By Chris Capps
We’ve all heard of cases involving spontaneous human combustion. Over the years a number of theories have been proposed suggesting the phenomenon may have its root in some fairly conventional and perfectly understandable natural occurrences – however tragic they may be. But if the casebook is to be closed on spontaneous human combustion, experts have often cited a particularly strange case – that of Debbie Clark in 1985. If all other cases of spontaneous human combustion were to fit a mold that could be explained away, Debbie Clark breaks it. And not only that, she lived to tell the tale.
It all started on the evening of September of 1985 when Debbie was walking home from the marketplace. It was a chilly evening as accounts go, but something particularly strange was following Debbie. Every step she took was followed by a mysterious spark of energy and a flash of blue light which surrounded her. Stopping to look around after a couple of flashes she became increasingly confused by the curious phenomenon, but took it in stride and continued her journey home.
By the time she arrived in front of her house, however, she began to come to a realization. The strange flashes of light were not coming from the area around her, but rather from her own heels. She was flashing blue and lighting up the garden with every other step she took. Increasingly perplexed by this sudden mysterious turn of events, Debbie began demonstrating the newfound phenomenon for her family members. Calling her mother out, she began walking in circles thinking the incident was incredibly strange but also fairly novel. The entire garden was brilliantly flashing with light that seemed to be spontaneously shining from her own body.
Her mother, who was extremely troubled by the phenomenon, immediately grabbed her and dragged her inside alongside her brother. The two immediately did what they could to quell the strange spontaneous flashing by drawing a bath – which may have saved Debbie’s life. The flashes of blue light subsided and Debbie was once again returned to normal.
But as the family looked back on the incident they could find no cause of the mysterious occurrences. Debbie did not have anything particularly conductive on her or anything that could generate a great deal of static electricity.
And the strangest thing is how casually the mysterious incident sprang up from nowhere. It was not heralded with a mysterious light in the sky, it didn’t happen in the Bermuda Triangle, and it didn’t have any of the trappings of a typical ghost encounter. Instead it was quite literally spontaneous and human. But happily the story didn’t end in tragedy. It was the first known case of spontaneous human near-combustion in modern recorded history.
And it did one more thing as well. It once again called into question the official explanation for spontaneous human combustion known as the “wick” theory which requires heavy sedatives, an initial source of combustion, and a great deal of time. Perhaps it’s not a welcome mystery, but it is one that cannot be ignored.