August 16, 2013

Spontaneous Human Combustion - A Rare Medical Condition

22:12 Posted by DurgaSwaroop No comments
What is SHC ?
Spontaneous Human Combustion is the burning of human body without any apparent external source of fire (as if it is internal).  It is a very rare and strange phenomenon and many people have put forth many hypotheses to explain this medical condition, but no one knows the exact reason for this but the proposed theories often include supernatural sources and new sub-atomic particles. The scientists obviously don't believe in supernatural and ghosty stuff, neither did they ever found the evidence of the so called sub-atomic particle. Here are the reasons they believe causes SHC.

What do the scientists say about this?
Lets revise our fundamentals first. What are the things we need to generate a fire? A flame source and a flammable substance. Humans don't have any of these two in normal cases (at least, not in significant amounts to cause a fire), but, some studies have shown otherwise in some exceptional cases. These are some of the most popular (and accepted) theories.

  • Food is converted into METHANE (a flammable substance) in intestines. If it is released through the pores of skin it can catch fire if triggered by some spark or static charge (a silk cloth can be a great source for this )
  • Very high blood alcohol is also considered a prominent cause for SHC (the phenomenon is called KETOSIS)
  • External causes like Cigars, matches etc. (this goes directly against the definition of SHC but still..)
  • A criminal cover up of an illegal incident (we can't rule that out. can we?)
Can People really burst in to flames? 
All the theories stated above are just mere suppositions and no one knows for sure which among them really is the reason. This condition is so rare that less than 200 cases were recorded in the known history of mankind. There were a few incidents here and there that were thought to be SHC but were ruled out during the investigation, that the source for ignition was external. But there were a few cases which recorded deaths and no body was able to prove the involvement of an external source.

Soooooooooo ........ ?
Well, no one has ever been able to conclusively prove this. So, we will never know the truth about this. But this condition being so rare no one can ever see someone suffering with this and lets hope we don't. But if we ever do find one, lets just hope that we will be of some help to them in some way. But it really is strange that nothing around the person is damaged except for him and his clothes.

Image Credits/Attributions:

  • Burning Skull -
  • Dr.John Irving Bentley- - A pretty famous image of a Dr. John, a 92 year old man who is suspected to die from SHC. All of his body except his leg were completely turned to ashes.

You may also like:


Post a comment

Please Enter your comment here......