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Spontaneous Human Combustion


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#16 MrGrey

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Posted 25 September 2004 - 12:07 PM

The idea is then that the person died while smoking and dropped the cigarette in the lap or somewhere on the clothed body and the slow process began.

but why is it that only the BODY is burned, and nothing surrounding? Not even the chair? Or the bed? Posted Image

I guess the candle-wick effect is logical, but I also guess there is more to it that we are yet to unravel.

Thats what im on about in the car incedent post. the candle wick theory goes out the window on that one.
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#17 MoonChild

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Posted 25 September 2004 - 12:09 PM

hhmmm yeah MrGrey, in that particular incident this theory doesn't hold true. Good point.
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#18 kats_god

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Posted 25 September 2004 - 12:10 PM

i have to agree with MOON. it kinda reminds me of the movie FIRESTARTED. she sets things on fire just by thinking about it. the fire comes from inside her.
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#19 plindboe

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Posted 26 September 2004 - 12:20 PM

I know there is one or two cases that the skeptics don't mention that I would like to see them tackle.  One was a lady who was eating breakfast with her son and husband and her back burst into flames and her husband worked hard at putting out the fire.  I'll be looking for that one cuz it was really odd.

Share it with us if you find it, otherwise it will be difficult to address. I suspect though that I have already covered this in my response to MrGrey, since it sounds like the usual anecdotal evidence, that you shouldn't put too much trust on. The events my posts address are very well documented cases.

How weak anecdotal evidence really is, is perhaps showed most clearly in the John Kerry controversy. Notice how different they all are. Either he is a hero who risk his life to pull people out of danger, or he's a cowardly sleazeball. Do not trust stories like that blindly, otherwise you will be too easily fooled.
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#20 plindboe

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Posted 26 September 2004 - 12:30 PM

but why is it that only the BODY is burned, and nothing surrounding? Not even the chair? Or the bed? Posted Image

This is perhaps where the candle idea really shines, because it involves a slow and relatively low temperatured burning. Experiments has actually been conducted to demonstrate the candle idea, and it really works, with minimal damage to the surroundings. If the combustion really was spontaneous and sudden, the temperatures would be much more extreme and would definitely effect the surroundings.
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#21 plindboe

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Posted 26 September 2004 - 12:35 PM

TY Katz. Another point is if it a slow burning form the outside, why is it the victim never tries to escape? I mean, no attempt made to escape? With whatever I have read about this phenomenon, I feel the burning happens from within, not from the outside. There sure is something that needs to be discovered.

I have addressed this already, but I guess you missed it. The idea is that they died beforehand, and not of the burning. For instance, it could have been a heart attack the person had while smoking. This is also evidenced further by the high age of the majority of the victims.
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#22 plindboe

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Posted 26 September 2004 - 12:41 PM

Thats what im on about in the car incedent post. the candle wick theory goes out the window on that one.

Only if you believe it really happened as described. I suggest you research that specific case further before claiming it's the absolute truth.
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#23 plindboe

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Posted 26 September 2004 - 12:44 PM

i have to agree with MOON. it kinda reminds me of the movie FIRESTARTED. she sets things on fire just by thinking about it. the fire comes from inside her.

lol :P You do realize that movies are not reality, right?

If you don't, I advice you to stay away from David Lynch's "Razorhead". You will go nuts.
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#24 Paul_G

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Posted 26 September 2004 - 10:54 PM

I agree with the the candle wick theory to a point... the foul smelling oil around the bodies would match a candle perfectly. Its the most logical explanation out there. I have a couple of questions though...

First, the torso is burned in many cases until it is completely gone. Would low temperature burning be hot enough to dissolve bone? I imagine many murderers have tried to destroy the body by burning it, but this is extremely hard to do... you've probably seen the size of the funeral pyres that people used to have - thats an immense amount of fuel and heat, and even then the body wasn't completly destroyed.

Second, burning a body that is laying prone on the ground, or any object for that matter, by lighting it at the top isn't a very practical way of starting a fire. Heat rises. Even given that the fat in a body is combustible, wouldn't the part of the torso that is laying against the ground still be reasonably intact?

Why don't the extremities ever catch fire? They have fat and clothing, too.

The fat does catch fire and burns like a candle, and I think the ignition must always be caused by something external, but there is more to it than that. Maybe there is something going on with internal gases as well... I would imagine intenstinal gases combust easily. Most of the victims had been drinking or drank regularly, too. If you drink frequently, would any trace of alcohol be passed to the fat, making it more combustible?

