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Rafal T. Prinke
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Recent Italian publications of early Rosicrucian sources (which I have not seen yet) reminded me about another key figure in the 18th c. Rosicrucianism and alchemy, the author of the often quoted bibliography Probierstein and many other books -- Hermann Fictuld. His identity seems to be still shrouded in mystery but according to Duveen it was encoded at the end of one of his books. He did not say, however, how he decrypted it or (if it wasn't him) where he found the decription. Here is what he says:

Duveen p. 215

On the last page of the book there are printed 8 lines in cryptography, from which can be seen that Fictuld's real name was Johann Ferdinand von Meinstoff. This name is mentioned by Ferguson who evidently ignored the meaning of the anagram.

The text itself transcribed by me (so may have errors) with line breaks preserved is this:

Fictuld, Azoth et Ignis, p. [388]

Efs Zwups, Kpizo Gftekozou Wuo
Nfkn-Tuppgg, Iftt Wuo Nfkn-Tuppgg
Woe Tzmua - Tufko ; cftkuafs efs
Hpuumkdifo, woe Ifsnfuktdifo Zsdzofo,
Efsnzmmfo tkdi Zwgg-Izmufu ko Efn
Apmmfsktdifo Izwtt, xkf ko Efn Qsp-
Qkfs-Tufko Fstufs-Zwtt Hzc Aw Fstf-
difo.

I also include the image and hope someone will be able to crack the alchemical code :)  It is curious Duveen calls it "anagram" as it is certainly too long for that. It must be some kind of substitution cypher, I guess.



Attached Image (viewed 459 times):

fictuld-crypto.jpg

Paul Ferguson
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Wiki says Fictuld may have been a pseudonym of Johann Friedrich von Meinstorff (note spelling) and Johann Heinrich Schmidt von Sonnenberg.

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosenkreuzer

I have started a thread on CipherMysteries:

http://www.ciphermysteries.com/forum#/20131112/fictuld-cipher-3382281/

Last edited on Tue Nov 12th, 2013 10:13 pm by Paul Ferguson

Rafal T. Prinke
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Thanks, Paul. Both spellings are actually used by Duveen, possibly one by mistake -- if it indeed comes from the decrypted message. The "Schmidt von Sonnenberg" comes from a MS that nobody has seen, quoted by the 19th c. masonic historian von Nettbladt. To me it looks more like a pseudonym (="Smith of Solar Mine"). In a contemporary alchemical book by one J.F. von Frydau it is stated that the Probierstein was written by Fictukd AND baron Meinstoof -- and Nettbladt says Frydau is another name used by Fictuld :)

Paul Ferguson
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Rafal T. Prinke wrote:
It must be some kind of substitution cypher, I guess.





It is the simplest kind of substitution cipher. I guessed that if the language was German then the letter-group 'xkf' might be 'wie' and 'ko' might be 'in', so we simply need to shift the alphabet up one to decipher the message, which gives us (though there seem to be some typos) something like:

"Der Autor, Johan Ferdinant von Meim-Stooff [sic], Herr von Meim-Stooff und Saltz-Stein, Besitzer der gottlichen und hermetische Arcanen, dermallen sich auff-haltet in dem Zollerischen Hauss, wie in dem Pro-Pier Stein erster auss gab zu ersechen."

"The author, Johann Ferdinand von Meimstooff, Lord of Meimstooff and Saltzstein, possessor of the spiritual and hermetic arcana, is currently sojourning at the court of the [Hohen]Zollern, as first revealed in [his book] "The Propierstein" [sic - actually Probierstein]."

Last edited on Thu Nov 14th, 2013 10:34 am by Paul Ferguson

Rafal T. Prinke
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Excellent! So now the question is: can we believe it? The phrase "mein Stoff" means "my stuff" or "my matter", as in the German translation of Casanova's Memoirs "mein Leben ist mein Stoff, und mein Stoff ist mein Leben" (original "ma vie est ma matière, ma matière est ma vie"). Also "Saltzstein" sounds quite alchemical :)

Paul Ferguson
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Rafal T. Prinke wrote:
The "Schmidt von Sonnenberg" comes from a MS that nobody has seen, quoted by the 19th c. masonic historian von Nettbladt.



Also by Kopp, Alchemie (1886), Note 6, Volume 2, page 367.

Rafal T. Prinke
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Yes, but Kopp does not identify his source at all and in all probability it was Nettelbladt (I misspelt the name above, relying on my memory), _Geschichte
freimaurerischer Systeme in England, Frankreich und Deutschland_, which was published in 1879. The MS the latter used may well be reliable but as he did not say where he had found it, it cannot be verified.

