Spontaneous Human Combustion


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SHC on TV 2014

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On this Halloween eve, Thursday, October 30, 2014.

1. Science Channel, October 30, 3:00-4:00AM EDT.  "Investigation X: Spontaneous Human Combustion." (Original airdate 2008)

This is among our fav productions. It examines the classic SHC-style death Mary Reeser in St. Petersburg, Florida, in July 1951. The cremation of fireman (yes!) George Irving Mott in his bedroom in upstate New York in 1986, another classic SHC scene. The 21-minute-maximum inferno that consumed Helen Conway near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1964. The macabre demise of Beatrice Oczki in her suburban split-level in Bolingbrook, Illinois, during Thanksgiving weekend of 1979. And the survival of spontaneously appearing 2nd-degree burns upon the body of Tanis Helliwell. We personally investigated the latter four cases, visiting locations and interviewing the first-responders and the victims' next-of-kin. All were baffled, including Bolingbrook's Fire Marshal Vince Calcagno, and all told us they were willing to consider SHC as cause-of-death. Eventually, this production interviews Elayne Pope, Ph.D. - the "Dame of Flame" - who rejects the idiocy of SHC and convinces the now-retired Calcagno that Oczki - and presumably all others who incinerate to ash amid unburned surroundings - is explained by  (regular viewers of our SHC programs can answer already) ... yes, the human wick theory. Again.

But listen carefully to Ms. Pope's application and defense of the wick theory: she acknowledges using gasoline in her experiments to burn up bodies that, she then argues, end up looking like these "so-called SHC" fire scenes. Huh? Calcagno told us he tested for gasoline and any other accelerant at the Oczki fire, and found none. Also, the burned-up cadaver shown by Ms. Pope in no way resembles the dry powdery ashes found beneath Mott's bed, in Reeser's apartment, and in scores of other similarly remarkable cases around the world. So why does Calcagno end up accepting her simple - simplistic - "solution" after three decades of puzzling over the one fire in his career that so mystified him? And why did the program producers not question her use of gasoline and her not-comparable results? And after being promised by the producers that we would be meeting with Calcagno again for the Oczki segment, thus able to challenge Ms. Pope and the wick theory, why was that opportunity suddenly cancelled? And how does dousing a body with gasoline explain the blistering that plagued Tanis Helliwell? Just more puzzlement to add to the long list of haunting mysteries of SHC.

2. Science Channel, October 30, 3:00-4:00PM EDT.  "The Unexplained Files: Spontaneous Human Combustion." (Original airdate 2013)

This program begins in Oklahoma as it documents in real time Larry's investigation of the February 2013 fire fatality of Danny Vanzandt in Sequoyah County, where Sheriff Ron Lockhart and first-responders encountered a fire scene that belies what they are trained to expect. The sheriff is open to the possibility of SHC, for which he is roundly criticized by the naysayers (who don't know he has 20 years experience as an arson investigator prior to being elected sheriff). He knows what to find at a fire scene; what he should be finding; and in this remarkable case, what he is not finding. Which is to say, most of Mr. Vanzandt's body in a fire that burned little else inside his small house.

Vermont is another stop, where Frank Baker recounts for the first time on television his two times with flames erupting from his body, witnessed each time by a friend who attests to the unbelievable. Obviously, Baker survived his double ordeals, and he is left to wonder why. And how.

The wick proponents get their say. Again. Have they finally put to bed the myth of so-called Spontaneous Human Combustion? Or does the horror of these haunting fires truly linger beyond this year's Halloween?



Wednesday, October 22, 2014; 4:00-5:00PM EDT
Science Channel

The Unexplained Files: Spontaneous Human Combustion and Mexican Pilot UFO

Spontaneous Human Combustion- Oklahoma, February 2013 - a man is reduced to a pile of ashes in his own home. Carlos de los Santos/UFO- Pilot Carlos de los Santos recounts his mid air encounter with three UFO’s en route to Mexico City Airport.


