"Definition: Spontaneous human combustion (SHC) is the alleged burning of a person's body without a readily apparent, identifiable external source of ignition. The combustion may result in simple burns and blisters to the skin, smoking, or a complete incineration of the body. The latter is the form most often 'recognized' as SHC.”
Spontaneous Human Combustion or SHC is another phenomenon that has been tormenting “Man Animal” since the very beginning of times. Stories relating incidents were people catch a light out of nowhere can even been found on early texts as the Bible. Over the past 300 years, there have been more than 200 reports of persons burning to a crisp for no apparent reason. As you all know here at Paradox we do not try to proof if a phenomenon is actual a fact or a hoax we prefer only to inform and relate...So here we go Some famous cases:

The first reliable historic evidence of Spontaneous Human Combustion appears to be from the year 1673, when Frenchman Jonas Dupont published a collection of Spontaneous Human Combustion cases and studies entitled De Incendiis Corporis Humani Spontaneis. Dupont was inspired to write this book after encountering records of the Nicole Millet case, in which a man was acquitted of the murder of his wife when the court was convinced that she had been killed by spontaneous combustion. Millet, a hard-drinking Parisian was found reduced to ashes in his straw bed, leaving just his skull and finger bones. The straw matting was only lightly damaged. Dupont's book on this strange subject brought it out of the realm of folkloric rumour and into the popular public imagination.


Maybelle Andrews was with her boyfriend dancing at a nightclub. Suddenly flames erupted from her back, chest and shoulders. Her boyfriend was severely burned trying to put the flames out. He said that at the time there were no other flames in the room anywhere and that they had come from Maybelle herself. Maybelle died of her injuries on the way to hospital

JULY 1951

St. Petersburg, Florida. Mary Hardy Reeser, a 67-year-old widow, spontaneously combusted while sitting in her easy chair. The next morning, her next door neighbour tried the doorknob, found it hot to the touch and went for help. She returned to find Mrs Reeser, or what was left of her, in a blackened circle four feet in diameter. All that remained of the 175-pound woman and her chair was a few blackened seat springs, a section of her backbone, a shrunken skull the size of a baseball, and one foot encased in a black stain slipper just beyond the four-foot circle. Plus about 10 pounds of ashes. The police report declared that Mrs Reeser went up in smoke when her highly flammable rayon-acetate nightgown caught fire, perhaps because of a dropped cigarette. But one medical examiner stated that the 3,000-degree heat required to destroy the body should have destroyed the apartment as well. In fact, damage was minimal - the ceiling and upper walls were covered with soot. No chemical accelerants, incidentally, were found.

In December 1956, Virginia Caget of Honolulu, Hawaii, walked into the room of Young Sik Kim, a 78-year-old disabled person, to find him enveloped in blue flames. By the time firemen arrived on the scene, Kim and his easy chair were ashes. Strangely enough, nearby curtains and clothing were untouched by fire, in spite of the fierce heat that would have been necessary to consume a human being.

MAY 1957

On May 18, 1957, Anna Martin, 68, of West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was found incinerated, leaving only her shoes and a portion of her torso. The medical examiner estimated that temperatures must have reached 1,700 to 2,000 degrees, yet newspapers two feet away were found intact.


 Jack Larber who was a 72 year old patient at the Laguna Honda Home in San Francisco had his clothing catch fire a few minutes after being fed. His attendant was out of the room at the time it happened but attempted to put out the fire when returning back into the room. Mr. Larber died of 3rd degree burns on February 2nd 1959. No explanation was found for the fire – Mr Larber was a non-smoker.


