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Patti Wigington

Crystal Ball Starts Fire

By August 12, 2009

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A simple cautionary tale comes to us from the UK, with the story of Kim Yeates. She's a Somerset woman who had a 4" crystal ball sitting in her windowsill. What happens when sunlight gets refracted through glass? Well, in Yeates' case it caused 10,000 worth of damage to her flat.

Yeates is now in temporary accomodcations, but because she had no insurance, she's lost pretty much everything. No one was injured, thankfully, but a neighbor climbed in to try to rescue Yeates, who wasn't home at the time of the fire.

While this is probably a pretty rare occurence, if you've got a big chunk of glass sitting in a sunny window, you might want to reconsider the location.

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August 13, 2009 at 12:06 am
(1) Jacqui.Renee says:

Wow .. that is .. scary.

August 13, 2009 at 11:21 am
(2) Persephone RS says:

Gods be thanked that no one was hurt! That is nonetheless very very shocking. Never heard of anything even akin to this happening before (aside from the magnifying glass in the sun). It just shows the true strength of our Sun.

August 13, 2009 at 1:23 pm
(3) Vandreyer says:

I had always wondered if anyone ever had a problem with this sort of thing. So many people hang crystals in windows and set things on sills or even on tables in front of windows…. Considering it actually blew up her TV that might have been pretty horrible if she had been home and even perhaps hosting friends over or something.

August 18, 2009 at 9:25 am
(4) Belinda says:

Yes, this is scary. My crystal ball in a west window burned my table. I noticed a black mark on the table and didn’t think much of it, the cat knocked over a heavy candlestick and I thought that is what did it. Next day, there was a similar mark just a 1/4 inch away from the first. That’s when I realized it was the crystal ball. Needless to say, my crystals have all been moved to safer places.

August 18, 2009 at 9:30 am
(5) Fred says:

Similar experience with a snow globe, and the thing had been there for monthe without causing a problem!

August 18, 2009 at 10:52 am
(6) moonspinner says:

Wow, that is scary. I have 4 crystals hanging in my east window, the cats love chasing rainbows they throw but guess I should take them down after reading this.

August 18, 2009 at 4:22 pm
(7) Billy says:

I guess she forgot that crystal balls should only be charged by moon light then covered with a natural cloth or stored in a chest/box. Bright Blessings to All

August 18, 2009 at 5:23 pm
(8) Inga says:

I have my crystal ball in my North/East window…along with all my crystals on the window ledge..the difference is..I do not keep the window open to old Sol..its double shaded..I have problems with migraine headaches so I keep my room VERY dark..oh…PS: I live with my parents…so this is the only room for me to put things in the window.

August 18, 2009 at 6:38 pm
(9) ahreinya says:

I’m not an expert, but I would think that hanging faceted (Austrian) crystals wouldn’t be a problem. Since they refract the light in the same way that a prism does, they don’t seem to get hot in the way that a solid crystal/glass would. The crystal ball is more similar to a magnifying glass, which of course can burn things. I’ve never heard of anyone burning anything using a prism. Again, I’m no expert.

August 19, 2009 at 12:47 am
(10) bristrothkez says:

Crazy that. I’ve had stuff in windows for years, and not a problem. So, does one time out of a million mean I should freak and take everything out, or figure that the odds are in my favor…?

August 20, 2009 at 1:22 am
(11) Jacqueline says:

Yes its possible! My dinning room table has a half moon burn mark on it because of a crystal sphere left on in the summer sun and crystals in the windows. I thought they were cig burns or from candles. but noooo! so the blinds are closed till noon, and the sphere is put up! Had a round glass vase do the same thing and leave another round mark!
Dang AZ sun shine, gotta watch her!

August 21, 2009 at 10:44 am
(12) Vilet says:

Her crystal ball was a glass ball that is why it caught fire. I have a quartz crystal that sits in my windowsill and it does not retract the sun in the way her crystal ball did.

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