To many, spontaneous human combustion remains as a myth, making it a prospective plot device in fantasy or science fiction. I am interested to know when was it used for the first time in that way.

  • Wikipedia gives several examples from fiction of the 1840s-1850s but it's not clear the stories belong to the science fiction or fantasy genre.
    – user14111
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 1:59
  • 3
    Your reference to the Human Torch is confusing, since that isn't an example of spontaneous human combustion. Do you want the latter, or are you looking for the first appearance of a character who produces flames from their body?
    – DavidW
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 2:01
  • @DavidW - Thank you for the comment. I want the latter. I will replace my reference.
    – Bingo
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 2:25
  • @user14111 - To me, it will be enough if the SHC device is used/legitimized within f/sf realm.
    – Bingo
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 3:57
  • 1
    @user14111 - I'm sorry I don't make myself understood. I meant SHC produced, for instance, by fantasy devices (i.e. an incantation, a curse..) or science fiction devices (i.e. an atomic formula, a cosmic power source..).
    – Bingo
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 4:50

1 Answer 1


the 1977 spoof "documentary" Alternative 3 talks about "hot jobs", in which, among other things, the British government induces SHC to silence informants. I don't know if it explains exactly how the government does this.

*Alternative 3" has also gotten incorporated into conspiracy theory mythologies as actually real.

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