spontaneous human combustion


Also found in: Acronyms, Wikipedia.

spontaneous human combustion

A 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.
References in periodicals archive ?
Krogman has been widely, and erroneously, reported as having concluded that Mary Hardy Reeser, the so-called 'Cinder Woman', was an indubitable victim of the mysterious burning death, SHC, but he told me: 'I regard spontaneous human combustion as utterly impossible and in the realm of fantasy'.
Even a seemingly innocuous letter to the editor can become the starting point for finding an answer to a difficult reference query such as the one about spontaneous human combustion. In addition, as the Noah's Ark example demonstrates, even the most intractable queries can frequently be resolved through careful attention to information contained in newspapers.
Bondeson, a physician, traces the history of such real and alleged phenomena as "bosom serpents" (snakes living in people's stomachs) and spontaneous human combustion. While most are obviously folklore, if not outright frauds--snakes don't last long in a human stomach, and victims of spontaneous combustion tend to be unconscious drunks near open flames--the durability of these legends and the credulity of observers who should have known better make for fascinating, and cautionary, reading.
The chief executive was friendly and before I had the chance to say spontaneous human combustion he was making me coffee.
In one instance, a book was misdated by centuries through carbon testing after the owner of the book in the next room was burned alive by what, Skurka believes, was spontaneous human combustion.
The mystery surrounding a two-and-half-month-old boy, who has been undergoing treatment over claims that he caught fire as many as four times since he was born, has deepened with the tests conducted on the baby disproving Spontaneous Human Combustion Theory (SHC).
Dr McLoughlin added: "This fire was thoroughly investigated and I'm left with the conclusion that this fits into the category of spontaneous human combustion, for which there is no adequate explanation."
Can Coronation Street viewers stand much more before spontaneous human combustion occurs?
John Turturo and Mary-Louis Parker play the doomed lovers.AN epidemic of spontaneous human combustion hits South Park (TV3, Fri 9.30pm) and Mr Marsh is assigned the task of discovering the cause.
So presenter Carol Vorderman introduced spooky stories about ghosts, spontaneous human combustion and other unexplained phenomena, then asked scientists to explain it.
Using news reports, the magazine's editor tracked trends in thirty-four categories of phenomena, including crop circle, mass deaths, "water monsters," and spontaneous human combustion, as well as those listed below.
FEAR: Fear for the emotional and mental wellbeing of Teesside as the heart-pounding, nerveshredding intensity of the next few weeks pushes us close to the point of collective spontaneous human combustion.
Full browser ?