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sole of each foot slowly and deliberate- not apparently changed either by the ly over the flame of a bundle of eight degree of heat or acid applied to it. On wax-candles, so that the fame was the stage her teeth seemed bad, but seen rising between her toes, apparent- this appearance is owing to her upper ly without effect.

front teeth being unusually short and Experiment 12.-She applied melt- small. The parts of her arms and ed sealing wax to her tongue, and an legs subjected to the experiments were impression of a seal was taken on it. in every respect natural, except that

Experiment 13.-She seemed to dip they seemed destitute of hair, and the points of her fingers repeatedly there was no remains of any applicainto melted lead, and put a little of tion upon them. She, however, said, it each time into her mouth, and she that the power of resisting fire and afterwards spit out some lead in the acids was owing to a preparaform of thin masses chewed together. tion which she applied to different

Experiment 14.--A considerable parts of her body, that these parts quantity of melted lead was poured alone possessed this property, and out on the slab, and she put the soles that the effects of the application of her feet upon it repeatedly. gradually wore off. She also told us

Experiment 15.-She seemed to that she had repeated the experiments pour melted lead into her mouth, and once a day at least, almost regularly, afterwards spit out a small chewed for many years, sometimes three piece of lead, which might be about a times a-day, and that she never met drachi in weight.

with any accident, or, if she did Signora Girardelli is a pleasant- burn herself, (perhaps she wished looking woman, above 40 years of age, us to understand some of the unthough, at first sight, she appears prepared parts,) the burn healed in younger. She has a good address, the course of a night. She is evidentand appears desirous that all the spec- ly a native of Germany, and said that tators should see and be satisfied that she was the daughter of Odhelius, a she performs what she undertakes. celebrated professor of chemistry at Indeed, in the whole exhibition, the Munich, and that she had discovered suspicion of juggling or deception is the secret in his papers and books. scarcely excited, but, on the contrary, In mentioning these particulars, there is such an appearance of fairwhich were frankly communicated, I ness, and so much encouragement to trust there is no breach of confidence, close examination is given, that any nor in the remarks which I am about such suspicion is quickly removed. to make, have I any desire to expose The experiments are also conducted the Signora as an impostor : bui, on with great decency, and do not excite the contrary, to recommend to all any unpleasant feeling in the specta- those who have any curiosity to obtors, as the Signora evinces not the serve natural phenomena, not to lose slightest suffering from any of them, this opportunity of satisfying thembut looks always pleased and gratified selves as to the extent of her powers, with her success in producing astonish- and of reflecting upon the most proment or exciting applause. When bable explanation of them. This will she had any thing to say to her hus- be attempted in very different ways band, she spoke in German, but, ale by the credulous, the sceptical, the though she could scarcely expect to confident, and the cautious. Some be understood by any of the specta- at once declare the whole to be impotors near enough to hear, she only sition, such as is practised by the firegave directions to her husband to ar eaters at fairs; a few cannot divest range the exhibition, so that every themselves of the impression that she one might be satisfied, and to tell the is a preternatural being, and performs spectators what she was going to do, miracles ; some find no difficulty in or wished them to attend to.

accounting for it by some secret apAfter the exhibition, she was so plication ; while others declare their obliging as to comply with a request ignorance of any substance capable of to allow some of the spectators to exa- producing the effects ascribed to them. mine her tongue, and came out from Having thus given a faithful statebehind her skreen, although she had ment of the experiments I witnessed, begun to undress. Her tongue was I shall first state some facts which clean, of its natural red colour, and seem to bear upon the subject, and

then endeavour to explain them upon greater or less distance, according to rational principles.

the sentence; or in putting the hand The power of resisting the action into a red hot iron gauntlet, or in of heat has been claimed or possessed walking over hot iron bars or ploughby individuals in all ages. At first it was shares, from nine to twelve in number. supposed to be miraculous, and owing The trial by boiling water consisted to the immediate interposition of the in plunging the hand into it to take Deity. It has even been admitted in out a rivg suspended at a greater or couris of justice, as a conclusive proof less depth from the surface. of guilt on some occasions, and of in For the common people, the proof nocence or superior sanctity in others. by cold water only was allowed. ` Af

An exceedingly minute and inter- ter some ceremonies, the unfortunate esting account of the fire ordeal of the person was thrown into the water with Hindoos was given in the Asiatic Re- his left hand tied to the right foot. searches by the celebrated Governor If he sunk he was innocent, if he Hastings.

swam he was guilty. Thus, it apIn the Antigone of Sophocles, the pears, that a miracle was required to guards accused of neglect by Creon, condemn the poor and to save the to prove their innocence, offer to han- rich, but the innocence of the latter dle hot iron or walk through fire. was proved by their escaping unhurt,

