Mary Reeser © wood engraving (ed. 40) image: 7 x 5 in. $100.00 (go to "Hi There" for purchase information)
Mary Reeser never asked to become the poster child for spontaneous human combustion (SHC), but she is frequently the example used by believers of SHC. The St. Petersburg, Florida police investigation into Mrs. Reeser's death left so many unanswered questions that devotees of SHC have anxiously filled in the blanks. Mrs. Reeser was discovered in her room one summer morning in 1951; her charred remains were in her scorched and smoldering easy chair in an otherwise unburned room and there were flammable items near the chair which had not burned. The fact that Mrs. Reeser was last seen the previous evening by her landlady, sitting in her easy chair smoking a cigarette, after having taken a sedative prior to going to bed, seems to have been ignored. Sometimes fame seems to arrive without an invitation.

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