In November of 2006, Blaze were contracted to the TV show 'Brainiac' to provide its expert services in helping explain the physics behind such seemingly 'Impossible' acts such as lying on a bed of nails, breaking concrete across peoples chests and of course our other area of expertise walking on red hot coals unharmed.
We were chosen because of our 'No Nonsense' approach to these events and our flawless health and safety record. Other people who teach firewalking had been considered but in the words of one of the researchers we spoke to, a lot of the others 'just could not clearly explain how it works in physical terms, without resorting to mumbo-jumbo and magical thinking'.
This came as no surprise to us. We have always prided ourselves on having a scientific and pragmatic approach to all of our events and being chosen precisely because of that reason was a good thing in our book.
The first thing we filmed and demonstrated was the physics behind how it is possible to smash a very dense bull nosed concrete kerb stone across the chest of the shows presenter John Tickle without him suffering any injury.
(It is the policy of Brainiac to never show an outside expert on screen, preferring instead to foster the illusion that their experts know all the answers to the questions raised on the show. However they changed that policy on this rare occasion because they needed the expertise of Martin Sterling when it came to wielding the sledge hammer that day. They were taking no risks that day with the safety of their presenter.So,dressed up as a workman (or,as one by-stander commented,'a fluorescent green telly tubby') Sterling was front and centre in this piece.)
John was very uncomfortable under the weight of that curb stone and it was a pleasure for him when it was smashed by Martin Sterling and he could breath again!
The second demonstration of the day was the physics behind lying on a bed of nails. Blaze had been contracted to build a bed of nails and bring it to the set where, after being demonstrated as safe by Blaze personnel, John Tickle was subjected to the experience. Once again, he emerged unscathed and 'unpunctured', his biggest compliment of the day being how cold the nails were!
Finally, as the sun was setting, it was time for the firewalk.
Martin Sterling had to correct the science a couple of times in rehearsal as they were propergating the old story about 'a layer of protective ash' forming a hundredth of a millimetre above the red hot coals, this supposedly being the reason it was possible.
(Can you imagine ANYTHING that's only a hundredth of a millimetre thick being able to protect you from temperatures of 640 C and above? I mean, scientists, Pleeeeese....:-))Blaze quashed that myth altogether that day by building a monster fire for the show.
The team from Brainiac inserted a thermocouple into the hot coals a minute before the firewalk began in order to measure the temperature of the surface.
Needless to say, the thermocouple melted!
Naturally, after adequate preparation from Sterling on a one on one basis - and after being tested by the safety team from Blaze who had engineered the fire - John Tickle walked the fire not once but THREE times and emerged unscathed.
Another great show for Brainiac. Another great performance from Blaze.
Before the day concluded, Sterling was in talks for a possible future show regarding 'myth-busting' the process behind walking on broken glass, breaking arrows on your throat and breaking boards with your bare hands.
Watch this space for details :-)