Warehouse 13 Artifact Database Wiki
Warehouse 13 Artifact Database Wiki
Alchemist's Curse


Formula for mutating transmutational bacterium

Intended Effect

Transmutes matter unpredictably


Designed to spiral towards societal collapse


Proximity and attempting to solve formula

Collected by


Date of Incident




Alchemy has been the goal of many a scientist and mage over the centuries. Mastery of the elements and the power to bend them to the will of man was seen as an abomination by people of god, though this stopped few alchemists from attempting it.

The Alchemist's Curse was devised by a preacher, enraged at the acts of hubris performed by the mages of the world. In a bout of madness and genius, he devised a formulae irresistible to any respectable scholar, but ultimately disastrous to any who attempted to divulge it.

It featured in the second season of Eureka, "All That Glitters..."


This artifact is unique, in that it is entirely memetic. The formulae itself is the artifact, in any written form. When written out, all metals around it become "infected" with a dormant form of artifact energy that acts like a bacteria, spreading through contact. Harmless in its dormant state, the bacteria becomes active once someone observes the formula and tries to solve it.

Any attempts will cause the bacteria to begin transmuting the infected metal into a base gold state. Subsequent attempts to solve the formula cause the bacteria to mutate further, from gold to rust, then to any number of potential forms. Though there is a possibility of the infection mutating into a harmless strain, it seems pre-disposed to becoming strains designed to cause as much devastation to the society as possible.

Once the infected metals become active, the bacteria can be considered an organic compound and may be treated as such. It can be manipulated and altered on an atomic and chemical level, though its nature as an artifact-born entity remains constant. Solving the formula is possible, though almost impossible. Once solved, the artifact becomes inert, though it does not stop bacteria already active.

As any written instance of the formulae becomes an active artifact, each can be neutralized. "Gooing" a copy of the formula will cause it to fizzle and vanish, regardless of the means it was conveyed. Once the fomula vanishes, all infected metals revert to their base form. Because hundreds of potential written formulae can exist at any given time, and more can be activated at a moments notice, the artifact is impossible to contain.

The last instance of the artifact was in the town of Eureka, where it was solved and de-activated for the first time in recorded history. The inert formula was moved to the Warehouse to aid future recognition and containment.