Do not stand at my grave and weep; I am not there.


In my column in Skeptical Inquirer (November/December 1996), I dealt with the major cases of alleged spontaneous human combustion (SHC) reported in Larry E. Arnold’s book Ablaze! The Mysterious Fires of Spontaneous Human Combustion (1995). (…)

Obviously, the Hess case had nothing to do with spontaneous human combustion, as Larry Arnold should have realized.

Arnold, who is not a physicist but a Pennsylvania school bus driver, had no justification for asking ominously, “Did Hess succumb to SHC?” The unburned clothing should have led any sensible investigator to one of the possibilities limited by that fact: for example, that Hess had been burned previously, or his skin injuries were caused by steam or hot water, chemical liquids or vapors, or some type of radiation (possibly even extreme sunburn through loosely woven clothing).

{ Skeptical Inquirer | COntinue reading }

If you’ve never started a fire in a fireplace (and no, those automatic electric fireplace don’t count), then this guide is for you.

1. Make sure your chimney is clean and free of blockages.

2. Open the damper.

3. Prime the flue.

4. Develop an ash bed.

5. Build an “upside down” fire.

{ The Art of Manliness | Continue reading }