A piece in the American Chronicle mentions the phenomenon of ever-burning lamps ... here are the examples which are of interest to us:

Plutarch wrote of a lamp that burned over the door of a temple to Jupiter Ammon. According to the priests, the lamp remained alight for centuries without any fuel and neither wind nor rain could put it out.

St. Augustine described an Egyptian temple sacred to Venus with a lamp which wind and water could not extinguish. He declared it to be the work of the devil.

In 527 A.D., at Edessa, Syria, during the reign of emperor Justinian, soldiers discovered an ever-burning lamp in a niche over a gateway, elaborately enclosed to protect it from the air. According to the inscription, it was lit in 27 A.D. The lamp had burned for 500 years before the soldiers who found it, destroyed it.

In 140, near Rome a lamp was found burning in the tomb of Pallas, son of king Evander. The lamp, which had been alight for over 2,000 years, could not be extinguished by ordinary methods. It turned out that neither water nor blowing on the flame stopped it from burning. The only way to extinguish the remarkable flame was to drain off the strange liquid contained in the lamp bowl.

In about 1540, during the Papacy of Paul III a burning lamp was found in a tomb on the Appian Way at Rome. The tomb was believed to belong to Tulliola, the daughter of Cicero. She died in 44 B.C. The lamp that had burned in the sealed vault for 1,550 years was extinguished when exposed to the air. Interesting about this particular discovery is also the unknown transparent liquid in which the deceased was floating. By putting the body in this liquid, the ancients managed to preserve the corpse in such a good condition that it appeared as if death had occurred only a few days ago.

I thought we had discussed this on the Classics list at some point in the past, but I've come up empty on that score. I did mention the Tullia lamp in a page I put up about Tullia ages ago (and needing some updating, links wise). Fans of esoterica might want to check out the chapter on ever burning lamps in Jennings' The Rosicrucians (via Sacred Texts).

UPDATE: see Dorothy King's related post at PhDiva ...