1938~1962: Horace T. Nicholas’ Combustion

The following account appears in Emille Schurmacher's 1967 book Strange Unsolved Mysteries:

        Horace T. Nicholas was walking in Windmill Road, Hampton Hill, London when his body appeared to explode. His clothes burned fiercely, his hair was burned off, and the rubber-soled boots melted on his feet.

Not Enough 

        Schurmacher claims he found this story in a newspaper called the 'Reynolds News,' but doesn't give a date for it. Reynold's News was a Sunday newspaper in England from 1936 to 1944; it’s name changed to Reynold’s News and Sunday Citizen in 1944, and again to Sunday Citizen in 1962, eventually folding in 1967. So, by implication, if the report above does indeed come from Reynold’s News, it’s likely dated for sometime between 1938 and 1962.

        I have not yet been able to confirm this previous source’s existence, or find any other source for this account... so for now it is marked as 'Unreliable' as evidence of anything paranormal.

        As a further note of warning, however, Schurmacher opens his section on spontaneous human combustion in his book by recounting the death of Maybelle Andrews as she burst into flames while dancing... an account that has since been proven to be completely false and the creation of Schurmacher himself. The likely implication is that all other short accounts that Schurmacher presents in the same book are also False Leads... stories that simply never happened. I'm being nice, though, and not marking the stories as False Leads until I can directly check the sources he quotes.