Angel's Glow
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Basic Information

Angel's Glow is the name given during the Civil War to a phenomenon caused by a type of bacteria called Photorhabdus luminescens. The bacteria is found in the soil and in the gut of certain types of parasitic roundworms which prey on insects. The P. luminescens produces toxins which kill other types of bacteria, and are naturally phosphorescent.

After the Battle of Shiloh in the Civil War, some of the wounded soldiers who had laid on the muddy battlefield waiting for medical help, were found to have a faint bluish glow around their wounds. The soldiers exhibiting this glow had a better rate of recovery than other wounded, which led to the nickname "Angel's Glow."

The P. luminescens bacteria in the soil got into the wounds and established colonies dense enough for their glow to be visible, while the toxins and enzymes they produced acted as antibiotics and prevented putrefaction.

The bacteria is also used as a source for bioluminescence imaging.


Game and Story Use

  • A low tech healer might have a jar of "healing earth" in his medicine cabinet
    • "Just pack the mud in the wound. Don't argue with me! It's magic!"
    • A higher-tech healer might use something similar as an antiseptic spray.
  • The bacteria could be used as part of some technobabble involving bio-engineered phosphorescence.
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