Friday, April 19, 2013

Q is for Queen of the Fire Eaters





is for Queen of the Fire Eaters, Jo Girardelli.

In England during the 1810's, there was a woman who traveled around, defying the laws that govern flame and heat. Billed as the Incombustible Lady, she ultimately became known as the Queen of the Fire Eaters. The name she gave people, though, was Jo Girardelli, and she was born in Italy.

We've all seen some manner of act that involves breathing fire. I saw one up close at a Greek restaurant a month or two ago. Typically, the flames don't actually come too near the mouth, as it involves spitting out a combustible fluid through a flame. Rarer is the fire eater, but they usually have the same gimmick.

Fire eater (obviously not Jo, as there are no photos of her)
By Ryan Amos (originally posted to Flickr as Fire-eater) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

However, Jo didn't just do this. No, she put molten lead in her mouth and pulled it out in solid form. She swished nitric acid around in her mouth and spit it onto iron so the audience could see it eating away at the iron. She'd put boiling oil in her mouth after showing it could cook an egg. Her tongue and mouth never appeared to be burned. In fact, she let people examine her, and she was fine.

It wasn't just her mouth that was resistant to extreme heat. She liked to play with flame and show that it didn't burn her. This usually involved candles, touching the flame, running it along her arms. She'd heat a metal object in a flame and press it to her body, even lick it. Now, think back to the molten lead she'd put in her mouth. Apparently, she would scoop this up with her hand and put it in her mouth, all without burning herself.

How was Jo able to do these things without harm or injury? She said she had a secret formula, but no one has found anything that could withstand the tests she put herself through, even to this day. Not one skeptic was ever able to find out how she might be using a trick to do this.

Was she genetically impervious to flame? An alien (oh boy, I know you guys missed the aliens!)? Someone from another world or alternate universe? Had she trained her body to withstand the flame and caustic materials? 

May you find your Muse.

*Letter Q courtesy of Yamilia, clker.com

20 comments:

  1. How does one discover such a talent, anyway? I guess you'd find out real quick if you didn't possess it!

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  2. This is a real mystery, I am amazed but she wasn't an alien, some sort of invulnerability to hot stuff.

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  3. How strange! I have a high tolerance for heat but running a flame along my arm is not something I'd try! And I have no idea how she did it.

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  4. I don't think that's one talent I wish to seek out.

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  5. My son dabbled in Fire Dancing and put up a show at my (2nd) wedding; it was so cool.

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  6. She was probably a mutant.

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  7. I'm going to go with alien...it's -always- aliens!! :)

    Interesting tale, though.

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  8. I'm going with mutant. Marvel style.

    Actually, it probably was just a trick, because those things always are. And, well, a good magician never shares her secrets, which would explain why no knows how she did it.

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  9. I know from watching Arthur C. Clarke's show on unexplained phenomena that successful fire-walkers tend to put water on their feet first and then walk very quickly. Maybe she had put moisture on her skin before playing with the flames?

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  10. I'd go with genetic enhancement.

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  11. A genetically altered mutant alien...

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

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  12. I don't have any theories, but there's a real story here about Joan, and I'm definitely leaning toward the alien explanation! You even have the title already, Queen of the Fire Eaters. Reminds me of the stories about sin eaters. Set in the early 19th Century. What could go wrong?

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  13. That's insane! Surely there was a way that she was faking it or some sort of chemical formula that she used. I don't know what else it could be.

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  14. I am still wondering how she even figured out she could do it,yikes.
    Lucy Lucy's Reality

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  15. Amazing and freaky. I'm with others wondering how she ever discovered she had this talent to exploit in the first place.

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  16. I have superheros on the brain, so I'm guessing genetic enhancement, turning her impervious to the effects of fire and heat.

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  17. This is awesome! But I bet it was a mixture of clever tricks and exaggeration

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  18. If there is no proof, it could be exaggeration. If it was for real, she probably came up with a "secret formula" that she coated herself with and kept hidden.

    #atozchallenge, Kristen's blog: kristenhead.blogspot.com

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