Why not wrap a candle in clothing, lay it on its side, and drop a flame on top of it? :D If SHC was only due to the candle wick effect then in theory the candle should be completly consumed.

#25 MrGrey

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Posted 26 September 2004 - 11:37 PM

Thats what im on about in the car incedent post. the candle wick theory goes out the window on that one.

Only if you believe it really happened as described. I suggest you research that specific case further before claiming it's the absolute truth.

It was in one of the Unexplained books i had when i was younger, i still got it somewhere i just have to fish it out. I will show you that article to go with my claim, trust me i read it :D
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#26 plindboe

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Posted 27 September 2004 - 02:02 AM

It was in one of the Unexplained books i had when i was younger, i still got it somewhere i just have to fish it out. I will show you that article to go with my claim, trust me i read it B)

Hehe, I'm not doubting you, I'm skeptical of the book. Of course it could be true, but I suggest you research further than just trusting one book blindly. Stories like that circulate with such ease, because the aurthors rarely seek out to confirm if it really happened.
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#27 plindboe

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Posted 27 September 2004 - 02:52 AM

Hi Paul. Nice questions. :D

First, the torso is burned in many cases until it is completely gone. Would low temperature burning be hot enough to dissolve bone? I imagine many murderers have tried to destroy the body by burning it, but this is extremely hard to do... you've probably seen the size of the funeral pyres that people used to have - thats an immense amount of fuel and heat, and even then the body wasn't completly destroyed.


A man named John de Haan once set out to demonstrate the candle idea, by wrapping a pig in a blanket, and using a little gasoline to get it started. It worked, even the bones dissolved after 5 hours of constant burning. Some might complain, that he used gasoline to get it started, but let's remember that the cases of human combustion are extremely rare, so the conditions must be quite special in the cases when it happens. If he had to put a lit cigarette on top of the pig in the experiment, and hope it will ignite properly, it might have been a bit more troublesome. He simply showed that once ignited, it will burn steadily and dissolve the entire pig, except the extremities that weren't covered with clothes. In his own words: "The sort of damage here is exactly the same as that from supposed spontaneous human combustion".


Second, burning a body that is laying prone on the ground, or any object for that matter, by lighting it at the top isn't a very practical way of starting a fire. Heat rises. Even given that the fat in a body is combustible, wouldn't the part of the torso that is laying against the ground still be reasonably intact?


If there is enough fat, it will continue to burn until there is nothing left.


Why don't the extremities ever catch fire? They have fat and clothing, too.


Huh? Extremeties means head, hands and feet. Unless you run around with gloves all the time and a burka I don't see why you would think they have clothing. On the feet there are most often shoes, so they are left intact too. That the extremeties are left intact are some of the best pointers to the candle idea.


The fat does catch fire and burns like a candle, and I think the ignition must always be caused by something external, but there is more to it than that. Maybe there is something going on with internal gases as well... I would imagine intenstinal gases combust easily. Most of the victims had been drinking or drank regularly, too. If you drink frequently, would any trace of alcohol be passed to the fat, making it more combustible?


I think internal gases has minimal effect, if any effect at all. The alcohol doesn't enter the fat, but enters the blood stream. It will vaporate along with the water of the body, and will not have any effect whatsoever.


Why not wrap a candle in clothing, lay it on its side, and drop a flame on top of it? B) If SHC was only due to the candle wick effect then in theory the candle should be completly consumed.


I think the pig experiment was better, since such a body is very similar to the human body when comparing amounts of fat, water etc.
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#28 Guest_WishMaster_*

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Posted 27 September 2004 - 04:45 AM

I think the pig experiment was better, since such a body is very similar to the human body when comparing amounts of fat, water etc.

some PIG people! B) :D :lol:

#29 tkite

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Posted 27 September 2004 - 05:28 AM

SHC is usually caused by someone who ate too many hard boiled eggs and couldn't get rid of the gas...... :ph34r:

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#30 secretsign

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Posted 27 September 2004 - 07:19 AM

Well one thing I can tell you from a woman's point of veiw of if you ever gone though the "change" and a hot flash hits ya:( I like to call them power serges) you think your going to spontaneouse conmbust. I had one so bad I fogged up my owns eye glasses. I was one hot mamma.

I think It is a chemical out of balance, the reason no one can do anything about it is because it starts internal.
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