Mythical Wednesday: Spontaneous Human Combustion.
October 17, 2012 2 Comments
I was going to post a picture with this post, but they were all too graphic.
Spontaneous Human Combustion (or SHC) is thought to be the result of an internal chemical actions that cause the human body to burst into flames. One problem, no one has ever really witnessed it.
Since the eighteenth century, there have been numerous documentation of SHC cases. While SHC seems like a far-fetched idea, there are certain characteristics that seem to coincide with every case; the body is completely or almost completely incinerated while everything close by remains untouched even though it’s been exposed to high temperatures; the damage is limited to only the victim’s body and clothing and to the area of the floor or furniture on which the victim died and to the ceiling above the corpse; the torso is the main area of the fire and when remains are found, they are of the limbs such as the feet; and lastly, there are no traces of accelerant and the fire does not have an known external cause.
There are several reasons as to why this happens; paranormal where combustion is caused by a ghost or divine intervention, a natural yet unknown phenomena causes the fire, a natural explanation due to health and lifestyle factors (smoking, not consuming adequate levels of water, etc.), or a natural occurrence that involve an external source of ignition. The best reason I heard was that it was caused when antimatter and matter collided.
In the mid 80′s science investigator Joe Nickell and forensic analyst John F. Fischer took it upon themselves to do an in-depth study on the subject. Their length report was published in the journal of the International Association of Arson Investigators. They concluded that all cases they research, the victim was close to an ignition source, and that many victims were in a drunken state and therefore could not respond quickly enough to save their life. While this may sound like a one-size-fits-all explanation, both men did insist that any further investigation should be done on a case-by-case basis.
What do you think? Is Spontaneous Human Combustion real? I have to admit, I have a hard time believing this. Maybe because there aren’t that many cases.