What is spontaneous human combustion? Can it really happen?

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Offline goofkid

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Hey [:)].  I recently heard about spontaneous human combustion and just wanted to knowm, is it really true [?] I mean, do we have any proof? It sure is a wierd thing...

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Offline chris

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The answer is that it might be possible. There are a number of cases in which lumps of incinerated body have been found, yet no there was no evidence of foul-play.

One theory that has been advanced to account for this strange phenomenon is a build up of the gas phosphine, a compound of phosphorus and hydrogen (PH3), which can be produced by certain enteric (gut-inhabiting) microbes. When this phosphorus-containing gas comes into contact with oxygen it can ignite. This suggests that if a person were to produce a sufficiently phosphine-rich fart it could have an incendiary effect (start a fire) when it mixed with the room air, igniting their clothing and melting body fat. The melted fat then soaks into the clothing which behaves like the 'wick' of a candle, gently vapourising the individual.

I interviewed phosphorus expert Dr John Emsley about the science of phosphorus, including spontaneous human combustion, on the naked scientists radio show in 2002.

Chris

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I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception - Groucho Marx

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Offline chimera

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Here's an example of human combustion case:

http://www.csicop.org/si/9803/shc-sidebar.html

Errare humanum esd.-- Biggus D.
« Last Edit: 04/01/2007 11:25:19 by chris »
Errare humanum esd.-- Biggus D.

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drkev

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That link has nothing to do with spontaneous human combustion. It says in the text that her body was ignited from embers from the fire.

I always understood SHC to be completely spontaneous with no source of ignition.

I saw an experiment on TV where they wrapped a pig up in cotton and ignited it. It took 4 days for the pig to burn out and it never completely dissapeared showing that SHC would not vapourise a human body.

A pig was chosen for it's similarity in fat content and size.

Live long and Love life

Kevin Fisher

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Offline Mjhavok

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This is quite interesting. If possible some bones would still be intact I think. In cremation some bone fragments are still not burned completely to ash.

I am very skeptical that this would ever occur.
Steven
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In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

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Offline Mirage

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Here's an example of human combustion case:

http://www.csicop.org/si/9803/shc-sidebar.html

Errare humanum esd.-- Biggus D.

That link has nothing to do with spontaneous human combustion. It says in the text that her body was ignited from embers from the fire.

Well I couldn't get onto it as for some reason they like to block things under reasons like

Reason:
 The Websense category "Non-Traditional Religions and Occult and Folklore" is filtered.

I ask you  [::)]

I find the whole idea of spontaneous human combustion quite interesting and exciting. It would show yet another reason why our bodies are so amazing  [:)]
 
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Would if I could but I can't so I won't

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Offline Karen W.

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 IT is very interesting, I will check the link too!

"Life is not measured by the number of Breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."