Survivors of Spontaneous Human Combustion

In 2013 a 9-day-old infant, “Baby Rahul”, made headlines when his mother, Rajeshwari Karnan admitted him to a local hospital in India to seek treatment for his burns which she claimed were caused by spontaneous combustion. Rahul was discovered lying in his bed, on fire, by a neighbor who heard the child’s screams. Professor R. Jayachandran, Rahul Karnan’s pediatrician believed his burns may have been caused by gasses expelling through his skin and theorized it may be a genetic condition. Twenty-five year old Rajeshwari has an older daughter, Narmatha, who has never suffered a believed instance of SHC. Since Rahul’s initial incident, Rajeshwari claims her son has spontaneously ignited on three other occasions. In January 2015 Rajeshwari Karnan admitted Rahul’s 10-day-old baby brother to Kilpauk Hospital in India after his feet supposedly caught fire while she was in the bath. The unnamed baby’s had burns covering 10% of his feet and had to spend over one month in the hospital recovering. The hospital was incredibly reluctant to release the newborn from the believing one of the parents, most likely Rajeshwari, was suffering from Munchausen by proxy syndrome and had set fire to her own children for attention. “Munchausen Moms”, mothers who harm their children to gain attention and sympathy (usually by way of slowly poisoning their children) have gained infamy in the past few decades as this mental illness which can affect either parent, but usually the mother, has seemingly become more widespread. Hospital dean Narayana Babu stated, “All tests reveal he [unnamed Baby Karnan] is completely normal. The parents went through psychiatric counselling and were found to be normal.”. The Karnans told reporters their community has ostracized them after the repeated burnings of their two children.

Frank Baker claims he has survived repeated instances of “partial spontaneous combustion” which he was diagnosed by a doctor. The doctor who supposedly diagnosed Frank with “partial spontaneous combustion” has never come forward or been mentioned by name. The first time Frank burst into flames, it was witnessed by a close friend. Frank claims he has spontaneously combusted three times since the initial incident. For several years, Frank Baker has been soliciting money for “Spontaneous Combustion Research”. I am not convinced, but here is his story in his own words.

Jack Angel is probably the most well-known survivor of SHC when in fact, he never experienced spontaneous combustion nor did he claim to. On November 12, 1974 Jack Angel was taking a shower in his mobile home in Savannah, Georgia when the water suddenly stopped flowing. When he went to check the water pressure, he was sprayed with scalding hot water. Jack Angel filed a civil-action suit in the Fulton County Superior Court over the burns which he received after being sprayed by the faulty water tank. Somehow, the accounts of this run-of-the-mill lawsuit has morphed into a wildly false story of surviving spontaneous human combustion. Today, people claim Jack Angel fell asleep on a water mattress and awoke to find a hole burnt in his stomach but his clothing intact. During the lawsuit with the water mattress company a doctor confirmed at the trial that Jack Angel had burned from the inside out.
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