1974, February 7: Elderly Man’s Fiery Death

The Legend:

On February 7, 1974, an elderly man in Oakland, California, USA, was found dead in a chair seated in front of a stove... the top half of his body was badly burned, but the lower half untouched.


        This is the first listing of this incident in Anomalies, and therefore will require more research to confirm it. This is especially true because the above comes from Jenny Randles and Peter Hough's 1992 book, Spontaneous Human Combustion; this book gives almost no sources for the accounts it relates, most often attributing them to "Author's own investigation" and "Historical archives traced and researched"... which essentially means "Just trust us."

        In this case, the above is attributed to Fortean Times magazine, but we are not told a date or issue number. For this reason, this account is marked as both "Unreliable" and "Investigate;" I will add new information as I get a chance to dig further.

        If it is assumed the man died while sitting in front of the stove and tipped forward into contact with it, then this case doesn't sound supernatural... but that's an assumption. I'll have to see what contemporary sources say before I can make a judgement.

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