Another Weird Mystery: People Burning Out Spontaneously!


Some people say that spontaneous human combustion is just a regular fire that people can't be bothered to find the cause of, that could have been avoided through basic fire safety. Others say that it's just a peculiar shift of our internal chemistry, that can happen to anyone and at any time.

Take a look at ten actual cases of spontaneous human combustion, and decide for yourself.

1. Burned out in half an hour, it happened.

Spontaneous human combustion (SHC) is the alleged burning of a person's body without a readily apparent, identifiable external source of ignition. 

The combustion may result in simple burns and blisters to the skin, smoking, or a complete incineration of the body which is often 'recognized' as SHC.

Spontaneous Human Combustion or SHC is another phenomenon that has been tormenting “Man Animal” since the very beginning of times. Stories related to incidents where people catch fire out of nowhere have even been found in early texts of the Bible. Over the past 300 years, there have been more than 200 reports of people burning to a crisp for no apparent reason. As you all know here at Paradox we do not try to prove if a phenomenon is actually a fact or a hoax we prefer only to inform and relay.

2. Mary Reeser "Cinder Woman."

Mary Reeser, an elderly, overweight woman, died of SHC on July 1, 1951.  It was early in the morning, and Pansy Carpenter, Mary Reeser's landlady, smelled an awful smoke smell, but she ignored it.  At 8 a.m. Pansy Carpenter went to check on Mary, but the door handle was so hot that she screamed, which grabbed the attention of two workmen.  

When they pushed opened the door they couldn't find Mary so they called the police. They said she suffered from SHC.  Her 175-pound body was reduced to ten pounds of ashes.  She had few remains including a piece of her spine and her shrunken skull. The walls of her room were covered in a stinky, oily soot. Otherwise, everything else in her room remained nearly unharmed. The cause of her death is still unknown, and there's a possibility that there will never be an answer.  

According to the FBI, the sedated widow apparently sat down in an upholstered chair and fell asleep while smoking a cigarette. The cigarette set fire to her acetate nightgown and housecoat. Though the upholstered chair had fire-retardant treatment, it burned, too. At the end of the fire, Mrs. Reeser was gone, and nothing remained of the chair but the springs.

Yet there were all sorts of anomalies. Why did a pile of newspapers stacked next to Mrs. Reeser's chair remain unscorched and intact? Why had there been no widespread smoke or odors? Only one person had smelled anything.

3. Hiroshima Syndrome?

On November 6th, 1964, Helen Conway from Pennsylvania was babysitting her grandchildren when one of the neighbors saw a huge flame. The fire department was then called only to find half of her body incinerated and her feet and toes with blisters.

Scientists compared this incident with radioactivity and it is called "Hiroshima Effect." The theory states that there is an extremely small but high-powered particle—like a neutrino—that zips through the spaces between the quarks that make up the atoms, which compose the molecules of the human body. On rare occasions, a rogue particle scores a direct hit with a quark and sets off an internal chain reaction. I’ve dubbed this occurrence the Internal Hiroshima Effect, which may result in SHC.

This may sound logical, but not yet proven by any experiments.

4. Alcohol and body fat leading to combustion; Alexander Morrison.

Alexander Morrison, a 65-year-old pensioner and former soldier living in Aberdeen, Scotland, was last seen alive at 9 PM on Saturday, February 18, 1888. He was intoxicated, which was not unusual for him.

Between 8 and 9 AM the following morning, the wife of the proprietor of the stables, who lived nearby, saw smoke coming from a hole in the roof of the loft... she told her husband, and he rushed over to check what had happened. Horrified by what he found, he called the police, and they called a medical professional to examine the remains of Alexander Morrison.

Dr. J. Mackenzie Booth, a lecturer at the University of Aberdeen, and physician to the Aberdeen General Dispensary, soon arrived on the scene.

The body itself was almost entirely a cinder, which yet retained the general shape of the original body enough for Morrison's face and the wrinkles of his clothing to be clearly seen.

After briefly studying and considering both spontaneous human combustion and preternatural combustibility as possible causes, Booth came to the conclusion that human body fat was more than combustible enough to produce the damage he had observed. He also stated his belief that the only connection between alcohol and any form of fire death was that it made people less likely to handle fire well.

5. When spontaneous combustion won a court case.

Nicole Millet, the wife of a Parisian innkeeper in 1725, was found after her husband roused the entire inn when he smelled smoke. What was left of her was in the kitchen, almost completely reduced to ash, with the wooden utensils around her unburned. Other accounts have her burned on her straw pallet, with the straw only a little damaged. 

