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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Spontaneous Human Combustion

                                        

                                                     Spontaneous Human Combustion

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. The latter is the form most often 'recognized' as SHC.

There is much speculation and controversy over SH...C. It is not a proven natural occurrence, but many theories have attempted to explain SHC's existence and how it may occur. The two most common explanations offered to account for apparent SHC are the non-spontaneous "wick effect" fire, and the rare discharge called static flash fires. Although mathematically it can be shown that the human body contains enough energy stored in the form of fat and other tissues to consume it completely, in normal circumstances bodies will not sustain a flame on their own.

Photo: John Irving Bentley

John Irving Bentley (1874–1966) was a physician who burned to death in the bathroom of his house in Coudersport, Pennsylvania. Bentley was last seen alive on December 4, 1966, when friends visiting him at his home said goodnight to him at about 9:00 P.M. On the following morning, December 5, Don Gosnell, a meter reader, let himself into Bentley’s house and went to the basement to check the meter—since Bentley could only move about with the help of a walker, Mr. Gosnell had permission to enter as necessary.

While in the basement, Gosnell noticed a strange smell and a light blue smoke. Intrigued, he went upstairs to investigate. The bedroom was smoky and in the bathroom he found Bentley’s cremated remains. All that was left intact of the aged doctor was the lower half of his right leg with the slipper still on it. The rest of his body had been reduced to a pile of ashes on the floor in the basement below. His walker lay across the hole in the floor generated by the fire. The rubber tips on it were still intact, and the nearby bathtub was hardly scorched. Gosnell ran from the building to get help, screaming “Doctor Bentley’s burned up!”

History and Theory of Spontaneous Human Combustion:
http://www.crystalinks.com/shc.html

Read more Spontaneous Human Combustion cases:
http://cogitz.com/2009/09/06/spontaneous-human-combustion/

Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spontaneous_human_combustion

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