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Fire Magic

  1. Jun 9, 2009 #1
    In many fantasy books and movies, like Harry Potter for example, there are wizards or priest who perform "fire magic" by throwing various powders into a fire cauldron. The effect is a poof of smoke or a flash. I guess the intent is to evoke some spirit or something. My question is what agents were known or could have been known back in the age of alchemy that could produce any interesting effects. I just need some descriptions or leads for historical research and am not intending to experiment. I am not seeking anything dangerous or explosive, just some cheap effects that could have been known to magicians of maybe a 1000 years ago. My inquiry is therefore possibly historical as well as pertinent to chemistry.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 10, 2009 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Any highly flammable powder will do.
  4. Jun 10, 2009 #3
    Thanks Borek, that was very informative. I would never have thought of that.
  5. Jun 10, 2009 #4
    Bahaha, come on, it's only a joke.
  6. Jun 11, 2009 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    Actually, it is not a joke. Trick is to have the substance finely powdered, so that it can create an aerozol.
  7. Jun 11, 2009 #6
    I actually need to verify some ideas that I got for "magically" starting a campfire for a group I lead.
    1. Potassium Permangante mixed with Glycerine will ignite?
    2. Powdered Aluminum mixed with crushed Iodine Crystals and then wet with water will produce purple smoke and then ignite?
    3. Powdered Chlorine (HTH pool chemicals) plus Pine Oil (PineSol) will also ignite?

    The idea being to "magically" light a campfire for a ceremony.
  8. Jun 16, 2009 #7

    This shows how to start a fire with water. The site also sells the chemicals needed, and as far as my experience goes, they are pretty reliable.
  9. Jun 16, 2009 #8
    You can try it with flour. :approve:
  10. Jun 19, 2009 #9
    on Tv's SurvivorMAN he really had to make fire so he sacrificed 2 things out of his first aid kit...simply by mixing he had a pretty violent fire.

    anyone know what this could have been?
  11. Jun 28, 2009 #10
    powdered aluminum works great , and so does sanded hardwood dust.
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