1788: Chambermaid’s Fiery Death
In 1967, Vincent H. Gaddis presented the following account in his book Mysterious Fires and Lights:
"There is an old account, dating back to 1788, in which a man entered a room where a young English chambermaid was scrubbing the floor. He was astonished to see a fire blazing over her back. When he shouted the girl turned her head, became aware of the fire, and screamed. She died despite his efforts to put out the fire."
All modern references to this incident are simply repeats of Gaddis' account above, even if they claim to have an older source.
Did It Happen...?
With no location given or person named, this brief story is near impossible to confirm. I've searched high and low without finding any reference to it previous to Gaddis' work. Having done many, many, many searches for any earlier source, I'm marking this account as a 'False Lead,' a story that simply never happened.