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SHC - truth or fiction?

Posted By: Diane Campbell

SHC - truth or fiction? - 09/24/11 12:00 AM

When I was a kid I found and read some issues of a magazine that reported all manner of crazy things - (was it called "Truth"?) .... anyway, Spontaneous Human Combustion was a favorite topic - it was also cited in the rockumentary film by Rob Reiner - "This is Spinal Tap" - as the reason for the demise of one of the band's drummers. For those who love twisted science, I offer the following article gleaned today from the BBC:


First Irish case' of death by spontaneous human combustion

A man who burned to death in his home died as a result of spontaneous combustion, an Irish coroner has ruled.

West Galway coroner Dr Ciaran McLoughlin said it was the first time in 25 years of investigating deaths that he had recorded such a verdict.

Michael Faherty, 76, died at his home in Galway on 22 December 2010.

Deaths attributed by some to "spontaneous combustion" occur when a living human body is burned without an apparent external source of ignition.

Typically police or fire investigators find burned corpses but no burned furniture.

An inquest in Galway on Thursday heard how investigators had been baffled as to the cause of Mr Faherty's death at his home at Clareview Park, Ballybane.

Forensic experts found that a fire in the fireplace of the sitting room where the badly burnt body was found, had not been the cause of the blaze that killed Mr Faherty.

The court was told that no trace of an accelerant had been found and there had been nothing to suggest foul play.

The court heard Mr Faherty had been found lying on his back with his head closest to an open fireplace.

The fire had been confined to the sitting room. The only damage was to the body, which was totally burnt, the ceiling above him and the floor underneath him.

Dr McLoughlin said he had consulted medical textbooks and carried out other research in an attempt to find an explanation.

He said Professor Bernard Knight, in his book on forensic pathology, had written about spontaneous combustion and noted that such reported cases were almost always near an open fireplace or chimney.

"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," he said.


Retired professor of pathology Mike Green said he had examined one suspected case in his career.

He said he would not use the term spontaneous combustion, as there had to be some source of ignition, possibly a lit match or cigarette.

"There is a source of ignition somewhere, but because the body is so badly destroyed the source can't be found," he said.

He said the circumstances in the Galway case were very similar to other possible cases.

"This is the picture which is described time and time again," he said.

"Even the most experienced rescue worker or forensic scientist takes a sharp intake of breath (when they come across the scene)."

Mr Green said he doubted explanations centred on divine intervention.

"I think if the heavens were striking in cases of spontaneous combustion then there would be a lot more cases. I go for the practical, the mundane explanation," he said.
Posted By: SP Daily

Re: SHC - truth or fiction? - 09/24/11 12:52 AM

A buildup of farts?
Posted By: Ernie B

Re: SHC - truth or fiction? - 09/24/11 12:57 AM

SP, you are nasty.
Posted By: Judyann H.

Re: SHC - truth or fiction? - 09/24/11 01:41 AM

This is one of my favorite topics for discussion....We studied this in college; and later came to the conclusion that these bodies were burned by extreme electrical current through the system....Our Hypotheses:sadly when durables were first being installed in homes they were not grounded properly. Anything from scrubbing a stove while holding the oven handle, to a simple switch of a pull string from a lamp with a metal stand. Even worse some homicides were attributed to some of these deaths; a disgruntled lover taking advantage of the lastest craze in "how to die"....I'd enjoy hearing other thoughts or opinions on the subject. Thank you Dianne for starting this topic......
Posted By: Ernie B

Re: SHC - truth or fiction? - 09/24/11 02:10 AM

grin
Posted By: Windjammer

Re: SHC - truth or fiction? - 09/24/11 06:47 AM

In your dreams Ernie.
Posted By: Diane Campbell

Re: SHC - truth or fiction? - 09/24/11 02:07 PM

Originally Posted by Judyann H.
This is one of my favorite topics for discussion....We studied this in college; and later came to the conclusion that these bodies were burned by extreme electrical current through the system....Our Hypotheses:sadly when durables were first being installed in homes they were not grounded properly. Anything from scrubbing a stove while holding the oven handle, to a simple switch of a pull string from a lamp with a metal stand. Even worse some homicides were attributed to some of these deaths; a disgruntled lover taking advantage of the lastest craze in "how to die"....I'd enjoy hearing other thoughts or opinions on the subject. Thank you Dianne for starting this topic......


Judyann, let's not give anybody ideas - lovers and murder, ohmy! crazy
Posted By: Dr Buzzard

Re: SHC - truth or fiction? - 09/24/11 02:08 PM

Originally Posted by SP Daily
A buildup of farts?


Thats why it's best let them out. The best is when you've had beer and boild eggs, then let out a silencer in an elevator.
Posted By: Welland

Re: SHC - truth or fiction? - 09/27/11 12:03 AM


At the Ontario Fire College I asked about this. The explanation I got was that there was a source of ignition which started the body burning. As it burned fat melted and this is what kept the body burning till almost nothing was left. Sounded good to me.
Posted By: elbert

Re: SHC - truth or fiction? - 09/27/11 12:55 AM

I'm gona ground my house this weekend!
Posted By: SP Daily

Re: SHC - truth or fiction? - 09/27/11 12:59 AM

Mind yer farts!
Posted By: bobcat bill

Re: SHC - truth or fiction? - 09/27/11 01:41 AM

by all means do not light a match
Posted By: Rykat

Re: SHC - truth or fiction? - 09/27/11 02:02 AM

oh yeah, this is definitly better than US Chat. New topic needed "Island Flatulence"! sick laugh
Posted By: Dr Buzzard

Re: SHC - truth or fiction? - 09/27/11 02:09 PM

My guard puppy just came, licked my leg,and farted and then ran away laughing. I guess we are both safe from SHC.
Posted By: lovey and thurston

Re: SHC - truth or fiction? - 09/27/11 02:37 PM

Could do without this one altogether!
Posted By: Dr Buzzard

Re: SHC - truth or fiction? - 09/28/11 01:33 PM

Burp
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