The Alchemical Nose
In the dark days of the late 16th Century, Danish nobleman, astronomer and alchemist Tycho Brahe lost his nose in a duel. Fueled by his all-consuming vanity, he forged a golden prosthetic nose that he wore the rest of his life. Unhindered by this set back, Brahe continued his study, making startling new claims based on his naked-eye observations of the heavens. His unusually acute abilities were seen as super-human. Some suggested that he was consorting with the unseen powers.
In an attempt to contain the dark genius, King Fredrick II granted him a remote icy island fortress, on which Brahe built the grand observatory and alchemical laboratory, URANIBORG. Here, sequestered with his pet elk and his court midget, it is thought that the alchemical nose exerted its unholy influence over its host.
By the time of his early death, Brahe and his golden nose had taken up the post of court astronomer to the Holy Roman Emperor. His mysterious and untimely death, fed speculation that he was poisoned by his jealous and brooding protégé Johannes Kepler. Some say the power of the nose overtook its host. What we can say is that with Brahe’s death, the nose went missing.
The allure of its hidden power inspired many fairy tales and fanciful imaginings. Rumored sightings of the nose led to many failed expeditions. One disheartened adventurer, a young Nikolai Gogol, was particularly inspired by the elusive member. In Gogol’s The Nose the taunting olfactory organ divests itself of its master and begins to act under its own agency.
During a particularly heightened fervor for the elusive nose in the mid 20th century, the Romanian playwright, Eugene Ionesco lampooned the foolishness of the devotees of the nose with his absurdist allegory Rhinoceros.
Without explanation, the nose reappeared in the late 1980’s in Queens, New York in the custody of one Gregory Jacobs. It is a closely guarded secret still, how this most coveted of noses ended up on the face of young Jacobs, but what we can document is the effect it had on him.
Ignoring advice from local alchemists, Jacobs allowed himself to be taken in by the power of the nose. Under its influence, Jacobs’ talents and fame grew. Quite abruptly he began making appearances under other aliases. Through the power of the nose he presented himself as “Shock G”, “Rockadelic”, “Piano Man” and “The Computer Woman”
With Jacobs as its new host, the nose itself grew stronger and more brash.
Then in the early months of 1990, the nose exerted full control of Jacobs, causing him to appear in public as the co-habited being “Humpty-Hump”. “Humpty” as he was known colloquially, was using the medium of hip-hop to gain further wealth and power. Their collaboration culminated with the smash hit “Humpty Dance”, though the nose was a short-sited lyricist and Humpty found it difficult to follow the success of “Humpty Dance”.
Around this period the nose seems to have disappeared or gone into hiding. In later appearances, “Humpty” would sport different noses, zebra striped, bedazzled and graffiti covered noses, but it is clear that the power of the nose had left this collaboration.
As some scholars have noted, Gregory Jacobs was instrumental in cultivating the early career of one Tupac Shakur. Still further speculations have it that the nose saw Shakur’s potential greatness and had chosen him as its next consort. These conspiracies are fed by the abrupt rise to power and untimely death of Shakur. Was the feud that led to Shakur’s death perhaps a power-grab for the nose? ⊗