Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication

Science Behind Godmen tricks: lighting fire on the palms without getting burned and creating smoke without fire

Do you believe in miracles? And think they are something out of this world? Then read this article which shatters your assumption. 

You must have seen people , especially Godmen lighting fires on their palms and telling people that they have special powers and therefore they don't get burned.

But there is science behind it, not miracles! Let me explain them to you now.

Fire is made up of light and heated gases from combustion. You can control the temperature of fire by selecting a fuel that burns with a cool flame. If you pour the fuel onto a substance that won't burn, you can make a fireball that you can hold in your hand or juggle.

I am going to tell you how people can do this but never ever try these tricks without expert supervision because these are  dangerous acts. You think you can do them with ease but I am warning you ... you cannot perform these tricks without practicing thoroughly under specialist guidance. 

The cold flame trick:

You can get real flame burning on your skin without getting hurt  at least for a while.

God men mix alcohol with water (the more water they add, the safer the process would be).

Then they spray some of the solution onto their skin and ignite.

With enough water in the mixture, the water should be able to absorb the heat generated by the combustion of alcohol because water has a high specific heat capacity. Thus the heat will not be transferred to their skin and burn them, at this stage.

You can see fire burning on their skin and they don't feel pain.

However, they do extinguish the flame immediately once they feel the temperature is going up (the water is drying out).

They don't do this with large flame. They just try a little one.

There are other tricks too:

A handheld fireball can be made using the things that are easily available. The things used are: 100% cotton thread, needle, naphtha lighter fluid (e.g., Ronsonol), match box or lighter.

Procedure followed: First people thread the needle with cotton thread. Then they tightly roll the cotton strip into a ball. Next step would be piercing the ball with the needle and wraping the ball with the thread then ending by running the needle through the ball one more time and breaking off the thread.

Then the ball will be soaked with lighter fluid without it getting into their hands. Then they set the ball on fire - most probably on a fire -proof surface and then transfer it to the palms of their hands carefully.

If people get enough practice, they can pick it up using their fingers.

The 'trick' to this demonstration is the fuel. It needs to be naphtha or kerosene or Ronsonol and Zippo (not the butane).

It's pretty hard to blow the fireball out. You either need to blow hard or else suffocate the flame to extinguish it. The fireballs are reusable.

Regarding holding these in one's hand or doing tricks with them... the cone of the flame is hot, especially above the ball, however, the fuel burns at a relatively low temperature. The flashpoint of Ronsonol brand of naphtha is 6°C or 43° F, with combustion mainly around 400°F. To put that in perspective, touching the fireball is a lot like touching a hot pizza right out of the oven.

One secret of success is to hold the fireball in the palm of your hands, moving it from one hand to another to keep from getting burned. The flame of the fireball is much hotter than its base.

No miracle is involved in this procedure.

Watch this video...

Another method the Godmen use is lighting camphor in their hands. Here is how they do it...

Materials they use are large pure camphor cubes and a match box or a lighter.

Method followed: They first hold the camphor cube with the thumb and index finger of the left hand and light it. Keeping the burning camphor on the palm, they wave the light before the audience telling them that you need to believe in their miracles. But they see that the camphor piece does not remain long on the same place and is moved about on the palm while waving. When the palm gets hot, they transfer the camphor to the left hand and wave the light and again to the right hand when the left hand becomes hot. Later, when both the hand have absorbed enough heat and might burn, they place the burning camphor on their tongue. When they feel the tongue getting hot, they blow out the fire by breathing out, or close the mouth and the fire will get extinguished by itself.

Sometimes they use fire retardant gels or any liquid (such a water and even their sweat) that controls and keeps the heat away for some time on their hands!

And how do the Godmen create smoke in their hands without fire? This is again chemistry!

All you need is a matchbox, a cold water faucet or chilled pan, a pair of scissors and a lighter!

The striker portion of a matchbox is cut out from a box of safety matches. They fold the striker in half, striker-sides facing each other. Then they set the folded striker on top of the running cold water faucet or a refrigerated metal pan. Using a lighter both ends of the striker are ignited. Then they run the lighter along the length of the folded striker. It won't burn to ash.
The burned striker is thrown away.
A brown residue will be deposited along the top of the faucet or metal pan. Fingertips are run along the residue to pick it up. Then they slowly rub their finger and thumb together to create smoke. If they do this in the dark, their fingers will have a greenish glow too!

How the Smoking Fingers Trick Works... 

Phosphorus is a chemical element that can take several forms, called allotropes. The type of phosphorus in the striker of match boxes is red phosphorus. When you burn the striker, the phosphorus is vaporized and condenses into a solid onto the cool metal surface. This is white phosphorus. The element has not changed identity -- just the structural arrangement of the atoms. Rubbing your fingers together produces enough heat from friction to vaporize the phosphorus into what appears to be smoke!

A warning: It is dangerous to inhale this smoke. White phosphorous is the one manufactured industrial; it glows in the dark, is spontaneously flammable when exposed to air and is a deadly poison.

And how do psychics bend spoons? 

“While many individuals have claimed the paranormal or psychokinetic  ability to bend spoons or manipulate other objects, spoon bending by mental powers alone has not been demonstrated to the satisfaction of the scientific community

Watch this video to know that...

To bend a spoon, you need a spoon made in a shape-memory alloy. Then keep it in your hand, it will reach your body temperature and bend. You can rub it for a faster result.

Look on internet for nitinol teaspoon. Professional mediums also uses forks and other objects. They can be expensive, but if you run a mentalist scam you will get your money back.

Shape-memory alloy - Wikipedia

James Randi Demonstrates How 'psychic' Uri Geller Bends Spoons And ...

Also watch how James Randi exposed the tricks of Godmen:

How James Randi exposes an astrologer:

Read about the levitation trick Godmen use here:

Views: 3253

Replies to This Discussion


Mysteries: I came to hear that one of the temples in Anantapur (Andhra Pradesh) has a total of 70 pillars and none of them touch the ground. I can't believe this. How is it possible? Is it true? What is the science behind this?

Reply by a civil engineer:

It's not actually hanging, the pillar touches at one corner. I've read many articles crediting the "wonder pillar " but it's actually having a gap because the pillar is not vertical, it's having an inclination. This is a 15th century temple and is in a dilapidated condition. The inclination 'may' have been developed due to some seismic events in the past. We have modern seismic record of less than 150 years . I'm a civil engineer and I'm sure all engineers would agree that the purpose of a pillar is to transmit the load of a superstructure to the ground. There no way that the designers of that time would construct a pillar which has no structural significance. If u still find it hard to believe try tiltiing a stool and you will get a gap with only one corner touching.


© 2019   Created by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service