Example: a German named Hennig Brand in 1675 became convinced that gold could somehow be distilled from human urine (the similar color seems to be the factor in this conclusion). He collected 50 buckets of urine, from soldiers apparently and kept them in his cellar. Through various unrecorded processes, he converted the urine first into a noxious paste then into a translucent waxy substance. It didn’t become gold but after a while the stuff began to glow and when exposed to air, it burst into flame.
Eventually, it became known as phosphorus – Latin for ‘light bearing’
1 oz of phosphorus sold for 6 guineas – maybe five hundred dollars in today’s money! Not as much as gold but not bad considering you just had to get guys to pee in barrels~