Spontaneous human combustion (SHC) describes reported cases of the burning of a living (or very recently deceased) human body without an apparent external source of ignition. There have been about 200 cited cases worldwide over a period of around 300 years.
There are many hypotheses that attempt to explain human spontaneous combustion:
- Paranormal explanations (e.g., a ghost or divine intervention)
- Natural explanations based on unknown or otherwise unobserved phenomena (e.g. that the production of abnormally concentrated gas or raised levels of blood alcohol might cause spontaneous ignition)
- Natural explanations relating to health and lifestyle factors (e.g. smoking, not consuming adequate levels of water etc.)
- Natural explanations that involve an external source of ignition (e.g. the victim was drunk and dropped a cigarette)
Objections to natural explanations typically refer to the degree of burning of the body with respect to its surroundings. Indeed, one of the common markers of a case of SHC is that the body – or part of it – suffered an extraordinarily large degree of burning while the surroundings or the lower limbs remained comparatively undamaged. Although there is no scientific evidence to support them, supernatural explanations of spontaneous human combustion remain popular.
SHC occurs when the cells of the body decay that split into molecules of sulphur and magnesium and will self ignite when the right conditions are present, what then are the right conditions? If the human being is made of dust, then is it also made from the elements of the stars?
– Contributed by Oogle.