I've never done it. I really have no interest. But I seem to be bumping into a lot of people that have done it recently.
And .... I wonder ....
I've never heard of anyone trying it and burning themselves.
I wonder if this is one of those things where people feet don't burn easy. I wonder if has nothing to do with the power of the mind over .... getting burned.
I wonder if somebody that is into piercings, tattoos, scarring, etc. would get all excited about getting burned, then do the same thing everybody else is doing and get to the end of the coals without a burn. (Damn!)
Coal walking has been looked at by everyone from the Mythbusters to Penn & Teller to James Randi to who knows who else. it has to do more with the preparation of the coals than anything else. there is a layer of ash that coats the coals, which is a pretty good insulator. and you don't stand on the coals very long at all...
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If I remember correctly, there are 3 main components to walking on coals, but I can only remember two:
1. Walk at a normal pace. If a person walks faster or with an unusual stride it will stir up the coals which will burn your feet. If you walk at a normal stride each step puts your foot on the coals for less than a second.
2. The way the coals are spread out. The temperature on the top of the coals (where you walk) is way cooler than you'd anticipate (I believe it was approx. 300 degrees F, as compared to around 750 degrees F underneath, but I can't remember for sure on the temperatures). While it is still quite warm, the short length of time means you won't burn your feet. Going along with number 1, however, if you walk quickly or with an unusual stride you will stir up the coals and get the 750 degree painfulness.
I watched the Mythbusters episode on this, and it was pretty cool. Kari, Grant and Tory all walked on coals fine with there first try after VERY minimal training. I'd like to try it sometime.
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I think even if you were to fall you could just roll off the path of fire and be fine, however I wouldn't recommend fire-walking to anyone who's accident prone.
Well I have seen people walking in a pit of burning wood (not coal) so if someone falls, there is no chance of getting out unhurt.
Also since its burning wood and not coal, more than half of Wikipedia's reasons don't hold.