Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Spontaneous Combustion, from The Beautiful Forever Tales 1869

Spontaneous Combustion, from The Beautiful Forever Tales 1869

See also Spontaneous Human Combustion in History by JG Millingen M.D., M.A. 1839 and and Spontaneous Human Combustion By George Milbry Gould 1901

—The phenomenon of fire originating spontaneously in the body of animals, has been observed and recorded by the ancients. Roman historians mention that during the office of the Consuls Gracchus and Juventius a flame issued from the mouth of a bull without doing the animal any injury. Here the luminous appearance was evidently a phosphoric emanation. Peter Borelli describes the vomiting of flame by a woman at the point of death; and Thomas Bartholus records several similar cases. Ezekiel De Castro records a case in which fire issued from one of the vertebrata of the patient, and scorched the eyes of the attendants; the patient in question was the physician Alexandrina Megetius. We learn from Krantius that this spontaneous combustion was occasionally epidemic: during the wars of Godfrey of Boulogne a disorder broke out in the territory of Nevers whereby the patients were consumed by invisible fire. The only remedy found effectual was to cut off the limbs where the burning began, with a view to prevent the conflagration from spreading to the rest of the body.

Thomas Bartholin mentions the case of a poor woman of Paris who perished from spontaneous combustion, no part of the body remaining but the skull and fingers. John Henry Cahausen describes the burning of a Polish gentleman by flames which issued from his throat, and John Christ Sturmius mentions several cases; among others, a nobleman of Courtant, in which the patients were destroyed by flames issuing from their stomachs. According to John De Viana the perspiration of the wife of Doctor Treilos, physician to the Cardinal de Boga, Archbishop of Toledo, was of such an inflammable nature, that when her shifts were saturated with the exudation, and exposed to a current of air they spontaneously ignited, and shot forth flames like grains of gunpowder. Peter Borelli relates the case of a peasant whose under-clothing took fire, whether laid up in a box or exposed to the air, and whether wet or dry, as if it were made of patent fuse. The most remarkable case of spontaneous combustion on record is undoubtedly that of the Countess Cornelia Zangari and Bandi, of Casena, the greater part of her body was reduced to ashes, the legs only remaining untouched. The case is minutely described by the Reverend Joseph Bianchini. Hardly less extraordinary was the case of Grace Pitt, who fell a victim to this combustible state of body at Ipswich, being found one morning by her daughter, "appearing like a block of wood, burning with a glowing fire, without flame."

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