Mysterious fires

Discussion in 'UFOs, Ghosts and Monsters' started by Magical Realist, Sep 16, 2015.

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  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Most fires are started by something natural or manmade. But sometimes there are fires that start without any obvious explanation. Theories abound from poltergeists and magma to high intensity electromagnetic radiation. Here we start with a few to wet your appetite:

    "Calvin Tuck, his wife, and six children suffered an ordeal by fire when their four-room house (not wired for electricity) became the target of an apparent poltergeist. In a short period, 52 fires were set. Some happened in front of eyewitnesses, who said the fires were reddish in color and smelled like sulfur. One of the strangest incidents was when a loaf of bread on a table spontaneously burst into flames.

    When the house was gutted by an uncontrollable fire, the Tucks moved to a new residence, but the fires continued. They left to occupy a third house. Five fires broke out on the first day and more followed. When their fourth house was plagued by fires, authorities coerced a confession from one of the children, though the “confession” was doubted by the many witnesses including police officers, firefighters, and reporters."
    "The Willey family in Macomb, Illinois, endured hundreds of fires in a two week ordeal which destroyed their home, two barns, and damaged the milk house. The inexplicable fires began as brown spots on the wallpaper which burst into flames. In the following week, they extinguished more than 200 fires in the home—which wasn’t wired for electricity, ruling out faulty wiring as a cause.

    The Willeys moved into a makeshift tent just in time—the very next day,their house was destroyed in a blaze. The following day, their first barn burned to the ground. An investigation by the state fire marshal yielded no explanation, although US Air Force officials believed the fires might be caused by radio waves, radioactivity, natural gas, or “atomic energy.”
    "Mike Parsons and his family’s ordeal began when his wife found a dictionary smoldering in the wood-box—while all the wood around it remained unburnt. Next, a sack of sugar in the kitchen burst into flames, but the fire went out as soon as Mike touched the sack. Subsequent incidents included a doll spontaneously consumed by fire while it sat in the middle of the floor, a box catching fire and burning a groove in a chest of drawers, and fires erupting in the corners of a bedroom without electricity or a fireplace.

    An RCMP investigation ruled out deliberate arson, but failed to find a cause. After a priest visited the house and performed a blessing, the fires stopped.The phenomena have never been explained."
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2015
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  3. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    "For 10 years, the residents of the Sicilian village of Canneto di Caronia have been utterly spooked by hundreds of mysterious, unexplained fires that seem to erupt out of nowhere. The bizarre phenomenon, which has seen a sudden surge this year, includes spontaneous combustion of mattresses, beds, cars, and devices like fridges and mobile phones, even when switched off.

    The episodes have attracted the attention of geologists, physicists and volcanologists for several years, but no one has been able to provide an accurate scientific explanation so far. Naturally, the villagers are blaming supernatural entities like UFOs, poltergeists, or other demonic forces. And with no other logical reason in sight, one tends to wonder if they actually might be right.

    It all began in January 2004, when, without any apparent cause, appliances (including a cooker and a vacuum cleaner) in several houses began to catch fire. Wedding presents, random pieces of furniture, and even a water pipe erupted into flames. In response, the local electric company tried cutting off the power supply to Canneto, but that made no difference. The village was evacuated and a through investigation was conducted, but the experts and authorities simply failed to locate the problem.

    Even with the arrival of volcanologists from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, and a team of experts from the Italian Navy, no viable solution was found. Understandably, the villagers were terrified, and a few of them even suggested calling in a priest to conduct an exorcism. Months went by, and a period of calm followed, when most of the villagers returned to their homes.

    Unexplained fires still occur from time to time, and the villagers have pretty much learned to live with them. Other bizarre events have taken place as well – there were unexplained leaks from water pipes of three different houses, a vanity mirror in a bathroom caught fire three times in 35 hours, and an entire plantation of eggplants developed rainbow-like colors, making them unfit to be sold.

    Air conditioners have spontaneously melted, car glasses have imploded, hard drives have been erased, automatic gates started opening and closing randomly, and animals have died mysteriously. Without any science to explain these events, it’s easy to see why the whole affair appears sinister. I’d be pretty terrified too if I were living in Canneto.

