Sky One Explodes Myth of Spontaneous Human Combustion.
Added Wednesday, May 31, 2006
26/05/2006Sky One Explodes Myth of Spontaneous Human Combustion
'There's one mystery I'm asked about more than any other: spontaneous human combustion. Some cases seem to defy explanation, and leave me with a creepy and very unscientific feeling. If there's anything more to SHC, I simply don't want to know.' Arthur C. Clarke (1994)
The flesh incinerates in seconds. Their bodies burn hotter than the average cremation. Most are alone and happen at night. What makes some people go up in smoke?
Bruce Dickinson, joins Sky One this May to investigate the mysterious phenomenon that is spontaneous human combustion.
In 1985, 17-year-old student Jacqueline Fitzsimon from Cheshire was walking arm-in-arm with some friends down stairs at her college when suddenly for no apparent reason she burst into flames. A passer-by said she was 'like a stunt man on TV - the flames simply engulfed her.'
Barry Soudaine's massively burnt body was found in December 1987 in the kitchen of his Folkestone home. There was no sign of an obvious fuel source to explain the scene and, despite the body suffering a catastrophic fire, the kitchen he was lying in remained unscathed. The inquest returned an open verdict.
Fire officer Jack Stacey found victim Robert Francis Bailey, a homeless man, in a derelict building in Lambeth, London in September 1967. Describing the scene, Jack says: 'He [Robert Francis Bailey] had a four or five inch slit in his stomach where it had opened up and the flames were coming out from the slit in his stomach, just like a blow torch.' As the building was derelict there was no mains gas supply nearby; which leaves just one other possible source for the gas leak and the fire's fuel: Bailey's body.
These are just three of over 100 cases of people whose deaths are thought to have been triggered by their bodies erupting into flames. Bruce experiments with fire, chemicals and animal carcasses to investigate the phenomenon.
The one hour documentary, Inside Spontaneous Human Combustion will attempt to get to the bottom of the flaming mystery.
Bruce says 'I've always been fascinated by spontaneous human combustion and I jumped at the chance to find out why some people allegedly burst into flames.'