Pyrokinesis is a term coined by horror master Stephen King for his novel Firestarter, a tale in which the central character possesses the uncanny and frightful ability to manifest flames from her subconscious. In this way, her manifestations are very much like the psychokinetics manifested by children at the nexus of poltergeist phenomena.
Although King created the term, his character is based on a litany of cases involving children and young adults curse with the horrific talent.
In 1982, a nine-year-old Italian boy was at the center of a pyrokinetic outburst. In one instance, he sat in a dentist's waiting room reading a comic when the rag's pages suddenly burst into flame. He awoke horrified once to discover his bedclothes were on fire. No one could solve the enigma, including learned men of science and medicine at Rome University.
The following year a famous case splashed across Italian headlines when 20 year-old Scottish governess Carole Compton was accused by two separate households of attempting to burn their children. Problem was there was no evidence of her having started the fires--especially when she wasn't even in the room. The superstitious mothers blamed it on Compton's use of the 'evil eye'.
A few years later, a Russian boy of 13 named Sascha was at the heart of several mysterious fires, setting ablaze furniture, clothes, carpets, and even causing lightbulbs to explode.