Yes Mom, I ate fire this weekend . . .

Every once in a while you do something that you know you can’t tell your mom about until after you’ve done it. You know that taking a class called Fearless Fire Eating is just not really going to go over very well with mom.

It’s really quite safe, though you know you’ll never convince mom of that. From what Kristina, our instructor said, it’s the safest fire performance art, since you have complete control over the fire.


It’s not like you’re spinning or swinging it around, where gravity has the control.

Once again you could try telling mom this, but she’ll have fingers in her ears yelling La, La, La. So yeah, I chickened out and didn’t tell her until after the class. My ears are still ringing from the loud exclamation over the phone of “YOU DID WHAT!”

Then of course there comes the “why” question. Insert loud mom voice – “WHY ON EARTH?!” You stop and think about making a crack about because it’s closer than the moon, but decide against it.

Really I took the class because of my work. See, I work in the Marketing Department here at The Crucible; my co-worker Jan and I (who are basically the whole marketing department) decided to take it together. Hey, what better way to get people to swing by our information table at events than to eat fire, right? Plus what better way to promote a class than taking it yourself? As you might well expect, these reasons didn’t go over so well with mom. I’m sure she thinks I’m crazy and she is looking for a therapist for me as we speak.

Mom wasn’t so open to hear about me singeing off arm hair, but I’m sure all of you are much more interested in the fiery details. So, here we go.

Once we got though all the safety stuff and made our own fire eating torches we got down to the fiery fun. First she had us start with basic rubbing alcohol as fuel. Yep, the stuff you buy at Longs Drugs. It provides a smaller flame for us to start off with.

We lit our torches and passed our hands over the flame to get acquainted with fire. Then we tapped the torch to the palms of our hands and rolled it along our arms. Basically lighting ourselves on fire. Yes we are crazy people. It didn’t hurt though. The flame just sat there on your skin until the alcohol burned off or you lightly shook your arm or hand to put it out.

Then we moved to the reason we were all there–eating fire. Kristina showed us the technique and taught us about safety precautions and emergency measures. Apparently inhaling with fire in your mouth is a very bad idea. So we were instructed to all take deep breaths and hold it while eating to avoid accidentally inhaling the fire. For the first few minutes before we all try to extinguish our torches, we stare at them contemplating how insane we are for doing this. Then took a deep breath and plunged the fiery torches into our mouths.

After we all got our the initial fear of actually putting the torches into our mouths we all took turns watching each other light our tongues on fire. This all sounds completely sane, right? Okay, maybe not, but it was sooo cool!

At this point we are all giggling like little kids passing fire up and down our arms, lighting our tongues on fire, eating fire. Kristina, seeing we are comfortable, then brings out the big fuel, white gas, a.k.a Coleman Camping Fuel. Can you say yummy? It burns much bigger and gives you a mouth full of fire. We all fuel up with the white gas and start playing with it along our skin. This time it stayed lit longer and if you didn’t put it out right away, it did burn a bit, but didn’t hurt.

Really it wasn’t that bad. You would think that it would be hot, but it was just warm. As our instructor put it, you have a much better chance burning your mouth with the cheese from your pizza or your morning Starbucks.

Kristina taught us to run one unlit torch up your arm leaving a line of fuel, and then touch the fuel stream with your other lit torch so the flame runs up your arm to light the unlit torch. Needless to say none of us had much arm hair left by the time we were done. Maybe we are on to a new way of hair removal? Maybe not.

We next moved on to learn what Kristina called “Dragon’s Breath.” My co-worker Jan was great at this. For this trick you put the lit torch into your mouth and close your mouth gently around the torch, cradling the fire in your mouth, then gently remove the torch without opening your mouth too much so a bit of the fire is left behind in your mouth. Then once the torch is out of the way, you gently blow the fire out your mouth like a dragon. So very cool. The next step in the trick is to light a second torch with your “Dragons Breath.” I got a small flame to come out, but nothing big enough to light my second torch. I’ll keep practicing of course.

The final move was to eat two torches at once. There’s a special hand grip to this one, which I’m also still trying to get down, but I did successfully put out a double mouth full of fire twice! Hurray, me.

Tips for others looking to take this class? There’s the basic stuff, like wearing natural fiber clothing and closed toe shoes, bring a flavored water to keep your mouth moist, pull your hair back. My pointers; bring gum for after class, you’ll so want a different taste in your mouth at the end. Bring Chap Stick for your lips. You’ll be licking them a lot and they get a bit dry. Also don’t plan anything directly after the class. You’ll want to shower off the singed hair smell.

Overall, this was one of the hottest experiences I’ve ever had. Pun intended.

Alameda, CA