An autoworker by the name of Billy Peterson was found dead in the front seat of his car in Pontiac, Michigan. At first it appeared that Peterson had attempted suicide for the exhaust pipe had been bent to lead into the car’s front seat. However Peterson’s body had third-degree burns on his back, legs and arms, his flesh was severely burnt but neither his clothing nor the front seat was damaged. It was also noted that hairs on the charred portions of the body were not even singed. On the death certificate the cause was noted as carbon monoxide poisoning but the burns were ignored


92 year old Dr. Joh Irving Bentley was last seen alive on the evening of December 4th, 1966 by friends visiting to say goodnight at about 9.00pm. The following morning Mr. Gosnell, a meter reader let himself into Mr Bentley’s house to go to the basement to check the meter. Mr Gosnell had permission to enter Mr. Bentley’s house because Mr Bentley had limited mobility and could only move about with the help of a walker. Once in the basement Mr Gosnell could smell a strange smell and then could see a light blue smoke. Worried, he went upstairs to investigate. Mr. Bentley’s bedroom was filled with smoke and in the bathroom there lay the charred remains of Mr. Bentley. All that was left of the old man was the lower half of his right leg with his slipper still on it. The rubber stoppers on his walker which lay beside his remains were still intact and the bathtub was hardly scorched. Gosnell ran for help. It was first thought that Mr. Bentley set himself on fire with his pipe, but it was soon discovered that his pipe was still on it’s stand by the bed in his bedroom. The coroner noted his death was caused by asphyxiation and 90% burning of the body.

APRIL  1744

Grace Pett, 60, an alcoholic residing in Ipswich England, was found on the floor by her daughter like "a log of wood consumed by a fire, without apparent flame." Nearby clothing was undamaged.

Blackwood, Ebbw Vales, Wales – the police and forensic officers discovered a mans body burnt beyond recognition in his living room. The armchair that he was sitting in had hardly been damaged along with some nearby plastic objects. The fire that had killed the man had been so intense that it left a coating of vaporized flesh on the ceiling

An airwoman by the name of Jenna Winchester burst into flames whilst sitting in a car next to a friend in Florida. Her friend saw yellow flames coming from Jenna and heard her scream “Get me out of here!” and saw her trying to beat out the flames with her bare hands. The car crashed into a telephone pole. Jenna survived the experience with 20% of her body covered in burns


Jean Lucille “Jeannie” Saffin was a sixty-one-year-old woman with the mental age of a child, due to brain damage from a forceps delivery at birth. Her mother having died the previous year, she lived with her eighty-two-year-old father and a brother at the family home in Edmonton, in northern London. On Wednesday, September 15, 1982, a hot, humid day, Jeannie was sitting with her father in the kitchen. The windows were open. Suddenly, about 4:15 p.m., Jack Saffin’s attention was directed to his daughter who was ablaze flames were coming from her mouth like a dragon and they were making a roaring noise. He shouted to his son-in-law Don Carroll, and the two men put out the fire with water. Carroll phoned for an ambulance, which arrived quickly, and Jeannie was transported to North Middlesex Hospital. She was later transferred to the burn unit at Mount Vernon Hospital. She died there, nearly eight days later, at 8:10 a.m. on September 23. The cause of death was listed rather perfunctorily as “bronco-pneumonia due to burns.”

MARCH  1997

On March 24, 1997, 76-year-old John O'Connor was found dead in his living room at Gortaleen in Northern Ireland. An intense and localized heat had left only his head, upper torso, and feet unburned, as well as the chair in which he was sitting. There was very little smoke damage done to the room or the furniture
In 1944 Peter Jones, survived this experience and reported that there was no sensation of heat or sighting of flames. He just saw smoke. He stated that he felt no pain.

The following facts are common to all SHC cases

Eighty percent of the victims are female
  1. Most of the victims were overweight and/or alcoholics
  2. The body is very badly burned, but the room the body was found in is pretty much intact except for a fine layer of soot
  3. A yellow, foul smelling oil is usually surrounding the body
  4. The torso, including the chest, abdomen and hips tend to be totally consumed, sparing portions of the extremities and the head – the clothing can also be intact
  5. The victim was always on their own – no shouts or screams could ever be heard
  6. The victim had usually been drinking heavily prior to the death.