Is it possible for a human to Spontaneously Combust?

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by GaiaGirl95, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. GaiaGirl95 Banned Banned

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    Hi Sciforums.

    Recently, I came across a news article about a man by the name of Frank Baker, who says he survived SHC. His witness is his friend, Willey. He also claims that he went to a doctor, and that this doctor called him back, saying he had burnt from the inside out. I also recall the case in India, of a baby named Rahul, whose family claimed that he had spontaneously combusted four times, and required hospital intervention.

    Enzymes in the body break down chemicals to produce heat, so I'm wondering...
     
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  3. andy1033 Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

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    Who knows, i would think many things are possible and do happen that science claims does not.

    This is an intriguing thing, but i cannot see how there will ever be proof beyond gov labs, and they would not tell anyone if something like this would and can happen.

    Its one of those things that will always be in the grey tray, unable by most humans to understand. But i am sure govs have looked into it, as they have surely studied anything you can imagine or think exists in paranormal realms. I would suggest govs at some level have looked into this, but like you have no idea what they know.

    Who knows. I would imagine there are some biologists or chemists that could imagine how it may work, but i doubt openly they will talk about it.

    Its an intriguing question and like i said for me its one of those things i would not write off. As arthur c clarke said in his tv series, there is certain degrees of probability with regard to paranormal stuff and how likely they are, and i would think that shc is one of those that is fairly in the middle range, unable by most humans to imagine or explain if it does happen.

    Humans are very domesticated today, and i would not write of stuff you think is bizarre because you think its impossible, as someone out there may indeed know something you do not.
     
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  5. Sorcerer Put a Spell on you Registered Senior Member

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  7. GaiaGirl95 Banned Banned

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    That Wikipedia link just explains a few cases.
    It does not explain the case of SHC survivor Frank Baker.
     
  8. Sorcerer Put a Spell on you Registered Senior Member

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    Linkies?
     
  9. GaiaGirl95 Banned Banned

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    I don't have enough points to post links. huffingtonpost.com frank-baker-spontaneous-combustion
     
  10. origin Trump is the best argument against a democracy. Valued Senior Member

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    The simple answer is no. A more complete answer would be no.

    There is no lockness monster. There is no bigfoots (bigfeet?). Harry Potter is not real. People do not burst into flames. There are flamming assholes but that is something different.
     
  11. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    I think you'll find this is all rubbish, purveyed by pseudoscience - and journalists seeking to boost sales of papers. The fat in the human body, being like other animal fats, will burn above a certain temperature, but this is far above any temperature produced by natural processes in the body. As for burning "from the inside out", where would the oxygen come from?

    These anecdotal claims pop up from time to time, but there is no authenticated case of it, and plenty of grounds for extreme suspicion, as mentioned above.
     
  12. Walter L. Wagner Cosmic Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

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  13. GaiaGirl95 Banned Banned

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    Burning doesn't always mean fire. It is implying that his cells heated up so much the surface of his skin had caught fire, but the heat from the internal reaction also burnt the cells internally.
     
  14. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    I don't follow. If his skin "caught fire", then the temperature must have been above the auto-ignition point for human skin. Which is a bloody high temperature, well above that produced by any cellular process. Your cells don't - can't - just heat up so much the skin catches fire. It's nonsense, as all cells are mostly water, which has to boil off at 100C, destroying any cellular activity, whereas things don't catch fire spontaneously until around 300-400C, at least.

    It's rubbish. The guy will have got his clothing set alight and then got burnt, or something. All these cases turn out to be something along these lines.

    When a totally nude person, away from any source of ignition, gets burnt, then I might think there is something requiring explanation, but not before. All these cases seem to involve clothed people, either smoking or sitting next to a fire, and often they are drunk or otherwise incapacitated. It's crap:forget it.
     
  15. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    Agreed. Two things would be required: the first is an abnormally high temperature - 300 to 400 degrees C just as you said before the second, a wicking effect from clothing, could possibly come into play. And there is NOTHING that could produce that kind of temperature internally - nothing. Not even swallowing a gallon of gasoline and attempting to ignight it.

    So yes, it's all nonsense and efforts to sell newspapers, nothing more.
     
  16. GaiaGirl95 Banned Banned

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    If the source of heat wasn't internal, then how come Frank Baker said that his doctor told him otherwise?
     
  17. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Accepting this involves three assumptions: one, that Frank Baker can be trusted in what he says his doctor told him about the incident; two, that his doctor is a sensible doctor; and three, that the newspaper and media reports of all this are accurate.

    Because it flies in the face of what we know, no sensible person with scientific training is going accept an explanation like this without a great deal of objective and corroborated evidence. What evidence is there in this case, and who has corroborated it?
     
  18. rpenner Fully Wired Staff Member

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    This is a Media report on what Frank Baker said on a TV show that had no FCC veracity requirement. There were no pictures of the injury and no testimonial by the unnamed doctor. It's also completely unclear how his friend could have put out the fire if the source was internal to Frank's body.
     
  19. GaiaGirl95 Banned Banned

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    The enzymes probably burnt after a while. It was probably a ''flash'' of heat, rather than a continous internal heat.
     
  20. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    How do you get an enzyme to burn?

    What could cause a "flash" of heat?

    Alternatively, this guy could be making up the whole story, if what rpenner says about lack of corroboration is true. After all, the web is chock-full of charlatans, so not too hard to get one in a TV studio, surely?

    Look, I know you desperately want to believe in this stuff, for some reason, but the evidence is just not there.
     
  21. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Or he set himself on fire a la Richard Pryor, and people being people, didn't want to come out and admit that.
     
  22. RussellCrawford Banned Banned

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    If I remember right, the operating temperature for DNA is around 75 deg. C and isolated human cells produce temperatures as high as 5000 degrees.

    I don't have a clue if SHC is possible, but sufficient heat is there to dry out the body and vaporize volatile organic materials should they exist. The 5k temp is enough to ignite most volatile substances. http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/59316/human-as-a-heat-engine
     
  23. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Human DNA denatures (is destroyed) around 75C. It operates at body temperatures.

    There may have been a few human cells in Hiroshima and Nagasaki that reached that temperature, but since then - not so much.
     

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