What Happened To Mary Reeser- Spontaneous Human Combustion?

Mrs. Reeser’s landlady came to offer Mrs. Mary Reeser a telegram and some coffee on July 2nd, 1951, at around 8:00 a.m. in St. Petersburg, Florida, when she discovered that the metal doorknob was hot to the touch. She eventually forced the door open with the assistance of some nearby carpenters. Mrs. Reeser’s cremated remains were discovered inside.

Her backbone and left foot(still with a slipper on it) were the only surviving pieces of her . Her skull was also discovered, shriveled to “the size of a teacup” and devoid of any facial features.

After calling the cops, J.R. Reichert, the local police chief, initiated an inquiry. Despite the fact that Reeser’s body was completely burned, the rest of the room remained substantially undamaged, according to the inquiry. Due to the heat, just a few appliances had melted and became squishy. A plug had also melted, causing a clock to stop working at 2:26 a.m.

What remained of her

The authorities were perplexed as to how a fire that caused so much damage to Mrs. Reeser (the temperature was estimated to be 3000 degrees Fahrenheit) could leave the remainder of the house, including much of the room, undamaged.

Several objects from the crime scene were taken by Reichert during the investigation, including glass fragments found in the ashes, little, charred pieces of tooth, some carpet, and the slipper. Hoover responded by dispatching a team of FBI agents and physical anthropologist Wilton Krogman, as well as informing President Harry S. Truman.

The FBI determined that Reeser died as a result of the wick effect after weeks of investigation. They assumed she had fallen asleep while smoking because she was a known user of sleeping drugs and set fire to her nightgown. They reasoned that the human body had enough fat and other combustible components to ignite like a candle. As a result, massive amounts of destruction would be possible.

Reichart and Krogman, on the other hand, disagreed with the FBI’s judgment. “I find it hard to believe that a human body, once ignited, will literally consume itself — burn itself out, as does a candle wick, guttering in the last residual pool of melted wax Krogman said.

officials at the scene

The case’s strange circumstances have led to speculation that Reeser died as a result of spontaneous human combustion. This occurs when a person’s body bursts into flames as a result of a chemical reaction without any external heat source. Despite the fact that there have been reports of human combustion dating back to 1663, not all scientists are convinced.

At the time, Chief Cass Burgess was the detective assigned to Reeser’s case. He told reporters, “This fire is a curious thing.”

True, human adipose tissue is extremely flammable, especially in heavier persons. And Reeser, who weighed 170 pounds, was a huge woman.

While the FBI’s answer made sense, it was only a partial explanation, as many inconsistencies persisted. A stack of newspapers put next to Reeser’s chair, for example, remained completely unburned.

Dr. Wilton M. Krogman, an experienced fire researcher and professor of physical anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, disagreed with the FBI’s conclusion. According to Krogman, of all the fire deaths he had investigated,“I cannot conceive of such complete cremation without more burning of the apartment.”

Mary Reeser passed away more than 70 years ago. It is still hard to believe that the true cause of her death is yet to be determined.

After the FBI investigation ended, a part of Reeser’s ashes were buried in Pennsylvania beside her husband. The rest stayed in St. Petersburg with her children.


3 thoughts on “What Happened To Mary Reeser- Spontaneous Human Combustion?

  • June 8, 2022 at 10:12 pm

    This is what happens when you make a deal with the devil and then try to renege.

    • June 11, 2022 at 3:30 pm

      thats bull shit my friend

  • June 18, 2022 at 1:11 am

    Spontaneous combustion is possible if the level of nitrogen in the air drops to a low level in relation to the level of oxygen. The ratio is approximately 78% nitrogen to 21% oxygen.


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