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1808: Mrs. Stout’s Fiery Death

The Legend:

According to John Apjohn, writing about spontaneous human combustion in 1832, a very strange thing happened at "Coote Hill" (modernly just 'Cootehill'), in the county of Caven, Ireland, in 1808. A woman named Mrs. Stout, about 60 years old and "an inveterate dram-drinker," went to bed apparently in good health, yet was found the next morning on the floor of her bedroom, literally burnt to a cinder. Vapor was issuing from the mouth and nostrils of the ashen form; and though it initially looked like Mrs. Stout, the form of the ashes collapsed as they were handled. her nightcap and chemise were unharmed. For lack of a better explanation, an inquest into the death concluded 'death by visitation of God.'

Thoughts

        Though the detail of unburned clothes on a burned human is very suggestive of a fire that consumed the body first, I am much bothered that the earliest reference I can find for the death of Mrs. Stout is 26 years after her alledged death date. I will dig deeper, and try to find sources closer to 1808 to confirm or deny the details.