SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, ANTIQUE, ILOILO CITY - On March 5, 2011 a bizarre news story came out of the Philippines about a three year-old girl who could “predict” fires. The report was confirmed by the local mayor in the story after he allegedly witnessed the girl predict a spontaneous fire. Mayor Rony Molina put a fire truck on standby near the girl’s family residence.
The girl’s father originally claimed that she said there was going to be a fire at 9 a.m. Later, a spare tire for the motorized rickshaw he drove for his job burst into flame without contact with any visible ignition source. He checked his wristwatch, it was 9 a.m. The story was all the stranger in that the father claimed that the girl did not yet know how to tell time and that there were no clocks in the household.
After stories of the girl’s alleged power began to circulate throughout the area, one noted for deep roots in folklore and magic, mayor Molina paid a visit. While there the girl said that something was going to burn. Moments later a shirt that had been hung on the clothesline to dry burst into flame.
It has also been reported that the girl had the ability to point her finger, say the word “fire” and whatever object she was pointing at would suddenly erupt in flame. Of course, many of these reports are highly dubious and may ultimately be the result of rumor.
Unfortunately though, the little girl has not gotten through this story unscathed, news videos online show the girl’s legs and feet to be burned and scarred (see picture at right and video below). The girl was taken to be baptized as the cause of the fires was believed to be “evil spirits”. It was reported that during the baptism ceremony a paper flyer tacked to the church bulletin board caught fire. It was also reported that there is video of this incident, taken by one of the girl’s godmothers, but it has not materialized online.
A similar story came out a year later about a girl in Vietnam. Perhaps what the world needs is a real-life Charles Xavier.
People who exhibit or are alleged to exhibit the ability to predict, create or control fire with just their mind are called pyrokinetic. The term “pyrokinesis” was coined by author Stephen King in his novel “Firestarter”, about a young girl who could start fires with her mind. It has been pointed out that the term isn’t necessarily accurate, but was probably invented by conjoining “telekinesis” - the ability to move objects with one’s mind, with the ancient Greek word for uncontrolled fire, “pyro”.