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Mysteries revisited: spontaneous human combustion


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None of the proposed scientific explanations for how a body would spontaneously burst into flames have held up to scrutiny.

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One of the main culprit is the wick effect, when the body fat feed a soaked burning material like the way a candle burns. You need an exterior source to start it tho.

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cocktail-party-physics/burn-baby-burn-understanding-the-wick-effect/

Strange stuff, I remember a case that a man arm catched fire during his work at a library. The man survived but was not allowed to work in the rare manuscript sections after the event. WIll try to to find it on the web.
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9 hours ago, Jon the frog said:

One of the main culprit is the wick effect, when the body fat feed a soaked burning material like the way a candle burns. You need an exterior source to start it tho.

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cocktail-party-physics/burn-baby-burn-understanding-the-wick-effect/

Strange stuff, I remember a case that a man arm catched fire during his work at a library. The man survived but was not allowed to work in the rare manuscript sections after the event. WIll try to to find it on the web.

Say, Jon, do you have any thoughts on what might be the ignition source during these rare events (presuming the wick effect)?

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8 hours ago, pallidin said:

Say, Jon, do you have any thoughts on what might be the ignition source during these rare events (presuming the wick effect)?

Most of the case are old peoples that are smoking or in vicinity of fire. They could be cases of falling asleep and choking from the initial smoke or even dying before the fire. So the wick effect fit well with these cases.

The younger cases in active situations are way more baffling. Maybe a biological source is possible with some kind of metabolism imbalance, we are a heat source, we are burning sugar all day long... . We have seen spontaneous burning of a cheese sandwich on an airliner because the pilot put his oxygen mask near it, so you don't need a lot to tickle something bad. 

Edited by Jon the frog
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I was rather intrigued with this when younger and while i cant prove anything i still see no reason to consider it paranormal,

I got overwhelmed with the embellished non confirmed tales and a few who i believe were fraud hoaxers saying they watched their arm flame up, as expected no backing evidence.

I followed that fireman who insists its wick effect but when he tried to prove that with a pig it failed no bbq that day just burnt pork.

I dont buy into the people burned up because they were drunks, but there did seem to be a clue that the people couldnt have done much to help themselves when they burned and were always alone.

I believe its mundane yet just odd nothing paranormal seems its slowed or stopped and the whole thing is based on a few old cases.

 

 

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It is maybe worth pointing out that methane is very flammable and it may stand to reason perhaps a few humans out there may be packing a bit more methane internally than others. Especially if older or more sedentary. Just a layman's guess. I'm not sure about the physics at play during these scenarios, but from a total layman's perspective, my own educated guess might involve some sort of ignition of the internal fuel source and then it is all burning from the inside out.

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In Sarah Morley's case, it was probably the candle. She may or may not have been drinking.

Other cases are likely to have been caused by cigarettes or other ignition sources. It was most likely a cigarette in Mary Reeser's case. We won't know the specifics but something happened. Maybe she was half asleep and had a lit cigarette in her mouth and she attempted to pull it from her mouth in her sedated state but her lips were dry from medication and/or alcohol and the cigarette stuck to her lips as her fingers inadvertently slid across the cigarette to the fire instead, and burning/blistering her fingers which caused her to drop the cigarette from her mouth onto her lap before it rolled beside her in the chair. Startled, very sedated, and fingers in pain, she tried to move but not before spontaneous flatulence from the excitement. All horror, fire, and ashes afterwards. That is one scenario.

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I think an exothermic reaction inside the body is pretty unlikely (... unless there were some really fishy suppositories making the rounds back then).

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