Strange stories

Enigmatic gold maker

Gold is a rare, incredibly fascinating metal that is held in the highest esteem in virtually all world cultures. In Africa and the Ancient Americas as well as in Europe, India, China and Japan. No wonder that people not only wanted to explore it laboriously, but also sought ways and means to produce it artificially.


In an effort to understand the multiple transformations that alter substances naturally or artificially, medieval and modern alchemists spent much of their lives in smoky vaults. They pored over whimsical writings for nights on end, inhaled toxic fumes (mercury, sulfur, etc.), and ruined their health. But an enchanting performance lured them and made them forget all their misgivings: Making gold!

Alchemists recorded their thoughts and the results of their experiments in a symbolic manner that is difficult to comprehend, and which today seems to us like a jumble of nonsensical speculations that hardly anyone can understand anymore.

The foundations of alchemical speculation were provided by a variety of astrological, magical, numerological, occult, religious teachings, some of which dated back to ancient times. For example, the doctrine of the four elements, fire, water, air and earth, from which matter is composed. For example, metals should consist of earth and fire. 

Practical experience seemed to confirm this and suggested a quite plausible theory: smelting produces metals from earth (ore) and fire (glowing charcoal). Why only copper, iron, tin, etc.? Couldn't fire be added to copper or lead to produce gold? Perhaps only the necessary "agent" (today one says catalyst) was missing, which stimulates the desired process? The "Red Lion" or the "Philosopher's Stone"?

Most attempts to produce gold failed.

However, the alchemists laid the foundations for chemistry: they discovered previously unknown substances (potassium carbonate, tin oxide; sulfuric ether, hydrochloric acid, phosphorus, and several more), developed chemical techniques (such as distillation), invented laboratory equipment, recognized the existence of gases, and invented porcelain (Johann Friedrich Böttger, 1682-1719).

Alchemical techniques even gave rise to a new profession: the "saltpeterer" (saltpetre boiler).
Soil contaminated with feces was excavated, mixed with potash and washed out, whereby calcium carbonate precipitated. A solution containing potassium nitrate remained, from which potassium nitrate, which is important for gunpowder production, could be obtained by evaporation and recrystallization. (7).

Chemistry as a science

From the 17th century onward, scientific chemistry developed. Now demonstrable facts counted.

It was recognized that chemical elements existed (Robert Boyle, 1627-1691) and distanced itself from the occult and religious speculations of the alchemists.

Combustion was recognized as oxidation and the law of constancy of masses for chemical reactions was discovered (Antoine Laurent de Lavoisier, 1743-1794). This was soon followed by a modern atomic theory (John Dalton, 1766-1844), the discovery of hydrogen as the basis for acidity (Justus von Liebig, 1803-1873), the periodic system of elements (Dimitri Mendeleev 1834-1907), and a host of other discoveries. The way lay open to scientific chemistry and eventually to the development of the chemical industry.

For every chemist it was now self-evident that gold is a chemical element which cannot be produced artificially by chemical means.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Germany established a leading role in large-scale chemistry, for example through ammonia synthesis (Fritz Haber, 1868-1934 and Carl Bosch, 1874-1940). 

And in Germany, of all places, a major chemical country, an alchemist and goldmaker was still able to cause a stir at the beginning of the 20th century!

Goldmakers in the 20th century

The skillful impostor thousand

Fritz Seraph Tausend (1884-1942) became known as an alchemist in the 1920s. He brazenly claimed to have mastered an old alchemist's dream and, through the transmutation of elements, to be able to produce gold.

In 1921 he set up a laboratory in Obermenzing near Munich, and in 1922 his brochure "180 Elements, Their Atomic Weights and Incorporation into the Harmonic-Periodic System" followed.

Modern chemistry was wrong from his point of view. He saw metals as organic substances that could grow like plants if treated properly. He also experimented with everything from the production of nickel alloys and fine steel to medicines and pesticides.

Unfortunately, none of it was usable.

Amazingly, Fritz found a thousand supporters.

First Rudolf Rienhardt (1903-1975), a lawyer with close contacts to the NSDAP and co-owner of the newspaper Völkischer Kurier.

Rienhardt was able to draw the attention of the Reich government and especially Erich Ludendorff (1865-1937) to Thousand. In World War I, Ludendorff was the most important man as "First Quartermaster General" next to Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg (1847-1934). Ludendorff rejected the "Weimar Republic" and was involved in the "March on the Feldherrnhalle" ("Hitler Putsch," Nov. 9, 1923).

With Ludendorff as the prominent figurehead, the "Tausend und Rienhardt G.m.b.H. zur Verwertung von Erfindungen" (Thousand and Rienhardt Company for the Exploitation of Inventions) was founded, which after only a few months, in October 1924, was transformed into the "Gesellschaft 164".

This dubious society quickly found well-heeled supporters, especially from circles of nationalistically minded citizens, including prominent names such as Johann Wilhelm von Ecken, Adolf Held, Johann Küchenmeister, Alfred Mannesmann, Wilhelm Peter, Freiherr von Plattenberg, Richard von Schoeller, Erich Watrin and several others. (4).

When Tausend loudly announced in early 1925 that he could produce gold, the company's goal became the production of gold in the order of tons. Tausend was to receive five percent of the profits, with the lion's share going to pay off the oppressive reparations - imposed on the Reich by the "Treaty of Versailles" - and the rest to be used for party financing.

