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The Ghost In the Flame

Updated on October 21, 2014

Is the fire alive?

The Ghost in the Flame

A look at fire in a whole new light

By: Sam Little

Being a volunteer fire fighter the sight of a furious blaze devouring everything in it's path is no new thing. I am no stranger to the image of the flame leaping from one board to the next, dancing from one stick of furniture to another, all the while growing bigger and stronger from it's "meal". Fire, in many ways is the scariest entity of nature. It is as unpredictable as it is beautiful. At one point science spent many hours on end discussing fire and if it is more than just an element. It was once thought and in many ways is still thought today that fire is a living entity. I will admit that is not a heavily discussed topic in this day and age but some researchers and scientists still linger over a cup of coffee and question the true nature of the flame.

Seeing fire up close and very personal I can only give you my opinion. It does move as if it has a mind of it's own. You hit it with the hose and suddenly without any reason to do so it shifts direction and enters a new part of the home you are trying to save. As it consumes everything within it's way it grows, almost the same way a human does. If you cut off it's oxygen it dies. It almost seems to be a living, breathing entity that we can create or destroy but never avoid. If fire can be alive than fire can be dead. If that is the case than fire can be a ghost, at least in theory. In this article I want to educate you a little on some cases in which fire seems to have a life of it's own, and I will actually break into my correspondent work case files and display a case in which the fire was in all respects a ghost of the past. Before we venture onward I want to relay a story to you I was told some time back.

When I had first entertained joining my town's local volunteer fire department I was told a very interesting story. I was familiar with it to some extent as when I was younger a simular story was featured on the Nick station in their popular show "Are You Afraid of the Dark". I had no idea however that it was a tale told in fire stations all over and that many have claimed it to be a true account.

A Look at Cases of Living Flame

Some have speculated that spontaneous human combustion (SHC) is in fact the result of an attack by spirit fire. It is directed it seems at a living being and manages to completely engulf them in flame while rendering the surrounding area unharmed. Another thought on the subject is that spirits manifest as orbs sometimes and with that if fire was a living being that has gone on to the other side than it to would possess the same ability and this would explain the phenomena of ball lightning. While there are so many explanations for SHC, and in truth there are a wide array of books written on the matter, some cases do not fall into SHC categories. The following cases will reflect how fire may in fact be a living being.

The Strange Case of DR. De Brus

Dr. De Brus had the most frightening experience with fire in 1829. His brother had somehow managed to catch his clothes on fire. The man burned with a rage that would most likely kill him so the Dr. jumped in and attempted to put the fire out. Without warning both of his hands burst into a dark blue flame. The fire leaped and danced about his hands all the while causing him much pain but not actually burning the flesh of the hands. The thick blueish flames burned for hours on end and only the constant submersion in water eventually extinguished the ghostly flame. The Dr. despite all his years of education and his experience as a practicing man of medicine could not explain what had happened to him or his hands. He was completely at a loss for words on the subject all together.

While often discussed in terms of SHC, this case does not fall into the typical frame of such cases. The subject was not burned by the flame and the flame did not come out of nowhere. Nothing was on the DR.'s hands that would have caused the flame to react as it had done. Did the fire, sensing it's demise attack Dr. De Brus to keep him from ending it's life? Could the blue flame be the spirit of the fire that the DR. did manage to put out before he himself was set ablaze? That is a series of questions we may never fully be able to answer but regardless it is a case in which we must at least look at fire a little differentally.

The Case of the Burning Clothes

In the British West Indies in the month of August 1929 a very strange case was reported. The subject in this most amazing case was a woman. What really separates this case from SHC cases in general is the woman would not come to any harm at all from the fires that plagued her. In fact she would never even feel them in most cases. Her clothes would burst into flames at random times and burn away while she would often not even notice the glow from her own person. Even the girl's hair which hung down on the back of her garments would remain in tact and unharmed by the scorching fire that made her clothes non existent. This is a very different case then we are used to dealing with. It is not a very easy concept to imagine a flame that will burn the very clothes off the back of a person all the while doing no damage to that person at all. In fact science at the time this case was reported would not even acknowledge it because it could not grasp that aspect of the situation.

The Case of the Ghost Flame

The last case is one that I had the distinction of working on as a correspondent. I will leave out any names and personal information. While the first two cases give us the idea that fire is alive, this case will present us with the idea that it can return from death as a ghost does and haunt the living. This case gives fire the guise of a spirit being that can without much effort drive a family from their home.

I came to work on this case rather oddly actually. I was contacted by a friend on one of the many paranormal communities I frequent online about a case he was having trouble getting to the bottom of. I was eager and glad to help as I have always felt working with other researchers is the best way to learn and gain more knowledge in this field. The father would return from work at around 7 in the evening. Often he would find his home and his garage full of a fire that appeared as real as the car he drove home in. The windows would be gone and the fire would pour out and reach skyward. Upon a close inspection he would come to find the fire was not real. It was somehow an illusion, but items in his garage would suffer singe marks from the illusionary flames.

At first I felt this was a residual haunting involving fire but that would not explain the burned items the man would find. I had my friend get me history and ownership information on the home and nothing would explain the fire being there. I was at a loss on this one and could not give an opinion without actually being there in person to see the event for myself. I had offered to make the trip to investigate with my team and in return all we would need is a place to bed down at and some help with the gas expenses. The trip was in planning but after a long day at work the father returned home to the typical sight he saw no less than three times a month only this time it was followed by the screams of his family. He burst into the home to find things normal. His family were doing their usual routines and he could not longer deal with the ghostly flames that haunted his small home. Before I could make the trip the man and his entire family left the home. They sold it and moved to a new house in the same area. Despite attempts to contact the man and check on the status of the new owner, I have not been able to find anymore out about this case.

Could this case be an account of fire having a spirit? I think it serves that cause rather well actually. I wish I would have had a chance to actually get to the case and check out what was going on but that did not happen. Fire, is it alive? Does it have a spirit? I will leave you to decide that for yourself. Happy Hunting!!!

The classic photo of the girl ghost in the burning building. Was she the physical representitive of the flames that ravaged the building.
The classic photo of the girl ghost in the burning building. Was she the physical representitive of the flames that ravaged the building.


Elements of Medical Jurisprudence by: Theodorie R & John B. Beck
Fire From Heaven by: Micheal Harrison


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