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Spontaneous Combustion

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Please add Geni profiles of those who seemed to have died from a fire originating without an apparent external source of ignition (if you can find any).


From Live Science - Spontaneous Human Combustion: Facts & Theories:

For well over a century, some have claimed that people can suddenly and inexplicably explode into a ball of fire. The phenomenon is called spontaneous human combustion (SHC), and it has been described in many popular books on mysteries and the unexplained.

Though the term "spontaneous human combustion" is of fairly recent vintage, it was a rare-but-real concern to many in the 1800s. In fact, there are nearly a dozen references to people bursting into flames in pre-1900 fiction. The most famous example is Charles Dickens's 1853 novel "Bleak House," in which a character explodes into fire, though the phenomenon can also be found in the works of Mark Twain, Herman Melville, Washington Irving and others. In modern times, SHC has appeared in movies and on television shows, including "The X-Files," and it's even, sort of, the super-power of Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, in "Fantastic Four" comic books. ...

... What about the source of ignition? What could possibly cause people to suddenly burst into flames? A century ago, it was blamed on intemperance and even God's wrath: most victims were assumed to be drunkards who had saturated their cells with alcohol. In the 1970s, a quasi-Freudian explanation came into vogue suggesting that a person's depressive emotional states could somehow cause him or her to become enflamed. Others have suggested that sunspots, cosmic storms, gas-producing intestinal bacteria, or even a buildup of the body's supposed "vibrational energy" may be to blame.

Yet all these explanations are pseudoscientific, and there is no evidence for any of them. Our bodies are about 60 percent to 70 percent non-flammable water, and the simple fact is that there is no physical or medical mechanism by which a person could possibly self-combust. If people truly could suddenly burst into flames without being anywhere near an open flame, presumably there would be examples that have occurred while the victim was swimming, in a bathtub, or even scuba diving. Yet those cases do not exist.


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