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THE WORLD, New York, Sunday, July 2, 1916


As the June convocation o f the supreme Council of the Ancient and Mystical
Order Rosae Crucis, held in the back p a rlor o f the dwelling at No. 70 West Eighty-
seventh Street, which is fitted up as a temple, H. Spencer Lewis. Imperator o f the
Order, performed the mystical transmutation ceremony. He placed fifteen
ingredients in a crucible, stirred them with his fingers and at the end o f eighteen
minutes withdrew a bit o f yellow metal. Everybody present was profoundly
impressed, believing he had produced a piece o f gold.

By Charles Wei ton

It will surprise some of the boys who were in Principal John Burke's graduating
class in P S. 16a dozen or so years ago to learn that "Fat" Lewis, as some of them
used to call him, is now a high muck-a-muck in the occult business and a Grand
Master General and Imperator. It may also surprise some of the people who ten
years ago worked with Lewis in the Psychic Investigating League and helped him
round up spooks and experiment with hypnotism and telepathy.

But there's no going back of the words. Lewis is in the mystic line for fair. He
says he isn't out to make money and has nothing to sell.

There are strange goings-on at No,70 west Eighty-seventh Street - goings-on full
of mysticism and the pungent aroma of Eastern spices. Students of the occult, clad
in the robes of the Rosaecrucian Order, are as busy as an alarm o clock trying to get
results in science, electricity and other things by following wheresoever the
symbols of the ancients direct

Lewis is a short person, with a big, round head, a big round face, a big, round
body and a very stouts arms and legs, He is thirty-three years old and talks
regular New York. His office is in the front parlor. He and Thor Kiimalehto,
Secretary General, sit back to back at rolltop desks, Kiimalehto is a printer by
trade, Lewis used to go to him with an occasional job and in that way they became

I called at the temple on Wednesday. Mr.Roth, who is a student of hieroglyphics,

and Mr Callahan, who once explored an Egyptian tomb with me, went along.
Two glad hands were extended to us

"Will you be good enough, Mr. Lewis," 1 asked, "to tell us just how you do the
alchemy stunt by which you transmute odds and ends into gold?"

"Stunt is good," replied the Imperator. "Now, to begin remember we may be nuts
or bugs, but we don't pretend to have wings growing on our shoulders. On the
night of our convocation, which was attended by Torch-bearer and the Vestal
Virgin, the twelve other officers and others of the advanced order to the number of
thirty seven, I delivered an address saying that for the first time in America 1 would
demonstrate the secret process of transmutation.

"For hundreds of years the Elder Brothers of our order in Egypt worked at their
crucibles and wrestled with the problems of alchemy in an attempt to apply the
fundamental laws of our philosophy and science. At last they succeeded in
transmutation on the material plane. The members of the Fourth Degree being the
most advanced, I felt the call to make the demonstration for the first time in this

"1 had directed each of fifteen members to bring a certain ingredient, and I may
say that these ingredients were such as might be found in any kitchen - say,
saleratus, ginger, etc., but these were not among them. Salt was one. A rose in full
bloom was another, although you would not pick a rose in a kitchen.

"Then we had a bottle full of distilled water and a cube of zinc. As accessories,
we were provided with a crucible, fire and a pair of pinchers - all the necessary

"Well, when everything was ready 1 asked the fifteen brothers and sisters to come
forward with their offerings. No one knew what the others had The various
ingredients were plated in the crucible with the lump of zinc, which had been
tested with nitric acid and carefully weighted. This I stirred with my fingers for
several minutes and 1 might add that I scorched my fingers in the process. At the
proper moment 1 stopped stirring, and with a pair of pincers took from the crucible
a bit of yellow metal - the transmuted metal which stood the acid test and was
found to be a trifle heavier than the zinc Every one present saw it. 1 might add that
there is no money in making gold that way. You get only a little bit for
all your pains."
"Was it the regular goods - the real stuff - gold?" I asked.

"Gold transmuted from other metals," said Lewis, making a statement instead of
a reply, "is the purest of gold. Now about the order. It was established way back in
the dynasty of Thutmose III, who was the husband of Isis. The obelisk in Central
Park, one of the two erected in Egypt by Thutmose III, and intended to stand some
day in 'the country where the eagle spreads its wings, bears the cartouche or seal of
the order as well as many other authentic and Rosaecrucian signs.

I told Lewis that, while I was not familiar with all the symbols and cartoons on
the obelisk, his word that they were there was good enough for me.

"When I went to Toulouse, France, in 1909 to secure permission to found the

order in this country, I was informed that it soul be not until 1915, and so I waited
and studied and fitted myself for the work, and on April 1, 1915, the charter was
drawn up and signed, and the order took its place in the country where the
eagle spreads its wings."

At my suggestion we were permitted to enter the temple proper, which is the

third room back on the parlor floor The room was heavily curtained. The crucible
stands in front of the Imperator's desk. An electric bulb is inside the bowl, and
when the current is turned on lights of several colors show. The crucible has a
circular pan around its edge

This was filled with what looked like powdered dried leaves.

Kiimalehto stepped into a closet, and, returning with a bottle, pour some of its
contents into the pan and touched a match to it. Immediately the temple was
filled with an odor like a combination of cayenne pepper, myrrh, sweet marjoram,
terebinth and other things.

The thick smoke rose from the pan, spread out over our heads and formed in a
thin cloud which floated to the ceiling and dispelled some of the darkness.
There was then disclosed the presence of a very tall and straight figure, garbed
from neck to heels in a bright red garment and topped with a turban. He stood at
the curtained window before an electrician's desk.

'May 1 ask what you are doing” ’ 1 inquired, and the figure turned and looked at
me through big. round glasses
"I am a student," he replied, "and 1 am busy with the wireless."

I asked his name and he said he was Harry Koenig, a theatrical electrician. He
used to work at Cohan's Theatre and also at the Winter Garden, but was out of
a job at present.

While he was telling me these things the faint click of the instrument could be

"We do not do any sending here," said Koenig, "but we cut in and pick up bits of
news. It is rather dull to-day."

While Roth and Callahan were breathing the fumes of the burning incense at the
other end of the room I slipped the wireless receivers over my ears. Koenig
was right. It was a dull day.

The instrument was not adjusted properly, so student Koenig turned a

thumbscrew on a keyboard arrangement and, what to my untrained ears, sounded
like a High School of Commerce boy communicating a baseball result to a friend
in a Manual Training, clicked down the wire

Koenig was not the only student at his task. There is an average of dozen men
and women - at work. It isn't absolutely necessary that they all wear robes, but
most of them do. The different degrees have different robes - some red and others
blue or white.

The chemical laboratory is just back of the temple, in what used to be the butler's
pantry before the Imperator moved in. The vibration and philosophy departments
are in another part of the building.

Getting back to that yellow bil of metal that the Imperator said he had
transmuted, it can be said with authority that all suggestions that it might be sent to
the laboratory of Columbia University for examination or assayed will be turned
down The metal will be kepi in the Eighty seventh Street Temple as a prized jewel
of ihe order.

The Imperator will not again give a demonstration of transmutation. Following

the long established custom, the fifteen members who delivered the raw material to
him are to keep their individual shares of the secret. No one individual knows the
mixture, but collectively they own the formula. In the event o f the passing o f the
Imperator the fifteen may come together three years thereafter and repeat the

Probably the next function o f real importance in the temple w ill be the
christening o f little Earle Cromwell Lewis. The date o f this ceremony has not been
fixed, but the Grand Lodge w ill be present. Earle Cromwell is the youngest o f the
Imperator's three children.

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