People Who Died from Spontaneous Human Combustion People
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People Who Died from Spontaneous Human Combustion

List of people who are reported to have died from spontaneous human combustion. These are all alleged cases that have been cited as part of studies or investigations into the phenomenon of spontaneous human combustion.

Spontaneous combustion (or SHC for short) refers to a process in which a human body burns, ignites or explodes without an obvious external cause. There have, in the last 300 years or so, been over 200 cases of alleged spontaneous combustion leading to deaths in humans. Though no proven cause has ever been determined, there are numerous theories as to why some humans may spontaneously combust, including paranormal intervention (by ghosts, say, or demons), natural processes within the human body that aren't fully understood or invisible but present external phenomenon.

In most reported cases of SHC, the victim already had little mobility, often due to advanced age or obesity. The body is typically entirely incinerated, with the immediate surroundings around the person also charred from contact with the explosion. Almost always, the victim was alone at the time of death, meaning that there are few eyewitness accounts of SHC actually occurring. It has often been suggested that SHC is not really occurring and that unknown external variables - such as lit cigarettes or slowly smoldering flames - were actually to blame.
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  1. 1

    Polonus Vorstius Italy, 1470

  2. 2

    1549 Goa, India, 1617

  3. 3

    Nicole Millet France, 1725

  4. 4

    Cornelia di Bandi Italy, 1731

  5. 5

    Phyllis Newcombe United Kingdom, 1938

  6. 6

    Mary Reeser United States, 1951

  7. 7

    United States, 1957

  8. 8

    Helen Conway United States, 1964

  9. 9

    John Irving Bentley 1874 United States, 1966

  10. 10

    Henry Thomas Wales, 1970

  11. 11

    Robert Francis Bailey United Kingdom, 1967

  12. 12

    Ginette Kazmierczak France, 1977

  13. 13

    Jeannie Saffin 1921 England, 1982

  14. 14

    1927 United States, 1986

  15. 15

    Michael Faherty Ireland, 2010

  16. 16

    1993 Ireland, 2011


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