Irish Coroner Finds Death Was Case Of “Spontaneous Combustion”

In my torts class, we often discuss accounts of “spontaneous combustion” particularly after discussing the case of spontaneous combustion of a hay rick in Vaughn v. Menlove. Such cases have occasionally been reported with people, albeit to skeptical police. The latest comes from Ireland where Michael Faherty, 76, seemed to spontaneously combust.

West Galway coroner Dr. Ciaran McLoughlin listed the cause of death as spontaneous combustion — the first such finding in his 25 years.

Faherty died at his home in Galway on December 22, 2010, but found no accelerant, foul play, or evidence of an accident. He was found lying on his back with his head closest to an open fireplace, but the fireplace was ruled out as a cause. Only the ceiling above him and the floor below him were affected.

These cases often involve combustion that does not affect nearby furniture or drapes or material. The cases often do occur near furnaces or fireplaces. No, it is not because my ancestors in Ireland are full of combustible liquids. Spontaneous human combustion (SHC) is reported around the world. One believer in SHC was Charles Dickens who included such a death of Mr. Krook in Bleak House.

I am not sure how insurance companies handle such a novel and rare finding. It is an official finding that is usually determinative for insurance purposes. Yet, some remain skeptical of the claims.

Source: BBC

17 thoughts on “Irish Coroner Finds Death Was Case Of “Spontaneous Combustion””

  1. Nieper explains this as sort of extrapolation of maligne neuroleptic syndrome which sometimes occurs in neurolept narcosis. It implies high concentration of calcium in membranes. He says combustion more frequently occurs among th Indian-rooted population of the US. His book gives a further explanation on the basis of ether which in turn is the source of FREE ENERGY. Enter at google: Prof. Seike (Japan), Howard-Johnson Magnetic motor, Hans Coler, Lester Hendershot, Nicola Tesla, Moray…

  2. The book “Revolution in Technics, Medicine, and Society” by Alfred Nieper
    Gives an explanation.

  3. To give credit where it is due, it was Carlyle Moulton who posted the correct scientific explanation, OS. Although I did know that bit of information, I was too busy (yeah, that’s it, busy 😀 ) trying to use a Blue Öyster Cult reference to post it.

  4. Gene is correct. The research was done using hog carcasses. The fire remained highly localized because the flames were rather small similar to a candle. However, it burned very hot as long as there was fuel in the form of fat. As fire goes, it does not take that much to cremate remains as long as the fire lasts long enough. For example, my self-cleaning oven works at about 850 to 900 degrees Fahrenheit, which is plenty hot enough to turn whatever non-metallic stuff in there to dust and all I have to do is vacuum it out.

    One of the clues is that in a number of these cases the extremities did not burn but were left more or less intact. There are photos online, but they are pretty gruesome and I will not link to them.

  5. I believe that the mystery of spontaneous human combustion has been solved as of several years ago,. It is not spontaneous combustion but a fire that start on the body of a fat person by normal means, cigarette, candle etc and continues fed by the melting fat from the body with the clothing acting as a wick. The fire never gets intense enough to damage the enclosing building but is hot enough to reduce the bones to ash.

  6. it is not because my ancestors in Ireland are full of combustible liquids

    Stay thirsty my friends?

    New, revolutionary discoveries in microbiology inform us that we are composed of microbes that are a factor of 10 more abundant in us than “human” cells are.

    The only reason we only see human cells is that they are much larger than the single-celled microbes.

    Any research into spontaneous combustion should take these symbiont microbes into consideration before proceeding.

  7. I don’t discount anything…Though I have never seen one occur…Who is to say that it could not happen…I bet the adjuster….is still trying to figure out how not to pay….I wonder if it had a Double Indemnity Clause…

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