1984, December 24: Newton Abbot Woman’s Fiery Accident

The Legend:

On December 24, 1984, a middle-aged woman in Newton Abbot, Devon, England, caught fire for no clear reason while sitting in her living-room. She survived the fire, and her husband was badly burned while trying to put out the flames; but the house itself suffered very little damage.


        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." This particular case is attributed to Fortean Times magazine, but no date or issue number is given, so it will be a matter of time and luck to find this source. 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.

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