What is spontaneous human combustion? How does it happen?

Cases of human combustion go back hundreds of years, and there is photographic evidence of many of them – so why does the cause behind it remain a mystery to us?

I myself have been fascinated by human combustion, ever since seeing these pictures as a child:

The victims of spontaneous human combustion seem to burn all the way through in most cases, however legs, feet, hands are almost always left intact and untouched. And what is even more mysterious is that the fire is always contained to the body; it never results in a house fire.

The site science.howstuffworks.com has an excellent article on spontaneous human combustion that is well worth reading.

Here is a highlight:

“One of the most popular theories proposes that the fire is sparked when methane (a flammable gas produced when plants decompose) builds up in the intestines and is ignited by enzymes (proteins in the body that act as catalysts to induce and speed up chemical reactions). Yet most victims of spontaneous human combustion suffer greater damage to the outside of their body than to their internal organs, which seems to go against this theory.

Other theories speculate that the fire begins as a result of a buildup of static electricity inside the body or from an external geomagnetic force exerted on the body. A self-proclaimed expert on spontaneous human combustion, Larry Arnold, has suggested that the phenomenon is the work of a new subatomic particle called a pyroton, which he says interacts with cells to create a mini-explosion. But no scientific evidence proves the existence of this particle.”

To read the article, written by Stephanie Watson, go HERE


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