The Mysterious Case of the Burning Lady

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Some cases of the unexplained continue to linger and create chillbumps. The case of the burning lady is one that lingers....

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It was 1964, in a quaint township in Pennsylvania. Helen Conway was in for the evening and comfortably set in her bedroom for the evening. Nothing was out of place and she was in her usual pleasant spirits.

In fact, her granddaughter came by with a new book of matches for her. Only 6 minutes after that, firemen were standing around a pile of ashes in Mrs. Conway's room along with her intact legs.

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"Spontaneous human combustion," the fire chief sighed. 

The granddaughter made the fire alarm call only 3 minutes after handing her grandmother the matches. 

Skeptics will say that the "wick effect" could create spontaneous human combustion. This is a condition in which the very fat within a person's body could be fueled to burn very hot, sort of like a whale oil lantern.

In the case of Mrs. Conway; however, she was not found 7 hours later (which is how long a wick effect burn would take - see explanation end of post). She was found within minutes of the last time she was alive and talking.

How does a living breathing human being, made up of a large percentage of water, manage to burn hotter than a cremation incinerator, leaving behind untouched surroundings and even intact limbs? 

To this day, her case remains unexplained and terrifying to know that a person can just go up in smoke in a few minutes' time.

It is interesting to note how many of these victims have their legs still intact.

Mrs. Charles Williamson (1932)

Dr. John Bentley (1966)

a male in Paris

Michael Faherty (2010)

Helen Conway (1964)

Female Brazil (2017)

Witnesses to SHC (Spontaneous Human Combustion) have reported blue jet-like flames. 

Here is one chilling witness report - 

(LINKEarly in the morning of 13 September 1967, some people walking to work in Lambeth, South London, noticed a bright light inside a derelict house at 49 Auckland Street. 

At 5:19 AM, one of them telephoned the emergency services. At 5:24, the Lambeth Fire Brigade arrived with Brigade Commander John Stacey.

The crew entered the building and discovered the bright light was the burning body of a local alcoholic, Robert Bailey, who had sought shelter in the abandoned house overnight. Strangely, though, neither the fabric of the house itself, nor its internal fittings was damaged. The only thing on fire was Bailey himself.

"When we entered the building," said Stacey, "he was lying on the bottom of the stairs half-turned onto his left side and his knees were drawn up as though he was trying to bend the pain from his stomach."

Stacey said, 'There was about a four inch slit in his stomach and the flame was emanating from that four-inch slit like a blow-torch. It was a blue flame.'

Thinking the man might possibly still be alive, Stacey and his men emptied several fire extinguishers over the body, putting out the flame but with difficulty.

"The flame was actually coming from the body itself," said Stacey, "from inside the body. He was burning literally from the inside out. And it was definitely under pressure. And it was impinging on the timber flooring below the body, so much so that the heat from the flame was charred into the woodwork."

It would seem as though these people are burning at a very high temperature. The inner core of a candle flame is light blue, with a temperature of around 1800 K (1500 °C) Human bodies are cremated at 1800 degrees. 

Let's here from someone who spontaneously lit up in 1995

What is going on with these extremely rare cases? Well, all we can say for sure now is that they take a certain set of circumstances that are exceptionally rare (thankfully). 

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