1782, June 3: Mademoiselle Thuars’ Fiery Death

On June 3, 1782, Mademoiselle Thuars, of Caen, France, was found dead of fire in a horrendous state; Monseur Merille, apparently a medical man, was asked to write up a report describing the condition in which Thaurs had been found on the same day.

        Thuars, described as a corpulent 60-year-old women who was "much addicted to spirituous liquors" (she had drank three bottles of wine and one bottle of brandy on the day she died!), had been found reduced to just ashes and feet. Her right foot was intact but burnt at its "upper junction" (I assume around the ankle), and her left foot "was more burnt." The location where the rest of her body lay was indicated by the ash pile roughly in a human shape. In these ashes, a few of her bones could be discerned -- two vertebrae, a portion of a tibia, etc. -- but these had been calcined so badly that they became dust when even slightly touched.

        The crown of her head was touching one of the andirons of the fireplace, with her body lying at an angle away from the fireplace. It had been a cold day, but there was only evidence of a small fire in the fireplace, just two or three pieces of wood about an inch in diameter each, which were burnt in their middles. This small fire was eighteen inches away from Thuars' head. Other than Thuars and her clothing, nothing in the room showed signs of fire damage. The destruction of her body had occurred within a seven hour period, presumably indicating the time between when she was last seen and when her remains were discovered.