Knox the Fox finds another unbelievable story

Susan EspirituOur Town Adventure Seekers

Knox the Fox rested from traveling this week and read another amazing story that may seem a bit unbelievable, yet it’s true. In 1725, Jean Millet found a pile of ashes in the kitchen of the inn he owned with his wife, Nicole. The ashes turned out to actually be Nicole and the investigation determined she burned up in a very hot fire. However, nothing else in the area where she was found was burned.

Due to Jean’s rumored infidelity, he was charged with his wife’s murder, convicted and sent to prison. Jean’s story doesn’t end there, because he appealed his conviction and with the testimony of Dr. Nicholas Le Cat, he won the appeal. Dr. Le Cat testified that Jean could not have started a fire so hot as to destroy the body without damaging the rest of the area, so spontaneous combustion was the only explanation for the death. The second jury believed the defense and Jean Millet was found not guilty.

As crazy as spontaneous combustion sounds, it evidently has been recorded many other times. Another instance occurred on July 2, 1951, when Mary Reeser’s landlady found her in the chair she had been sitting. She was basically a pile of ashes. Her death was determined to be from spontaneous combustion, and she was often referred to as the “cinder lady” after that day.

To ease our mind, scientists cast doubt on the plausibility of this really happening without it being the result of an elderly or infirm person being too close to a flame source, like a cigarette or candle. Another good reason to quit smoking!

Benjamin Radford, science writer of the science magazine Skeptical Inquirer, says “There are 5 billion people in the world ( as of 2011), and yet we don’t see reports of people bursting into flame while walking down the street, attending football games, or sipping a coffee at a local Starbucks.”

Goodness, what a story. Knox needs to keep traveling and stop reading!

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