by Margaret M. | September 4, 2017 12:44 pm
WARNING: DISTURBING CONTENT
The height of the Burning Man festival is the creation of and burning down of an over forty foot human effigy. More than 70,000 people this year gathered in northern Nevada for the nine day festival to build and burn the giant figure. The photos are always amazing:
I’m sure you can guess that Burning Man is a music, drugs, arts, drugs and more drugs festival, but it isn’t usually associated with running into the flames. Burning Man was first held in 1986 on a beach in San Francisco and within a few years moved to north of Reno on to a dry lake called Black Rock Desert. It’s a bit too hippie for my taste, but they do have a policy of “leave no trace” where festival goers clean up all of their garbage before leaving the property at the end of the festival. I can’t imagine that keeping 70,000 fed and watered and clean for over a week wouldn’t result in a massive pile of garbage in the end. In recent years they faced criticism due to the massive amount of carbon dioxide produced by the internal combustion engines that take tens of thousands of people to the desert, not to mention setting almost 50 feet worth of statue on fire.
The history of burning human effigies can be traced to Julius Caesar, whose history of ancient Celts said that the druids burned wicker effigies as sacrifices.
And this week, things turned shocking for the crowd as a man now identified as Aaron Joel Mitchell, 41, broke through a human chain of security personnel to run straight into the flames late on Saturday night. Mitchell grew up in Oklahoma, but was living in Switzerland at the time of his death.
Law enforcement and firefighters tried to go in after him and were able to pull his burned body from the effigy.
He was treated on-site then air-lifted to a local hospital where he died from his injuries.
So far, Burning Man has not commented further.
What a horrible thing to witness and what an awful way to go. If we assume he survived for a while, the pain of the burns must have been excruciating and the emergency personnel who pulled him from the fire must be very disturbed by the scene.
Last year we reported on the “Orgy Dome” at Burning Man, where at least 5,000 people “find themselves” by engaging in group sex.
While the name might suggest that there is a massive pile of naked bodies in the middle of this room, this person described it as “nice set up, clean towels and cushions, and moderate climate control.”
I can hardly stand to eat at a buffet, so I’ll be giving the Orgy Dome a hard pass.
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