Wisconsin Couple Dies After Attempting Social Media Art Trend
Stone Coat Countertops via YouTube
A couple in Wisconsin died early this month while attempting the popular social media trend, 'fractal burning'.
The incident happens in Marathon County where firefighters responded to a house fire and found two bodies in the house. The Marathon County Sheriff's Office investigated the scene for signs of arson and homicide. After weeks of investigation, it was found that the two had died in their garage from electrocution by the electric current they were using to burn fractal patterns in wood. The trend has been popular on social media pages like Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube.
According to Work Safe, fractal burning is a relatively new technique which creates patterns in wood that resemble branching or fractal patterns by applying electrical current from a high-voltage source across wood items that may have been soaked with a chemical solution.
The site went on to say fractal or Lichtenberg burning is a dangerous practice which exposes the user to high-voltage electricity. They also state that there is no way to make the equipment or its use safe without a specifically designed enclosed apparatus.
According to the American Association of Woodturners, there are at least 33 known deaths caused by this trend. The AAW has also banned the use of this process at all of its events and has banned articles about use of a fractal burner in all of its publications.
The Marathon County Sherriff's Department released the following press release on the incident:
While the art looks cool, it is very dangerous to attempt. My thoughts and prayers are with the couples' friends and family. Below is an example of the trend: