Spontaneous human combustion (SHC) is the concept of the combustion of a living (or recently deceased) human body without an apparent external source of ignition. In addition to reported cases, descriptions of the alleged phenomenon appear in literature, and both types have been observed to share common characteristics in terms of circumstances and the remains of the victim.
Forensic investigations have attempted to analyze reported instances of SHC and have resulted in hypotheses regarding potential causes and mechanisms, including victim behavior and habits, alcohol consumption and proximity to potential sources of ignition, as well as the behavior of fires that consume melted fats. Natural explanations, as well as unverified natural phenomena, have been proposed to explain reports of SHC. Current scientific consensus is that most, and perhaps all, cases of SHC involve overlooked external sources of ignition.