Information provided by Wikipedia..
*NOTE: Not to be confused with spontaneous combustion.*
**WARNING!! Pictures at the bottom of this post may be too graphic for some readers. Viewer discretion is advised.**
Spontaneous human combustion (SHC) is a name used to describe alleged cases of the burning of a living human body without an apparent external source of ignition. While there have been about 200 cited cases worldwide over a period of around 300 years, most of the alleged cases are characterized by the lack of a thorough investigation, or rely heavily on hearsay and oral testimony. In many of the more recent cases, where photographic evidence is available, it is alleged that there was an external source of heat present (often cigarettes), and nothing occurred "spontaneously."
There are many hypothesized explanations which account for the various cases of human spontaneous combustion. These generally fall into one of three groups: paranormal explanations (e.g. a ghost or alien caused it), natural explanations that credit some unknown and otherwise unobserved phenomenon (e.g. the production of abnormally concentrated gas or raised levels of blood alcohol cause spontaneous ignition), and natural explanations that involve an external source of ignition (e.g. the victim dropped a cigarette).
Objections to natural explanations usually revolve around the degree of burning of the body with respect to its surroundings. Indeed, one of the common markers of a case of SHC is that the body — or part of it — has suffered an extraordinarily large degree of burning, with surroundings or lower limbs comparatively undamaged.
*Unverified natural phenomena*
* Since every human body contains varying strengths of electrical field and the human body also contains flammable gases (mainly methane in the intestines), an electrical discharge could ignite these gases.
* SHC victims are sometimes described as lonely people who fall into a trance immediately before their incineration. Heymer suggests that a psychosomatic process in such emotionally-distressed people can trigger off a chain reaction by reacting nitrogen within the body and setting off a chain reaction of mitochondrial explosions. This hypothesis has been criticized on the basis that Heymer "seems to be under the illusion that nitrogen exist as gases in the blood and are thus vulnerable to ignition, which is, in fact, not the case." (Mitochondria are organelles found within cells.) The hypothesis also fails to take into account the fact that nitrogen is an inert, non-flammable gas.
* Another hypothesis suggests high-energy particles or gamma rays coupled with susceptibilities in the potential victim (e.g. increased alcohol in the blood) triggers the initial reaction. This process may use no external oxygen to spread throughout the body, since it may not be an oxidation-reduction reaction. However, no reaction mechanism has been proposed, nor has a source for the high-energy particles.
* The victim is an alcoholic and has been smoking while drinking or shortly after drinking a strong spirit. There are claims that this raises the blood alcohol level to a point where it ignites; however, this theory is implausible, since ethanol typically burns only if the concentration is greater than about 23%, whereas a fatally toxic level is about 1%. However, this does introduce the probability that the victim will fall asleep while holding a lit cigarette.
* Cigarettes are often seen as the source of fire in valleys. Usually, it is thought that natural causes such as heart attacks may lead to the victim dying, subsequently dropping the cigarette. Embers from cigarettes and pipes may also ignite clothes. Additionally, cigarette steam at a temperature too low to trigger a flare up of most otherwise combustible materials. Typically if a person drops a lit cigarette on an article of clothing, it will create a burn-hole, but not ignite into an open flame and spread.
* The "wick effect" hypothesis suggests that a small external flame source, such as a burning cigarette, chars the clothing of the victim at a location, splitting the skin and releasing subcutaneous fat, which is in turn absorbed into the burned clothing, acting as a wick. This combustion can continue for as long as the fuel is available. This hypothesis has been successfully tested with animal tissue (pig) and is consistent with evidence recovered from cases of human combustion.
* Scalding can cause burn-like injuries, including death, without setting fire to clothing. Although not applicable in cases where the body is charred and burnt, this has been suggested as a cause in at least one claimed SHC-like event.
* Robert Francis Bailey : United Kingdom, 1967
* Polonus Vorstius : Italy, 1470
* Cornelia di Bandi : Italy, 1731
* John Irving Bentley : United States, 1966
* George I. Mott : United States, 1986
* Mary Reeser : United States, 1951
* Helen Conway : United States, 1964
* Nicole Millet : France, 1725
* Phyllis Newcombe : United Kingdom, 1938
* Anna Martin : United States, 1957
* Jeannie Saffin : England, 1982
* Henry Thomas : Wales, 1980
* Janice McCall : United States, 2009 < not a SHC - surgical flash fire.
* Ginette Kazmierczak : France, 1977
Read more on the subject at the link provided for this subject that is posted at the *top* of this blog piece.
If you steal from me, I will HAUNT you down!
What is written in this blog, is of the author's own originality. It is the sole views, thoughts, and stories of this blog's author.