Man spontaneously combusted, coroner says

A coroner in Ireland records that a 76-year-old man died of spontaneous combustion. The coroner further explains that there is no adequate explanation for this phenomenon.

Can people explode?

No, I'm not talking love, politics, or terrorism here. I'm talking about a 76-year-old man in Galway, Ireland, who, at least according to the local coroner, spontaneously combusted.

I am aware that those who remember "Spinal Tap" will remember the notion expressed within it that dozens of people spontaneously combust every year. There are even times when one feels one has witnessed it.

However, this BBC report presented the notion of a human body apparently being burned without anything from outside actually setting it on fire.

CC Santafeegret/Flickr

The victim in this case, Michael Faherty, had been sitting near a fire in his home. Having examined the room, though, forensic experts are convinced that this fire had no role in his death.

They also reportedly ruled out the involvement of another human being or some kind of chemical accelerant. What was particularly strange was that the only fire damage was to the ceiling above Faherty's prone body and the floor below him.

It seems as if spontaneous combustion was the only option remaining.

The coroner, Dr. Ciaran McLoughlin, told the court that he had researched the issue extensively and there was no other verdict he could offer.

Is it truly possible that something within us burns so strong that it can cause us to accidentally--or subconsciously--self-immolate? Or might there be a more scientific, prosaic explanation to this strange happening?

 

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