Monday, November 17, 2008

Spontaneous Human Combustion

Today's topic - spontaneous human combustion.

Spontaneous human combustion (SHC) refers to the belief that the human body sometimes burns without an external source of ignition. As it is an unproven natural phenomenon, there is much speculation and controversy regarding SHC.

There are three possible explanations for this phenomenon that no one can prove has actually occurred (which I find rather interesting in itself:

1. The "wick effect" - the clothing of the victim soaks up melted human fat and acts like the wick of a candle. Another possibility is that the clothing is caused to burn by a discharge of static electricity.

2. It's supernatural.

3. SHC victims are lonely people who fall into a trance immediately before their incineration. A psychosomatic process in such emotionally-distressed people can trigger off a chain reaction by freeing hydrogen and oxygen within the body and setting off a chain reaction of mitochondrial explosions.

Now, of course, there is no basis in scientific fact for any of these, but then there's sorta no basis in fact for the supernatural...hence the name. :)

Some argue that SHC is not possible at all due to the large amounts of water that comprise our body's makeup, but here's a case with eyewitnesses:

In September 1985, a young woman named Debbie Clark was walking home when she noticed an occasional flash of blue light:

“It was me. I was lighting up the driveway every couple of steps. As we got into the garden I thought it was funny at that point. I was walking around in circles saying: 'look at this, mum, look!' She started screaming and my brother came to the door and started screaming and shouting 'Have you never heard of spontaneous human combustion?'”

Debbie's mother, Dianne Clark:

“I screamed at her to get her shoes off and it [the flashes] kept going so I hassled her through and got her into the bath. I thought that the bath is wired to earth. It was a blue light you know what they call electric blue. She thought it was fun, she was laughing."

There are many other reported incidents with witnesses and no apparent explanation for what happened. Some resulted in death, some merely scared the crap out of those around.

So what do you think...reality or the basis for a great movie with a young, scary Drew Barrymore????

Deadly DeLeon


Gemma Halliday said...

I listened to a lecture on this when I was in high school and thought it was the most fascinating thing! There are some really weird eyewitness accounts out there. I believe enough to say if you gals ever see blue lights coming out of me – douse me, k?


Wendy Roberts said...

I'm with Gemma, please remind me to stop, drop & roll if I happen to be giving off blue lights LOL!

Christie Craig said...

You know, I was certain this blog was going to lead some gal running into some really hot looking totally hunky "Dude" and simply melting. But this downright scares me.

I mean, not only to do we have to worry about hurricanes, tornados, bird flu, bad mosquitoes, killer bees, big foot, teenagers learning how to drive, but now we have to worry about suddenly having blue flames coming out of our body. This is just too much.

I’m going to go lose myself in a peaceful book where only murder happens.


Anonymous said...

I sure hope static electricity has nothing to do with it. Otherwise I might be in trouble.... though I guess if I didn't go up in flames while brushing my hair this morning, I probably won't ever. *g*

Jana DeLeon said...

LOL Gemma - Since I usually only see you at conference, I'll throw a beer on you....since, well, that's sorta my drink of choice at conference. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Wendy - your comment reminded me of an old Eddie Murphy skit with the crazy uncle who always wants a huge fire in the bbq grill. Then he sets one of the kids on fire and he says "He'll be all right. Just roll him around on the ground a little." :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Damn Christie - I hadn't even thought about a hot man sending someone up in flames - that might have the makings of a cool paranormal. As long as the hot flaming man is the villain.

Jana DeLeon said...

LOL Tori - I got zinged good by my car at lunch. My friend heard it two cars down.

catslady said...

LOL I think all things are possible!

Jana DeLeon said...

Me too, catslady!