Men On Fire: How Does Spontaneous Combustion Happen?Submitted by Bob-45 on Wed, 10/10/2012 - 07:24
[Gee, and I thought they have thoroughly debunked this with the "wick effect".]
BY Roxanne Palmer | October 03 2012 10:39 AM
“Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life,” author Terry Pratchett once wrote.
Spontaneous human combustion is one of the more vexing medical mysteries in existence. A person is found burned to ashes, with no apparent ignition source nearby. Usually objects nearby are unharmed, and sometimes parts of the body -- usually the legs -- are left relatively intact.
One early account of this phenomenon hails from 17th-century Danish physician Thomas Bartholin, who related the case of Milan resident Polonus Vorstius, who mysteriously combusted after an evening of wine-drinking in 1470. Other victims like poor Vorstius had also been drinking alcohol before they burst into flames, which led to a heavy dose of moralizing from Victorian scientists of the time, warning of the dangers of drunkenness.