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Patrick McCarthy <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Charles Dickens Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 6 Dec 1994 16:17:38 -0800
text/plain (68 lines)
Responses to the wild posting on spontaneous combustion in Russia
came quickly from the sceptical, the wise, the witty, and the informative:
not necessarily in that order: Linda Hooper, Fred Levitt, Gregory
Conroy, and Ephraim Sicher.
From: "Linda Hooper" <[log in to unmask]>

Sounds like net.hoax to me.

2) Fred Levitt

       William Osler, a very famous physician at Johns Hopkins in
the early 1900's, complaining about the quality of American journ-
alism, once said  --If you ever see anything in a newspaper, that
you know to be true - begin to doubt it at once. --

        You will have no such problem with Weekly World News because
as best I can tell you will never see anything in it that can be
demonstrated to be true. That is the journal which has a headline
to the effect --Satan's skull found in  (some western state) -- and
has a picture to prove it, a skull with horns and a diabolically
extended lower jaw. A photo so obviously computer modified that
only a person as gullible as the average American would fail to see
the hoax. Likewise the photo purporting to show a sea monster with
its coils wrapped around a large sail boat. The photo of the boat
being soon thereafter identified as an old shot of a well known ocean
racer, with the name of the boat retouched off the transom.

        The story about the exploding head is of the same ilk. Further-
more, there is no way that such a thing could happen in this universe
without suspending such fundamentals as the laws of conservation
of energy, entropy, and a few more.

        Unfortunately, Mr Krook's death by spontaneous combustion,
in spite of Mr Dickens' impassioned defense, could not occur either.
Like the three reports above, Mr Krook's manner of death makes good
fiction and nothing else.

Fred Levit
From: "Gregory J. Conroy" <[log in to unmask]>

Comeday morm and, O, you're vine! Sendday's eve and, ah, you're vinegar!
Hahahaha, Mister Funn, you're going to be fined again!


Haroun Childeric Eggeberth

From: efraim sicher <[log in to unmask]>

I wasn't aware Krook could be said to show any of the symptoms described
in the forwarded bulletin on cerebral explosion. His symptoms seem more
alcoholic and moral. However, if George Lewes pooh-poohed the scientific
basis of Dickens' description of spontaneous combustion, his ghost might
be interested in a book by Peter Hobbes, Spontaneous Human Combustion,
cited in a BBC World Service report broadcast 0650 GMT August 4, 1992.
The BBC report featured an interview with an officer of the Kent Fire
Brigade who testified to an incident in which a man burst into flames
without apparent cause. The body was burnt to a fine dust.