Fire-walking is the easiest stunt out there. Simply rake out some glowing coals, put a damp pad at the front, a damp pad at the back, take off your shoes and socks and walk across. Don’t stop, keep up a brisk pace, make sure to wipe your feet at the end to make sure you don’t have any coals between your toes. That’s it. It impresses the rubes because ignert people think you’re actually doing something more impressive than demonstrating that charcoal has a really low rate of thermal conductivity. A good scammer can trick people into thinking it’s “mind over matter” or some such rubbish.
So how do you screw it up? The article doesn’t say, but I can only assume:
So, how do you make a fire walk actually dangerous? Any of these will do it; any could arise from dumbassery, but some might be more likely attributable to intentional nastiness:
- Walk across an actual fire (rather than just glowing coals)
- Mix the coals with something like rocks/pebbles/metal bits. You never see someone walking across hot *rocks,* do you.
- Mix in something like sugar or plastic. That’s be like walking across *napalm.*
- Mix in something like broken glass. All the burningness of rocks, now with sharp jaggedness.
CSB: Back in my college days, one semester I found myself coming up short in credit hours (calculus as a pre-req, and my inability to wrap my head around calculus, played havoc from time to time). So I had to take a “filler” course to stay a full-time student and to help jack up my GPA. The course I took was some sort of sociology course on magic or witchcraft or some such. I had hoped it would turn out to be a rational course on the history of bullshit, how it has affected history, blah, blah, blah. What did I get? The “professor” was a white guy. Normally not something I have a problem with. But the white guy was a shaman in some African tribe, complete with slideshows of him Over There in his village doing the Great White Savior Among The Noble Savages Thing. Worse: rather than him just scamming the natives and going along with their superstitious rubbish, he actually bought it and believed it (could well be they were running a line of BS on *him,* and the moment he was gone they laughed their asses off at the dumbass hippy).
I generally just kept my head down and snickered to myself. But one day he brought in one of his buddies, an elderly reject from the 60’s who bought into magical thinking. To this guy, fire walking was truly a magical thing; you had to be damn near a Jedi to be able to pull it off. To him, the supernatural was the only possible explanation. And since he did it on a virtually daily basis without injury, that proved that he was Something Special. And then he dared us to do it with him, that he could teach us his Magical Ways. This was approximately the only time I spoke up in class. I had no interest in firewalking; not out of fear, but because it’s a waste of time. I challenged the firewalker to a special challenge: I would believe that maybe, just maybe, he might have something to his belief in his magical specialness if he walked halfway across the field of coals, *stopped,* stood their motionless as I walked across, and only continued after I got to the end.
Oddly, that challenge was not accepted.
UPDATE: this news item has more info, including a pretty good clue as to what the problem was…
“From my observation, there was someone in front of us and someone behind us on their cell phone, taking selfies and taking pictures,” said Jacqueline Luxemberg, who completed the fire walk. “[She asked others] to video record for her, so I think that that has a lot to do with it.”
So… MORONS. Didn’t just burn themselves by stopping, but quite possibly also caused a traffic jam.