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No. 56: Mar-Apr 1988

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Not The Normal Type Of Fire

December 5, 1987. Greensboro, Maryland. A man was attempting to light a propane stove, when his clothes caught fire. He died in a curious manner.

"The Dec. 5 was unusual because it burned half of the man's body and the floor directly beneath him but nothing else in the house."

Bob Thomas, the deputy state fire marshal, stated:

"This is not the normal type of fire we see when someone's clothes catch on fire."

Thomas thought that it was not spontaneous human combustion (SHC) because the entire body was not consumed. (Anonymous; "Spontaneous Combustion Debunked in Man's Death." Baltimore Sun, p. 2B. January 10, 1988,)

Comment. Actually, in some cases of supposed SHC, a portion of the body, a good perhaps, may survive. The very localized burning is also typical of "classical" SHC.

Reference. Spontaneous human combustion is cataloged in BHC7 in: Biological Anomalies: Humans II. For a description of this book, visit: here.

From Science Frontiers #56, MAR-APR 1988. 1988-2000 William R. Corliss