Why You Shouldn’t Eat Your Boogers – Factoid #7

Can a human being spontaneously combust?

Human spontaneous combustion is a mysterious, controversial, and much derided phenomenon, in which a person is said to suddenly burst into flames, without the presence of any external fire or heat. Cases have been reported of burned corpses being found, their bodies charred, but the furniture around the victim seemingly untouched by the fire. This phenomenon has remained a contentious mystery for hundreds of years, with a number of possible explanations being suggested, including balls of lightning or a buildup of methane inside the intestines.

However, scientists now believe that they may have found the answer, in a theory known as the “wick effect.” The theory is that in certain rare and particular circumstances, a human body can burn in a way comparable to a candle. A source such as a lit cigarette may start the fire, and it is believed that body fat can act as fuel to keep the body burning. A group of researchers carried out an experiment to demonstrate the wick effect. It involved setting light to a dead pig wrapped in cloth which was designed to represent a person wearing clothes. The pig burned for many hours, and the charred effect was similar to that found in apparent cases of spontaneous human combustion. The scientists believe they demonstrated how a case of spontaneous human combustion could occur to a person who had already been knocked unconscious. It could also explain why only part of the body -the part that is rich in fat- burns, while the rest stays intact.


Okay, I believe spontaneous human combustion is a real and very rare phenomena, personally. It is, IMO, caused by an imbalance of the electrical system in the body. A friend of mine’s daughter has Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum, which is a rare birth defect where the bridge between the brain’s hemispheres fails to develop properly resulting in their inability to communicate with each other, and one of the medications the doctor wanted to put her on has a possible side-effect of spontaneous human combustion. My friend refused that medication… I don’t blame her.

One more video, this one’s kinda funny:

This post is part of the Boogers and Book Bucks Giveaway. Don’t forget to enter at the original post for your official entry. Comments here count as a bonus entry 😀

7 Responses

  1. I still don’t think it’s “spontaneous”, though – not if you need a trigger. But the idea of fat burning for hours like that is enough to make you gag.

  2. Okay, your personal factoid freaked me out more than the real factoid. I can’t imagine what I would do if a doctor offered to prescribe me a drug and casually mentioned that a side effect was HSC! I think I’ll deal with my illness. Thanks.

  3. Yeah, i wouldn’t want a medicine with that side effect. I would have declined as well. And true….if it needs a trigger, it’s not just doing it on its own. the idea is still quite freaky!!
    interesting fact though.

  4. I believe the theory only as it relates to human fat and gases being highly flammable and needing an igniter to actually cause the combustion.
    But it is so scary to know that a medication causing this side effect is legally available!

  5. I have read about spontaneous human combustion a long time ago. Interesting article. I don’t, however, understand your connecting agenesis of the corpus callosum with this event. What is your point? I would like to know, out of curiosity. Have you asked your friend?

  6. The connection between ACC medication and SHC is that the medicine is to stop the seizures her she has, which is one of the symptoms of ACC. The medicine works by altering the electric current in the brain, I think. That’s the way the girl’s grandfather explained it to me. I don’t know when I’ll see them again as they no longer go to the church we were going to and they live in another town.

    Oh, and that particular medication is a last resort kind.

  7. I remember reading about the interaction of Mitochondria in the human body and how they may be involved in an overproduction of ATP. this over production could be the root of many SHP flare ups.

    i believe makers of the video game Parasite Eve used some similar research as a loose basis for their game.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: