Spontaneous Human Combustion

Spontaneous human combustion (SHC) describes reported cases of the burning of a living (or very recently deceased) human body without an apparent external source of ignition. There have been about 200 cited cases worldwide over a period of around 300 years.

There are many hypotheses that attempt to explain human spontaneous combustion:

  • Paranormal explanations (e.g., a ghost or divine intervention)
  • Natural explanations based on unknown or otherwise unobserved phenomena (e.g. that the production of abnormally concentrated gas or raised levels of blood alcohol might cause spontaneous ignition)
  • Natural explanations relating to health and lifestyle factors (e.g. smoking, not consuming adequate levels of water etc.)
  • Natural explanations that involve an external source of ignition (e.g. the victim was drunk and dropped a cigarette)

Objections to natural explanations typically refer to the degree of burning of the body with respect to its surroundings. Indeed, one of the common markers of a case of SHC is that the body – or part of it – suffered an extraordinarily large degree of burning while the surroundings or the lower limbs remained comparatively undamaged. Although there is no scientific evidence to support them, supernatural explanations of spontaneous human combustion remain popular.

Read more about Spontaneous Human CombustionCharacteristics, Forensic Investigation, Suggested Explanations, In Fiction

Other articles related to "spontaneous human combustion, spontaneous, human":

Spontaneous Human Combustion - In Fiction
... Examples of spontaneous human combustion are somewhat common in fictional works from the 19th century onwards ... While the term “spontaneous human combustion” was not yet created, Brown includes a footnote at the end of chapter 2 that suggests the phenomenon and its existence in 18th ... Krook by spontaneous combustion in his novel Bleak House (1852) ...
Bleakhouse - Analysis and Criticism
... remarkable things do happen One character, Krook, smells of brimstone and eventually dies of spontaneous human combustion, attributed to his evil nature ... Using spontaneous human combustion to dispose of Krook in the story was controversial ... research and discovery were regarded as among the highest forms of human endeavour ...

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