It sounds like something in a horror film, but some people believe it happens. It’s also what an Irish coroner recently concluded about the death of Michael Faherty, a 76-year-old Irishman who burned to death in his home in December 2010. There were scorch marks above and below the body, but no evidence of any gasoline, kerosene, or other accelerant. The coroner, Ciaran McLoughlin, reported: “This fire was thoroughly investigated and I’m left with the conclusion that this fits into the category of spontaneous human combustion, for which there is no adequate explanation.”

  1. John Mayson says:

    He was Irish meaning he was probably an alcoholic. Was he near a flame? Seriously, this can happen.

  2. bobbo, are we Men of Science, or Devo? says:

    Sad what is of interest to discuss in America circa 2011:

    1. Space Visitors
    2. Ghosts
    3. Vampires
    4. Spontaneous Human Combustion
    5. Taxes as a form of Slavery
    6. Clean Coal
    7. Compassionate Conservatives

    And so forth. Human beings on average are about 60% water. Ever put a match or even a blow torch to water?

    8. The Rich are Job Creators
    9. The poor need to pay their fair share of taxes.
    10. More?……….

  3. sargasso_c says:

    The body is very combustible. Ask the Germans.

  4. Ah_Yea says:

    I’m with #1.

    Irish Whiskey!

  5. dans says:

    Seen some pics from the result of SHC, not good.

  6. President Amabo says:

    #4 – Jameson’s: Mmmmm.

    Seriously, this is why it should be illegal to sell pants that don’t have proper rectal ventilation. Fart gas concentrates then you have a spark from an incoming call on the cell phone on your belt and look what can happen.

  7. spsffan says:


    Indeed! Why do you think that the Scots wear the kilt?

  8. ReadyKilowatt says:

    Stories like this (which seem to be coming up more often) are why I’m enjoying No Agenda less than in the past. is a link to a fairly good account of a test done by the BBC to see what happens when you set a body aflame (scroll down about 1/2 way to the Barry Williams story).

  9. Rip says:

    lol nonsense! human body is as combustible as trying to burn a water bed

  10. We had an unfortunate occurrence when one of the young priests lit a fart while showing off for the choir.

  11. Zybch says:

    Its always fun when in ALL the photos of so-called SHC there is ALWAYS a source of ignition close by, usually a heater or fireplace.

  12. Ah_Yea says:

    Or a match and gasoline…

  13. Jambe says:

    I more or less ditto ReadyKilowatt’s opinions. I don’t think John’s as much of a buzzkill as he once was; he seems skewed by Adam’s… quirkier tendencies.

    Don’t get me wrong, Adam’s a lovely person, but I don’t believe half of what he says. It seems John has become more susceptible to black helicoptering and anti-science stances in general over the years.

    But of course perhaps this post was merely a musing at how humorous and silly sensationalist media is! We can hope.

  14. Faxon says:

    Imbibing huge amounts of alcohol cannot possibly cause a body to become inflammable.
    Human body fat, (like pork), is not inflammable.
    Body oils, likewise, will not burn like a candle.
    Most reported cases of human combustion occur inside dwellings, often near a fireplace, and no nearby objects are greatly affected as they would be in the presence of sufficient heat to incinerate a body.

    The case of Mary Reese, in which only her shins and feet remained, and her furniture was relatively unscathed, along with several other perplexing cases, remain unexplained, and are likely candidates for human combustion, as is this Irish case.
    There is a well documented case of flames erupting from a man’s fingertips in full view of his family. He survived, but never learned the cause of the flames.

    We all joke here quite a bit, and Adam has some kooky ideas, but this doctor attributed this case to this cause, reluctantly.

    You all may joke about it, but something does sometimes occur that is not yet explained.

  15. Faxon says:

    No, it can’t. It has been tested, and nobody has been able to make a body burn sufficiently to reduce it to ash.

  16. Zybch says:

    #12 Yeah, them too (though gasoline isn’t an ignition source).

    #14 Body fat and oils will indeed burn like a candle, but they need a wick exactly like a candle does. This is generally provided by whatever clothing the person is wearing of course, and its usually a smouldering type burning than flaming.

  17. Poonwug says:

    I’m with Zybch, this phenomenon has been explained and demonstrated.

  18. Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

    This guy was the drummer for an early Spinal Tap lineup.

  19. Peppeddu says:

    A human body is composed by 70% of water.

    If someone can explain to me it can spontaneously ignite I will show you a way to run your car on water.

  20. spsffan says:

    Thanks ReadyKilowatt for the link. THAT finally makes some sense of the whole thing.

    Still, wouldn’t it be cool* if, just once, at the very height of a heated argument, when you make your final screaming point to the moron you are arguing with, you could burst into flames? Just for a few seconds. Heck, I’d even agree to suffer a few spots of minor first degree burns!

    *make that hot, rather than cool.

  21. #15… except crematoriums, right?

  22. Lucian Cantos says:

    See this book of matches?..There getting ready to “F” you up!
    See I looked like that during the last argument with the ol lady.

  23. President Amabo says:

    Hmmm, I’ve been eating chili for 3 straight days. My rectum is getting very anal but not retentive. Could be some combustion coming…

  24. Miguel says:

    He bought the latest Kindle…

  25. clifffton says:

    Am I the only one to think Zik-Zak has restarted sending blipverts? Edison Carter live and direct wants to know….


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