Rafal T. Prinke
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I have just found one more "riddle" designed by Fictuld. His first book _Wege zum Grossen Universal, oder Stein der Alten Weisen_ of 1731 has the preface signed "per Annagramma Hermann Fictuld" which would suggest his real name is hidden in it. But it certainly does not produce "Meim-Stooff" or other spellings as an anagram.

Also, Brüning's bibliography says (2:279) that according to Kosch he came from Schweinfurt and lived in Erlanger as a member of the Gold- und Rosenkreuzer in that city. Kosch is _Deutsches Literatur-Lexikon_ from De Gruyter but I have no access to it. I wonder if someone can check what source (if any) is given there for this information?

Last edited on Sun Nov 17th, 2013 06:36 pm by Rafal T. Prinke

Paul Ferguson
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Rafal T. Prinke wrote:
I have just found one more "riddle" designed by Fictuld. His first book _Wege zum Grossen Universal, oder Stein der Alten Weisen_ of 1731 has the preface signed "per Annagramma Hermann Fictuld" which would suggest his real name is hidden in it.



Hey Rafal,

"Hermann Fictuld" anagrammatizes to, inter alia, "Ferdinant [corresponding to the spelling of Ferdinand in the coded message] Chlum".

Ferdinand [Graf] von Chlum maybe????

Paul Ferguson
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Rafal T. Prinke wrote:
Brüning's bibliography says (2:279) that according to Kosch he came from Schweinfurt and lived in Erlanger as a member of the Gold- und Rosenkreuzer in that city. Kosch is _Deutsches Literatur-Lexikon_ from De Gruyter but I have no access to it. I wonder if someone can check what source (if any) is given there for this information?



Maybe Johann or Tom can help.
Cheap copy of volume 4 available here:

http://tinyurl.com/pvg7rbf

Rafal T. Prinke
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That would be Slavata of Chlum -- but the family died out before Fictuld! See: http://genealogy.euweb.cz/bohemia/slavata2.html

Concerning the previous message, the entry in Brüning is repeated from Duveen p. 214 -- and it seems to be the only known copy of that book! Anyone in Wisconsin to check if it really exists? :)

What is even more curious, in his Probier-Stein (2nd ed., 1753), where he lists his works (p. 71-76), that one is not included! And even more interestingly, the entry on him starts: "Fictuld (Hermann), welches mein, des Schreibers dieses, Name ist" (which is my, the writer's of this, name).


Rafal T. Prinke
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I have just found out that one of the libraries here actually has Kosch's _Deutsches Literatur-Lexikon_ -- so will check it and announce here :)

Paul Ferguson
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Rafal T. Prinke wrote:
I have just found one more "riddle" designed by Fictuld. His first book _Wege zum Grossen Universal, oder Stein der Alten Weisen_ of 1731 has the preface signed "per Annagramma Hermann Fictuld" which would suggest his real name is hidden in it. But it certainly does not produce "Meim-Stooff" or other spellings as an anagram.





The only plausible German name I can get out of anagrammatizing Hermann Fictuld is ULRICH FEDTMANN, a name that means nothing to me.

Rafal T. Prinke
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I ran to the library today -- but no entry for Fictuld there. It is probably in the most recent 3rd edition or earlier "Ergänzungen Bände", while the one I consulted was the 2nd from 1950/60's. So the request for help still holds! :)

Last edited on Mon Nov 18th, 2013 03:35 pm by Rafal T. Prinke

Paul Ferguson
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Rafal,

Could Fictuld be the alchemist Wolf von Metternich (died 1731)?

http://www.cheminsmystiques.fr/HISTOIRE/4.4.coeur_fenelon_disciples.htm#_Toc254814216

"A côté de son activité d’écrivain calviniste et de traducteur, voilée sous des pseudonymes (le plus souvent : Hilarius Theomilus), il se consacra principalement à l’alchimie, et acquit une certaine célébrité ; le dix-neuf juillet 1716, selon les affirmations sous serments de quatre gentilhommes, il aurait transformé du cuivre en argent dans une maison de Vienne ! Il mourut en 1731, toujours célibataire, ce qui éteignit la lignée des Chursdorf-Metternich."

"Besides his work as a Calvinist writer and translator under various pseudonyms (most commonly "Hilarius Theomilus") he devoted most of his time to alchemy, and acquired a certain degree of fame therein. On 19th July 1716, according to the sworn testimonies of four gentlemen, he transmuted copper into silver in a house in Vienna! He died in 1731, still a bachelor, and so the line of Chursdorf-Metternich became extinct."

"Chursdorf-Metternich": so there could be an anagram of Hermann Fictuld in there somewhere.

Rafal T. Prinke
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Hi Paul,

I do not think so. Fictuld's first book was published in 1731 but his major output, including the "Probier-Stein" bibliography, appeared only in the 1740's and 1750's. So chronologically rather improbable.

Last edited on Sun Feb 9th, 2014 06:39 pm by Rafal T. Prinke




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