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Dangerous TikTok trend of 'fractal burning' wood art electrocutes Wisconsin couple to death

The couple died on April 6 while practicing the fractal wood burning TikTok trend in the garage of their home in Rozellville, Marathon County
The middle-aged Wisconsin couple's home burned down (Credits: WSAW)
The middle-aged Wisconsin couple's home burned down (Credits: WSAW)

NOTE: MEAWW is only reporting on this dangerous trend, and under no circumstance do we encourage anyone to try it. In fact, we advise all our readers not to. If, however, you have an impressionable mind and easily succumb to suggestions, then please stop reading now.

ROZELLVILLE, WISCONSIN: Tanya Rodriguez, 44, and James Carolfi, 52, a couple from Wisconsin have died as a result of a TikTok craze in which people use high voltage to create a lightning-like design on wood. They died on April 6 while practicing fractal wood burning TikTok trend in the garage of their home in Rozellville, Marathon County, according to local reports.

Rodriguez and Carolfi's deaths were deemed as "accidental", with no evidence of foul play. According to Sheriff's Deputy Chad Billeb, the two were electrocuted to death before the fractal wood-burning equipment sparked a house fire.


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According to The Wausau Daily Herald, investigators initially suspected the fire was suspicious. Fractal burning has claimed the lives of 33 people, according to the American Association of Woodturners.

Following the death of a woodworker in Washington State in 2017, the group's safety committee banned the activity. According to an AAW statement on their website, fractal burning is not permitted at their events, and the procedure is not explained in their publications.

According to the Woodworking Network's website, a high-voltage transformer is used to flow across a piece of wood that has been soaked in a chemical. A microwave oven or a car battery can be used to power the transformer. The Lichtenberg process occurs when you utilize a car battery. Another Wisconsin man, Matt Schmidt, died in May 2020 at the age of 35 while practicing the Lichtenberg procedure, according to his wife Caitlin who spoke to The Milton Courier.

There have been a number of TikTok trends that have resulted in someone's death. Another incident involving the strangulation trend happened when the family of a nine-year-old Tennessee child claimed that he died after participating in a TikTok challenge. On June 10, LaTerius Smith Jr was discovered unconscious after engaging in a "strangulation challenge" that was supposedly popular on TikTok. The family of the kid has been outspoken about the dangers of these viral movements, which appear to have claimed a large number of lives and caused significant suffering to people all over the world.

According to Smith Jr's family, he was found unresponsive after taking part in the TikTok challenge. The boy's family has attributed his death to the TikTok strangulation challenge, which is identical to the blackout challenge. Smith Jr's family now wants parents to keep an eye on their children when they will have more free time. They want parents to set up parental controls on various social media sites and educate them about the dangers lurking behind the screens their children spend so much time in front of.