Home Page Science Frontiers

No. 73: Jan-Feb 1991

Issue Contents

Other pages

Other Interesting Sites











Spontaneous human combustion and ball lightning?

Mainstream science scarcely acknowledges ball lightning; spontaneous human combustion it ridicules. Recently, G. Egely of the Central Institute of Physics, in Budapest, investigated a case where both phenomena may have been involved. G.T. Meaden, editor of the Journal of Meteorology, U.K., summarized Egely's report as follows:

"The date was 25 May 1989, and the place a field by the roadside near Kerecsend, a village 109 kilometers from Budapest. The victim was a 27year old engineer within whose body, it is conjectured, ball lightning formed. The man had stopped his car and walked to the edge of a field about ten metres distant to urinate. Suddenly his wife who had remained behind in the car saw that the young man was surrounded by a blue light. He opened his arms wide and fell to the ground. His wife ran to him noticing that one of his tennis shoes had been torn off. Although it looked hopeless she tried to help him, but soon after she was able to stop a passing bus. Amazingly, the bus was filled with medical doctors returning from a meeting; unhappily they immediately pronounced that the man was dead.

"At the autopsy a hole was found in the man's heel where the shoe had been. The lungs were torn and damaged, and the stomach and belly were carbonized! This is indicative of internal combustion, just as the blue light is proof of atmospheric electricity, while the damaged heel and shoe are indicative of electrical earthing."

(Anonymous; "Spontaneous Combustion," Journal of Meteorology, U.K., 15:320, 1990.)

Comment. Although the sky was cloudy, there were no thunderstorms in the immediate area. The body was not mostly consumed as in classical cases of human combustion, nor was a fireball observed. Still, this incident strengthens the suggestion that ball lightning may kindle spontaneous human combustion.

Reference. The subject of spontaneous human combustion is dicussed in BHC7 in our catalog: Biological Anomalies: Humans II. For details on this book, visit: here.

From Science Frontiers #73, JAN-FEB 1991. 1991-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987