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The sun as a source of ignition and essential oils as a combustible substance when the fire poltergeist (experiment)

Added Tue, 04/04/2017

There are three main groups of theories of the emergence of a fiery poltergeist: the natural, mystical and falsification. Among the hypotheses, suggesting natural causes for the fire poltergeist, there is a versionthat explains the appearance of fire concentration of sunlight on flammable surfaces. As one of the possible reasons for the increased Flammability of everyday items often provide their impregnation of such substances as essential oils and alcohol.

Incidents that can be explained using this version, it is not unusual among the reports of the Ministry of emergency situations and the stories of ordinary people. As example, two cases described on June 15, 2011 in [1]:

  • "Next to the right hand on the table is a plastic ball. Such a transparent thing, in which vesicles composed of three-dimensional image of something like a Church, trees, etc. so he has to focus the sun's light that on it fell right on my hand. When the beams precisely focused on the skin, I felt the burn."
  • "We in order to be able without interference to drink tea and to wash my hands, kept the whole battery three-liter cans with water reserve. To this stock did not take place on the table, banks were lined up on the window sill – as I remember, about five. So, waking up about ten, I vybrala sleepily into the kitchen and was taken aback, standing under the window of the small kitchen, the couch was Smoking! Foam in the back, covered with tapestry, burned out, or rather, villela a pretty deep hole. I did not realize what was going on – we have an in house, no Smoking, electric stove – matches ie, in everyday life Turned out that the bright spring the sun's rays focused through a jar of water and set fire to the sofa."

In this article we present the results of an experiment in which we tried to burn samples of the various materials mentioned in the eyewitness accounts of a fiery poltergeist, concentrating the solar rays with the help of objects that are found in ordinary apartments, as well as to deduce patterns and to achieve not only corruption, but also open fire.

The experiment was conducted in the period from 17 to 24 June 2012. Weather conditions during this period remained stable: temperature from 20 to 29 ºC, a pressure of about 750 mm Hg. article, cloud is negligible or absent.

As a device for beam focusing was used a simple lens in China. The focused beam diameter (the minimum for this lens) is 4 mm. the Speed of focus of the lens mounted on the tripod, due to the rotation of the Earth is 1 mm for 30 s (5 min). When the diameter of the focus is equal to 4 mm the exposure time of the beam of solar light on the sample material equal to 2 minutes is the maximum time within which you may receive fire.

The experiment was conducted in the period from 11-30 to 12-00 Moscow time in direct sunlight at an ambient temperature of 24-28 degrees, no clouds, humidity of 42-54%.

For a start, it was decided to test the ability to achieve ignition of plain paper. As test samples were taken three paper option: white, black and white with a black spot. A priori it was assumed that black paper should illuminate faster as it absorbs the energy of the incident sunlight, unlike white which reflects it.

The results of the experiment are given in the table.

The type of material Color Time prior to the corruption The minimum diameter of focus, mm The maximum diameter of the focus, mm
Paper White 5:51 4
Paper Black 0:02 4 15
Paper White with a black spot 0:06 4 6

In a series of experiments was achieved only decay samples without open flame. At the same time to decay the samples was necessary to have a continuous source of heat – as soon as the lens was removed, the samples were no longer smoldering. Single layer samples continued to smolder as soon as the beam burned through the hole. Perhaps the decay of multilayer samples, especially from flammable materials (such as wool), can last long and cause a fire.

Because in any case there was an open flame, it was decided to try to provoke him: find something that can occur in everyday life and contribute to a fire. There is a hypothesis that the Wallpaper and curtains absorb a couple of essential oils and this is when focusing sun light on them flashes flame was recreated the conditions of a poorly ventilated space with the aroma lamps (geranium essential oil), which was placed samples of Wallpaper and fabrics (see picture).

Photo samples of paper and fabrics: 1 – the Wallpaper is paper coated with 2003 pre-owned; 2 – textile Wallpaper 2010, new; 3 – Wallpaper paper, 1997 used; 4 – Wallpaper paper 2006 new; 5 – Wallpaper, paper, coated 2009, new; 6 – cotton fabric; 7 – blackout curtains (polyester);8 – tulle (polyester).

In the experiment table is built according to the minimum ignition time of samples on the duration of impregnation of essential oil vapors.

The duration of treatment, days Time prior to the corruption The presence of the flame
0 1:12 no
1 0:55 no
3 0:18 no
5 0:11 no
6 0:11 no

As can be seen, after six days of impregnation of essential oil vapors the time of the fire ceased to decrease. However, neither the sample impregnated with vapors, no sample soaked in drops, nor do drops of essential oil with a lens ignite failed.


Under certain conditions it is possible to achieve a decay of at least some of the material encountered in everyday life, with concentration of sunlight the subject playing the role of collecting lenses. However, to achieve open flame failed even to flammable materials. Two minutes of exposure to the restricted area of the sample is neither "pure" nor is impregnated with essential oils of fabrics and wallcoverings of different colors was not enough for the appearance of the flame. Impregnation vapors of essential oils affects only the start time of decay, but does not contribute to the flames.

The flame is expected to occur under certain conditions: for example, when exposed to the sun on highly fresh pair of high-quality essential oils with low temperature combustion, or alcohol. Impregnation of household items with alcohol can not be attributed to natural causes of fire poltergeist due to the high rate of evaporation, but fraud (for example, to get photos and video) alcohol can play a role. However, such experiments we have not done.

Thus, with constant exposure to focused sunlight can, for example, to a hole in the upholstery of the sofa or a small burn, but the fire due to evaporation of essential oils in most cases is unlikely.

In the next experiment, we test the impact of sunlight on objects soaked in fatty oils.


Thank you for the advice, the candidate of physical and mathematical Sciences Irina Alexandrovna, Murzakevich

Translated by «Yandex.Translator»

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