Edward Kelly, Irish lawyer and alchemist, 16th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Edward Kelly was an asistant to John Dee (1527-1608), Queen Elizabeth I's astrologer. Kelly was notorious for wearing an unusual cap on his head to hide the fact that his ears had been removed as punishment for forgery. On finding an ancient manuscript claiming to identify the location of the Philosopher's Stone, Kelly informed Dee and together they devoted their time to locating the stone. Kelly and Dee also claimed to produce gold from a white powder found with the manuscript. Kelly also claimed to be able to converse with angels through Dee's magic crystal. Having been sent to the prison in Hague, Kelly died when he fell off a wall trying to escape. Kelly also operated under the alias Edward Talbot.