ByAnna Olvera, writer at
Writer, Filmmaker and Horror Geek at MoviePilot. Like and Follow me at Screaming for Horror on Facebook and @Raging_Rain on Twitter.
Anna Olvera

For those of you out there who are not familiarized with the term "Human Combustion" exactly, it is the term of reported cases of the burning of a living (or very recently deceased) human body without an apparent external source of ignition. In addition to reported cases, examples of SHC appear in literature, and both types have been observed to share common characteristics regarding circumstances and remains of the victim. Forensic investigations have attempted to analyze reported instances of SHC and have resulted in hypotheses regarding potential causes and mechanisms, including victim behavior and habits, alcohol consumption and proximity to potential sources of ignition, as well as the behavior of fires that consume melted fats. Natural explanations, as well as unverified natural phenomena, have been proposed to explain reports of SHC.

Larry E. Arnold in his 1995 book Ablaze! proposed a pseudo scientific new subatomic particle, which he called "pyrotron". Arnold also wrote that the flammability of a human body could be increased by certain circumstances, like increased alcohol in the blood. He also wrote that extreme stress could be the trigger that starts many combustion. This process may use no external oxygen to spread throughout the body. Other attribute these sudden combustion as paranormal phenomena. Next there's 10 strange cases of Spontaneous Combustion.. It's up to you to decide if this phenomena is simply science and has a logical explanation or of this is a paranormal and unusual occurrence.

1.- The First Case

The first mention of spontaneous human combustion in the history books is Polonus Vorstius. He was just a regular Italian knight in the late 1400s who liked wine, women, and song. He consumed 'two ladles' of very strong wine one night, and it disagreed with him. People say that he immediately vomited flame, and then burst into flames entirely. No one else seemed to have any problem with the wine, and people were baffled as to how this happened. They're still baffled now.

2.- Even Royalty

SHC has claimed the life at least one member of the nobility; Countess Cornelia Di Bandi. The Countess, who lived in the 1700s, was found half way between her bed and her window one morning, with everything except her lower legs and three fingers burned. She had apparently calmly risen from her bed to open the window in the middle of the night, but combusted before she could reach the window. In the room, two candles had been burned - or at least the tallow had been burned. The wicks were left, completely unburned.

3.- Due to Watching a Twilight Zone Episode??

A gentleman in Crown Point, New York actually seemed to spontaneously combust when he was watching an episode of The Twilight Zone television show. There is no report on which episode of The Twilight Zone it was... mmmhh????

4.- The Only Witness

There is only one case of human combustion for which there is a witness. A mentally disabled woman lived with her father, who cared for her. One day he saw a flash out of the corner of his eye, and turned to find her on fire. Despite the flames, she continued to quietly sit in a chair, not reacting and not giving any indication she was in pain. The man's attempts to put the fire out left him with burned hands. The woman lived through the combustion, but slipped into a coma and died shortly afterwards. This indicates one of the strangest parts of human combustion. It takes a very hot flame to reduce a human body to ash. Crematoriums have special chambers designed for it. However, in almost all combustions, there's no burns in the room around the body, indicating that the person simply stayed in one place. Whatever the cause of this combustion, it seems to knock people out first.

5.- A Survivor?

Jack Angel, who had been hospitalized with severe burns, brought a court case against the manufacturer of his hot water heater for three million dollars. He said that he went to check the malfunctioning heater and it blew and scalded him. However, a doctor noted that his body had burned from the inside out, not the outside in. Shortly afterward, he changed his story and said he fell asleep only to wake up with terrible burns all over his body, and sold his story as a survivor of spontaneous human combustion. Was he one of the only people to survive spontaneously combusting?

6.- A Shrinking Skull

In St. Petersburg, Florida, a landlady was making the rounds in her apartment building when she noticed one doorknob was incredibly hot. The tenant, Mary Reeser, did not respond to her calls, and so she called for people to open the door. Inside, she found Reeser's remains, in the middle of a six-foot scorched area of carpet. A chair and an end table in the middle of the scorch mark were upright, indicating that there was no activity. Nearby on the floor, a pile of newspapers were untouched by the flames. The body, on the other hand, was reduced to ash except for a skull and a completely undamaged foot. Some reports, which just may be exaggerated, say that the skull was shrunk down to the size of a teacup.

7.- Blue Flames

In 1967, a passenger on a bus in England noticed blue flames in the window of an apartment building hallway. She thought it was a gas jet and called the fire brigade. When they got to the place, they supposedly found the body of Robert Francis Bailey, a homeless man. A fireman reported seeing a slit in the man's abdomen from which blue flames were issuing.

8.- They Vanished

Ginette Kazmierczak lived with her husband and son in France in the 1970s. When her husband disappeared mysteriously, Ginette contacted the authorities to try to find them. They couldn't find anything. A few days later, while her son was out with some friends, a neighbor found Ginette's body, except for her legs, reduced to ash in an otherwise undisturbed apartment... Victims of murder? Or SHC?

9.- The Babies

In August 2013, Rahul, a two and one half months-old infant from Tamil Nadu, India, was admitted to the Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital in Chennai, having four reported burn injuries since birth. Initial tests ruled out any abnormalities, and further results led the hospital to conclude that it was not spontaneous human combustion. The baby's mother used to live in another village which had come in the news in 2004, when residents had complained that their homes spontaneously burst into flames. Investigations had shown that phosphorus hidden in cow dung had been present in the huts; phosphorus has a low ignition point and can cause fires. In January 2015, an infant boy from Parangini village near Tindivanam, Tamil Nadu, India suffered 10% burns, claimed to be due to spontaneous combustion. He is reported to be the biological brother of the other child Rahul, who also suffered burns that were claimed to be the result of spontaneous human combustion in 2013.However, doctors at Kilpauk Medical College Hospital have reported the claims as suspicious. When interviewed about the cases, the physician who treated the older brother in 2013 stated that "there's no such thing" as spontaneous human combustion. When Rahul was admitted to the hospital last year we clearly told the parents that it looked like someone was deliberately setting the infant on fire.

10.- No Explanation

In December 2010, the death of Michael Faherty in County Galway, Ireland, was recorded as "spontaneous combustion" by the coroner. The doctor, Ciaran McLoughlin, made this statement at the inquiry into the death: "This fire was thoroughly investigated and I'm left with the conclusion that this fits into the category of spontaneous human combustion, for which there is no adequate explanation

You be the judge and let me know what you think in the comments below.. Please make sure to FOLLOW ME for more scary and creepy content and remember Sweet Screams!!!


Do You Believe In Spontaneous Human Combustion?

Sources: Wikipedia & Io9


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