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Observations placeholder

Home D. D. – Fire experiments – Lord Lindsay’s testimony



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Friar Herbert Thurston - The Physical Phenomenon of Mysticism

No less weight must be accorded to the testimony of Lord Lindsay, afterwards 26th Earl of Crawford and Balcarres. Now Lord Lindsay in 1869 stated for the information of the Committee of the Dialectical Society, who were holding an investigation as to the reality of the alleged spiritualistic phenomena:

I have frequently seen Home, when in a trance, go to the fire and take out large red-hot coals, and carry them about in his hands, put them inside his shirt, etc. Eight times I have myself held a red-hot coal in my hands without injury, when it scorched my face on raising my hand. Once, I wished to see if they really would burn, and I said so, and touched a coal with the middle finger of my right hand, and I got a blister as large as a sixpence; I instantly asked him to give me the coal, and I held the part that burnt me, in the middle of my hand, for three or four minutes, without the least inconvenience, A few weeks ago, I was at a seance with eight others. Of these, seven held a red-hot coal without pain, and the two others could not bear the approach of it; of the seven, four were ladies.

It is hard to believe that Lord Lindsay was hallucinated, or lying, and hardly less difficult to suppose that on each of these eight occasions Home was successful in slipping in, as Podmore suggests, a thin clinker or a pad of ashes between the burning coal and the hand. Also, if he put an innocuous substitute inside his own shirt, what became of the real red-hot coal in the meantime? Red-hot coals have a way of betraying their presence to more senses than that of sight if they are left lying on carpets or thrown into water.

The source of the experience

Home, D. D.

Concepts, symbols and science items



Fire walking

Activities and commonsteps