How to Tell If You're Going to Spontaneously Combust

Putting out Aunt Sally.
Photo: Getty Images/Michael Blann

Rochester, N.Y. -- Are you about to burst into flames? After centuries of the mysterious phenomenon of spontaneous human combustion, a research scientist has finally determined the exact conditions that will let you know if you're going to turn into a human fireball!

Dr. Emmet Zaslow, director of the National Spontaneous Human Combustion Research Institute near Rochester, New York, has completed an extensive, twenty year study of over 100 victims of this sudden and painful affliction.

"These are average, everyday people," points out Dr. Zaslow. "One woman was sitting in her trailer watching her favorite TV soap opera with her mom. Suddenly, there's an enormous burst of flame. Woman shields her eyes. When she opens them, what was her mom five seconds ago is now a small pile of smoldering ashes."

"In almost every case," Dr. Zaslow explains, "one or more of the following conditions were present in the victim: extreme stress; being a regular smoker; being near matches, gasoline, oil, or sparks; consuming a large quantity of very spicy foods; excessive alcohol consumption, devil-worshipping, and watching soap operas."

If spontaneous human combustion is not one of your personal goals, Dr. Zaslow recommends that "you avoid any of the above situations, always have a fire extinguisher within reach, and, whatever you do, avoid singing the Doors song, "Light My Fire."