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Sir Edward Kelley[1] or Kelly, also known as Edward Talbot (UK: /ˈtɔːlbət/; 1 August 1555 – 1597/8),[2] was an English Renaissance occultist and self-declared spirit medium. He is best known for working with John Dee in his magical investigations. Besides the professed ability to summon spirits or angels in a "shew-stone" or mirror, which John Dee so valued,[3] Kelley also claimed to possess the secret of transmuting base metals into gold, the goal of alchemy, as well as the supposed Philosopher's Stone itself.

Legends began to surround Kelley shortly after his death. His flamboyant biography, his relationships with Queen Elizabeth I's royal magus Sir John Dee and the Emperor Rudolf II, and his claims of great alchemical skill and the ability to communicate with angels have all led to his relative notoriety among historians. This has made him (along with the German Faustus and Sir John Dee himself) one source for the folklorical image of the alchemist-medium-charlatan.

Biography

Birth and early career

Much of Kelley's early life is obscure. He claimed descent from the family of Ui Maine in Ireland. He was born at Worcester on 1 August 1555,[2] at 4 P.M. according to a horoscope that John Dee drew up (based on notes Dee kept in his almanac/diary). His sister Elizabeth was born in 1558, and he had a brother Thomas who later joined him in Dee's household.[4] However, much of Kelley's life before meeting John Dee is not known.[1] or Kelly, also known as Edward Talbot (UK: /ˈtɔːlbət/; 1 August 1555 – 1597/8),[2] was an English Renaissance occultist and self-declared spirit medium. He is best known for working with John Dee in his magical investigations. Besides the professed ability to summon spirits or angels in a "shew-stone" or mirror, which John Dee so valued,[3] Kelley also claimed to possess the secret of transmuting base metals into gold, the goal of alchemy, as well as the supposed Philosopher's Stone itself.

Legends began to surround Kelley shortly after his death. His flamboyant biography, his relationships with Queen Elizabeth I's royal magus Sir John Dee and the Emperor Rudolf II, and his claims of great alchemical skill and the ability to communicate with angels have all led to his relative notoriety among historians. This has made him (along with the German Faustus and Sir John Dee himself) one source for the folklorical image of the alchemist-medium-charlatan.