It is extraordinarily well documented.
Too well documented for it to be passed off as 'pseudo science'
Like ball lightning, it seems to exist, and no one really knows what it
means. Generally is held to be massive gas build up in the gut..but no
satisfactory explantion is really available. The general symptoms are of
an intense fire centred around the gut/torso area, that utterly consume
the body often leaving just extremities, with everything else
incinerated to a degree that indicates unbelieveably high temperatures.
On Fri, 23 Sep 2011 16:43:29 +0100, The Natural Philosopher wrote:
Does anyone recall that DREADFUL QED programme, in the late 80s/early
90s, "explaining" SHC. I have never watched such patronising shit in my
entire life. It was remade into an episode of "CSI", just to annoy me.
Why can't scientists just say "we don't know" ?
For me, the most interesting thing about SHC is the fact it seems to
happen when a person is alone ... there are very few cases of it
happening around witnesses. That said, there was a news story a few years
back, about a schoolgirl (in the UK) who was walking down the corridor
when her back just "burst into flames". ISTR she was badly injured. Loads
of witnesses there ... IIRC it was suggested she had come from a cookery
lesson, and somehow managed to pocket a few cubic metres of methane in
her jumper - as if !
Um, didn't someone do some research burning a pig carcase wrapped in a
blanket? I thought that the explanation was that the blanket (or clothes in
the case of humans) acted as a wick allowing the body to burn it's own fat
and in effect, turn you into a giant candle
It's pretty hard to imagine what kind of chemical reaction could cause
spontaneous ignition in a human body. Far easier to believe that someone
has passed out after drinking to much (or just died perhaps) whilst smoking
and the cigarette end has provided the source of ignition.
I think 'they' all agree that it isn't 'spontaneous' but that there
needs to be an ignition source to start the candle ..
The coroner referred to there almost always being an open fire or
chimney near such events. Not sure how a closed chimney could influence
events but back in the days when most of us had coal fires rather than
central heating use of a fire-guard was recommended to prevent spitting
coals setting the living room alight. We had at least one instance of
carpet damage back in the 1950s which might have been a good deal worse
had no one been in the room at the time it happened.
On Fri, 23 Sep 2011 17:06:22 +0100, Tim Downie wrote:
That is a possibility of course - and has been demonstrated. However, one
niggle is that in cases of *S*HC (we agree the HC can happen), the *bone*
has been burned.
Even after 2 hours in a crematorium, human bones still remain, and need
to be crushed mechanically. The pig wick-effect tests quietly forget this.
Again, *possible*. (Although it requires the victim be a smoker - and
there are well documented cases where people *weren't*). But likely ? The
human body is a smörgåsbord of chemicals reagents ... I find it entirely
*possible* that a freak reaction could result in combustion. ISTR the
Apollo lunar landers had a fuel mix which would ignite on contact, to
avoid the embarrassment of a flat battery stranding the astronauts.
Strange things happen everyday, which we can't explain. I don't see we
need to invoke the theme to the Twilight Zone every time though.
You might find it easy to believe that a freak reaction could cause
spontaneous combustion but frankly, I think that falls in with "alien
Extraordinary claims (spontaneous combustion in the absence of any
conventional scientific explanation) require extraordinary proof.
Why should people be the only animals bursting into flames? Why not other
animals? Given that we're hugely outnumbered in the animal kingdom I'm sure
that if animals were self conflagrating we'd have some evidence for it by
now (and more than a few witnesses).
The verdict was a nonsense and is a sad indictment of the poor understanding
of the scientific process and standards of proof required to make such a
Just because the cause of fire wasn't determined doesn't provide sufficient
excuse to call the combustion "spontaneous". The judge might as well have
declared that the fairies did it for all the evidence that he had.
The point is that it does exist as an unexplained phenomenon. I am
willing to concede its not as spontaneous as it might be, but people do
NOT normally burst into 1000C+ flames from the inside out, either.
Agreed its a bad term, but its the term used when this exact pattern of
combustion happens, and pig experiments notwithstanding, no one has
managed to replicate the effects fully in a lab.
On Sun, 25 Sep 2011 17:24:27 +0100, Tim Downie wrote:
I didn't say I found it "easy to believe". I said I believed it
"possible". Maybe improbably possible, but possible all the same. As I
suggested, there are chemical reactions which can cause combustion - the
safe return of the Apollo astronauts was trusted to one. Whether such
reactions can occur (a) naturally and (b) in the human body is another
question. And one I freely admit I am unqualified to be authoritative
True. But absence of proof, is not proof of absence. There are lots of
things scientists don't know. Which doesn't make them impossible.
ISTM a lot of people confuse "it could happen" with "believing".
I agree that it seems that society is becoming less science-aware than
more. But sometimes scientists don't help themselves.
I think Arthur C Clarke has it spot on, when he said "if a respected
scientist claims something is possible, he is very likely correct. If a
respected scientist claims something is impossible, he is very likely
If only it happened to everyone who was half pissed, overweight and
stretched out watching jeremy Kyle
I was subjected to 30 seconds of horror today post the Rubgy, when two
'unfuckable lard arses*' one of whom seemed to have managed it, because
the other blob appeared to be her daughter, were screaming at each other
about something or other.
SHC would seem the appropriate solution.
*as Berslusconi referred to Ms Merkel
I have been unfortunate enough to contract 'man-flu' since thursday
last week, so have taken today and tomorrow off to recover .. this
involved watching JK today. Well, when I say watching, I meant TV was
on, but my son who is supposed to be at university is still hanging
around and is currently vegetating around anyone's house and scrounging
free meals and board and washing and cleaning ... was watching it and i
I've honestly not seen it before and actually watched a lot of today ..
Where do these people come from?
Married less than a year and if the chap didn't pass the lie-detector
the young lady (hmm) wanted a divorce, but not reeeeaallllly .... Then
another couple where one was checking the others phone and texts and
sending texts to some women found on the blokes phone!!!!
Do these people not just sit and talk to their partners? Do they not
marry for love and trust their partners come what may?
The apparent high levels of morale outrage from them was somewhat
outweighed by the utter 'chavishness' (common in my day) of their
Jeez I feel rather proud now, where previously I thought it just
natural, to say that on October 1st it'll be my 23rd wedding
anniversary and despite the odd flirt when under the influence
occasionally (on both our parts) there's never, absolutely never, been
a time when she didn't trust me and I didn't trust her! I've never
felt the need to play away and I'm damn sure the missus hasn't either!
We actually talk to each other too ... despite letting her map-read
occasionally .. ;)
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