spontaneous human combustion(redirected from Spontaneous human combustion contoversy)
spontaneous human combustionA process in which a human body allegedly catches fire as a result of heat generated by internal chemical activity, but without evidence of an external source of ignition. 200 cases have been reported world-wide; it is not accepted as a real phenomenon by all scientists and often regard as an urban legend.
Spontaneous Human Combustion, common features
• Body is completely or almost completely incinerated, but nearby furniture that would normally have been damaged at such temperatures remains intact.
• Damage is limited to victim’s clothing, floor, furniture and ceiling where he or she died.
• Fire affects torso; any remaining, unincinerated parts are of the extremities, such as the feet.
• No traces of fire accelerant or evidence of external cause.
• Victim is typically alone at time of death, and thought to have been alive when the fire started.
• Little sign of struggle.
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.