SHC and researcher Larry Arnold, author of ABLAZE! The Mysterious Fires of Spontaneous Human Combustion, is being featured twice on The Science Channel during the week of October 12-18, 2014:

Monday, October 13, 2014, 5-6AM EDT
"Investigation X"
Can people spontaneously burst into flames that rise from within their own bodies? Investigators apply the latest technology in search of answers to the spontaneous human combustion phenomena.
Another porcine experiment that attempts to "prove" the wick theory as the "solution" to alleged SHC-type fire scenes. Will it work this time? Watch for yourself and decide ...

Saturday, October 18, 2014, 9-10AM EDT:

"The Unexplained Files" (2013 - Season 1, Episode 4)
Spontaneous Human Combustion - Oklahoma, February 2013 - a man is reduced to a pile of ashes in his own home. Local fire-fighters are perplexed by what they find at the Vanzandt home, and consult with Larry Arnold.
And a double-survivor of partial SHC tells his story for the first time on television. This time it's not a pig but supersaturation of acetone in one's body that is proposed to explain these incredible human burns. Again, watch for yourself and decide ...




Wednesday, Sept 17, 2014: Science Channel runs a marathon "The Unexplained Files" of both Season 1 and Season 2 programs.
"Spontaneous Human Combustion & Mexican Pilot UFO" (S1E4) that features our research and a new imaginative but flawed 'explanation' for SHC, airs at 2:00-3:00PM EDT


AHC will debut its running of the 3-part series "Investigation X" on August 12, 2014, from 9:00AM-noon.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014; 11:00AM-noon EDT:

American Heroes Channel - "Investigation X" ... Spontaneous Human Combustion TV-14

Can people spontaneously burst into flames that rise from within their own bodies? Investigators apply the latest technology in search of answers to the spontaneous human combustion phenomena.


Science Channel will rebroadcast the 6-part season 1 series of  "The Unexplained Files" on August 17, 2014, from 9:00AM-4:00PM.

Sunday, August 17, 2014; noon-1:00PM EDT:

Science Channel - "The Unexplained Files" ... Spontaneous Human Combustion and Mexican Pilot UFO (S1, E4) TV-PG CC

Spontaneous Human Combustion - Oklahoma, February 2013 - a man is reduced to a pile of ashes in his own home. Carlos de los Santos/UFO - Pilot Carlos de los Santos recounts his mid air encounter with three UFO’s en route to Mexico City Airport.

Larry Arnold consulted on and appears in both programs, discussing his research and investigations of the heatedly debated and officially denied phenomenon of SHC, the subject of his third book, ABLAZE! The Mysterious Fires of Spontaneous Human Combustion.

Currently available online is his 60-minute interview with Rob McConnell of "The X Zone: The World of the Paranormal and the Science of Parapsychology" that debuted Tuesday, August 5, 2014:


Larry Arnold had an internet interview that debuts August 5, 2014, 10PM(?) EDT with rebroadcasts thereafter - on "The 'X' Zone Radio/TV Show" with Canadian broadcaster Rob McConnell:

Link to the general site:

Direct link to the opening-hour segment with Larry E Arnold being asked/challenged about SHC:


Monday, August 4, 2014, from 10-11PM EDT:

Larry E Arnold will be the guest on the internationally syndicated radio show, "The 'X' Zone Radio/TV Show" which is broadcast internationally and syndicated by The 'X' Zone Broadcast Network (www.xzbn.net). A professional broadcast radio show delivering The ‘X’ Zone with Rob McConnell, it reaches a worldwide audience on terrestrial radio stations, satellite program providers, and internet and handheld device listeners and have been doing so since 1992 and enjoys a growing worldwide audience with affiliates now across Canada, the United States, Central America, the Caribbean, South America, Germany, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Africa, India, Japan, Australia and Asia.

The ‘X’ Zone airs Monday - Friday from 10 pm - 2 am Eastern (7 pm - 11 pm Pacific) and then the show is repeated in its entirety every 4 hours for the entire 24 hour clock. On the weekends, we play “The Best of The ‘X’ Zone.”

The interview will also be available on iTunes, Spreaker, Facebook, Fanbox, FailZoom, YouTube, Twitter, MySpace, RadioVybe, Turquoise Radio, Blubrry, Boxee, Google+, Libsynpro and a variety of other social media sites plus internet broadcast sites.


