Spontaneous Human Combustion

Spontaneous human combustion is when a fire randomly begins inside of a person without a source of ignition. There are many arguments about whether this occurrence could actually happen, or if it is just a myth. There are over 200 recorded cases of spontaneous human combustion.

People Who Have Spontaneously Combusted

Polonus Vorstius – The First Case of Spontaneous Combustion

Polonus Vorstius was the first person to ever spontaneously combust. This happened during the late 1400s. He claimed that he had drank too much wine, moments before he spewed fire out of his mouth. He then burned to death, in front of a large group of people. Everyone else who drank the wine was perfectly fine, and there was no nearby source of fire.

Mary Raeser – A Skull and a Foot

In St. Petersburg, California, a landlady was going from door to door at her apartment, collecting rent. She went to open one of the doors, but noticed it’s handle was extremely hot. She finally got the door opened to find a skull, and an intact foot. The skull and foot were on a burned carpet, yet there was no source of fire in the room. The police claimed that she died from spontaneous combustion. This happened on July 1st, 1951.

Jeannie Saffin – The Witnessed Spontaneous Combustion

Jeannie Saffin was 61 years old when she died of spontaneous combustion. She had serious issues with her mental health. She had always lived with her 82 year old father. Jeannie’s father witnessed her spontaneously combust, whilst they were in their home. She showed no change in expression while she was on fire. Her father splashed water from the sink onto her, and the fire stopped. Sadly, she ended up in a coma, and she died eight days later.

Is Spontaneous Combustion Real?

Spontaneous Combustion is a widely debated phenomena. There are over 200 cases of spontaneous combustion, however almost all of them involve a nearby heat source (Such as a cigarette, or a candle.) In most cases, the victims were also elderly, or intoxicated. This leads many scientists to believe that spontaneous combustion isn’t possible. Despite the scientists’ beliefs, there is no solid proof against any of the theories about spontaneous human combustion. Many of the theories about how spontaneous combustion work, are very convincing.

How Does Spontaneous Combustion Work?

The most popular explanation for spontaneous combustion is that two chemicals combine inside of a person’s body, and end up creating fire. The fire will usually spread from inside of the person, resulting in them being burnt to death, yet with nothing nearby being lit on fire.

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Mad Scientists and Their Experiments

Carney Landis – Universal Face Expressions

Carney Landis was a psychologist in 1924. He decided that he wanted to do an experiment on people, to see if emotions could evoke facial expressions. He brought many of the other graduates from his school together, and he recorded their facial expressions as he did different things to them. He did disturbing things, like emitting fetid gases into the air, electrocuting them, and even forcing them to cut off a rat’s head. Thankfully, this kind of experiment is no longer legal.

Duncan MacDougall – The Weight of a Soul

Duncan MacDougall wanted to use an experiment to find out if the soul had a mass. He decided to weigh 6 people with deathly illness before, and after they died. He weighed five men, and one woman. Although only four of the patients actually died, each one dropped about three quarters of an ounce in weight, the exact second they died (After the subtraction of the air in their lungs, lost bodily fluids, etc.)

After he completed this experiment, he repeated it on dogs, but none of them lost weight when they died. He then began to claim that dogs had no souls. Another scientists found that mice had the same results as dogs. Duncan soon abandoned these experiments, and instead attempted to photograph a soul leaving a body, yet he was unsuccessful.

Stanley Milgram – Obedience Testing

In July, 1961, Stanley Milgram decided to perform an experiment to see if anyone would do anything if asked to by a person of higher authority.

Large groups of people were gathered, and everyone was assigned a partner, who was actually an actor. There was a rigged draw, in which the actor would always be assigned the role of ‘learner’, whilst the random person was assigned the role of teacher. The ‘teacher’ would ask the ‘learner’ questions, and the ‘teacher’ would electrocute the ‘learner’ if they answered the question wrong. However, since the ‘learner’ was an actor, they were never actually electrocuted.

The ‘teacher’ was shown the voltage of the electric shock, and it kept increasing each time the ‘learner’ got a question wrong. Whenever the ‘teacher’ decided not to shock the ‘learner’ a man in a suit who would be watching the experiment would tell them to continue. Two thirds of the ‘teachers’ would have continued increasing the voltage, past the survivable limit.

Charles Sheridan and Richard King – Dog Electrocutionists

Charles Sheridan and Richard King were very surprised by the results of Stanley Milgram’s experiment. They decided to see if they could duplicate the results using animals. They had a very similar test, however instead of an actor, they used an animal that was actually getting shocked.

Thirteen men and thirteen women took part in this experiment. All of the women and seven of the men killed the puppy.

 

Philip Zimbardo and The Stanford Prison Experiments

Philip Zimbardo wanted to determine how prison life affected mental behaviour in prisoners and guards. He planned his experiment and gathered 24 college students. The students were randomly chosen to be either prisoners or guards. Philip set up an entire ‘fake’ prison for his experiment. The ‘guards’ had to make their own rules to keep order in the prison. The guards were given no training. The guards used push-ups as their main source of punishment.

