Punch,  52 (1867), 233.

Liquefaction Without Contact





Supernaturalism, Miracle, Chemistry, Heat, Physiology, Experiment

    Insists that 'There exists no record of any supernatural occurrence which, having been investigated, was publicly attested by competent observers'. Discusses an extract from a report in the Tablet describing a recent alleged liquefaction of a sample of the blood of St Januarius which was witnessed by 'thousands of the faithful'. Noting the regularity of this occurrence, suggests two ways to demonstrate that the phenomenon is miraculous. First, that on the day of the alleged miracle, the vessel containing the blood should be maintained at 32ºF and that if the blood still melts while being watched by a 'committee of chemists' it can be declared a miracle. Second, that if the blood does not melt when heated to 212ºF (the temperature at which water boils) then the miracle is more likely to have happened. Warns, however, that the latter would need to be confirmed by showing that the blood (guarded against tampering) could melt 'by any other means than a heat higher than that of boiling water'.

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