Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A 'new' take on Perpetual Lights

I have always been fascinated by stories of perpetual lights oft discovered in tombs which have been sealed for hundreds of years. Reports say when they are exposed to daylight, they are quenched and no longer function.

No one has ever offered a satisfactory explanation let alone duplicated the effect. They could use tritium which produces a dim light but only for about 12-20 years or so.

So I was intrigued by mention of this mysterious glowing water and how to produce it taken from the notes of Albertus Magnus (the spelling is exactly as written);

"If thou wylt make a Carbukle stone, or a thyng shyning in the nyght. - Take verye many of the lyttle beastes shyninge by nyghte, and put them beaten smale in a bottel of glasse, and close it, and burye it in hoate horses doung, and let it tary xv dayes, afterwarde thou shalte destyll water of them Peralembicum, which thou shalt put in a vessel of Christal or glasse. KeelyNetIt giueth so great clearnesse, that every man may reade and write in a darke place where it is. Some men make this water of the gall of a snale, the gal of a weasel, the gall of a feret, and of a water dogge: they burie them in doung and destyll water out of them."

Sounds like the beasties that shine in the night are fireflies which contain luciferase as the ingredient which glows but why bury in horse-dung and wait 15 day...

Not a clue what Peralembicum unless it is a description of lab glassware like a retort or alembic to make a still for concentrating the effect into drops.

It is also possible that a short term, self-illuminating phosphorescence is produced from the materials mentioned. I didn't see where it had to be recharged by exposure to sunlight or other light.

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