A West Galway coroner has ruled that a 76-year-old pensioner has died of spontaneous human combustion.
The burnt body of Michael Faherty was discovered in his sitting room with his head facing a lit fireplace. Authorities said that the fireplace had not bearing on Mr. Faherty's immolation. The only damage that was found was to the body itself and to the ceiling directly above and the floor directly below the body. No trace of an accelerant was found.
The scenario seems typical for those rare cases when human spontaneous combustion has been reported. Mike Green, a retired professor of pathology said that this was not a case of divine intervention. "I think if the heavens were striking in cases of spontaneous combustion then there would be a lot more cases. I go for the practical, more mundane explanation." Green said that in such cases there had to be a causitive factor, such as a spark or a match. What the cause it is destroyed in the fire, he said.
My wife thinks that Mr. Faherty had a lot of body fat on him and perhaps a lot of alcohol in him.
Me? I'm leaning toward leprechauns.