Every once in a while the world encounters a mysterious entity – a human who seems to defy nature. Jo Girardelli was one such person. So, what was so special about Jo? In a sense she was a fire breather or fire eater we often happen to see in circuses but her abilities were far beyond the normal herd of fire eaters.
Through time, many have practiced this art of putting in sizzling hot objects in their mouths without getting a burn but Jo mastered this art to such an extent that people named her ‘Queen of the Fire Eaters’.
Not much is known about this woman except that she was born in Italy in 1780s and then moved to England in 1810s where she started climbing the ladder of fame. She performed for every class of people – wealthy and poor and by the end of each show, every single person was left spell bound with dropped jaws.
Her shows would start with a mouthful of nitric acid that she would swish around for some time and then take an iron bar and spit out the acid on it. The moment the acid came in contact with the metal, it would eat through the iron. Lesson learned? The acid she had put in her mouth was not a harmless liquid. It was in fact a highly concentrated and corrosive acid which was supposed to literally melt her mouth. But magically, the acid left her mouth unscathed.
Next in line would be the boiling oil trick. She would take a pan full of boiling oil and to prove to her audience that it was literally boiling, she would drop an egg in the oil and allow it to cook. She would then take mouthful of the boiling oil and again swish around for some time to finally spit it out on fire where the oil would literally burst into flames, proving that she had indeed put the boiling oil in her mouth. Amazingly, the boiling oil did not burn her mouth.
Her bag of tricks did not end there. The next thing she would do was take a mouthful of sealing wax in molten state. While the wax was still molten, she would ask one of her audience to step up to her and make a seal impression on the wax resting on her tongue. Being able to get so close to Girardelli, the volunteer person definitely had a better view of what happened but no one ever found a trace of any trickery.
Next in line was her molten lead trick. She would pick up some of the molten lead with her bare hand and fill her mouth with it. She would the take out solid coin-sized pieces of lead from her mouth. This literally meant that the hot molten lead cooled and solidified inside her mouth and there were absolutely no burns.
She would do something more to prove that not only was her mouth immune to fire but so were the other parts of her body. She would take a shovel and place it on fire until it became red hot. She would then take the shovel and press it against her arms and hair and miraculously, her skin and hair would not burn. She closed her shows by sticking out her tongue and pressing it against the red hot shovel. The moment she did that, a hissing sound became audible as it happens when a wet substance touches a red hot metal.
With such amazing tricks, it was no wonder that not only did she earn fame but she also attracted the attention of scientists and skeptics. Scientists simply did not agree that there was some kind of protective ointment in use because the kind of heat she dealt with would render any and all protective ointments useless. The skeptics on the other hand did their best to find out if at all she used any kind of trickery but unfortunately, they failed!
After earning fame in England, she moved out. No one was able to trace her whereabouts. She just disappeared. But, even though she has never been seen again, till date she still remains the undisputed Queen of the Fire Eaters.
Sources: 1, 2