Hints on fire breathing

Fire breathing can be spectacular. There are some links to photos of me fire breathing below. Here are some hints for would-be fire breathers (this is all the information I have - please don't e-mail me asking me any further questions).

Don't do it

Its dangerous. I have seen a couple of people burnt and I no longer do it. A better way to set yourself on fire could once be found here (unfortunately, that link is no longer with us and Limey is not responding to my e-mail - he must have done it once too often). After a long period when the Web was devoid of such valuable information, another site devoted to setting yourself on fire has finally appeared here ... damn - that site has gone also. I suggest you try Google.

OK, go ahead, but don't blame me

If you really must try it, I suggest following these step by step instructions.
  1. Practice with water

    Practice with water to get a fine spray created by putting a small quantity of water in the bottom of your mouth and blowing air out of a small opening in you lips as fast as possible. Practice in order to get the spray as fine as possible and avoid dribbling the water down your chin as much as possible. If you are silly enough to move on to highly flammable liquids you will notice that (probably due to the much lower surface tension) you will inevitably get the lower portion of your face covered with the liquid. You don't want it all over your chest as well.

  2. Get medical insurance

    Get the top notch coverage. Imagine being stuck in a public hospital ward surrounded by other ghastly burns victims - not exactly a barrel of laughs, is it. You want your own room with a nice view and no mirror.

  3. Don't do it alone

    You will need a friend or two, who don't care about you too much, with the following equipment.

  4. Fire Extinguisher

    When your face catches on fire you will want it extinguished as soon as possible. In your state of panic you won't be too fussy, but its preferable to have something which works with flammable liquids, won't cause chemical burns to your skin and eyes and won't cause you to inhale nasty chemicals. A damp cloth or blanket might be best.

  5. Car

    Make sure your friends know how to get you to the nearest hospital. Better still, practice just outside the entrance to the casualty section.

  6. First Aid Kit (optional)

    If you only suffer very minor burns (for example, the chemical burns you get from the liquid) then you don't really need a first aid kit. For anything more serious you will want to jump in the car straight away. The advantage of taking a first aid kit is that in years to come, when people ask you that question ("what happened to your face") you will be able to explain, smugly, that at least you had the foresight to take a first aid kit. Unfortunately they will probably think you are stupid as you are ugly since you realised the danger and still went ahead with it.

  7. Milk (optional)

    If you are an optimist its a good idea to have a glass of milk before you start, to line your stomach. Its inevitable that you swallow some of the liquid. On the other hand, if they have to perform surgery its preferable to have an empty stomach. I'll leave it up to your good judgement.

  8. Flammable liquid

    I'm not sure what the best liquid is. I have tried methylated spirits (alcohol) which does disgusting things to the inside of your mouth and shellite (like petrol without the additives). Kerosene is probably safer, though it probably tastes even worse than shellite. I believe paraffin is better. There are also some products specially designed for fire breathing, though some have been withdrawn because they cause cancer. Unfortunately there are no delicious healthy low calorie drinks which are also highly flammable.

    Having said that (and having it on my web page for quite some time), I received the following e-mail from someone who seemed to know what he was talking about:

    dude please stop using ANY fuel that burns with out a wick or in liquid form. This will only cause you great pain, the reason for parafin or a profesional liquid medium like 'XXXXX' (name deleted - see below) is that it will not burn on your face if the flame gets too close and will not ignite liquid on chin etc. I find the fact that you even mention using alcohol or other highly flamable liquids on your site and dangerous thing as it gives people the idea of using the wrong fuel when they otherwise might not have thought about it or taking yours as a difinitive answer to the question 'what to use'.

    Well, maybe that isn't the 'difinitive answer' either, as I later received the following e-mail:

    While surfing the internet today I came across your page dedicated to Fire Breathing hints. There is a section on the page which describes an email you received from someone suggesting "XXXXX" to be a fuel used for professional fire breathing. We are a company named Juggleart in Melbourne who produce this fuel for sale to performers who manipulate fire. We do NOT recommend that people use it for Fire breathing. We do NOT recommend people fire breathe at all. Would it be possible to remove the words "XXXXX" from your page? We would much appreciate it.
  9. Brand

    You need something to hold a flame away from your hand. I have used a stick with a bit of cloth soaked in the flammable liquid. You light it, hold it away from your body, take a swig of the liquid and spray it a bit above the flame. The atomised liquid should catch fire and burn very quickly (like this). If you are not careful it will burn back towards your face (like this) and set fire to the liquid on your face. Short, very fast breaths with liquids which are not too explosive are safest. Make sure you don't set fire to your hand or your friends either - the fireball can move quite a distance (like this).