1681, July: Friesland Fiery Death

In an 1870 article on the topic of spontaneous human combustion, Alexander Ogston summarized an odd fire death that he claimed was reported in 1690.

        As Ogston tells the story, a man arrived home drunk one night in July, 1681, in the province of Friesland in the Netherlands, and lay down immediately to sleep with his clothes still on. Sometime in the night he cried out that he was burning, simultaneously throwing himself out of the bed and onto the floor against the wall... and his wife quickly lit a candle to see what was wrong.

        The man's whole trunk was covered with blisters and his flesh looked "as if torn from his body with hooks." His head was swollen and burnt black, his hair singed, and his nose, ears, and penis were shrunken, black, and hard as horn. His thighs were burnt deeply, and one foot had been reduced entirely to powder. His clothes were "very much burnt," and the tin buttons on them had melted. One more odd detail was then offered up -- one that Ogston himself doubted was correct -- that the man's body was uninjured where his clothes were most burnt, and most injured where his clothes were not burnt.

       Whatever caused the man's strange condition, he died from it five days later.

My Source's Source

        Ogston cliamed the story above was from a book called Collectio Medicophysica by an author named Blancard, published in 1690... a copy of which I haven't yet been able to track down. But I'm pretty sure that Ogston hadn't gotten a copy either, since he then further attributed the account to "'Encyc.der.ges.Staatsarzneikunde,' p. 734", which seems to be where he heard of Blancard's account. I can't find this one yet either, naturally.

        So, while intriguing, I have to treat this account as 'Unreliable' as evidence of the paranormal until I can find the earlier sources and double-check the given details.

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