1980, October: Jeanna Winchester's Combustion

The Legend: 

In October 1980, Jeanna Winchester, a naval airwoman, burst into flames while sitting in a car next to Leslie Scott, a friend. They were driving along Seaboard Avenue in Jacksonville, Florida, when Winchester burst into yellow flames and screamed “Get me out of here!” Scott tried to beat out the flames with her hands, and the car ran into a telephone pole. Winchester survived the experience, with 20 percent of her body covered by burns.


        My earliest source for this account is Damon and Colin Wilson’s book, The Encyclopedia of Unsolved Mysteries, published in 1988, which doesn't state what its source for the account is. No later source I’ve seen for this story adds anything to it, other than a number have the victim’s name as “Jenna”. 

        A more recent source is a page at the Signs Of The Times website which gives a fuller account of the story which it credits to a newspaper article in The Light, newspaper of San Antonio, Texas, for November 16, 1980. The main difference in this presentation of the account is that we are told a patrolman named T.G. Hendrix investigated and found no spilled gas or accelerant in the car, and that the "white leather she was sitting on was a little browned and the door panel had a little black on it"... but that was all the damage the car had taken. Winchester, interviewed later, claimed she had no memory between riding in the car before the fire and waking up in the hospital. She confirmed she wasn't smoking, and that the window was up so nothing could have been thrown in. I'm trying to track a copy of this article; until I do, I'm leaving this account marked as both 'Investigate' and 'Unreliable.'

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