Virgil tells us, that the priests of that of the former by their being Apollo, who attended the temple on crowned. Alount Soracte, had the faculty of The earliest instance of fire ordeal in walking with naked feet over burning Christendom occurred in the fourth cencoals, and Varro affirins, that they tury. Simplicius, Bishop of Autun, were rendered insusceptible of the ef- had married before his promotion, and fects of fire only by means of a com- his wife, unwilling to quit him after position. The priests of the temple his promotion, continued to live with of the goddess Feronia were not less him. The sanctity of Simplicius sufdexterous ; and Strabo tells us, that fered by the constancy of his wife's this drew every year a great number affection, and it was rumoured that of curious people to visit and enrich the Bishop persisted in opposition to the temple. T'he city of Thyane had the ecclesiastical canons to taste of the a temple dedicated to Diana Persica, sweets of matrimony; upon which whose priestesses could also tread with his wife, in the presence of a great impunity on the hottest coals. concourse of people, took up a con

În more modern times, Spain had siderable quantity of burning coals, its Saludadores or Santiguadores, who which she held in her clothes, and apwere nothing but impostors, pretend- plied to her breasts, without the least ing that they were descended from hurt to her person or her garments, Saint Catherine. To prove their il- as the legend says, and her example lustrious origin, they shewed on their being followed by her husband, with body the impression of a wheel, called the like success, the multitude adthemselves incombustible, and ma- mired the miracle, and proclaimed the naged fire with great address. Leon- innocence of the loving pair. A siard Vair reports, that one of them milar trick, as Mosheim terms it, was having been in good earnest, shut up played by St Brice in the fifth cenin too hot an oven, was found burnt tury, to a cinder when it was opened. The Empress Maria of Arragon,

For a long time the criminal jurispru- wife of Otho III. had accused a young dence of Europe tolerated, to those who Italian Count of having endeavoured did not carry arms, the trial by fiery or- to seduce her, and he was put to deal as a mode of appealing to God. It death; but his widow, with the head was performed in various ways. The of her husband in her hand, demandfirst, wbich was used by the nobles, ed to be admitted to the fiery ordeal in priests, and other free persons, was order to prove his innocence, and holdthe trial by red hot iron. It con- ing, as long as was thought necessary, sisted in carrying a bar of iron about a red hot bar of iron without being three pounds in weight, heated to a burnt, this miracle was admitted as greater or less degree, according to the proof, and the Empress was condemn. nature of the accusation, and to a ed to be burnt alive.

If the Monkish historians tell the innocence, she substituted an innotruth, our Queen Emma, mother of cent person for the guilty. HincEdward the Confessor, passed unhurt mar, who wrote in defence of the orover nine burning plough-shares. deal, would not allow Gottescale, con

Another form of trial, attended with demned by a synod, to have recourse greater ceremony, was that undergone to it to prove his innocence, which by Luitprand, a Milanese priest, who, shews, that he was not sincere in his in 1103, offered to prove the truth of'an doctrine ; and in the time of the riaccusation against his bishop, by walk- diculous quarrel between the Dominiing through a blazing pile of wood. cans and Franciscans, one of the forHe entered, it is said, through vo mer proposed to prove the sanctity of lumes of flame, which divided before Jerome Savonarola, by walking through him, and came out amid the acclama a blazing fire, and a Cordelier made tions of the people. It was remarked, the same offer to prove the contrary; however, that his hand had received but at the sight of the flames they some injury from the fire when throw- both ran off. George Logothetus also ing holy water and incense into the tells us of a man who refused to subpile, and that his foot was bruised. mit to the fiery ordeal, saying, he However, this proof was thought in was no charlatan, and when the archsufficient by the Pope, who acquitted bishop pressed him, he sagaciously rethe archbishop. In truth, says Duc- plied, that he would have no objeclos, who has inserted an able essay on tion to take the burning bar, provided Trial by Duel and the Elements, in he received it from the hands of his the 15th Vol. of the Memoirs of the eminence. In the time of AndroniAcademie Royale des Inscriptions, if cus, son of Michael Palaeologus, the we consider the whole story, diminish clergy of Constantinople were divided the size and brightness of the pile, about many things. They resolved and increase the injury done to the to submit their disputes to a Jedihand and foot, and regard the sentence cium Dei, but, instead of subjecting of the Pope as directed against a fana- the persons of their leaders to the tic, the wonder of this pretended mi- danger of being burnt, they wisely racle will cease.

trusted only their opinions written Aldobrandini, a Florentine monk, in upon paper or parchment, to the the eleventh century, also walked judgment of the flames, which, it through the fire, to prove an accusa was understood, would respect those tion against his bishop, and hence got that were orthodox ; but unfortunatethe name of Petrus Igneus.

