Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Spontaneous Human Combustion

 Spontaneous Human Combustion was once a real concern amongst individuals after it has been used in  different novels and media as stated by Radford in his article titled “Spontaneous Human Combustion: Facts & Theories.” There is even a scene in South Park where it is referenced and picked fun at, which is one of the reasons it is even a concern to those who are. Spontaneous human combustion is essentially when a person’s body just randomly bursts into flames with no real cause and leaving most of their surroundings untouched. How exactly would that even be possible? There have been many theories, though all of them have either been proven to be false, or they’re just left unanswered. There has been rumored to be cases with that being the cause of one’s death, but there is no living proof of that, leaving it just be a science question as pointed out in this South Park scene. 

Spontaneous human combustion has been questioned for years on whether it was fact or fake. Some may even call it “fat wick burns” as mentioned in Kolijonen, and Klugers article called “Spontaneous human combustion in the light of the 21st century.” There has even been those who are so convinced it to be true, that there are cases that have not ruled out spontaneous human combustion as a potential factor in play. Though there has never been any substantial proof that this phenomenon exists, there is such thing as spontaneous combustion with things like coal, and lithium-ion batteries. Morse has stated in “Oropharyngeal Injury From Spontaneous Combustion of a Lithium-ion Battery: A Case Report” a case for where a battery spontaneously combusted, causing an injury in someone’s mouth, which is probably the closest evidence to even the possibly of someone spontaneously combusting. Even then, that would be the human body itself bursting into the flames by itself, it would be due to other factors. 

Sometimes, in cases involving fire, with no known cause to how it started, they question the paranormal possibilities such as spontaneous human combustion, though majority of the time, it just gets ruled out to an accident caused by the victim. Like this one case mentioned by Mekeres in “Spontaneous human combustion, homicide, suicide, or household accident” , there was an old man who lived alone, was found almost completely burnt outside his house where there was minimal damage to his surroundings was ruled out as a potential oven misuse. There is no real reason to fear igniting into flames if you’re careful around fire as there is no scientifically proven way for your body to just ignite without other external factors being included as it’s just a myth and a hoax.  

Works cited:

Koljonen V, Kluger N. “Spontaneous human combustion in the light of the 21st century”. J Burn Care Res. 2012. Accessed on 20 October 2022.

Mekereş, Florica, and Camelia Liana Buhaş. "Spontaneous human combustion, homicide, suicide or household accident." Rom J Leg Med 24.1 (2016): 11-13.

Morse, Justin, et al. “Oropharyngeal Injury From Spontaneous Combustion of a Lithium‐ion Battery: A Case Report.” The Laryngoscope, vol. 129, no. 1, 2019, pp. 45–48,

Radford, Benjamin. “Spontaneous Human Combustion: Facts & Theories.” Live Science. 18 December 2013.

South Park Clips. “South Park: Another Combustion.” YouTube, 4 August 2020,

Tomlin, Jimmy, “North Carolina’s 1932 Series of Spontaneous Combustions is Still Unsolved.” Atlas Obscura. 19 January, 2016.

Links for Further Research: 

      Spontaneous human combustion in the light of the 21st century writers explain what spontaneous human combustion is and suggested a new term for it called “fat wick burns” and they explain the subject in the simplest way possible without fancy terms.

      Spontaneous Human Combustion: Facts & Theories Spontaneous human combustion was once a real concern amongst individuals after the usage of the term in fiction novels. There’s even supposed cases in the past though most of it is inexplainable, so all we’re really left with is theories.

    Oropharyngeal Injury From Spontaneous Combustion of a Lithium‐ion Battery: A Case Report This article mentions the increasing quantity of E-cigarettes, vapes and the likely cases of spontaneous combustion of lithium-ion batteries has increased dramatically.

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