    In April 2005, the Italian government created a special Task Force (of high-ranking army officers, engineers, architects, geologists and physicists) to investigate the situation in the sleepy little village. The group conducted an extensively thorough analysis – aerial photo-remote sensing, assessment of geophysical and geochemical data, detection of magnetometric and electromagnetic fields, radio-electric spectrum monitoring, and more. The results, however, were inconclusive.."===
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  5. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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  7. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    I don't believe a word of it.
  8. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    "The case of Agnes Phillips

    Probably the most recent case where a victim has caught fire, lived for a short time and where the event was witnessed by more than one person, happened on 24 August 1998 in Sydney, Australia.

    Jackie Park collected her mother, Agnes Phillips, from a nursing home in a Sydney Suburb on this day. Mrs Park liked to take her mother, an Alzheimer's sufferer, out for the day. About an hour later, she parked in front of the 4-Square Store in Balgownie Road and left her mother asleep in the car while she went to the shop.

    Minutes later Mrs Park saw smoke coming from the car, followed by an explosion of flames and ran back. A passer-by, Bradley Silva, managed to drag Mrs Phillips from the car and put out the flames. The old lady was reported as remaining remarkably calm throughout the ordeal, only muttering 'It's too hot, it's too hot' as her daughter held her at the side of the road.

    Mrs Phillips suffered burns to her chest, abdomen, neck, arms and legs that were described as 'severe and extreme'. She was taken to hospital where she died just over a week later.

    At the inquest in April 1999, New South Wales Fire Brigade Inspector Donald Walshe said he could not determine where the fire originated. The car engine was not running; there was no trace of liquid accelerants and no faulty wiring. Neither Mrs Phillips nor Mrs Park were smokers and the maximum temperature in Wollongong on the day of the fire was 16º Celsius. The coroner, recorded an open verdict.

    Inspector Walshe illogically commented that spontaneous human combustion was ruled out 'because of evidence from previous cases and experience over the years. This fire took place over a very short period of time and it does take a lot of time for that scenario (SHC) to take place.'

    Presumably, Inspector Walshe was thinking of the 'wick effect', which does indeed take many hours. But Mrs Phillips, like the other victims described here, caught fire and burned in a matter of minutes, not the hours required by the 'wick effect'.

    Sources: Sydney Daily Telegraph, Brisbane Courier Mail, 9 April, South China Morning Post, 10 April 1999. See Fortean Times web site.

    The case of Agnes Phillips may sound unique, yet there are other strikingly similar cases.

    The case of Olga Worth Stephens

    On 16 October 1964, Mrs. Olga Worth Stephens, age 75, was driven into Dallas, Texas, by her nephew. Her nephew parked the car and went to buy a cold drink leaving his aunt in the car. A few minutes later Mrs Stephens burst into flames. She was pulled from the car badly burned and taken to hospital where she died eight days later. According to the Dallas Morning News, reporting her death, she was treated for 'burns received in mysterious circumstances.'

    Homicide detectives and firemen investigated the incident and found that the car itself had not burnt, only Mrs Stephens. They also found no evidence of combustible materials in the car and ruled out the (somewhat bizarre) possibility of suicide by self-immolation.

    Sources: Dallas Morning News, 24 October 1964, Mysteries of the unexplained, Reader's Digest. 1982, p. 92, Larry Arnold, Ablaze!, 1995.

    The case of Jeanna Winchester

    On 9 October 1980, Jeanna Winchester, a naval airwoman, burst into flames while sitting in a car next to Leslie Scott, a friend. They were driving along Seaboard Avenue in Jacksonville, Florida, when flames suddenly appeared around Winchester who screamed "Get me out of here!" Scott tried to beat out the flames with her hands, and the car ran into a telephone pole.

    Miss Winchester was taken to hospital and survived the experience, although 20 percent of her body was covered by burns, comprising her right shoulder and arm, neck, side and back.

    Police patrolman T.G. Hendrix who investigated said he found no spilled petrol or other accelerant in the car. "The white leather she was sitting on was a little browned and the door panel had a little black on it. Otherwise there was no fire damage."

