Spontaneous Human Combustion: What you didn’t know you wanted to know!

Human Combustion

Very strange phenomena

 One way to know truth


Rise from ashes Phoenix-like

Give skeptics the bird

“In December 1966, the body of 92-year-old Dr. J. Irvin­g Bentley was discovered in his Pennsylvania home by a meter reader. Actually, only part of Dr. Bentley’s leg and slippered foot were found. The rest of his body had been burned to ashes. A hole in the bathroom floor was the only evidence of the fire that had killed him; the rest of the house remained perfectly intact.

How could a man catch fire — with no apparent source of a spark or flame — and then burn so completely without igniting anything around him? Dr. Bentley’s case and several hundred others like it have been labeled “spontaneous human combustion” (SHC). Although he and other victims of the phenomenon burned almost completely, their surroundings, and even sometimes their clothes, remained virtually untouched.

Can humans spontaneously burst into flames? A lot of people think spontaneous human combustion is a real occurrence, but most scientists aren’t convinced.

What is Spontaneous Human Combustion?

Spontaneous combustion occurs when an object — in the case of spontaneous human combustion, a person — bursts into flame from a chemical reaction within, apparently without being ignited by an external heat source.

The first known account of spontaneous human combustion came from the Danish anatomist Thomas Bartholin in 1663, who described how a woman in Paris “went up in ashes and smoke” while she was sleeping. The straw mattress on which she slept was unmarred by the fire.

The hundreds of spontaneous human combustion accounts since that time have followed a similar pattern: The victim is almost completely consumed, usually inside his or her home. Coroners at the scene have sometimes noted a sweet, smoky smell in the room where the incident occurred.

What makes the charred bodies in the photos of spontaneous human combustion so peculiar is that the extremities often remain intact. Although the torso and head are charred beyond recognition, the hands, feet, and/or part of the legs may be unburned. Also, the room around the person shows little or no signs of a fire, aside from a greasy residue that is sometimes left on furniture and walls. In rare cases, the internal organs of a victim remain untouched while the outside of the body is charred.

Not all spontaneous human combustion victims simply burst into flames. Some develop strange burns on their body which have no obvious source, or emanate smoke from their body when no fire is present. And not every person who has caught fire has died — a small percentage of people have actually survived what has been called their spontaneous combustion.”

Was I right?

You REALLY didn’t know you wanted to know this!


You now regret knowing this?


You now regret knowing me?

(This is undoubted not the way I’ll go. I usually am cold and sleep year round with a comforter.) 

If you are interested in the theories behind SHC here are links for more information:


The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry:


20 comments on “Spontaneous Human Combustion: What you didn’t know you wanted to know!

  1. It keeps dinning in my head that there can be no smoke without fire!! ….Oh!! Judith and I’ve only just begun to know you 😀 I like the comforting you on RS blog with the Ant and Jumbie!! 😀
    Seems like a case of strange but true!! I’m still baffled!! Sensational!!


  2. I have spontaneously combusted on four separate occasions, yet lived (obviously) to tell the tale. My Beloved Sandra asserts that I’m the biggest ash she’s ever met. She only says this when she’s angry, though. And she’s angry a lot. She’s got a fiery temper but, in general, she’s pretty cool and our relationship, even after all these years, remains hot.


    • Dear Ron,
      Reading your comment was the biggest smile I’ve had today – but then again it’s 6 am. The next time you spontaneously combust would Sandra take BEFORE-AFTER-DURING pictures so I could post them on the blog?
      P.S. I suspect your spontaneous combustion isn’t spontaneous.


  3. Hello Judy,

    I am learning and evolving.. so happy to have come in contact… let me confess..had never heard of it ever.. perhaps..many cases might be going through with the people terming them as actual external fires… don’t know…never heard of a case like this in India… And now that I know it feels a bit uneasy…you know one more way how the life can suddenly end without any forewarning… please continue to give..


  4. Yeah, not sure I wanted to know.
    But it gave me something to think about.

    The freakiest thing to me is not that the people spontaneously combust…but that they don’t catch anything else on fire.

    {{just shaking my head}}


  5. I think this is fascinating. I have watched TV programs about this subject and have always been amazed at what the human body can do and how much we don’t know and can only guess.

    And, NO! No regrets about knowing you. But, having just finished breakfast and then reading the article probably speaks volumes about me as well.



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