ly both scrolls were reduced to ashes, All trials of this kind were con and the confidence in such appeals demned by Pope Etienne V. as false received a rude shock. and superstitious, and Frederick II. But while insensibility to the action prohibited them as absurd and ridic of fire was held to be a proof of innoculous. These facts are now quoted cence in many instances, in the case to shew, that, by a little management, of the unfortunate old women suspectthe handling of fire has always been ed of witchcraft, it received an oppopractised, an we need not add, that site interpretation, and witch-finders it was done by natural means, and carefully looked for insensible spots, a not by any miracle. Indeed, the re- certain proof of connection with his sult of the trial often was contrary to Satanic Majesty. the truth, and those who prescribed As the minds of men became more it to others had not sufficient confi- enlightenerl, the miracle of the resistdence

in it to entrust their own safety ance of fire was disputed, and it was to it. Thetberge, wife of Lothaire, sus- referred either to imposition or natupected of incest, was allowed to prove ral causes. Jerome speaks of an imher innocence by proxy, and her postor, calling himself the Messiah, champion performed successfully the who held in his mouth straw on fire, ordeal by boiling water. The queen and vomited forth flames, and by this afterwards confessed her guilt, and means excited the Jews to revolt. the advocates for the ordeal maintain- He was put to death after the capture ed, that the miracle was performed in of Bettas, favour of her guilty majesty, because Itinerants have, from time to time, she had confessed herself before the appeared, who have exhibited feats trial, or, because in taking her oath of with fire, which have attracted the

notice not merely of the vulgar, but in various forms. He put into his of the scientific.

mouth burning coals, sometimes aAn Englishman, of the name of lone, sometimes sprinkled with sul. Richardson, seems to have attracted phur, to make them burn brighter, great notice in Paris about 1677 by and chewed and swallowed them. Alhis feats with fire, which obtained for so he applied very rapidly a hot iron him the title of the incombustible man to his tongue, without injuring it. and the fire-eater. He announced in Lastly, he swallowed common wax, his bills the following performances, pitch, sulphur, and sealing wax mixwhich will bear to be compared with ed, melted, and on fire, the smoke those of our Signora :

and flames issuing out of his mouth. 1st, He chews live coals, which So strange a phenomenon appeared to may be seen burning in his mouth some a miracle and astonishing, and for a long time.

some even openly accused him of be2, He melts sulphur,-makes it ing assisted by the devil. Some asburn in his hand, -and then puts it, cribed the whole to a particular compowhile in flames, on the point of his sition, capable of protecting the tongue tongue, when he finishes by swallow- and mouth against fire, but which noing it.

body had seen or knew any thing a“ 3d, He puts a burning coal on his bout. The more cautious with mytongue, on which he cooks a piece of self, instructed by Hippocrates, thought raw flesh, or an oyster, and allows it that a great deal depended upon hato be blown with bellows for half a bit.” quarter of an hour.

About 1754 a Mr Powell seems to “ 4th, He holds a red hot bar of have had celebrity as a fire-eater in iron in his hands for a long time, England. An anonymous corresponwithout its leaving any mark. He dent of the Gentleman's Magazine, places it on a smoothing iron, and then February 1755, gives us some account takes it in his mouth, and, with his of him. teeth, throws it against the chimney, (near which the experiment was made,) fire-eater, did us the honour of a visit at

“ Last spring, Mr Powell, the famous with as much force as another person this town ; and, as he set forth in his printcould throw a stone.

ed bills that he had shown away, not only 5th, Lastly, he swallows melted before most of the crowned heads in Euglass and pitch, sulphur and wax rope, but even before the Royal Society of melted together, and in flames, so that London, and was dignified with a curious the flame comes out of his mouth, and very ample silver medal, that, he said, and this mixture makes as much noise was bestowed on him by that learned body, in his throat as if a hot iron were as a testimony of their approbation, for plunged in water.”

cating what nobody else could eat, I was He also promised, when the wea- prevailed upon, at the importunity of some ther became less severe, to walk bare friends, to go and see a sight that so many foot on red hot iron plates, and to per- thought below their notice; and I con

great kings and philosophers had not form some other feats no less surprise fess, though neither a superstitious nor an ing.

incurious man, I was not a little astonishThere can be no doubt that Mr ed at his wonderful performances in the Richardson seemed to do all that he fire-eating way." promised, for, in the Journal de Sçavans for 1677, there is an attempt,

The last remarkable instance of an and with considerable success, by M. incombustible man occurred in a SpaDodart, an academician, to explain e- niard, Senor Lionetto, who exhi

