Today, we use phosphorus for important things like feeding plants, producing metals, and blowing up pretty colors in the sky while shouting "USA! USA!" This wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for a crazed, foul-smelling German scientist called Hennig Brand. Back in the swingin' 1660s, Brand felt sure he could take everyday substances and transform them into genuine nuggets of pure gold, because the dude was an honest-to-Flamel alchemist.
Unfortunately, Brand wasn't a very good scientist, so his methods mostly consisted of using things that were already yellow and coaxing them into McDuck-level status. The everyday yellow substance Brand believed to hold the most promise? Urine.
Vatican Library This raises uncomfortable questions about what exactly that cherub had been doing with its pee the night before.
Of course, being totally batshit insane, Brand didn't want just any urine: He wanted fresh urine from only the finest alcoholics. Sadly, we will never know exactly what the old-timey version of this Craigslist ad looked like, but we do know Brand was able to obtain 1,500 gallons of the stuff. If our math is correct, that's about 1,800 gallons too many.
After obtaining his supply through unknown but undoubtedly shady methods, Brand would boil, cook, and age his buckets-o'-bodily waste, apparently hoping to one day wake up and find himself swimming through a sea of pungently glittering gold. Obviously, that never happened, but Brand did end up producing a white waxlike substance that glowed in the dark (and not the kind on CSI shows).
Joseph Wright of Derby "Am I really seeing this, or are the fumes of my pee-bong getting to me?"
That substance, as you may have gathered by now, was phosphorus, and why we haven't seen an Academy Award-nominated biopic of Brand's life is beyond us. (Think about it: The Piss Dreamer, starring John C. Reilly.) Brand may not have succeeded in his lofty goals, but he did give us an incredibly important ingredient in a variety of products, such as fertilizer and baking powder -- just try not to think too hard about where it came from the next time you bake cookies for your kid's fundraiser.
Carolyn's tweets wage war on decency.
2016 is almost over. Yes the endless, rotten shit hurricane of a year which took away Bowie, Prince and Florence Henderson and gave us Trump, Harambe and the Zika virus is finally drawing to a close. So, to give this bitch a proper viking funeral, Jack O'Brien and the crew, which includes Dan O'Brien, Alex Schmidt, and comedian Caitlin Gill, are going to send out 2016 with Cracked's year in review in review. They'll rectify where every other year-in-review goes wrong by giving some much needed airtime to the positive stories from the 2016 and shedding light on the year's most important stories that got overlooked. Get your tickets here.
Also check out 6 Geniuses Who Saw Their Inventions Go Terribly Wrong and 6 Geniuses Who Saw Their Inventions Turn Evil.
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