"The Unexplained Files" (Season 1, Episode 4) on ScienceChannel
Sunday, July 20, 2014; 9PM and Midnight EDT
Monday, July 21. 2014; 7AM and 10AM EDT


Larry Arnold re-appears on "The Unexplained Files: Declassified" in a few hours ... Wed, 7/9/14, 5-6AM EDT on The Science Channel.


Larry Arnold is being interviwed live (best way!) on June 7, worldwide about our research by friend and fine fellow fortean Scott Colburn via http://www.kzum.org   from 11:35AM-12:50PM EDT.  In Lincoln, NE, the "Exploring Unexplained Phenomena" radio program is broadcast on KZUM Radio 89.3 FM (public radio in Lincoln).
The program will be archived and available free of charge worldwide by the next day, via http://www.eupradio.net .

1) Larry will be the guest on ParanormalGeek radio tomorrow, Tuesday, 5/13/14 10PM EDT.

2) INFO has resurrected its fine conference series after a 3-year hiatus. A very fine line-up of speakers, if we do say so ourself. :)
Would be nice if some of the PA group wuld support and attend.


Some of you have not checked out the website. This has been up for quite a few weeks. Please do so and scroll down to see your bio.
Keep in mind the artwork at the top has some buzz words associated with each speaker, but it's NOT the true name of your talk.

Ramada Inn Hotel: 410-712-4300
7253 Parkway Dr
Hanover, Maryland 21076

Medieval Times (Friday Night Dinner): No Local Phone Number
7000 Arundel Mills Circle
Hanover, Maryland 21076

Dave & Busters (Sunday Venue): 443-755-0113
7000 Arundel Mills Circle, Suite D-1
Hanover, Maryland 21076

Doors Open around 6:30 for the Bar. Dinner starts around 7:30. You can drive over there yourself or join the group carpooling from the Hotel. Some of us will likely take the Hotel Shuttle, however they will charge a nominal fee. We should be leaving the hotel at 7:00PM at the latest. Show goes until 9:30. Afterward, you can hit the Live Casino or join us in the Hospitality Room 717.

The hotel will assign our meeting room based upon all the groups booked and final numbers of attendees. So I can't give you the name of the meeting room. But the hotel is not huge and you should be able to easily locate the meeting room. Likely it will be set up Friday night. Each speaker will get a table with two chairs behind it to set up their books and other articles for sale. This is all within the one room, so no one has to miss a presentation. Fans can talk quietly with you at the back of the room. We are a good-natured bunch, and we will watch your stuff while you speak or take a break.

9:00 - 9:15 ~ Welcome! Opening Remarks
9:15 - 9:45 ~ Sue Swiatek > Tribute to Phyllis Benjamin & Arundel Mills Bigfoot
9:45 - 11:00 ~ Joe McMoneagle > Remote Viewing: Things You May Not Know About RV
11:00 - 12:15 ~ David Paulides > Bigfoot: With Insights from the Hoopa Tribe
12:15 - 1:15 ~ LUNCH
1:15 - 2:15 ~ Larry Arnold > Ablaze! The Enigma of Spontaneous Human Combustion
2:15 - 3:15 ~ Rob Gutro > A Medium Solves a Double-Murder Mystery & Sees Pets in the Afterlife
3:15 - 3:35 ~ BREAK
3:35 - 5:00 ~ Dr. Robert Schoch > Solar Outbursts and the Early Forgotten History of Civilization: From the Great Sphinx of Egypt to the Megaliths of Easter Island

HAPPY HOUR at the Bar! DINNER on Our Own. We will pull together some groups going various places and make sure our speakers are all taken care of for Dinner.
9:00PM until ? Late Night in the Hospitality Suite.

This theatre is WAY at the back of this place. Allow yourself a few extra minutes for walking through the cavernous establishment. I will see if we can locate a back-door so we don't have to carry heavy boxes of books all the way through the place.

