In Greek mythology, Prometheus saw the hardship of human life, so he stole fire from Mount Olympus and secretly gave it to mankind. In the history of mankind, there have been records of ever-burning lamps, some of which have been alight for more than a thousand years.
A Greek historian once recorded an ever-burning lamp in an Egyptian sun temple. This lamp had been alight for centuries, despite strong wind and rain. Roman philosopher and theologian St Augustine described an Egyptian temple sacred to Venus where there was a lamp that neither wind nor water could extinguish.
Lamps that had been alight for over a thousand years found all over the world
In A.D. 140, a lamp was found burning in the tomb of Pallas, son of an ancient Roman king. This lamp had been burning continuously for over 2,000 years. Neither water nor blowing on the flame could put it out. The only way to extinguish it was to drain a strange liquid contained in the lamp bowl.
In 1534, when King Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church, he ordered the dissolution of monasteries in England, and it was during these times that many tombs were plundered. In Yorkshire, in the tomb of the father of Constantine, a burning lamp was discovered. His death was recorded in 300 AD, showing that the lamp had been burning for over 1200 years.
In 1540, during the time of Pope Paul III, a burning lamp was found in an ancient tomb on the Appian Way at Rome. The tomb was believed to belong to Tulliola, daughter of Roman statesman Cicero. She died in 44 B.C. The lamp, which was sealed in the vault, had been burning for around 1,600 years.
In China, there were historical records of ever-burning lamps. It was believed that in the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, there were such lamps. Since no one has found his tomb, it cannot be confirmed whether the lamps are still alight.
Archaeological records show ever-burning lamps were discovered in ancient temples and tombs all over the world, not only in India, China, Egypt, Greece, and many other countries known to have had ancient civilizations, but even in Italy, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, and many other places.
Unfortunately, many of these burning lamps were destroyed by vandals and tomb robbers who feared these objects possessed supernatural powers.
An enduring mystery
In England, there have been records of people entering old tombs. It was said that the lamps inside were automatically destroyed when secret traps were triggered.
According to one record, a person discovered that a lamp hung over the arch of a tomb, illuminating the interior. As this person walked forward, a tremble went through the floor. Then a statue in armor was seen holding some kind of weapon in hand, and it moved forward to destroy the lamp.
In the mid-17th century in Grenoble, France, a young Swiss soldier stumbled upon the entrance to an ancient tomb. The young man did not find any treasure, but to his surprise, he found a burning glass lamp that was believed to have been alight for over a thousand years.
He removed the mysterious lamp from the grave and brought it back to a monastery. The monks were astonished. It was in the monastery for several months until an elderly monk accidentally broke it.
Modern technology is unable to create an ever-burning lamp
Since the Middle Ages, scientists have been trying to invent permanent lights. No one has been successful, even with modern technology. With fuels known today, it is not practical to make a lamp that can burn for a thousand years.
In the 13th century, a French rabbi named Jechiele owned a lamp that did not use oil or a wick. He usually placed it in front of his house for everyone to see. Whenever he was asked how the lamp was lit, he just smiled and did not reveal the secret.
Records of ever-burning lamps discovered all over the world are enough to confirm that such mysterious lamps do exist, but their creation and use remains a mystery.
Translated by Chua BC and edited by Mikel Davis.