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Spontaneous Human Combustion

Date: 08-15-03
Host: George Noory
Guests: Open Lines, Larry E. Arnold

Larry E. Arnold, the author of Ablaze!: The Mysterious Fires of Spontaneous Human Combustion was the guest for the first half of Friday's show. Discussing the gruesome but rare phenomenon of people inexplicably burning up while their surroundings remain undamaged, Arnold said he has collected over 400 case studies, going all the way back to the 14th century. In the case of Dr. John Bentley, he said Bentley had unprecedented "5th degree burns," and his body was completely dehydrated.

Arnold noted there was a cyclical pattern in his database, of cases peaking every 33 years, which he suggested may be due to high solar activity at those times. Some episodes might be associated with ball lightning or plasma material hitting the victims, he said.

In a more paranormal vein, Arnold conjectured that these combustions could be caused by the intent of someone external, poltergeist activity or people willingly choosing to leave their bodies this way. Larry Arnold is interesting in collecting more case studies and can be contacted through his website.

The second half of the program featured Friday Open Lines.

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