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  1. #1
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    IRELAND - First case of 'spontaneous human combustion' documented

    I think we're running a bit low on spontaneous human combustion (SHC) threads here at WS, so, even though I scoff at the notion, this newsmaker from Galway caught my eye:

    OAP dies of 'spontaneous human combustion' in his sitting room
    • Coroner records first ever case in Ireland
    • Only scorch marks on ceiling and floor where he was standing
    • Mysterious death mirrored Krook's in Bleak House
    "OAP" = "old age pensioner," btw.
    A baffled coroner has ruled that a man who burned to death in his home died as a result of spontaneous human combustion.

    Dr Ciaran McLoughlin, the coroner for West Galway in Ireland, said that although Michael Faherty, 76, had been found lying on his back close to a fire in an open fireplace, that blaze had NOT caused his death.

    He said a detailed investigation into all other possibilities had offered no other explanation, so he was delivering such a verdict for the first time in his 25 years as a coroner.
    ---
    Much more, with pictures, "How the human body can become an 'inside out candle'" sidebar, etc., at Daily Mail link above.

    Sorry, but I'm not buying the "blaze in open fireplace did not cause death" theory. As in most every "SHC" case there is an external source of flame present in the room. Fascinating stuff, though!
    Last edited by wfgodot; 09-23-2011 at 08:07 PM.

  2. #2
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    Wfgodot, thought you might appreciate the title of this article & the comments following.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011...ustion?ps=cprs

    To Die Or Not To Die From Spontaneous Combustion

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by fhc View Post
    Wfgodot, thought you might appreciate the title of this article & the comments following.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011...ustion?ps=cprs

    To Die Or Not To Die From Spontaneous Combustion
    Thanks. That's a terrific article. Anything that starts with a quote from "This Is Spinal Tap" is a keeper! I'd forgotten that part. I've read about SHC for years and cigarettes do figure prominently in the "external source of flame" argument. Also, those given to drink seem to become victims more readily than teetotalers. Evidently speeds the process.

  4. #4
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    A friend's grandmother was reputed to have died as a result of SHC....died in an unexplained fire in her bedroom in London, no fireplace, no damage apart from her
    England's dancing days are done...

  5. #5
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  6. #6
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    This case is big news over here, I've been following it but I also don't believe it was SHC. I think arson investigation can be a very inexact science in the wrong hands, (see Cameron Todd Wallingham), and the coroner was misled by dodgy science.

    Small quibble - I wish you wouldn't refer to us as Eire. Its a bit like me referring to the United States as the the Colonies.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cappuccino View Post
    This case is big news over here, I've been following it but I also don't believe it was SHC. I think arson investigation can be a very inexact science in the wrong hands, (see Cameron Todd Wallingham), and the coroner was misled by dodgy science.

    Small quibble - I wish you wouldn't refer to us as Eire. Its a bit like me referring to the United States as the the Colonies.
    Tried to fix but it stubbornly clings to Eire on the general thread listing.

  8. #8
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    Cool! This has intrigued me since school days when I read it somewhere.
    We ALL know what happens to the methane in our bodies when its released and if he was sleeping by a fire, perhaps he had a few too many bangers & mash and Guinness and Blammo!
    LOL... Fact is stranger than fiction!
    It's just MOO. I could be wrong. Wouldn't be the first time and it surely won't be the last!

    Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by wfgodot View Post
    People who have read my posts here should know I'm fairly skeptical when it comes to some things. I like to think I keep an open mind. Having said that I 100% believe that spontaneous human combustion is a real occurrence.

    Back in college I was taking a health type class in my freshman year. I was about 60% convinced that SHC existed at the time. Our professor told us to do a paper on a disease. We could choose the topic. Being the smartaleck that I am I told her I was going to do SHC. After doing my research I became 100% convinced that it was real. She even became 100% convinced after I did my paper.

    We're going back more than 20 years now so forgive me if I get some things a little wrong and can't cite sources, but these are things I remember. The cases involve alcoholics in almost every instance, if not every. While some are smokers not all are. Also, there are a big percentage of cases where no external fire was present. The bodies have been found to have burned around 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. A cremation furnace goes around 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. The article above mentions that fused human fat burns at 215 degrees Celsius. That equals 419 degrees Fahrenheit.

    There was one case that I remember where a person burned through a wood floor into the basement and fire investigators found that the wood had been burned at about 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. I find it difficult to believe that a slow burning fire wouldn't ignite wood or carpet and not affect nearby things.

    The article also postulates that oxygen in a room can be consumed by the fire and therefore a slow burn would take place. However, a lot of cases occur in large houses with a lot of oxygen.

    Like a lot of strange phenomena, IMO, most of the reported cases are not the phenomena but have a natural explanation. I think it's a very, very, very rare phenomena, but it does exist. There are a lot of rare diseases that have been identified over the years and people with unexplained symptoms weren't believed.

    IMO it takes a "perfect storm" of conditions to cause the body to self ignite, but it does happen.

    JMO <----------- He's not mad. He's spontaneously combusting.

  10. #10
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    I'm a skeptic of a lot of things. I don't fall into conspiracy theories or the paranormal that easily. BUT I heard about SHC when I was a younger teen. I didn't believe in it then. The body would have to get the order in some way, shape or form, from the brain. The brain preserves itself, even to the extent of shutting down blood flow to the rest of the body in order to keep itself functional. The brain would not send such a signal, right?

    After reading up on it a little more over the years, I'm a believer. I now feel that it's a combonation of the electrical impulses constantly running in the body, faulty nerve connections, damage to the pathways that carry those nerves, and outside influence, such as electromagnetic fields or simple static. That's just my belief, I don't try to make anyone else agree. As Steely said, the perfect storm.

    As a side note, once I started believing in it, I then became terrified of it happening to me, and that just made me worry that one of the things that causes it is a fear of it happening, which served only to double the fear of it happening. (I'm an obsessive neurotic skeptic believer in SHC...I wonder why more people don't take the believers more seriously, LOL.)
    JMO. Unless there's a link, I can't prove it.


  11. #11
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    Ok, well if you guys who have researched it say its a real, but rare, phenomenom, I won't argue with you. However, there is another real, and unfortunately not so rare, phenomenom - flawed evidence being given in court by arson investigators. So even accepting that SHC does exist, I would still say that its statistically more likely that this coroner was misled by flawed science.

  12. #12
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    Man bursts into flames at Sweden train station
    An unidentified man burst into flames while waiting outside a train station in Sweden, leaving police flummoxed, the Göteborgs-Posten reported.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45410298...d_news-europe/
    Justice for Caylee

    "We have a different stage. We have the same actress," Sheaffer said.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by octobermoon View Post
    Man bursts into flames at Sweden train station
    An unidentified man burst into flames while waiting outside a train station in Sweden, leaving police flummoxed, the Göteborgs-Posten reported.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45410298...d_news-europe/
    That doesn't sound like SHC because that's supposed to happen from the inside out, IIRC. I would think that would kill him and be almost impossible to put out. It'll be interesting to see what happened.



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