1653~1686: Noblemens’ Deaths by Fire Breathing

In 1732, Rev. Giuseppe Bianchini wrote the first study of Spontaneous Human Combustion, a belief that human bodies can self-ignite from their insides under the right circumstances. As part of a discussion of the flammable nature of stomach gases Bianchini summarized the following details and account from an earlier book, John Christopher Sturmius' German Ephemerides, anno X, pg. 53.

        First, there is a brief statement that often "in the Northmost Countries" flames could be seen "evaporating" (by implication of the text, 'being breathed out') of the stomachs of people who drank strong liquor. The statement is then followed by this account: about 17 years before Sturmius' book was published, three Noblemen of Curland (whom the author doesn't name "for decency-sake") drank strong liquors, with the result that two of them died from the effect of a flame coming from their stomaches scorching and suffocating them! This would seem to mean that the flame came from their stomaches and up their throats, rather than flame burst out their mid-riff.

Source’s Source

        John Christopher Sturmius [16?-1703] wrote books between 1670 and 1703; and though some of his texts were published after his death, his death is the latest that something could have been written... thus I estimate the time range for the incident above (if it happened) as 1653~1686 [17 years earlier than he could have last written an account]. I have been unable to find the book named above, which is not much of a surprise... it's old and very rare. Therefore I'm marking this account as 'Unreliable' and 'Needs Investigation.'

        'Curland' is the name of a town in the county of Somerset, England; and a list of noblemen from there in the 1600's would be very useful, if anyone has such.

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