11:30 - 12:45 ~ David Paulides > Missing 411: Mysteriously Missing People
12:45 - 1:30 ~ LUNCH & Video of UFO Abduction Case: the Case That Convinced the Swiateks
1:30 - 2:30 ~ Micah Hanks > Echoes From the Gralien Report: This Fortean Universe

Mr. Paulides has to jet off to his plane at the conclusion, or perhaps BEFORE the conclusion of the program. During Lunch, I'll show a video of a UFO abduction case my husband and I researched, so as people are eating and moving about, it will be permissible for people to find their way and visit with Mr. Paulides at the back, before he has to bid us a final good-bye. After Micah Hanks is done with his presentation, we may not get much time in the room. But maybe we can get a waitress back there and extend into a Happy Hour, or maybe we'll have to move to one of the bar areas. In any case, we'll try to "decompress" together after the conference.

Thanks again for speaking at this special "Fortfest" -- a re-booting of the International Fortean Organization.


Larry is the featured guest for a KTPF live online interview about SHC on Sunday, April 27, 2014, 8:00PM gmt, 2:00PM EDT on KTPF.com

2) Larry appears (again) on "The Unexplained Files: Declassified" about SHC on Science Channel, Friday, May 2, 2014, noon-1PM EDT.

3) Larry is among the impressive line-up of speakers for the revitalized long-running International Fortean Organization (INFO), being held outside Baltimore (near BWI Airport) May 17-18, 2014.

ScienceChannel is rebroadcasting the "The Unexplained Files: Declassified" episode about SHC on Tuesday, April 22, 6-7AM EDT.


Science Channel will telecast the newly formatted entire first season programming of

"The Unexplained Files: Declassified" series this Wednesday, April 9, from 9AM-3PM EDT.
Episode 4 (about SHC) is scheduled for Noon-1PM

The pop-up factoids add additional info, but at least twice the factoids about SHC are wrong. The writers should've consulted Larry
Arnold first. ;)


"The Unexplained Files: SHC" - Tuesday, 3/25, 7-8PM
"The Unexplained Files Declassified: SHC" - Tuesday, 3/25, 8-9PM (this is the debut of a reformatting of the original/previous program)

"The Unexplained Files Declassified: SHC" - Tuesday, 3/25, 11PM-midnight
"The Unexplained Files: SHC" - Wednesday, 3/26, 2-3AM
"The Unexplained Files: SHC" - Wednesday, 3/26, Noon-1PM
"The Unexplained Files Declassified: SHC" - Thursday, 3/27, 3-4AM


These shows are scheduled as of now, including a new reformatting of the original "The Unexplained Files".

ScienceChannel - "The Unexplained Files" (Season 1 Episode 4)
Spontaneous Human Combustion - Oklahoma, February 2013 - a man is reduced to a pile of ashes in his own home. Carlos de los Santos/UFO- Pilot Carlos de los Santos recounts his mid air encounter with three UFO’s en route to Mexico City Airport.

    Tuesday, March 25, 7-8PM EDT
    Wednesday, March 26, 2-3AM EDT
    Wednesday, March 26, Noon-1PM EDT
    Thursday, March 27, 3-4AM EDT

ScienceChannel - debut of "The Unexplained Files Declassified" (a reformatting of the original series, w/ factoids embedded throughout):
Spontaneous Human Combustion - Oklahoma, February 2013 - a man is reduced to a pile of ashes in his own home. Carlos de los Santos/UFO- Pilot Carlos de los Santos recounts his mid air encounter with three UFO’s en route to Mexico City Airport.

    Tuesday, March 25, 8-9PM EDT
    Tuesday, March 25, 11PM-midnight EDT

This means Science is running two versions of the same episode, back-to-back. A first ever? Do believe so.



SyFy is running a marathon of "Weird or What?" with William Shatner on Wednesday, March 5, from 7:00-11:00PM EST.

At 9:00-10:00PM, Season 1 Episode 7 - "Medical Mysteries" - deals in part with Spontaneous Human Combustion, and pits Larry Arnold's research against professional skeptic Joe Nickell. Who wins the debate based on evidence is for the viewer to decide.


From alien invasions to alternate dimensions, the world of Weird or What is typically takes on cosmic proportions. But what about the mysteries that happen closer to home? The weird could be lurking...under your very own skin.

Shoot! Where's my 'Chute?

