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CSI Parrafin Episode 1 - And Then There Was None
When the investigators arrived, it was a scene that had been seen many times before. Yet, this disappearance seemed to have them puzzled. There was something about this case that seemed to link to other familiar cases. Investigators were determined to find out just what happened, and if one large paraffin candle could provide them with answers about the case they were about to unfold.
The paraffin candle sat on the table, half burned. What was left was a solid candle, a quarter inch burned wick, and a team of investigators standing around the table, taking photos, writing reports, and trying to determine exactly what had taken place in that very room the night before. It was going to be a long day. How, exactly, did this happen? To find out, investigators had to go back to the beginning of Melinda's day.
That afternoon, Melinda decided to spend her lunch break shopping. It was a bit messy outside from the rain, and from the feeling of the drizzles, it looked as if the drops of rain were rapidly multiplying. Melinda quickly ran from her car to get under cover. The scent of rain was damp, but there was something about that damp, rainy scent that reminded her of walking to school as a child. She loved those memories.
Melinda began to walk a bit faster toward her favorite candle store. She could tell from the captivating fragrance that she was close. Every time the door would open before her, she would capture a glimpse of the scent of the day. Melinda walked into the candle shop, and she gazed around at the different jars. That wonderful smell, it was something like honeysuckle, no, it was some sort of vanilla and honeysuckle blend. Whatever it was, it made Melinda forget what she'd come there for.
Melinda browsed the shelves until she'd stashed her basket with several large candle jars. She paid for her purchase and scurried back to work, making it back just in time from her lunch break.
That Dreary Night
Melinda burned her first candle as soon as she hit the door. It was a strong, pleasant scent that made her feel relaxed. She decided to sit down with a book and take a moment to unwind. Just as she reached the fourth chapter, something strange happened. Melinda peered up from her book. There was something odd in the air that instantly gave her chills. Melinda placed her open book page down on her antique oak coffee table and walked toward the window. It was shut and locked. She checked the other windows, and they all were locked. That eerie feeling came over her again.
Melinda walked slowly toward the candle that was burning. As she crept closer to the candle, she noticed something strange, something particularly alarming that would eventually change her life. She gasped in disbelief as she clutched her shirt. Just as she took that last step toward the burning candle, she was stopped in her tracks.
The Investigation Begins
The next morning, investigators were on the scene trying to unravel the case. It was a mystery that would take some work, but they were certain they were on the right track. The investigators went back to the store that Melinda had visited the day before. They, too, were captivated by the fragrance that filled the candle shop. As they walked through the shop, they noticed a worker replacing a half used candle with a new candle jar. It was time for questioning.
The interrogation lead to exactly what the investigators had suspected, it was a CRT, Candle Replacement Theory. It was very typical of manufactured candles. The shop would burn the candle halfway and then replace it with a new one, giving the illusion that the candles burn strong, yet in actuality, they only burn strong for the first half of the candle. They were on the path to solving the mystery, but in an effort to make sure their information was accurate, the investigators needed just a bit more evidence. They headed to the manufacturer for answers.
A Look Inside Yankee Candle
It was time for the truth, and the information the investigators would find out from the candle manufacturer would bring much more clarity to the case. The interrogation of the manufacturer revealed several things that would enlighten the investigators on the truth behind Melinda's mysterious disappearance.
It appears that the manufacturer produces many popular branded candles sold in many of today's commercial locations. These candles are mass produced using machines that can handle quick processing of of these high volumes. The candle shop that Melinda visited was no different. It, too, had shelves filled with mass produced candles by these very machines. The mass produced candles are produced quickly to bring local store locations speedy access to a variety of candle scents that meet the demands of customers, and machines are used to fulfill every step of the candle making process.
Since candle making requires a series of processes that include melting, pouring, mixing, stirring, more mixing and stirring and then testing, machines just can't accurately perform such measures. In the end, manufactured candles oftentimes miss the mark. Machines can only do what machines can do, it's the human hand that makes the difference in the quality of a candle. Handmade candles simply provide more consistent scent because their batches are smaller and more controlled.
In A Bind
There's a lot to keep in mind here," One investigator said. " A great deal of that mixing, and stirring gets lost and even left out."
The fact is that wax and fragrance have to bind. If it doesn't bind properly, you'll have fragrance oil sitting at the bottom of your candle. Another thing that happens, if the scented wax is processed under heat for too long, the very same fragrance will evaporate. It will vanish, leaving you with a candle that doesn't put out that same strong scent that you bought it for.
A second factor to consider is that the entire hot process is handled by machines, large paddles that stir in gallons of fragrance into hot wax. You can see from basic methods of how to make candles that the process is quite simple; however, the large volumes of wax blended with mechanical paddles create a mass of candles with varied results. This includes varied candles that have missed something, such as enough properly scented wax. The fact is that quality control does not include checking large batches to determine if each mass produced candle batch has missed something in its mechanical process.
It looked like the manufacturer was, indeed, in a bind, possibly from the fragrance oil's inadequate binding to the paraffin wax. The facts had been provided, and so it was confirmed. The CRT was the missing piece to the puzzle of the investigation.
Wicking it Out
This case of the disappearing candle fragrance had finally been solved. Melinda walked into the room with her head hanging low. She paid $30 for those candles! It was a cost she'd have to eat for that one candle, but the others would be returned to the store. Melinda felt at ease knowing that the investigators were able to uncover the mystery of the disappearance of her candle's scent.
Melinda picked up her book, She was eager to read the remaining chapters. With all of the commotion from the day's activities, Melinda wanted to relax. The Candle Scene Investigation was over, and she could now move forward. Melinda walked over to light the remaining candle, without any expectations of recapturing scent. She thought the warm glow would be nice as she read.
Melinda sat down and began to read. As she got to chapter 8, she could no longer see the glow from her candle. Rising from her chair, she walked, hesitantly, toward the table where the candle was sitting. She gazed at the candle jar that was no longer lit. Her jaw dropped. Then, her book dropped. Where was the wick?
Stay tuned for another Candle Scene Investigation episode, The Case of the Missing Wick.