General Question

ChaosCross's avatar

Do you think spontaneous combustion can actually happen?

Asked by ChaosCross (2340points) February 22nd, 2010

Spontaneous combustion is an interesting idea to me. Though it has not technically been proven I like to think that anything is possible and that people can start exploding at any time; like in chaos theory!

What do you think? Why? Thank you.

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10 Answers

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

It’s an urban legend until it can be scientifically quantified.

AstroChuck's avatar

Absolutely. Spontaneous cumbustion is B.S. just as much as a perpetual motion machine. There has never been a single documen… AAAAAAAHHH!

El_Cadejo's avatar


AstroChuck's avatar

Heh heh. You said…

poisonedantidote's avatar

google ’‘human spontaneous combustion the wick effect’’ it will explain how it happens.

the only mystery there was that kept this one alive was that it was though to be impossible for the bones to turn to ash, as even in cremation the bones tend to survive and require grinding to fully dispose of them. however, it has now been shown that bones can indeed be burned in to ash by a process known as the wick effect, where the fire burns at a low temperature for many hours, sustained by the bodies natural fats, rather like a candle.

some reading material

Bluefreedom's avatar

Even though it is a highly skeptical event, there is still some interesting information about it.

Cruiser's avatar

I have come very close many times….comes with being married…having kids and a secretary with no head….you know those days when it all comes raining down on you….you feel the heat rising….you start sweating and…..Kabooosh!! flames everywhere!!

Berserker's avatar

I’m pretty sure it can’t happen, but one of the theories offered by “Unsolved Mysteries” that I used to watch back when my tits weren’t fully formed yet was that extreme dehydration could cause this by the rubbing of dry bones in joints, and using ligaments, cartilage and muscle, also dry as all hell, as fodder. BS.

You need oxygen to star a fire…I highly doubt this, no matter how dehydrated one is, even in older persons, which was the theorized group of people said to succumb to said phenomena the most by the show.

RocketGuy's avatar

@Cruiser – Yeah, that hot secretary in the miniskirt…

I always thought it might be antimatter floating around, but the link by @Bluefreedom mentioned “wick effect” which makes more sense. Basically the oil in a fat American couch potato could be wicked out by a heat source and ignited.

The article also mentioned something like midi-chlorians which could be an energy source too:

SmartAZ's avatar

Sort of. Human skin will burn with 40% oxygen in the air. I know one fellow who was inspecting something in the Los Angeles River (which is a big concrete ditch) when he noticed that he and his chum were unusually cheerful. He was terrified when he realized what that meant: an oxygen tank had ruptured and the oxygen was flowing down the concrete channel and they were in grave danger from any random spark. They got out alive and notified the fire department.

Those pictures you see with the stories have been debunked long ago. There is no mystery about SHC.

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