By the second day, many of the prisoners decided to rebel by barricading the prison doors, and taunting the guards. The guards solved this problem by spraying the disobeying victims (I mean prisoners) with fire hydrants. The guards forced one of the prisoners into solitary confinement. The guards would then continue to harass the prisoners.

The guards soon changed their tactics, and they attempted to use psychology to make the prisoners behave. The prisoners that didn’t participate in the ‘rebellion’ were given the ability to do simple things like brushing their teeth, and sleeping on a mattress instead of the floor. Misbehaving prisoners didn’t get fed, and all of their food was given to behaving prisoners.

The guards then took the misbehaving prisoners, and gave them better conditions. All of the other prisoners now thought that the misbehaving prisoners were informers. Nobody could trust each other. The prisoners then lost the privilege of using the washroom, and they were simply given a bucket.

After only 36 hours, one of the prisoners began experiencing extreme emotional disturbance. He began telling the other prisoners that they weren’t allowed to leave or quit. He was quickly removed from the prison.

After this, parents and friends were allowed to meet up with the prisoners for the first time in days. Philip was worried that the people visiting would discover the inhumane conditions. Philip cleaned the prison, and limited visitors to only ten minutes of conversation.

After that, people began to make rumors about an escape plot. The next visiting session, a group of prisoners would break out with the help of the prisoner that was let free earlier. Philip warned all of the prison guards in advance.

Philip brought a new prisoner into the experiment. The prisoner was going to share all of the details of the escape with the guards. The guards managed to keep the prisoners in a ‘lockdown’ to prevent the escape. They succeeded, and nobody escaped.

Philip decided to bring a priest into the prison to explain some of the psychological effects. The priest spoke to some of the prisoners. The priest realized how horrible the conditions of the prison where. The priest helped all of the prisoners leave by hiring lawyers, and getting the fake prison shut down. In the end, all of the prisoners and guards were only paid $15 for each day they were in the prison.

Movie Format History

The VHS

VHS stands for Video Home System, and it was the way people watched movies and videos before  the invention of the laserdisc. The VHS videocassette format was first introduced in 1977. The VHS became extremely popular in North America, by the mid 1980s. These VHS tapes work by using electromagnets to transfer information to the television.

 

The Laserdisc

The laserdisc (Also known as the video disc) was invented in 1928, yet the idea was abandoned only years later. However, in the late 1970s, the laserdisc was recreated by two companies called Sony and Phillips. In most places, the product didn’t sell well, however, in Asia, a company named Pioneer used it for Karaoke, improving the laserdiscs sales.
The laserdisc never had a chance to become popular because it was too expensive. The DVD was popularized, making the laserdisc seem even more insignificant.

 

The CD

The compact disc, or CD for short, was created by James Russell on August 17th, 1982. The CD evolved to store computer data, in 1985. In 1994, the CD-I, or the interactive CD was created. The CD-I was able to combine text, images, video, and sound.

 

Streaming

Streaming is the most recent form of watching movies or television shows. Streaming has existed since the mid 2000s, and it has been growing in popularity ever since.

 

Bizarre Rites of Passage

Rites of passage are events that symbolize an important time in a person’s life. However, some cultures have insane rites of passage, that inflict pain, or embarrass the guest of honor.

 

Land Diving

Boys who are between the ages of 7 and 8 must jump off of  a 30 meter tall wooden tower, being held by only a vine on their legs. They must be able to touch their head and shoulders to the ground whilst dangling from the vine. This is very unsafe, as most people fall at speeds of 42 miles per hour, and any miscalculations in the length of the rope would likely result in death.

 

Sepik Scarification

The tribes living along the Sepik river would often perform a rite of passage, in which they would cut deep into their skin to create various patterns. The patterns were meant to represent coarse skin, similar to that of a crocodile’s. They believe that after the thousands of cuts, a metaphorical crocodile eats the boys partaking in the ritual. The crocodile would regurgitate the boys as men.

 

Teeth Sharpening

The Mentawaian people of Sumatra have a rite of passage, in which a woman must sharpen her teeth to become ‘beautiful’. The women have their teeth sculpted using a hammer and a chisel, and they are not allowed to use anesthetics of any kind. The teeth are then filed, so that they appear similar to shark teeth. The process is also thought to help please the spirits, and bring balance to a woman’s life. This rite of passage still exists today, yet women aren’t forced to do it anymore.

 

Alone in the Wild

Many Australian aboriginal tribes send boys into the wild for 6 months, in an attempt for them to become men. The boys must spend their 6 months completely alone, and they must be completely unassisted. If the boys successfully return home after the ritual, they are considered men.

 

Bullet Ants

The Amazon Tribe participates in a very painful rite of passage. To become a man in this tribe, one must put their hand into a baseball glove filled with drugged bullet ants. Bullet ants are thought to be the insect with the most painful sting. Many compare these ant stings to be more painful than getting shot with a gun. The drugs the ants are injected with makes them even more agitated. To complete this rite of passage, one must keep their hand in the glove for the entire 10 minutes. Even if you have completed your ten minutes, you will have to repeat it if you cry. This has taken some tribe members over 20 attempts.