Fire-eating, walking on hot coals etc.

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Fire-eating, walking on hot coals etc.

Post  eddie on Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:27 am


A fire eater at the City Museum in St. Louis, MO, USA in fall of 2004.


A simple set of cast iron fire-eating torches.

Wiki:

Fire eating was a common part of Hindu, Sadhu, and Fakir performances to show spiritual attainment. It became a part of the standard sideshow acts in the late 1880s and is often seen as one of the entry-level skills for sideshow performers, although skilled fire performers, such as those who can utilise the difficult and dangerous vapour transfers and produce large breaths of fire are regarded as equals in the circus community for their skill and devotion to their art.

Other than sound fire safety precautions and some practical advice regarding the laws of physics (i.e. "hot air rises"), there are few secrets to eating fire. Torches do not burn with "cold flames" nor is there any special substance in the performer's mouth other than saliva. According to Daniel Mannix's 1951 sideshow memoir Step right up!, the real "secret" to fire eating is enduring pain; he mentions that tolerating constant blisters on your tongue, lips and throat is also necessary. Many other fire eaters dismiss this, claiming that a skilled fire eater should not burn themselves, but since the art of fire eating is kept quite secret it is hard to ascertain exactly how it is done. Fire eating and fire breathing (and all variants) is a skill usually passed on for a skilled master to an appropriate student and almost all teachings include instructions on first aid, fire safety, chemistry and other appropriate skills.


eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Fire-eating, walking on hot coals etc.

Post  eddie on Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:32 am


Firewalking in Sri Lanka.

Wiki:

Firewalking has been practiced by many people and cultures in all parts of the world, with the earliest known reference dating back to Iron Age India – c. 1200 BC. It is often used as a rite of passage, as a test of an individual's strength and courage, or in religion as a test of one's faith.

Today, it is often used in corporate and team-building seminars and self-help workshops as a confidence-building exercise. Firewalking implies the belief that the feat requires the aid of a supernatural force, strong faith, or on an individual's ability to focus on "mind over matter". Modern physics has largely debunked this however, showing that the amount of time the foot is in contact with the ground is not enough to induce a burn, combined with the fact that coal is not a very good conductor of heat.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Fire-eating, walking on hot coals etc.

Post  eddie on Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:35 am

From the HowStuffWorks website:

How do people walk on fire?

Have you ever seen someone walk on fire? You know what I'm talking about -- people who walk over a bed of glowing coals without getting burned at all. How do they do that? Are they using supernatural powers, or is it a trick?

It turns out that it is a trick. Here's how it works.

During a fire-walking event, you almost always see a large, glowing bed of burning coals. The bed may be 10 feet long or so. And the glowing coals are real. People actually do walk across the red-hot coals in bare feet.

The trick comes from the weird physics of the coals themselves. Think about this. Let's say you took a 10-foot long iron plate and heated it up red-hot with blow torches. Now you walk across that. What would happen? Walking across a red-hot metal plate would be insane. Imagine a hamburger patty when it hits a hot iron skillet. Now think about your bare feet being the hamburger! Bare feet on red-hot metal would give you third-degree burns in milliseconds.

So what is going on? There are a couple of things to notice about any fire-walking event:

Firewalkers are not actually firewalkers. They are really coal walkers. Someone lights the fire well ahead of time to allow the wood to burn down to non-flaming coals.

The event is always held at night. If it were done during daylight, the bed of coals would look instead like a bed of ashes. There is always a layer of ash covering the coals. By doing it at night, the glowing red light is still visible through this layer of ash.

The firewalker never dawdles. No self-respecting firewalker would run across the coals -- that would be undignified. But firewalkers certainly are walking briskly. You never see firewalkers just standing around on the coals.

The coals start out as pieces of wood. But because they've been burning for a while before the stunt, the coals have burned down to nearly pure carbon, like charcoal. If you were to pick up one of these pure-carbon coals, you would notice that it is extremely light. Carbon is a lightweight element -- that's why carbon-fiber bike frames and tennis rackets don't weigh very much.

This lightweight carbon structure is a poor conductor of heat. It takes a relatively long time for heat to transfer from the glowing coal to your skin. Now, add to that the fact that ash is a very good insulator. People actually used to use ash to insulate iceboxes. The red-hot coals covered with ash transfer their heat even more slowly because the ash acts as a layer of insulation.

Then there is the short time span. Heat transfer from a red-hot coal is slow, but it still happens. If you were to stand still on the coals for several seconds, you would definitely get a burn. By walking quickly, you keep your contact with individual coals very short. You also get across the bed of coals fast, and that limits your total amount of coal time. So, your foot never gets hot enough to burn.

Do not try this at home! If you fall, it is going to burn you badly. But, the next time you see a fire-walking event, you will know exactly what's going on.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Fire-eating, walking on hot coals etc.

Post  eddie on Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:41 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69K0bdOAChw
Fire. Performed by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown on UK's Top of the Pops TV show, 1968.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Fire-eating, walking on hot coals etc.

Post  eddie on Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:02 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lML6N6XVeOE
Walk on Gilded Splinters- Marsha Hunt.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Fire-eating, walking on hot coals etc.

Post  Sponsored content Today at 7:26 am


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum