28 comments on “Fire Breath. 1883.

    • I can imagine that it would be a very inconvenient power to have! Imagine if everything you breathed on burst into flame, “I’ll just blow the dust off this important paperwork we had in storage”…. whoosh! eeek! 🙂

  1. He He, Now if it was a woman I could understand. The minute her tongue went into overdrive…….. But as it was a man and as I’m quite fond of my kneecaps I’m going to go along with you on theis one Metan and suggest the article itself was the scam and the breathing the distraction needed.

    • If it was a woman shouldn’t the story go ” whatever she held to her mouth and talked into was immediately turned into confetti” as a direct effect of her sharp tongue? 😉
      I would love to know how this fire trick was done though.

      PS: the baseball bat is in the mail, adressed directly to your kneecaps 😀

  2. How do circus firebreathers do it? I mean I know they have a lit torch to spit petrol on whatever but maybe whatever is on a match head was on the handkerchief and he breathed alcohol vapour onto it or something? While rubbing. Ah heck, this is a hard one. 😦

    • Notice how quickly circus firebreathers perform the act though? If they held the torch nearer their mouth having had just spat out flammable fluid their whole head would go up. This sounds like he holds it to his face while he is doing it.

      I expect that there is some sort of substance that is easily lit by friction that the handkerchiefs etc were soaked in. I would have liked to read that he could do the trick with the hankie of a random audience member though, that would sound a little less set up, wouldn’t it.

      Of course there is the possibility, however unlikely, that he actually could set things on fire with his breath. No kissing for him! 😉

      • Didn’t you say he could do it with newspaper as well? I must say of all the odd articles you’ve unearthed for us this one is by far one of the most intriguing because… yes, could it be true?

        And no, no kissing for this young man!

        • Newspaper, yes, it also says he could set dry leaves on fire when needed while he was out hunting. We could really use someone like him on a cold camping trip, that’s for sure.

          I wonder if the doctor gained any fame and fortune from his association with the fire breathing Mr. Underwood? That would argue for a less than thorough examination of all other possibilities.

          I looked at the very few other items about him and it seems that the doctor really did try to find out how it was done but failed. I couldn’t find any other reference to Underwood being ‘ignorant’ either so perhaps he wasn’t simple minded, just uneducated. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t really good at slight of hand though, does it.

          Apparently Underwood slipped from view and the doctors notes were never followed up on. Another interesting story lost to time…. darn it!

          • If he was running a clever scam of some sort it doesn’t sound as if he made his fortune from it. If he had I’d be far more skeptical. To be honest there’s a part of my that would just love to believe this could be true. After all, did they ever properly debunk Uri Geller and his spoons?

  3. this definitely sounds like a trick to me. Yes, it may have sounded amazing when it first happened; however, to get onto the mind of the Vice President? Probably something for attention grabbing, in my opinion 🙂

    And to be honest, I can’t do this trick and don’t want to 🙂

    • I agree, there are a lot of other superpowers I would rather have than fire breath. It would certainly freak out a dentist though! 😉

      I was interested in the case that the VP had involved himself in too. I wondered if it was during an election campaign and he was trying to appeal to the public in a different way.

      Your election campaigns in the US go for so long I can imagine that in the days before instant media they had to think of novel ways to keep the spotlight on themselves!

    • It is funny how few other references there are to him. Surely he should have been snapped up by some travelling circus or freak show and made some money. Makes me wonder what was really going on. Perhaps his fading from the public eye was after he was privately revealed as a hoax. Maybe everyone involved just wanted him to go away to keep their good names untarnished.

    • Thanks! 😀 I think history was probably always fun, we just spent too many years at school being taught how dry and boring it could be… bleh…. Imagine if they had taught this kind of stuff in High School. Everyone might have paid attention!

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