Playing with fire

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11-year-old girl with "˜supernatural' power to set things alight has parents terrified for her safety


The room set on fire by what her parents believe is the "supernatural power" of their daughter, 11-year-old T.

The family of an 11-year-old girl in Ho Chi Minh City has placed water buckets and fire extinguishers everywhere in their house after finding that she triggers fires with some "supernatural power" that she has apparently no control over.

Electrical appliances, mattresses, wardrobes, chairs and many objects around her have melted or caught fire, but doctors are unable to find anything extraordinary or problematic with the fifth grader, who lives with her parents in a three-story house in the A75 residential area on Bach Dang Street in Tan Binh District.

"We have been worried and exhausted over the past month since the mysterious fires began," said her father Pham Quoc Viet.

Viet said he wanted his daughter identified only as T., fearing it would further disrupt the girl's life once her full name was widely reported in the media.

He said the "abnormalities" began more than a month ago when the automatic circuit breaker repeatedly cut their house's electricity. The electricity company's workers failed to find any short circuit.

About a week later, many electricity sockets, wires and switches melted whenever their daughter went near them.

The family suspected T. was the reason for the fires after they took her to a relative's house and found similar incidents happening there.

When the family went to the beach in the southern province of Ba Ria - Vung Tau on April 30, electrical sockets and a bathroom telephone also melted.

Viet said her "supernatural power" was becoming stronger everyday.

"She only said she was a little tired whenever the strange things happened," he said.

One time, T. was using the toilet when she told her parents that her buttocks felt hot. They rushed in to find that the toilet seat had become twisted and out of shape.


A switchboard that allegedly began melting when 11-year-old T. was standing near it. Her parents and relatives believe T. has a hitherto uncontrollable "supernatural power" that sets things around her on fire.

Last week, the shirt she was wearing suddenly caught fire when she was at home with her mother. The minor fire was quickly extinguished.

Viet and his wife have had to stop working over the past weeks to take care of their daughter.

But their presence at home has been unable to stop the fires.

Last Saturday, T. went to the third floor to get something and came back downstairs. Soon after, a fire began to spread there.

Viet called in the firefighters who came in four fire trucks and extinguished the fire in half an hour. However, the furniture had been burnt to ashes.

The family then decided to take all electrical appliances like the washing machine, television, fridge and fans to their relatives' house.

Over the past several days, family members and relatives have taken turns to stay with T. around the clock.

T. sleeps between her parents, with several water buckets and wet towels nearby, just in case.

Recalling T.'s health background, Viet said she experienced "a serious accident" when she was three but there was no subsequent impact. He declined to elaborate.

More than a month ago, T. was brought to the HCMC Dermatology Hospital after rashes appeared on her skin. Doctors diagnosed her with allergic eczema and prescribed some medicines that did not alleviate the condition for several days.

However, her skin problem has disappeared since she began to cause the fires.

Assuming that T. has a "supernatural power" that is out of her control, the family began to modify her diet with less cereals, milk and eggs but only found it ineffective.

The family took her to the Children's Hospital 2 and the Cho Ray Hospital but doctors did not find any problem.

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Then they took her to the Hong Bang University's Center for Geo-biological Dowsing Research where Du Quang Chau, the center's director, said he did not find any abnormality with her body's electromagnetism.

But an RFI (resonant field imaging) scan - an experimental electromagnetic measurement and imaging process that identifies the type and function of bio-energies present in specific regions of the human brain showed a "certain problem" with the right cerebral hemisphere. Chau did not specify what the problem was.

"We asked her to wear a quartz bracelet on her left arm to "˜balance the bio-energy.' However, I told her family to remove it after she had some muscle contractions, despite there being no fire when she wore it," he said.

Chau said his center has sent some experts to her house to teach her some relaxation exercises that may help contain her uncontrolled power.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Phuc Giac Hai of the Center for Investigation of Human Capabilities confirmed with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that they have obtained information from T.'s family and found that the "supernatural power" was a "rare pubertal disorder caused by endocrine development and weather change."

He called it a disorder of the "kundalini" a yogic term for energy that lies coiled at the base of the spine.

Viet told Vietweek that he had not reported the case to the media earlier fearing they would be bothered by curious people. However, he finally changed his mind in the hope that scientists could offer some treatment.

On May 13, he took her to the HCMC Children's Hospital 2 to carry out some scans that will be sent to interested scientists and institutions.

"We are really worried. We hope the scientists are able to identify her symptoms and offer treatment," he said.

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