Subject: Re: SPONTANEOUS HUMAN COMBUSTION Date: 18 Nov 1993 17:31:38 GMT What Spontaneous

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Newsgroups: alt.folklore.urban From: newc0015@black.ox.ac.uk (Guy M P Coates) Subject: Re: SPONTANEOUS HUMAN COMBUSTION Date: 18 Nov 1993 17:31:38 GMT What Spontaneous human combustion refers to is where people have been found burned to death but nearby bits of furniture (eg the chairs that they were sitting on) or the persons clothing have not been touched by flame. The burning is usally quite severe. Most commonly single limbs have been reduced to ash. (Whole body cases are VERY rare) Lots of cases have been reported and well documented (The police get kind of suspicious when people are found burnt to death is strange situations) Firstly, the combustion is never "spontaneous". There is always an external ignition source (many SHC. cases turn out to be murders.) The interesting thing about SHC is that human bodies basically don't burn. Crematoriums have to bake bodies for quite a while at high temperatures to reduce bodies to ash. If you pour petrol over someone and set fire to them then they get burnt and will die but there is no way you are going to reduce limbs to ash. What may happen in SHC is that an igniton source sets fire to the victims clothing, who is usally unable to put it out (many SHC victims are alcoholics who seem to have fallen asleep infront of the fire ) The fatty body tissues melt and run into the victims clothing, which acts as a wick. The fire is localized to the body and does not tend to spread to surrounding flammable objects. An alternative hypotysis is that a fire starts in an enclosed room. If there is not very much O2 around the flames will die down but a lot of hot smoke will be produced. Anyone caught in such a room will be slowly baked over a period of hours or even days if the conditions are right. Normally flammable objects in the room will not get burnt as there is no flame (you need extreme temperature to get paper and wood to burn if there are no flames present) I did a project of SHC so if anyone want a list of the sources and articles that I used, e-mail me. Guy Coates (newc0015@new.ox.ac.uk)

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