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'First Irish Case' of Death by Spontaneous Combustion 

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Old 09-23-2011, 09:13 PM
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'First Irish Case' of Death by Spontaneous Combustion

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A man who burned to death in his home died as a result of spontaneous combustion, an Irish coroner has ruled.

West Galway coroner Dr Ciaran McLoughlin said it was the first time in 25 years of investigating deaths that he had recorded such a verdict.

Michael Faherty, 76, died at his home in Galway on 22 December 2010.

Deaths attributed by some to "spontaneous combustion" occur when a living human body is burned without an apparent external source of ignition.

Typically police or fire investigators find burned corpses but no burned furniture.

An inquest in Galway on Thursday heard how investigators had been baffled as to the cause of Mr Faherty's death at his home at Clareview Park, Ballybane.

Forensic experts found that a fire in the fireplace of the sitting room where the badly burnt body was found, had not been the cause of the blaze that killed Mr Faherty.

The court was told that no trace of an accelerant had been found and there had been nothing to suggest foul play.

The court heard Mr Faherty had been found lying on his back with his head closest to an open fireplace.

The fire had been confined to the sitting room. The only damage was to the body, which was totally burnt, the ceiling above him and the floor underneath him.

Dr McLoughlin said he had consulted medical textbooks and carried out other research in an attempt to find an explanation.

He said Professor Bernard Knight, in his book on forensic pathology, had written about spontaneous combustion and noted that such reported cases were almost always near an open fireplace or chimney.

"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," he said.

'Sharp intake of breath'
Retired professor of pathology Mike Green said he had examined one suspected case in his career.

He said he would not use the term spontaneous combustion, as there had to be some source of ignition, possibly a lit match or cigarette.

"There is a source of ignition somewhere, but because the body is so badly destroyed the source can't be found," he said.

He said the circumstances in the Galway case were very similar to other possible cases.

"This is the picture which is described time and time again," he said.

"Even the most experienced rescue worker or forensic scientist takes a sharp intake of breath (when they come across the scene)."

Mr Green said he doubted explanations centred on divine intervention.

"I think if the heavens were striking in cases of spontaneous combustion then there would be a lot more cases. I go for the practical, the mundane explanation," he said.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-15032614

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Old 09-24-2011, 12:06 AM
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Re: 'First Irish Case' of Death by Spontaneous Combustion

I my be going out on a limb here, but the fireplace seems like the culprit to me or he was a smoker. He died, caught fire by one or the other, and burned like a candle.

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Old 09-24-2011, 03:06 AM
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Re: 'First Irish Case' of Death by Spontaneous Combustion

Damn! No pictures.

Great find.

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Old 09-24-2011, 03:11 AM
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Re: 'First Irish Case' of Death by Spontaneous Combustion

HOW THE HUMAN BODY CAN BECOME AN 'INSIDE OUT CANDLE'

There have been a number of documented cases where police have found corpses burned almost to ashes but no burned furniture around them.

Temperatures of 3,000 degrees would be required to burn a human body to this extent, yet in these cases only smoke damage is reported.

Puzzled scientists have come up with the ‘wick theory’ to explain such events. The theory is that the human body can become an ‘inside out’ candle.

The person’s clothes are the wick, while their body fat is the wax or flammable substance, that keeps the blaze going. Limbs may be left intact because of the temperature gradient, with the bottom half of the body being cooler than the top.

A grisly aside is that greasy stains left after such an event could be a residue for the person’s body fat.

The combustion would not be ‘spontaneous’ however, because it would need an external source to start it off, such as a cigarette. Some have postulated that static electricity could cause the needed spark.

Home Office pathologist Professor Michael Green told the BBC in 2005: ‘The way the body burns - the so-called wick effect - seems to me and to my colleagues to be the most scientifically credible hypothesis.’

A body would take around five hours to burn in this way to ashes. Victims are often elderly, sick, or under the influence of alcohol, which might explain why they would not have been able to escape.

Larry Arnold, author of “Ablaze! The Mysterious Fires of Spontaneous Combustion,” has three theories. The first posits that small, high-powered particles whizzing between the molecules of the body collide – an event he calls “the Internal Hiroshima Effect.” The second suggests kundalini, a powerful energy flowing up and down the spine, becomes unbalanced, triggering a temperature spike. The third theory, based on the geographical clustering of alleged spontaneous combustion cases, credits the phenomenon to energy anomalies in the earth.

“Although I am constantly speculating about what could cause those patterns to manifest, at this point I have nothing I can take into a scientific laboratory and reproduce under controlled conditions,” Arnold wrote in a February 2011 report in Vice. “This is essentially why it’s so easy for the experts and the scientific orthodoxy to dismiss spontaneous human combustion. It is truly spontaneous.”

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Old 09-24-2011, 03:16 AM
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Re: 'First Irish Case' of Death by Spontaneous Combustion

His home and his wife, Mrs. Maureen Faherty.

Your Source For Death Pictures and Death Video
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Old 09-24-2011, 03:22 AM
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Re: 'First Irish Case' of Death by Spontaneous Combustion

<div style='text-align:center'>

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</embed>

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</div>

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Old 09-24-2011, 08:07 AM
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Re: 'First Irish Case' of Death by Spontaneous Combustion

SHC has always fascinated me and I watched a programme involving fire experts and forensics analysing past occurences. I think only one was questionable and may have been SHC.

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Old 09-24-2011, 10:19 AM
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Re: 'First Irish Case' of Death by Spontaneous Combustion

Would be great to see that happening on webcam/cctv so we know how/where it starts.

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Old 09-24-2011, 10:29 AM
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Re: 'First Irish Case' of Death by Spontaneous Combustion

that would suck.

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Old 09-24-2011, 11:44 AM
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Re: 'First Irish Case' of Death by Spontaneous Combustion

These cases always baffle me lol
Few pics of people in death that supposedly died from spontaneous combustion.

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