Shayna Richardson of Silent Springs Arkansas was a seasoned thrill-seeker and trained skydiver on October 5th, 2005 - the day her parachute failed to deploy. Richardson veered off course and plummeted a stomach-churning 11,000 feet until a nearby parking lot broke her fall. Amazingly, Shayna survived.

Though a bit rough around the edges, Shayna walked away from the harrowing experience displaying no lasting signs of physical trauma.She was, however, diagnosed with a medical condition that would change her life forever. Shayna was pregnant.

After carrying her son to term with no unusual complications, Shayna is grateful for every second that she has with her family, and feels no need to test her luck with a parachute again any time soon. Most call Shayna's a tale of luck, others posit that she hit the ground at a favorable angle or that her mangled parachute still lowered her terminal velocity to a survivable 50 feet per second, but there will always be those who call this case nothing short of a miracle.

Burning Man

Charred remains sat smoldering in an otherwise largely undamaged room. What could have caused this mysteriously selective inferno?

Larry Arnold may not technically be a scientist, but he does know one thing: This case is an instance of spontaneous human combustion. He believes that tiny particles, dubbed "pyrotrons" fly through the universe at astounding speeds, with the potential energy to cause a localized explosion. Essentially, as these particles bob and weave between our protons and electrons they may accidently crash...and burn.

But Joe Nickel, Paranormal Investigator and Weird or What favorite, is dubious. Instead, he hypothesizes that seeming instances of spontaneous human combustion are, in fact, agonizingly slow, relatively weak smolderings that use the human body like a candle. With the clothing acting like a wick and our own body fat providing the fuel for the fire, a human body could be burnt to cinders without disturbing its surroundings, the radiant heat perhaps only melting nearby plastic. Even if this more mundane answer holds the truth, it's still most definitely Weird or What!

A Shocking Ability

Debbie Wolf believes that her body is able to disrupt electrical devices and even produce an amplified electric charge of its own. When she walks into a room, lights may flicker, the television may change channels, and appliances will begin to malfunction.

Electrical Engineer, William Beaty calls this strange ability "Street Light Interference," naming the individuals who exhibit it "Sliders." He believes that sliders charge their bodies by unwittingly stripping electrons off of the very air they breathe. But skeptics, argue that anyone storing electrical energy in this manner would fry themselves from the inside out.

Dr. Suwan Jayasinghe, a biophysics researcher, believes that a sliders' body acts like a capacitor, soaking up excess electricity to be released at a later date in a safe and manageable quantity. After testing Debbie, he was able to show quantifiable evidence that her electrical levels did indeed increase as her emotions became more volatile. While the resulting readings were above average for a human, he was not able to tease out a voltage capable of causing any real interference with the outside world. For now, this mystery remains simply weird or what.

"The Unexplained Files" (S01E04)

Thursday, February 27, 2014, 6-7PM EST
-14 CC

It's said to be impossible: that people can spontaneously burst into flames that rise from within their own bodies. If so, can the "impossible" be impossibly survived? Frank Baker and his friend say the answer is "Yes!" Investigators apply the latest theories in search of answers to the spontaneous human combustion phenomena. The "latest theories" includes a demonstration that acetone is the end-all solution to dismiss the concept of SHC as anything more than misguided myth and superstition. Does this "latest theory" succeed? Larry Arnold, SHC researcher, faults an explanation that requires a massive concentration of acetone to form inside a living person. Pay attention, and notice that lower percentages of acetone-soaked samples do not sustain combustion. Tune in ... and decide for yourself.


Investigation X: Spontaneous Combustion
Science Channel
Monday, February 24, 2014, 5-6PM EST

Can people spontaneously burst into flames that rise from within their own bodies? Investigators apply the latest technology in search of answers to the spontaneous human combustion phenomena. The "latest technology" includes another attempt to employ the wick effect as the end-all solution to dismiss the concept of SHC as anything more than misguided myth and superstition. Does the
"latest technology" succeed this time? Tune in ...


ScienceChannel has finally settled on the times it is re-running SHC in "The Unexplained Files" for January.

Tuesday, January 7, 8-9PM and 11PM-Midnight EST
Thursday, January 9, 3-4AM EST
Sunday, January 19, 4-5PM EST (marathon of all First Season episodes in numerical order).



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