1880~1889 (ca.): County Down Fiery Death

The Legend:

Sometime in the 1880's, a sixty-year-old woman living with her brother and daughter in County Down, Northern Ireland, went to bed one night with her daughter -- both quite drunk -- and was discovered in the morning to be black as coal, and burning from an internal fire that was very hard to extinguish. Her daughter, in the same bed, and the sheets on the bed, were both unharmed. There was no other fire in the room.

Not Quite Right...

        The above account comes from Jenny Randles and Peter Hough's 1992 book, Spontaneous Human Combustion. It appears to be a confused version of the death of "A.B." in the county of Down, Ireland, an event first reported to my knowledge in 1832, and that Randles and Hough also include in their book as a separate event... incorrectly dated to 1861. The variant above is not a real account, so is being marked as a 'False Lead,' a story that never happened. You can follow the 'See Also' link below to see the event this was based on.

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