Angel Glow At The Battle Of Shiloh

battle-of-shiloh_5At the battle of Shiloh, 16,000 men were wounded and 3,000 were killed. The medics could not care for this enormous need adequately, so many of the wounded and dying were left on the battlefield for two days. This was a swampy region and many were stuck lying in mud and stagnant water. To make matters worse, it happened to be raining off and on for those two days.

While waiting in the muck and mire, some of the wounds began to glow a faint blue color. When the soldiers were finally treated, the men who reported the glow had a higher survival rate than those who did not see a glow. The wounds that glowed had less infection and healed faster. They, also, seemed to scar less. The soldiers nicknamed it, Angel’s Glow.

These accounts were chalked up as forklore until 2001.

In 2001, two high school boys, William Martin and Jonathan Curtis did a science fair project. They wanted to prove there really was an Angel’s Glow.

They showed how tiny parasitic worms known as nematodes carry a bacteria called photorhabdus luminescens which glows in the dark. Luminous_BacteriaThe nematodes burrow into larvae then vomit out photorhabdus luminescens bacteria which causes the larvae to die. It also kills any bacteria in the larvae. The boys showed how this bacteria could also have gotten into the wounds of the soldiers killing the bad bacteria.

The problem with this theory is that photorhabdus luminescens bacteria can not survive in a warm human body. The boys explanation was simple. The battle of Shiloh took place in late April, which is a cool month. The men laid in water and were rained on causing hypothermia. Their body temperatures were at a point where photorhabdus luminescens bacteria could survive, killing the harmful bacteria. When the men were warmed up, the temperature killed the photorhabdus luminescens bacteria.

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