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Firewalking is nothing new according to my research. Iamblicus (Syrian philosopher, a major figure in the philosophical school of Neoplatonism and the founder of its Syrian branch died in 330 AD) mentions this as among the peculiarities of his "possessed men."
During the mid 19th century, India, Figi, Bulgaria, Trinidad, the Straits Settlements, and many other places practiced Firewalking as a form of ritual religious practice. Not only was Firewalking seen first hand by such people as travelers, officials, missionaries and others, and photographed.

Many mediums in Britain practiced handling red hot coals...D. D. Home (a British medium) would hold glowing coals in his hand, and to communicate the power of doing so to others. Lord Crawford saw it done on eight occasions, and himself received from Home's hand the glowing coal unharmed.

Here is an interesting tidbit from one source:
Sir W. Crooke's evidence follows: "At Mr. Home's request, whilst he was entranced I went with him to the fireplace in the back drawingroom. He (the influence controlling Home) said: 'We want you to notice particularly what Dan (i.e., Home) is doing.' Accordingly I stood close to the fire, and stooped down to it when he put his hands in...Mr. Home then waved the handkerchief about in the air two or three times, held it above his head, and then folded it up and laid in on his hand like a cushion. Putting his other hand into the fire, he took out a large lump of cinder, red-hot at the lower part, and placed the red part on the handkerchief. Under ordinary circumstances it would have been ablaze. In about half a minute he took it off the handkerchief with his hand saying, 'As the power is not strong, if we leave the coal longer it will burn.' He then put it on his hand, and brought it to the table in the front room, where all but myself had remained seated.

Mr. W. M. Wilkinson writes from Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, states that in the winter of 1869:- I saw Mr. Home take out of our drawingroom fire a red hot coal, a little less in size than a cricket-ball, and carry it up and down the room. He said to Lord Adare, (now Dunraven, who was present) 'Will you take it from me? It will not hurt you.' Lord Adare took it form him and held it in his hand for about half a minute, and before he threw it back in the fire I put my hand close to it and felt the heat like that of a live coal'."

The interesting thing here is that those who were present during the seance, actually physically handled the live coal. But they weren't burned! Why? If you read the second account a bit more carefully you will discover the reason! Home tells Wilkinson that the coal will not harm him...this allows for Wilkinson to literally overcome his fear of the possibility of being burned by totally trusting Home. What this is in fact, is a form of hypnosis. Modern research has proven that while under hypnosis, the average human can endure all types of pain. In fact, hypnosis has been used instead of anesthesia for various types of surgeries (from tooth pain to heart surgeries). The best method of explaining why Firewalking is the simple notion of that time worn adage: mind over matter.

Copyright © 2004, Albert R. Lane, All Rights Reserved