As a successful con man, Thousand was able to afford a luxurious life for a few years, buying quite a few properties and a factory complex.

It did not come to the gold production - who is surprised - because Tausend's experiments yielded neither gold nor anything else useful. At best, he was able to produce a few shiny gold crystals.

When all the money had disappeared, spent on Tausend's life of luxury and financing the Hitler Party, Tausend was arrested on June 4, 1929.

Most of his donors chose not to press charges. Were they afraid of embarrassment? Or were they aware from the start that it was a swindle, to finance the Nazi party in disguise?

After extensive investigations, the fraud trial was held. Tausend remained true to his conviction that he could make gold. During a control experiment at Munich's main customs office, some gold even unexpectedly emerged from lead; the gold nib of Tausend's fountain pen?

The sentence of February 5, 1931 was then three years and eight months imprisonment.

Not much for the amounts embezzled, estimated at 1.37 to 2.5 million marks. Tausend claims to have received only 460,000 marks; the rest probably helped finance Hitler's election campaigns in particular.

It's easy to do with a thousand: he was an impostor and a fraud.

But there were other goldmakers in the age of large-scale chemistry whose history is more difficult to assess.

The alchemist Jaegerloh

The following report about a transmutation comes from the university teacher Will-Erich Peukert, a critical expert. Peukert (1895-1969) taught as a lecturer at the Breslau Pedagogical Academy from 1932 to 1935. He lost his teaching license when he questioned the ritual murders blamed on the Jews.

After the war he held the chair of folklore in Göttingen from 1946-1960.

His field of work was intellectual history and folklore. In addition to many publications on folk beliefs, he collaborated on the "Handwörterbuch des deutschen Aberglaubens" (edited by E. Hoffmann-Krayer and Hanns Bächtold-Stäubli, de Gruyter, Berlin, 1922-42).

"I still don't know today where the fraud lay. Lead, the vessels, everything I had bought myself, not given out of my hand; - I lit the fire myself, put on the coals, and Jaegerloh waited over it until the lead was liquid. Then he gave me an infinitesimal quantity of a grayish shining fat powder; I poured it into the crucible, the lead began to bubble and foam, - gradually it thickened. I pulled it out of the fire. And it was gold. From a crucible full of lead and a twentieth of a gram of the powder, almost ten grams of gold had been produced. The rest of the metal had separated cleanly.

That was on May 17, 1923 in the morning between 11 and 12 o'clock in his apartment.

When I asked him what he was working from, of what basic substances his tincture consisted, he gave me a long speech about the influence of the sky on the plants and their signature, - that some plants corresponded to some metals, and that the air for purification prevailed in the metals as in the plants. Last of all he mentioned the Lunaria. This is a fern that grows rarely in the Krkonoše Mountains, and that already in the 17th century the alchemists used[1].

I have seen, as I said, the permutation of the lead. But I do not know how it could happen. I only know that it is inexplicable. One has reports from the 17th century which - if one wants to speak of any historical credibility at all - testify to the same thing. And many are also convinced that permutation happened here and there. Perhaps the same thing was going on here. Maybe Jaegerloh truly found a way.

I went to see him again later. But by then he had already died, and a woman who lived in the same house could only tell that before his death he had smashed his utensils and glasses and stoves, so that nothing remained but a pile of broken pieces. But he burned the books. Because, you see, the woman said, he was a secretive one, he had conspired. And such people must not betray anything. What they do not smash themselves, the evil one smashes when he comes for them. If he had not been such a one, how could he have made gold?"
(2, page 130 f.).

This story sounds like copied from a medieval book of miracles. But it comes from a scientist whose love of truth cost him his job in the Third Reich! (8).

A goldmaker on French television 

For another, equally puzzling story, see "The Dark Side of Enlightenment, Part 5" in the box "The man who never dies - live on French television".


The longing for making gold and other miracles has not been extinguished, even if nowadays stock market speculation seems to be more promising if you want to make a quick buck.

Cold fusion, magnetic engines, neutrino energy, orgone energy, space energy, scalar waves, tachyon energy, transmutation of the elements, the water engine: almost any number of alternative or esoteric - impossible according to the current state of knowledge - approaches can be found in the media.  

All a mistake or a hoax?

Or does our well-founded, closed scientific worldview have its limits or major gaps?

Is there possibly a completely different approach to understanding nature?

Not through strictly logical reasoning, but in intuitive ways, from the innermost feeling that is blocked by the all-dominating mind?  

Everyone must find answers to these questions for themselves.

Please also read under "Book Reviews" "Newton's suitcase".


[1] The "moon violet" (lunaria rediviva) has silvery pods and therefore, according to occult correspondences, is said to have spiritual relations to silver, perhaps also to gold.


(1) Bischof, Marco: "Tachyons, Orgone Energy, Scalar Waves", AT Verlag, Aarau, 2002.

(2) Hagl, Siegfried: "Spreu und Weizen", Gralsverlag, Purgstall, 2003. 

(3) Nieper, Hans A.: "Revolution in Technology, Medicine, Society," Illmer-Verlag, Hannover, 1983.

(4) Wikipedia: "Franz Tausend".

(5) Wikipedia: "History of chemistry".

(6) Wikipedia: "Rudolf Rienhardt".

(7) Wikipedia: "Saltpetre boilers".

(8) Wikipedia "Will-Erich Peukert".

(10) ZDF: Terra X "Der große Bluff - Meisterbetrüger", broadcast on 15. 01. 2022.