The highly-decorated former soldier Frank Baker, who served in the US Army in Vietnam had been preparing to go on a fishing trip with his friend Pete Willey when fire suddenly engulfed his body. His body suddenly burst into flames while he was sitting on the sofa. He is the only known survivor of the unexplained phenomenon known as spontaneous human combustion.
Mr Baker said
” I had no idea what was taking place on my body — none, we were getting ready for fishing and sitting on the couch, Everything was great “
Eventually they got the flames extinguished. More than 200 cases of spontaneous human combustion have been reported around the world. Most involve a victim burning almost completely — although their extremities may remain intact — while their surroundings remain unburned. The victim is almost completely consumed, usually inside his or her home. Coroners at the scene have sometimes noted a sweet, smoky smell in the room where the incident occurred.
What makes the charred bodies in the photos of spontaneous human combustion so peculiar is that the extremities often remain intact. Although the torso and head are charred beyond recognition, the hands, feet, and/or part of the legs may be unburned. Also, the room around the person shows little or no signs of a fire, aside from a greasy residue that is sometimes left on furniture and walls. In rare cases, the internal organs of a victim remain untouched while the outside of the body is charred.
Not all spontaneous human combustion victims simply burst into flames. Some develop strange burns on their body which have no obvious source, or emanate smoke from their body when no fire is present. And not every person who has caught fire has died — a small percentage of people have actually survived what has been called their spontaneous combustion.
Boffins who studied the phenomenon in 1984 concluded most victims had been near fire sources when they burst into flames — and continued to burn because of flammable clothing and excess body fat or the high alcohol content in the body. However, Mr Baker, who lives in Vermont, US, does not believe this was the case for him.
“The doctor called (me), and said, ‘Frank, this burned from the inside out,'” he said.