Spontaneous Human Combustion

If  a person suddenly goes up in flames, would you consider it normal? Would you detect a  suspicious hand behind the burning or would you blame it on the devil?The Spontaneous Human Combustion (SHC) syndrome is one such rare and bizarre syndrome. It relates to the burning up of the body in absence of any external sources of ignition.


There are many theories that have been related to the SHC syndrome, some of these are paranormal and some of them scientific. According to science, the body needs two components in order to be flammable- excessive heat and anything that is highly flammable. They explain body combustion through the ‘ wick effect’. Here the body fat is the flammable component and outer body clothes the wick, as the fat is burned, the clothes too get captured in the fire. This may also be the reason of nothing except the body burning with the clothes and the surroundings left untouched.


In a period of 300 years there have been approximately 200 cases of Spontaneous Human Combustion.in most of the cases, the victims are females, usually the victims are overweight and alcoholics, the room in which the combustion took place is relatively untouched by the fire and in most cases The body is surrounded by yellow putrid smelling material. The most famous case of SHC is that of Mary Reeser. In 1951, the police found the body of the old lady, in her rocking chair, completely burnt, her liver shrunk to the size of a baseball due to intense heat and all the plastic appliances melted due to intense heat released through the body heat. The heat was such  that even the outside door knob was so hot that the firemen were unable to open the door. However not all  victims of SHC face death, some have been said to miraculously survive also. For example, Jack Angel who woke up with burns and blisters all over his body and a huge hole in his chest.