Spontaneous Human Combustion
By Jayne Nagy
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When I was a young girl, I'd guess around 10 years old, I loved snooping in
my brothers bedroom. He is 6 years older than I am and at that time owned an
amazing collection of the most amazing and interesting junk I had ever seen.
He had pipes, tobacco, sin-sin mints, marbles, hair grease and various
sundries of things important to 16-year-old boys of that era. I have no idea
if he still does since I'm far too old and mature to be snooping in his
bedroom now. Besides, I suspect he'd have booby traps set in memory of the
aggravation he endured all those years ago. Like the pipe that mysteriously
filled itself and was left half burned in his drawer. I still gag thinking
about the taste. He of course couldn't rat on me since the folks would then
find out that he was smoking a pipe!
One of the fascinating things he had was a pile of magazines. The names are
fuzzy after all these years but I think one was named "True Stories". I sat
down once with one that had the captivating title of "Spontaneous Human
Combustion". As long as I live, I will never forget the article or the
graphic pictures! I had no idea that people could just burst into flames and
burn up, leaving only ashes yet burning nothing around them, including the
chairs they may have been seated in at the moment of eruption. I was
absolutely terrified! To think that at any moment we can just burst into
flames was one scary idea for a 10-year-old. So scary in fact that I don't
have any memory of ever snooping in my brother's room again. It took me many
years to convince myself that it just isn't possible. Still over the decades
I do think back to that article and wonder...I just laugh at myself and tell
me "Quit being ridiculous! You know this isn't possible" then I feel better
and sleep more soundly at night.
There are some good reasons to hate the Discovery Channel as I just
discovered last night. They had a show about "Spontaneous Human Combustion"!
Ahhhhhhh!! It was like reliving the horrors of "True Stories" all over
again. They had all of the graphic pictures and even live eyewitnesses to
round it all out. Of course I watched it, I had to find out if it was fact
or fiction. It turns out this depends on whom you are talking to and I will
admit the ones pushing the theory had stronger arguments than the ones who
don't believe in SHC. Hello old friends, sleepless nights and worried days.
Since this is an internal problem, the old rule of "stop, drop and roll"
doesn't apply. However, by listening closely I think I figured out a way to
avoid becoming a crispy critter. It seems one theory is some people tend to
expand with a gas called diphosphates. This can occur with constipation
(forgive me for being so personal, but I feel you should have a fighting
chance as well!). When this gas reacts with air, you have instant
combustion. This combustion is so hot it cremates the host body in a matter
of minutes! My remedy is so simple it boggles my mind that no one has
thought of it before. In fact, I'm going to write to Discovery Channel and
share it with them.
Gotta run for now though-I'm on my way to the store to stock up on Beano and
(July 24, 2003)