Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-2015

Department

English

Language

English

Publication Title

The Toast

Abstract

I’m sitting alone in Girvan, Scotland, on one of the longest days of the year, looking at the late sun and thinking about the women who all of a sudden caught fire.

There were a good number of them. Enough, in the 1700s, to constitute a chapter in the medical literature. The most-quoted British case is Grace Pitt, a 60ish female whose charred corpse was discovered one morning in 1744—like “a log of wood, consumed by a fire.” But there was no fire in the grate. And nothing else in the room had been singed. Pitt was caught, it seemed, in a strange flame that came from within.

Comments

This published version is made available on Dickinson Scholar with the permission of the publisher. For more information on the published version, visit The Toast's Website.

COinS