Magazine article The Spectator


Magazine article The Spectator


Article excerpt

Up in smoke

A coroner in Galway has passed a verdict of spontaneous human combustion on a 76-year-old pensioner whose body was found burned in a house otherwise largely undamaged by fire.

Not everyone will be convinced, however - any more than they were in 1763, when Jonas Dupont published De Incendis Corporis Humani Spontaneis, an account of numerous deaths attributed to the phenomenon. Among them was that of Nicole Millet, the wife of a Rheims innkeeper who was found burned to death in 1725. Her husband was charged with burning her body, but was saved by the testimony of a young surgeon, Nicholas le Cat, who convinced the court that Nicole had spontaneously combusted.

One who was convinced - to some ridicule by literary critics - was Charles Dickens, who had a character in Bleak House succumb to the phenomenon.

Duty calls

A bar in Warrington has been criticised for a 'two-bob Tuesday' promotion offering beers for 20 pence and spirits for ten pence.

It can't be making a profit. . .


Bottle of wine Pint of beer

£5. …

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