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"[...]the recorded cases have these things in common:
the victims are chronic alcoholics;
they are usually elderly females;
the body has not burned spontaneously, but some lighted substance has come into contact with it;
the hands and feet usually fall off;
the fire has caused very little damage to combustible things in contact with the body;
the combustion of the body has left a residue of greasy and fetid ashes, very offensive in odour."
originally posted by: Woodcarver
a reply to: slider1982
... My guess is that someone sprayed him down with something flammable and set him on fire.
...The London Fire Brigade investigated the cause of the fire but found no evidence of an “accelerant” that would have spread the flames...
...The investigating officer, PC Damien Ait-Amer, said: “We have spoken with a number of witnesses who saw Mr Nolan ablaze, but we have yet to establish how the fire started...
...Nor does any account given by witnesses suggest that he had been in contact with another person at the time of the fire.”...
Theories vary with one of the most popular being that it's caused by a build-up of methane in the intestines which is ignited by enzymes.
Others have speculated that it's a result of a build-up of static electricity inside the body while the theory it's caused by excessive amounts of alcohol in the body became widely known after Charles Dickens killed off a character by spontaneous human combustion in Bleak House.
Some scientists have proposed the possible explanation as a "wick effect" which suggests that smoking a cigarette could act like an inside-out candle.