Sunday, August 14, 2005

He didn't see this one coming- Psychic's crystal ball starts blaze

Psychic's crystal ball burns down his flat in unforeseen blaze

IF HERVE VANDROT, a French amateur psychic, took out a warranty on his crystal ball, he may soon be claiming on it. Instead of predicting that his flat would catch fire, the fortune-telling device was the cause of the blaze.

M Vandrot, 24, who is studying botanics at Edinburgh University, left the ball on his windowsill while he visited the city’s Royal Botanic Garden. By the time he returned, the ball had destroyed his own and two other flats, and had left several others uninhabitable.

The student, who uses the ball for psychic purposes, suffered blistering to his hand when he burst into his burning top-floor flat in the city’s Marchmont area in an effort to rescue his university course work. He was removed from the building by some of the 35 firefighters who had arrived to tackle the unforeseen inferno.

Marchmont’s streets of elegant Victorian tenements are popular with students. M Vandrot had moved in only two weeks ago.

M Vandrot, released from hospital after a night having his hand treated, denied that his crystal ball had been the cause of the blaze. “I don’t think it is capable of doing that. I think it was an electrical fault; the plug of my computer was melted.”

Edinburgh’s firefighters disagreed, and roundly blamed the ball. “Strong sunlight through glass, particularly if the glass is filled with liquid like a goldfish bowl, concentrates the sun’s rays and acts like a magnifying glass,” a spokesman said. The fire had been started by the ball concentrating a ray of sunshine on a pile of washing, he said.

One of M Vandrot’s friends, who was helping him to sift through the debris yesterday, said: “I don’t think it was the crystal ball. I have had crystal balls on my windowsills for years and nothing happened.”

One neighbour said: “I think he and his friends are all into fortune-telling and crystal-healing stuff. But I didn’t realise the crystals could have that effect. It was a terrible night for us.”

Times Online


Blogger Cujo said...

I have heard of this happening before and it was featured on a TV programe on Fire Investigators. In the case in question they initially thought that the fire had been caused by an unnattended candle but on further investigation they concluded that it had been strong sunlight focused by a crystal ball on the windowsill.

It usually isn't a problem because it's rare in britain to have the sun shine strongly for long enough. However I wont be keeping any crystal balls on my windowsill

Sunday, August 14, 2005  

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