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1779, December 10: Mrs. Bias’ Fiery Death

On December 10, 1799, police in Paris, France, were called to the house of a Mr. Bias and discovered his wife's body in an awful state. The trunk of her body appeared like a mass of charcoal and was emitting a horrible odor; the breast-bone and muscles of the abdomen "appeared to be more affected than the rest." One of her feet appeared to be unaffected, but the rest of her extremities were to some extent affected by the fire; her head was "bloated and puffed up." The only other things in the home that showed signs of fire were a chair and a table near her body.

        It was not clear was exactly had happened to the woman, but neighbors attested that they had heard her working and talking just two hours previous to her body being discovered.

Two for One?

        A new variation of the account above appeared in Jenny Randles and Peter Hogue's Spontaneous Human Combustion (published in 1992), where they -- presumably mistakenly -- state that both Mr. & Mrs. Bias were found in an incinerated state. I'm not sure where they got this idea from, but it's wrong.