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Name: S. Phillips.
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Question:
One of our 8th grade students has tried to find information in our library about spontaneous human combustion, but to no avail. Could you tell us where we might locate a simple reference, or provide some in information about this subject for him.



Replies:
Sorry, but this is definitely "fringe science"...try asking in bookstores. I seem to recall one of those "believe it or not" type of TV shows did an episode on spontaneous human combustion a few years ago in which they reported on some British scientists who investigated this purported phenomenon. Remember that people (back in the Dark Ages, and before) used to believe in "spontaneous generation" of certain plants and animals because they were not aware of the reproduction methods used by those plants and animals.

It has also been suggested that you check out "The Skeptical Inquirer" (or, for that matter, "The Journal of Irreproducible Results") *if* you can find them...some university libraries don't even subscribe to these... Again, ask your school librarian or the proprietor of a used book store (people who run used book stores know all sorts of unusual things).

Jade Hawk



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