That the sperm of a man be putrefied by itself in a sealed cucurbit [a pumpkin-like gourd] for forty days with the highest degree of putrefaction in a horse’s womb, or at least so long that it comes to life and moves itself, and stirs, which is easily observed. After this time, it will look somewhat like a man, but transparent, without a body. If, after this, it be fed wisely with the Arcanum of human blood, and be nourished for up to forty weeks, and be kept in the even heat of the horse’s womb, a living human child grows therefrom, with all its members like another child, which is born of a woman, but much smaller.
The Modern Homunculus
“It seems he is in bad condition. But he is alive because there are some movements. So what can I say? The alchemical recipe is actually true. But this creature can not have any highly developed intellect. At best it’s like and amoebae or jellyfish. It’s hard to say why the experiment has not turned successful. Perhaps because of the infection”.
A Horde of Homunculi
In the next video Slowpoke has grown a (not entirely convincing) eye, the pupil of which can be seen moving, seemingly tracking the movement of Korney’s hand. In “Homunculus #10” (December 2016) the two creatures are in the same tank and Picachu has its “mouth” fastened on to the back of Slowpoke (whose single eye looks rather comedically shocked). Korney isn’t sure if one is eating the other, or if they could be mating. In the following video not much has changed, only that Picachu seems to be “further in” to Slowpoke. In video number twelve (February 2017) the two creatures have merged into a single blobby thing which Korney touches with a paintbrush to show us that now moves (slightly) as one. By March they look like a weird flesh-coloured volcano thing or some sort of very unsettling sex toy. By April this thing has grown teeth and is being fed meat by Korney once again. The twist is that the creature will only accept meat which has been smeared in the creator’s own blood first. It starts “spitting” out clouds of dark liquid in its tank. Finally, in the most recent video, posted on the 12th of September 2017, Korney is examining a sample of the liquid under a microscope and testing its toxicity on a houseplant.
By this time many (myself included) would argue that the experiments of Как Сделать, aka Korney, have ceased to really have anything to do with Paracelsus, alchemy and the classical concept of the homunculus. In fact, I’m going to stick my neck out at this point and say I think that Как Сделать’s videos probably do not show real, living creatures, created by injecting human semen into shop-bought chicken eggs. It seems (to me) safe to assume that there is some degree of fakery going on here. I mean, to be perfectly honest, of course they’re fake. They obviously are. Indeed, there’s a rather good YouTube video entitled How to Fake a Homunculus (uploaded May 2016), which convincingly demonstrates some of the most likely means employed by Korney.
Something Как Сделать has inarguably been very successful in spawning however, is imitators. In March 2016 YouTuber Andrew Chemenoch posted a video if himself replicating Korney’s experiments. The resulting hatchlings were very obviously live shrimp. In June 2016 a YouTuber called Wendigo uploaded a video entitled “BIG HOMUNCULUS” showing a creature which they claim to have created using an ostrich egg. The thing – about the size of a six month old baby – looks alarmingly like a gigantic animatronic scrotum. There are a myriad of copycat videos, some with creatures that look almost identical to those created by Korney. All of which are, of course, completely fake, either using practical effects like the originals, or else (and all too often) using actual animals (usually fish, amphibians, and insects) or animal parts inserted into eggs. I have even seen homunculus videos which use still images of real human fetuses which, it hardly needs to be said, is not just beyond the bounds of bad taste, but of decency too. If you are planning of viewing or searching for any videos or images pertaining to homunculi, be warned that some contain unpleasant, and possibly disturbing imagery. The idea of what a homunculus is in 2017 has, amongst a certain generation of YouTube viewers at least, has been cemented thanks to Как Сделать’s videos. But, way back in the mists of time past before “like and subscribe” was a thing, what was the purpose of creating a homunculus?
The Uses of Homunculi
16th century English mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occult philosopher, and Alchemist Doctor John Dee was said to have employed homunculi as spies. It’s claimed that Dee sent the diminutive humanoids out into the shadows of London to eavesdrop on suspected enemies of Queen Elizabeth I and report back to him. This however, seems an unorthodox use, and contradicts the otherwise widely held belief that a homunculus cannot survive for any length of time outside of the jar or vessel in which it lives. Most likely then this was either a rumour deliberately circulated to make the enemies of Elizabeth wary, or else simply a colourful bit of Dee mythology. The 12th century Liber Vaccae actually contains not one but three How-Tos for creating homunculi, each with a different intended outcome. According to ancient-origins.net:
The first type of homunculus [mentioned in the opening section of this essay] may be used to make the full moon appear on the last day of the month, allow a person to take the form of a cow, a sheep or even an ape, allow one to walk on water and know things that are happening far away. The second type of homunculus [for which a female monkey is used as a host] can be used to enable a person to see demons and spirits, as well as to converse with them, whilst the last type of homunculus can be used to summon rain at unseasonable times and produce extremely poisonous snakes.
“Out of the eater came something to eat. Out of the strong came something sweet.”
- Magic in the Cloister: Pious Motives, Illicit Interests, and Occult Approaches to the Medieval Universe by Sophie Page (Penn State Press, 2013)