Photo by [Victor Habbick]
The thoughts of someone bursting into a ball of fire and incinerating in a matter of seconds is quite alarming. We’re talking bones, flesh, organs, everything, all the while their clothes may stay in tact.
Some of you may be familiar with the anomaly spontaneous human combustion. Is spontaneous human combustion real? That’s the question scientists have been asking themselves for centuries.
What is Spontaneous Human Combustion
Spontaneous human combustion is one of the strange phenomenons of fire and light that has had well documented cases through the ages. But what is it? When a human body ignites and is burned up without any known contact with an external fire source, this is known as spontaneous human combustion. Not all cases of SHC are extreme, some documented cases are quite mild, meaning the person experienced burns on their body, but lived to tell the tale of the incident. Of course all these testimonials are quite controversial.
Other documented cases involve an individual being reduced to nothing but ashes. One of the strangest aspects of spontaneous human combustion is that most cases involve nearby objects and or clothing coming out of the incineration without being burned at all. This may include the actual furniture the person was sitting on at the time of their demise.
Even stranger than this, in some rare cases a person that has suffered from SHC may be found with a single leg, arm or maybe a finger that is completely in tact! Could you imagine walking into a room and witnessing a chair with a set of clothes sitting in it and nothing but a pile of ashes and one finger left behind? I’m thinking I would be heading for the hills if I saw something like that!
Documented Cases of Spontaneous Human Combustion
According to historical records, cases of spontaneous human combustion began appearing in medical reports all the way back into the 17th century. By the time we reached the 20th century there were many detailed accounts of human incineration. If we take into account the past four centuries, you will find over 200 documented cases of spontaneous human combustion. That’s a lot of incinerated folks, yet this phenomenon still remains a mystery.
In earlier times, victims were believed to be mainly cases of alcoholics and elderly women that lived by themselves. The conditions in which they burned were shockingly similar to one another. Nearly every case happened indoors, on a winters night, while they were sitting next to an open fire. So the logical conclusion would be that a hot coal jumped out and caught them on fire.
Of course there were no witnesses to any of these cases and they were often though to be the wrath of God punishing them for their sins.
Although the majority of these cases were under explainable circumstances, not all were. Recent research has produced statistics confirming an equal representation of sexes and age groups. The ages of victims range from infancy all the way to 114 years of age. And even though many documented cases of spontaneous human combustion occurred around an open fire, there are exceptions to this as well.
Some cases include folks that combusted while driving down the road or while walking down the sidewalk. All the while completely free of any source of heat or fire.
Bear in mind these cases are all of varying degrees and circumstances and have puzzled scientists for a long, long time. Most cases have been dismissed as simply “puzzling” or “unsolved”. There have been many spontaneous human combustion theories over time attempting to solve this spontaneous combustion, but there are no logical explanations as to how a human could simply ignite all by itself and be reduced to ash.
In order for a human body to be completely incinerated it would need to reach extreme temperatures of over 3,000 F. Not only this, but we can’t forget many of these cases left clothes and furniture with nothing more than a slight char.
What do you think about spontaneous human combustion? Fact or Fiction?