As Above, So Below (2014).

Who the Hell is Nicolas Flamel?

By RosieJSargent | The Writers Bloc | 10 Aug 2022

Okay, so if you're like me a 90's baby, you'd probably first heard of Nicolas Flamel through Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001). Well, you wouldn't believe it, but the chap was indeed real. So who is he? And why are so many of us captivated by the legend that is Flamel? Well, Nicolas Flamel was a French Philosopher born 1330/40 (as no one is entirely sure). The legend says Flamel achieved every alchemist's dream, allegedly creating the Philosopher's Stone and thus the Elixir of life. A healing stone that gifts immortality. Although records show Flamel died in 1418, it does not say how. Even though he designed his own headstone and dated it with the year 1416?

People believe that because there is no record of how he died, many are convinced he is not dead at all. Some believe, that Flamel and his wife Pernelle, faked their deaths and ran away to India (hence the headstone). Now don't get me wrong in this day in age travelling across the globe is a reality for most of us. But travelling across the world after the very first outbreak of the black plague at the ripe old age of 80 sounds a bit crazy to me.

Especially since life expectancy in 15th century France was around 25 years old. What sounds more realistic is a perfect fusion of metals. I am not an alchemist, (I mean, I don't know anyone who practices alchemy), but I do think in the realm of science this sounds more likely. Even Issac Newton acknowledged Flamel's work! In my eyes, science is magic, as magic is science and science is just catching up. Whether this means he did achieve immortality however I cannot say, but considering modern scientists are actively seeking ways to slow the ageing process and prolong life, the prospect of immortality doesn't seem too far-fetched.

Now if you're also like me, you may have come across an independent film titled As Above, So Below (2014):

"Archaeologist Scarlett Marlowe (Perdita Weeks) has devoted her whole life to finding one of history's greatest treasures: Flamel's Philosopher's Stone. According to legend, the artefact can grant eternal life and turn any metal into gold. When she learns that the stone is hidden underground in the Catacombs of Paris, she assembles a crew to guide and document her historic mission. As they begin their descent, the team members have no way of knowing that they are entering their own personal hell."

  Delete As Above, So Below (2014).

There have been many retellings of the legend that is Flamel...

"In the 19th century. Flamel is mentioned in Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the composer Erik Satie was said to be fascinated by him, and the freemason Albert Pike mentions him in his book Morals and Dogma, a philosophical rationale of freemasonry. Whether or not they believed he was still alive is another thing, but these learned figures all identified Flamel as an alchemist."

The story goes that Flamel travelled to Spain to meet with Philosopher and fellow alchemist Manto Charlos. It is believed that Flamel convinced Charlos to return to Paris with him to teach him about a book entitled the Book of Abraham the Jewto create a Philosopher’s Stone. Sadly Charlos died on the way, but many believe Flamel had required enough information from Charlos to create the stone.

(This is also where I am going to add a little side note: If Charlos couldn't even make it to France from Spain, then there is no way in hell Flamel and his wife made it to India, there's just no way, any way, moving on).

Conicendently Flamel did become wealthy, so much so that this brought him to the attention of King Charles VI of France (also referred to as the beloved king as well as the mad), who then ordered an investigation into Flamel but it was to no avail as they found absolutely nothing of interest.

Others say there is no indication that Flamel had any involvement in alchemy at all, and the stories about the mysterious book are just that: stories. Some believe that the character of Flamel was invented by 17th-century publishers in a bid to sell lots of supposedly ancient alchemical books, which again sounds more likely. Yet the story of Flamel and the legend of the Philosopher's Stone continues to captivate and intrigue many the minds of all generations past, present and future. Either way, because of all of this, Flamel did and has achieved immortality.

Although, saying that, have you ever heard of Count Saint Germain?



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