Spontaneous Human Combustion ( or SHC ) is defined as the concept of the combustion of a living human without an apparent external source of ignition. The fire is believed to start from within the body of the victim. Most times in cases of SHC, it is only the body itself that has burned, leaving the clothing and surroundings intact with no signs that a fire was near it, and most of the victims do not make it out alive.

     On the night of November 12th, 1974, one of those victims did live to tell his tale.

 Jack Angel was a 66-year-old door-to-door clothes salesman who traveled frequently and because of that, he lived out of a motor home. He had just arrived in Savannah, GA, from Covington, and had parked his RV in a Ramada Inn parking lot. Jack Angel decided he was tired, so he fell asleep. When he finally woke up, he discovered that he was covered in burns. Remarkably, neither his bed nor pajamas were even marked. In fact, nothing in the motor home was touched.

     “It was just burned, blistered, and I had this big explosion in my chest,” Jack would later say of the burns. ” It left a hole. I was burned down here on my legs and between my groin, down on my ankle, and up and down my back in spots.”

 In shock, Jack left the mobile home, trying to make it to the hotel lobby, where he collapsed onto the floor.

     Days later, Jack woke up in confusion in Savannah Memorial Hospital and except for the physical wounds, was in good health. The doctors had no real answers for Jack, but that the burning seemed to begin from within his arm.

     A severe infection forced the amputation of his right arm, and he suffered from psychological problems as a result of his spontaneous combustion. Jack Angel was sure that the motor home had to have been the culprit of the fire; however, an extensive search and testing process found no flaws. There was no evidence of tampering nor criminal activity.

     After losing a court case against the AVCO corporation ( the makers of the motor home ) Jack and his wife divorced, he suffered a financial loss and was confined to his home, disabled.

 During the hearing, he changed his story, saying that he had been burned while trying to change the water pressure of his mobile home, perhaps this was easier than saying he experienced an SHC.

     Was Jack Angel a victim of Spontaneous Human Combustion or burnt from an unfortunate circumstance? Either way, the curious case of Jack Angel is strange indeed.


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“Jack Angel (SHC).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 5 June 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Angel_(SHC).
“Fulton County Superior Court, GA: Official Website.” Fulton County Superior Court, GA | Official Website, www.fultonclerk.org/.