1980, January: Benchill Woman’s Fiery Death

The Legend:

In January, 1980, a 53-year-old woman in Benchill, Lancashire, England, was trying to light a gas cooker when she was "mysteriously set on fire." Though the damage from the fire later killed her, she lived long enough to guess that the cooker somehow "blew back" flames at her; experts said this was impossible.


        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, in this case attributing the above to "Author's own investigation"... which essentially means "Just trust us." 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.

        In addition, given the details above this does not appear to be a supernatural occurrence; she was having trouble lighting a gas fire, which can cause all sorts of trouble. I will investigate further to see if details paint a different picture.

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