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Still Waters

Camera in a guy's head: Guy Fawkes Night 2008

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Still Waters

Guy camera captures what it's like to be burned to death on a bonfire

Flames and smoke blur your view of the chanting locals as they hurl lit torches at your body, before the extreme heat brings the grim ordeal to its inevitable end.

Not the final scene of The Wicker Man, but extraordinary footage showing a bonfire from the point of view of a guy being burned in effigy.

The moving images were captured by blogger Tim Ireland and his family at a village fireworks night near Guildford in Surrey this year, and are already proving a hit on the web.

Mr Ireland, who runs the Bloggerheads website, constructed the guy - christened Bob by the family - out of newspaper-stuffed clothes with a CCTV camera in place of a head.

The camera was then wirelessly connected to a laptop allowing Bob’s last moments on the bonfire to be downloaded before the hardware melted.

The resulting footage, which Mr Ireland set to the Liverpool football club anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone and posted on YouTube, offers a unique insight into the fate suffered by historical figures who have been executed by burning, including Joan of Arc and the 16th Century Protestant martyrs Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley.

The picture is initially obscured by the flames from the torches of the ring of people who surround the bonfire, but the camera clearly captures the locals who emerge from the crowd to throw flares at the guys.

After one minute and 20 seconds the picture becomes weak - as if Bob were “losing consciousness” - but he recovers enough to capture a few of the spectators' direct hits before the camera cuts out.

Mr Ireland said that he hoped to create a unique piece of art but was surprised at the emotion of the footage, which brings to mind the sacrifice of policeman Neil Howie at the end of cult 1970s British horror movie The Wicker Man.

“I’ve burned people in effigy before but a few weeks ago I happened across a CCTV camera at a jumble sale and the idea just came to me; I wanted people to be able to see a bonfire from a guy’s point of view and the kids thought it was a cool idea,” he said.

“What came up a few times when we were discussing the possible impact of the footage was that people would not think about guys and bonfires in quite the same way again after seeing it.

“We were joshing each other about it at the time, but this was an attempt to create art and make people think.”

He added: “I couldn’t predict how wonderful the footage would turn out and how incredibly spooky, sad and moving it would be in combination with the music.

“Several times, it looks like the end for Bob, but he just walks on through the rain.”

Commenters on YouTube were quick to praise the clip, one calling it "awesome". Another wrote: "That is fantastic if a little scary and bit sad too".



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