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In the first half, electrical engineer Larry Arnold, who combines his scientific background with the world of Forteana and weird events, discussed his continuing research into spontaneous human combustion (SHC). Classic SHC cases are defined by “the smoking, blistering, or burning of a person in the absence of a known identifiable nearby burn agent, that is if you can rule out an external emission source,” he explained. Another hallmark of SHC is that while the victim’s body burns almost entirely, the surrounding environment is largely unscathed.
While skeptics claim that combustion almost never starts within the human body, he cited a number of mechanisms, chemical or bio-electrical, within the body “that we believe can explain many cases…the body could self-electrocute its physical structure,” for instance. Arnold detailed the famous Dr. John Bentley case– in 1966 his entire body was reduced to ash, except for part of his leg and foot (photo). Arnold traveled to Oklahoma to investigate a newer case from 2013 of Danny Vanzandt who burned to death in a fire that was relegated almost entirely to his body. There was no damage to the ceiling, and coins that were in his pocket were still intact on the floor, he reported.
Richard Smoley, a writer known for his works on esoterica and mysticism, spoke about his newest book which examines events and miracles described in the Bible, and evaluates what might be true or false. Starting in 850 BC, descriptions in the Bible really start to click with the archaeological evidence, he said. For example, there are remnants of King Ahab’s stables, and a carved standing stone with an inscription found in Sumeria. King Hezekiah’s seal has also been found from around 700 BC. Before 850 BC, there is no archaeological record for the flood, Isaac, Abraham, and Jacob, Moses & the Exodus, and the kingdoms of David and Solomon, he noted.
Many of these accounts may have been created stories, as the Bible wasn’t started until 760 BC, with much of it completed around 450 BC, so these earlier events would have been in the writers’ distant past, Smoley pointed out. Regarding the narrative of Jesus, it’s likely that some of his disciples experienced a kind of presence of the risen Jesus, which might be akin to modern people seeing dead relatives appear to them, he said. Smoley also talked about how the idea of God evolved, and the difficulties of describing a supernatural being in words and images, which can only hint at a deeper spiritual reality.
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