever else you only, listen to how we created it. So in order to create this wonder product of his
He started experimenting with distilling animal parts, namely blood, first and then bones which he would boil to extract the fatty manner and according to fuller, askew quote, the product was conducted through Iron, condensing tubes and fed into receivers were the crude oil collected that doesn't sound, very good. That power, product according to Einstein, Campbell, smelled and tasted, pretty Grotius, as you would imagine, but it was used and medical practice to cure a number of elements and for a while, it had a good reputation as a medicine until the end of the eighteenth century, it was named bullseye, oil or dimples animal oil- and it was said to stimulate the nervous system if you took it internally, but I think people used to rub outside their body. Aid is now to consume it to their
if they didn't want to, but the union this early have to. I guess it depends on what you are trying to treat. I think I read that you can use it to spasms, maybe rub it on the miracle product I mean. I guess it works for just about anything, although Who's. Animal oil does not make it sound appealing. I guess it doesn't. Maybe just difficult oil would have been a better name, and I think you know I've seen it both ways of seeing his nipples oil and nipples and loyal, but I think I would choose to partake of the dip with oil We for sure, but through this work and boiling animal parts for rescue also points out. The devil made a very different kind of discovery by boiling animal parts and mixing an iron and some various other ingredients. He apparently ended up with a chemical called potassium Ferris cyanide, and when that count what was mixed with air, it became the brilliant blue collar that became known as prussian Blue or Berlin. Blue
for some reason that discovery wasn't made public until about one thousand, seven hundred and twenty four, but that blue dye was widely used by artists, still see paint colors. Today, it's if it's a color, still prussian Blue just a side no here, since we ve done some poison podcast recently, another german chemist took dimples camera. Goal and diluted it with sulphuric acid, which created hydrocyanic or pressure acid, which fluoroscope calls one of the most potent poisons, though, all of this you know we have this miracle drug and you think that both oil and an prussian blue of the color, the paint the pigment. enough to earn double some measure of wealth. In respect of he kept getting so all of this here you know we have this miracle drug and you'd think that dimples oil and an prussian blue of the color, the paint the pigment would have been enough
a reason people had to stay on the move pretty much most of his life according again to fluoresce given if similarity to Shelley's Frankenstein who, as you remember from the book, is pretty much always on the move. Other that's partly has there is. There is a monster, that's true. He had motivation, yet he had good reason to keep out keep going, but. Finally, Dimple headed to HOLLAND after Berlin, where he studied medicine, enlightened and earned his degree by seventy, eleven or so, and he was set by some to be a pretty good physician and according to idly in Campbell, he even attempted to set up a medical practice outside of Amsterdam, but again had to flee this time to Denmark in seventeen time and again per reason why he had to get out of town and so fast seems to be unknown, although
rescue just point out that, after earning his medical degree, Depot was doing experiments with animals taking them apart to just to find out how it off it together. Currently at least one of dimples biographer suggest that he was trying to understand the process that quote and joy There is life itself, another similarity to Shelley's character. If it is true one reminded me a little bit too, of of the blood work apathy and trying to find trying to find the router the soul. I mean that's pretty similar to trying to find the process that engendered life itself. These experiments going around our on Canada the same time to find It seems like an final thing things, so maybe these crazy experiments that double was doing had something to do with his flight. But after going to Denmark double again got caught up in a series of political intrigues that was did in him getting thrown into prison for seven years on the danish Island of born home, he was
To life but was released at the request of the queen of Denmark and seventeen twenty six who wanted him her position, so that shows that he must have had a pretty good medical reputation at the time. I'd, say: you're thinking get this prisoner at jail. I need him to be high doctor and I'm the queen of Denmark Right a year later, though, he ended a moving to Sweden, where he worked as a physician in the court of the swedish king, so really a dramatic rise in fortunes for him. He continue to increase controversy there, though, as well and eventually return home to Germany in seventeen twenty nine after being gone for some twenty five here s? What I ve read about him for us who, in his book, talks a lot about how to deal with.
drawn to home his whole life. He he sort of kept in touch with his family has siblings there and he was he wanted to come home, so it and make sure question even more these things that made him move from place to place. It was an drawn to one place in particular yeah. He returned to his family home near Castle, Frankenstein the place where he was born and flourish. As that, its there at home that people started. Working on some kind of quote grand design and citing a document that most scholars ignore this author says that double did claim to finally have achieved something of the sort, some sort of chemical secret, and then he apparently further to the local land owner near his family, home in exchange for ownership of cost
Frankenstein and its domain, so he's sort of focused on this place where he was born and he wanted it in exchange for a grand design. The deal didn't work, though I fell through, and it's still not clear what the secret he was offering for the castle was, but for us to think it has something to do with the mysterious pamphlet that Dippel had printed in one thousand, seven hundred and thirty three a year after the fell through in it. He claims He discovered a formula for prolonging his own life until eighteen, o one at which point he would have been won thirty five years old. Apparently this came at a time when his enemies were spreading, rumours that he was going to die. So maybe he sort of came up with this to counter that. Unfortunately, though, for difficult ended up dying just a year after making that prophecy. On April twenty fourth, seventeen thirty four he would found in the palace of his old friend the count on Wittgenstein. Where he had a laboratory and dimples body
cold and rigid, when it was found that he was also foaming at the mouth and the entire right side of his face was blue and the medical his article that we ve mentioned earlier says that the cause of death was probably a stroke, but of course, especially for a car like this people suggested that it could have also been poison still other people. And it's gotta, be the best option on the table, think that he'd been killed by the devil for not keeping some sort of contract. My last theories definitely fitting forest spooky tail like Shelley's, but there several reasons why people think that Dibble probably was Actually, the inspiration for frank and sign for one thing many of the traits that people a tribute to may actually posts date, Mary Shelley's novel, so These are warning that your sword, overland retroactively, put onto dip or maybe even after the movies were made. Theirs.
Some doubt about how much Shelly could have known about dimples life. She definitely travelled in the area were castle. Frankenstein is but who if she actually heard about his story and finally, worse. We just don't really know that much about different life, of course, shall you might not have necessarily Bennett the same disadvantage that modern scholars our sense she would have been long for the world or to bombings in the places where all his records were That's true, but another thing I think of here is that even if she had been entered, didn't the things he was doing wanted to find out more about him. As you mentioned earlier, I think there were a lot of people who are doing these sorts of experiments at the time popular pastime right. So she could have just been inspired by that fact, rather than dimples specific story. But it's interesting this
collate about, and I M glad to know a little bit more about him. So you know good request from listeners here, even though we had to go to some length. To find out more about. Thank you so much for joining us on this Saturday. If you have heard an email address or a facebook url or something similar over the course of today's episode, since it is from archive that might be out of date, now you can email us at history, podcast at how stuff works, dot com, and you can and ass all over social media at missed in history, and you can subscribe
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