True crime or just a bizarre natural cause of death? Discuss.
https://enacademic.com/dic.nsf/enwiki/1034226 – the article.
Robert Francis Bailey was a homeless person who allegedly died by spontaneous human combustion.
At 5:21am on 13 September 1967, an unnamed member of a group of female office workers phoned the London Fire Brigade.
While waiting for their bus to work, they had noticed flickering blue flames visible through an upper window of 49 Auckland Street, Lambeth, London. They presumed it was burning gas.
49 Auckland Street was a derelict council house owned by Lambeth Borough Council, and was disconnected from gas and electricity supplies.
At 5:26am, Station Officer Jack Stacey and his crew arrived. Stacey was first up the ladder and through the window.
An excerpt from his own account follows:
“When I got in through the window I found the body of a tramp named Bailey laying at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the second floor.Ref|Storeys He was lying partly on his left side. There was a four-inch slit in his abdomen from which was issuing, at force, a blue flame. The flame was beginning to burn the wooden stairs. We extinguished the flames by playing a hose into the abdominal cavity. Bailey was alive when he started burning. He must have been in terrible pain. His teeth were sunk into the mahogany newel post of the staircase. I had to prise his jaws apart to release the body. The fire was coming from within the abdomen of his body.”
In 1986, Stacey was interviewed on BBC television’s Newsnight programme, and went into detail:
“The flame itself was coming from the abdomen. There was a slit of about four inches in the abdomen and the flame was coming through there at force, like a blowlamp – a bluish flame, which would indicate that there was some kind of spirit involved in it. There’s no doubt whatsoever, that fire began inside the body. That’s the only place it could have begun, inside that body.”
The flames had scorched an area of floor measuring approximately six square feet and totally incinerated Bailey’s right hand.
Stacey does not believe in ‘the paranormal’, in which category he includes SHC. Stacey’s own explanation is as follows:
“Bailey was an alcoholic, addicted to meths drinking, and had drunk too much of it. The meths had erupted through his abdomen and somehow exploded into flame.”
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