That looked suspicious, and so her husband was tried and found guilty of murder. On appeal, though, he used the 'spontaneous human combustion' defense and was exonerated. Nicole's death was found to be due to 'a visitation of God.'

Larry Arnold's "Pyroton Particles" theory also emerged with this incident, but such explanations seem to have been invented in order to match the theory rather than based on any evidence.

6. Indian baby to be combusted four times!

In 2013, a 3-month-old baby, named Rahul, was expected to remain in the city of Chennai under the protection of child rights activists until the cause of his mysterious burns were uncovered.

Rahul's parents told the authorities that the infant spontaneously caught on fire at least four different times even after they had taken him to local medical centers.

Some doctors initially accepted the parents’ claim that the burns were caused by spontaneous human combustion. Most were skeptical. However, after tests indicated Rahul was completely normal, pretty much all attending physicians became concerned that child abuse might be an issue. 

A complaint was filed against the parents for child abuse with the police and the Child Welfare Committee requesting investigations into the matter. But Rajeshwari and Karnan stuck with their story, and psychiatric counseling revealed them to be normal as well.

7. Only the legs left behind.

When 51-year-old Beatrice Oczki waved her son Frank off on a skiing trip for the Thanksgiving weekend she wished him well and told him to be safe. Little did she know that it was her that was in peril.

Beatrice was diabetic, and wore a leg brace which caused her to be housebound; she had a few pleasures, however, she enjoyed a drink and a cigarette. When Frank left, Beatrice settled down into her armchair. This would be her last known activity before her death.

The morning after, Shelley, Beatrice's ex-daughter-in-law called the house to pick up some items. After getting no answer and smelling smoke, Shelley called the fire department.

What the firefighters discovered was horrific, and inexplicable. Sticking out from what appeared to be a small fire were the unmistakable forms of two human legs, one of which was still wearing a leg brace. These were the only existing earthly remains of Beatrice Oczki.

Mrs. Oczki's body was almost completely obliterated; skin, bones, tissue, all reduced to nothing but ash. Even stranger, apart from the chair she was sitting in, hardly anything else in the room was affected by the fire. Even plastics and paper near her at the scene were untouched.

8. Dr. Irving J. Bentley.

It was December 5, 1966, in Coudersport, Pennsylvania in the house of a 92-year-old man named Irving J. Bentley. He had very poor health and needed a walker because he could barely get up. Every day he had his gas meter reader, Mr. Gosnell, come in and check the meter in the basement.  

That day when Mr. Gosnell came by he went to the basement to do his usual check up when he smelled a strange odor and saw blue smoke lingering in the air. Right away he went upstairs to check on Dr. Bentley and found him cremated in his bathroom. The only part that remained of him was his lower half of his right leg along with his foot that still had a slipper on it. Dr. Bentley's body burned a hole in the bathroom floor so his ashes fell into the basement. As for the rest of the bathroom, everything was nearly unharmed. Mr. Gosnell ran for help.

Fire investigators were puzzled by how that could have happened. For a while they claimed his death was caused by spontaneous human combustion then they later learned that he smoked a pipe and also carried a box of matches in his robe pocket. Their first theory was that ashes fell from his pipe onto his clothes which ignited the flame and set him on fire. The second theory was that Dr. Bentley woke up on fire and ran to the bathroom where he passed out before extinguishing the flames and then was turned to ash. Yet again, the core cause of his death is still unclear.

9. Ball Lightning and human combustion.

After a spontaneous combustion case happened in Brazil in 2007, another explanation emerged.

Ball lightning is an unexplained atmospheric electrical phenomenon. The term refers to reports of luminous, spherical objects which vary from pea-sized to several meters in diameter. Though usually associated with thunderstorms, it lasts considerably longer than the split-second flash of a lightning bolt. Many early reports say that the ball eventually explodes, sometimes with fatal consequences, leaving behind the odor of sulfur.

10. "Creating one's own hell."

These cases have been reported on numerous occasions throughout history, so this is nothing new. As of 1995, there have been about 200 cited cases worldwide over a period of around 300 years. 

Some people also try to explain this by saying that it happened to people who smoke, drink alcohol, or they have a disease such as depression, anxiety, obesity or diabetes. Conditions that may have been self-induced by their own thoughts, actions and lives. According to this view, the victims may have just created their own living hell, to the point that they appear to reach hell before they have been pronounced dead by modern science.

We leave the decision to you and wish that science comes up with an explanation soon.

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