(ORDO NEWS) — Fire only occurs when certain materials – combustible material, oxidizing agent, and heat source – are present in the right proportions. The absence of one or more of these elements will cause the flame to go out.
However, it is believed that there are lamps whose flame continues to burn for an exceptional amount of time without human intervention. This phenomenon, which has not received a scientific explanation, is really very intriguing. What are these so-called ever-burning lamps? And do they really exist?
Eternally burning lamps were recorded by writers from different parts of the world in different periods of history. In the ancient world, for example, the writer Plutarch, in his work De Defectu Oraculorum, mentions a lamp that burned above the door of the temple of Jupiter Ammon in Egypt.
According to Plutarch, the priests of the temple claimed that the lamp stood in the open air, and neither wind nor rain extinguished it. Similar stories are given about the altar of the temple of Apollo Karney in Cyrene and the great temple of Aderbain in Armenia.
Another classical author, Pausanias, wrote about the golden lamp in the temple of Minerva Polias in Athens. It was believed that this lamp, built by the scientist Callimachus, could maintain a constant flame for a year without requiring refueling or trimming the wick.
It was also believed that Numa Pompilius, the legendary second king of Rome, could communicate directly with the gods, and that he created a lamp that burned forever in a temple he dedicated to an elemental being. Some even suggest that Numa wielded electricity, and that his successor, Tullus Hostilius, died when his attempt to generate electricity from lightning failed.
Eternally burning lamps have also been described in the Late Antique and Medieval periods. It is said that during the reign of the Byzantine emperor Justinian, an ever-burning lamp was found by soldiers either in Edessa or in Antioch.
According to this story, the lamp was found in a niche above the city gates, and inscriptions indicate that the lamp has been burning for 500 years. St. Augustine also mentions an ever-burning lamp in an Egyptian temple dedicated to Venus, and suggests that this is the work of the devil.
During the reign of Henry VIII (or during the early Middle Ages, according to another source), an ever-burning lamp was also found in England. When Henry separated from the Roman Catholic Church and founded the Church of England, he demanded the destruction of Catholic churches and communities if they refused to join his new church.
It seems that even the dead were not spared. When they opened the tomb of a rich man who died around the 4th century AD, they found a lamp in it, which was still burning. Some even claim that this tomb belonged to Constantius Chlorus, the father of Emperor Constantine.
In India, the ancient Hindu temple of Jwala Ji, located in the lower Himalayan city of Jawalamukhi in Himachal Pradesh, has an ever-burning blue flame that emanates from stones at different places in the temple. Jwala means “flame”. It is believed that it has been constantly burning since the beginning of its history.
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