He after very thing upon rational principles. bited in Paris about 1803. Dr Peyer, of Schaffhausen, also pro- wards went to Naples, where he atbably alludes to the same individual tracted the particular notice of Dr in a letter to Dr Harder de Ignivomo Sementini, Professor of Chemistry, circumforaneo, * dated October 1677. who gave an account and explanation “ Last month I saw at Geneva an

of his performances. Englishman who handled and eat fire

66 I approached as near to him as pos

sible, that I might observe minutely what• J. J. Harderi et J. C. Peieri. Ex ever was most particular in his experiercit. Anatomico-Med. Centuria. 8vo. ments-of which the following is an acBasiliae, 1688

count: Signior Lionetto commenced the

proof of his incombustibility by putting them, and mix juice of radish with over his head a thin plate of red-hot iron, the white of egg ; mix all thoroughwhich, at least in appearance, did not alter ly, and with this composition anoint his hair. The iron had scarcely come in your body or hand, and allow it to contact with it, when a considerable quan- dry, and afterwards anoint again, and tity of dense white vapour was seen to arise. after this you may boldly take up iron A second plate of red-hot iron was likewise passed over the whole extent of his arm without hurt.” This would form an and leg.

With another red-hot iron he antacidi paste, which, however, would struck his heel and the point of the foot re

not serve for the purposes of deception, peatedly ; in this experiment the contact as it would be abundantly visible. of the fire was longer than in any of the M. Panthot, in the Journal des Sçapreceding. From the sole of his foot so vans for 1780, communicates to the much vapour was disengaged, that being Editor what he calls the secret of firevery near the experimenter, my eyes and eating. nose were sensibly affected. He also put

“ This secret was revealed by the serbetween his teeth a heated iron, which, although not red-hot, was still capable of vant of Richardson, who was the first to burning.

exhibit, about three years ago, this won“ It was announced that he had drunk derful experiment, which many ascribed to half a glass of boiling oil ; but, in fact, I

his dexterity only. found that he had never drunk such a dose,

“It consists merely in rubbing with and that he had performed this twice by pure spirit of sulphur the hands

and other

This spirit introducing a little into his mouth, not parts to be exposed to the fire. more than the third part of a spoonful, at a

does not act, as commonly believed, in time. It was likewise said that he had checking the activity of the fire, but it renwashed his hands and face in boiling

lead ; susceptible of its action, because it burns

ders the person on whom it is applied less but he now practised such an experiment and scorches the scarf-skin particularly, only in rapidly bathing the extremities of which it renders as hard as leather, so that, his fingers in liquid lead, and also carrying a very small portion of it on lis for

the first or second time, the experiment

is not so well borne as afterwards, because, tongue. He afterwards passed a piece of redhot iron over his tongue, without showing

the more it is tried, the more the skin be.

comes hard and callous, as happens to far. the Icast painful sensation. His tongue, riers and blacksmiths, whose skins become which I was able distinctly to observe in this often repeated experiment, was co

so hard, by frequently handling hot iron,

that they are often seen to carry it quite red vered with a crust similar to what is seen on the tongues of persons in fevers; that burnt. However, if, after several repeti

from one anvil to another, without being is to say, it was covered with a kind of tions of the experiment with this spirit of paste of a dirty gray colour. his foot again to the flame of burning oil, sulphur, the person washes with warm wa

ter or wine, the scorched epidermis is rebut kept it at a certain distance. In short, he threw sulphuric, nitric, and muriatic, has no longer the same power of handling

moved along with what is hardened, and he acids on inflamed charcoal, and immediately exposed bis face over the vapours which

fire, until the same application has again

scorched and hardened the skin." arose from those acids, keeping a small

" To this secret Richardson added some part of it in that situation."

slight-of-hand, which could never be disIt therefore appears that there have covered, in respect to the live coals which been, at different times, itinerants dressed a bit of meat, because he applied

he placed on his tongue, and on which he who have displayed very singular immediately next his tongue another very feats with fire. Many explanations thin slice of veal, so that the coal, which have also been offered. One of the

was between two layers of meat, could not most common is, that these persons burn him at first, and was soon extinguish. are in possession of a secret prepara- ed by the moisture with which his mouth tion, with which they anoint them- gradually filled.” selves. Albertus Magnus, in the ** Richardson's seryant also confessed thirteenth century, in his work De that the remedy might be strengthened by Mirabilibus Mundi, gives the follow- mixing equal parts of spirit of sulphur, sal ing account of it: “A wonderful ex ammoniac, essence of rosemary, and onionperiment, which enables a man to go coals

, wax, sulphur, and other substances juice.

With regard to the effect of the into the fire without being hurt, or

which he swallowed so often, upon bis stocarry fire, or red hot iron, in his mach, it is certain that he would not long hani, without injury. Take juice of have had the trouble of making this experimarshmallow, and white of egg, and ment upon substances so injurious to the stodeabane seeds, and lime; powder mach, if he had not possessed a facility of

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