    Miss Winchester told the local newspaper that she couldn't remember anything between riding uneventfully in the car and waking up in hospital. 'At first I thought there had to be a logical explanation,' she said, 'but I couldn't find any. I wasn't smoking anything. The window was up, so somebody couldn't have thrown anything in. The car didn't burn. I finally thought about spontaneous human combustion when I couldn't find anything else.'

    Sources: The Light (San Antonio newspaper) 16 November 1980. Colin Wilson, The Encyclopaedia of Unsolved Mysteries, 1988. Larry Arnold,Ablaze! 1995.


    None of these cases is conclusive evidence for the existence of 'Spontaneous Human Combustion', but they do show three important things.

    First, that the 'wick effect' often proposed by 'skeptics' for apparent cases of SHC, and the primary conclusion offered by the 'QED' film, is not only an inadequate explanation, it is conclusively ruled out in every single case for which there are surviving witnesses -- the only cases that matter as far as evidence of cause is concerned.

    Second, that there are some members of the scientific community and the media, who regard themselves as 'skeptics', but who are more interested in debunking what they regard as paranormal nonsense than they are in determining the true facts.

    And third, that the statements of such scientists and reporters should be treated with the deepest skepticism (of the true kind) even when they are given a platform by an organisation as authoritative as BBC TV.

    The lesson of this case is the same as that of every case described on this web site. Insist on consulting primary sources of evidence for yourself. Do not let anyone purporting to be a scientific expert tell you what the facts mean. Decide for yourself what conclusion the primary evidence supports."======
  9. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    Spontaneous Human Combustion is bunk. Period.
  10. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    I have no access to the primary evidence.
    Daecon likes this.
  11. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    All of these examples are anecdotal. They consist of some unknown person at some paranormal website, telling weird stories. At best, there's a 'sources' line that points back to newspaper stories, which represents another layer of interpretation. Ultimately, it all depends on the stories that the people involved tell.

    So we are left with a choice between questioning whether these sometimes second or third hand stories are precise and accurate, and believing that something is occurring that our own experience tells us is very unlikely.

    My own decision is to say that it's possible that something extraordinary is happening here, but I don't think that the stories possess a tremendous amount of plausibility-weight.

    I'm emphasizing the story-aspect, because it introduces the folkloric aspect. I expect that a great deal of ancient and medieval village folklore originated like this, in stories that were told, retold, and believed.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2015
  12. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Apparently this one is an historical newspaper item. Local officials eventually honed in on Wanet McNeil starting the fires: The thirteen year old (or getting close to that) neice of Charles Wiley, who also confessed. She was unhappy, hated the farm, wanted to see her mother, didn't have pretty clothes, [etc]. Psychiatrist in Chicago who examined her: “She’s a decent little kid caught in the middle of a broken home."

    A lot of "paranormal" events involving families have revolved around the presence of pre-teen and adolescent girls, who for a variety of transitional / situational psychological reasons and needs, start indulging in systematic activities ranging from theme-based pranks to outright malevolent destruction. Some have been caught right in the act on the rare occasions when a film crew was monitoring a household with hidden cameras, while others were just heavily suggested by evidence pointing to them as the responsible parties.

    Enthusiasts, of course, prefer to bend it toward the girls having telekinetic powers (etc) or being the focal point of a spirit's interests (etc). Rather than literally accomplishing their feats via the instinctive knack that youths have for fooling adults (at least for a limited period). Or pointing out their "not being around" on such and such specific event or it seemingly being impossible to accomplish it minus mysterious forces / agencies.

    But many of us probably have personal memories of exploiting our parents' and other authoritative figures (like at school) view of our being too "nice, naive, stupid, un-creative, etc" to have engineered this / that or been getting away with doing something for months. Including recruiting assistance from our friends, siblings / relatives, other cohorts when necessary, who sometimes went unratted-out when the game / deeds were exposed.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2015
  13. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    The opening post of this thread contains no original material, raises no point of discussion, and asks no questions.

    There appears to be no point of discussion here. Thread closed.
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