Although strange and deadly reported cases of spontaneous combustion are few and far between. No known case for the internal flame can be found and it appears that victims had no way to prepare for their blazing experience.
Perhaps the most infamous case is that of 67-year-old Mary Reeser during the summer of 1951. On July 2 at about 8:00 AM her landlady discovered the St. Petersburg, Florida resident. When the landlady tried to enter the apartment, she found the doorknob hot to the touch. With the help of two painters from across the street the woman was able to enter the apartment to find a grisly site.
Reeser's remains were found charred in a chair, with only ashes and a blackened foot and skull. Some reports claim her skull had shrunk due to the extreme heat, though this seems unlikely- skulls tend to explode when introduced to heat. The official rationalization for her death was that she had fallen asleep while smoking and had burned herself to death after her chair caught fire. In fact her son had claimed Mrs. Reeser had taken two sleeping pills to help doze off.
Reports of combustion date back hundreds of years. During the late 1800s reports claimed that old women who drank often would explode into flames. It should be noted that drunks do not usually handle flames properly.
In most cases, a large amount of flammable objects are found near the victim- making the strange occurrence even stranger. Human combustion seems to a real phenomena although a cause can not be determined.