Spontaneous Human Combustion is a phenomenon that has been hotly debated (pun not intended) for centuries. First appearing in the 18th century, the concept is simple: sometimes human beings, living or recently deceased, burst into flames. There’s no apparent cause, no source of ignition, no accelerant. Frequently, the fire is extremely well contained, leaving furnishings and structures relatively unharmed despite the human in question being completely consumed by flames.
It’s an extremely rare phenomenon, with few modern cases documented. A few months ago, however, we had one of the first Spontaneous Human Combustion events that not only happened in modern times, but in public.
The Huffington Post UK tells us that John Nolan was a 70-year-old Irishman living in north London until September 17th, 2017. His carer said he’d had breakfast and took the dog out for a walk, leaving John alone. John seemed in good spirits, healthy, and quite normal. After the carer left, John apparently went on his own daily walk and that’s when things went horribly wrong.
Somewhere on his path, he simply burst into flames. This was witnessed by many members of the public, as they attempted to extinguish the flames. Paramedics arrived and airlifted him to the hospital, but Nolan died. The autopsy said the cause of death was severe burns, and fire investigators found no accelerants or cause of the blaze.
He quite simply caught fire all on his own on a fall day and burned to death before anyone could help him.
Police are asking the public for information, but remain completely without explanations for what killed Nolan.
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