1821 (pre): A Destructive Spark

Dr Karl Asmund Rudolphi was interested in the possibility of 'spontaneous human combustion' -- the proposed idea that a human could ignite from the inside of their body and burning to ashes for unknown reasons. Within a general discussion of what he felt might cause SHC in his 1821 book Grundriss der Physiologie ["The Plan of Physiology"], Rudolphi turned to a discussion about electricity within living bodies generated by nervous tissues, which he believed might be a factor in setting people a fire.

        To support this thought, Rudolphi then stated that there was a man who had felt a sudden pain in his arms, as if hit by a club, at the same time that he witnessed a spark which turned his shirt to ashes. The man himself was apparently unharmed, as he called for help and then told others what had happened. Rudolphi clearly believed both that the spark had been generated by the man himself somehow, and that this man could have been a case of spontaneous human combustion, if other factors had coincided with the strange electric spark.

        Unfortunately, Rudolphi doesn't give any other details regarding this event... we don't know the who, where, or when of it, nor where Rudolphi himself got the information from. Therefore I have to mark this account as 'Unreliable' as proof of the paranormal until such a time as more information can be tracked down.