Fortean Times - - Forum -

There is some­thing so bizarre and im­plau­si­ble, even slightly mad, about the no­tion of spon­ta­neous hu­man com­bus­tion that it tends to bring on em­bar­rassed tit­ters when men­tioned in po­lite com­pany – and some­thing rather more ro­bust than brazen mirth among coarser com­pan­ions. And it has to be said that this grisly phe­nom­e­non does hold the po­ten­tial for grotesque com­edy. That paragon of re­li­able jour­nal­ism, the Weekly World News, took due ad­van­tage of this in its “com­pletely ver­i­fi­able” re­port of 18 Novem­ber 1986:

PREACHER EX­PLODES DUR­ING SER­MON Hor­ri­fied con­gre­ga­tion sees evan­ge­list blow up in the pul­pit

– and as­sures us not only that at the time “Pas­tor Lüger” was warn­ing his flock that “they were headed for the blaz­ing in­ferno of Hell” but that “not a sin­gle page” of the Bi­ble he was hold­ing (thump­ing?) “was so much as singed.” A fiery ser­mon in­deed. One is al­most sur­prised that the late Revd Dr Ian Pais­ley lived as long as he did with­out suf­fer­ing such an acausal mean­ing­ful co­in­ci­dence to ac­com­pany his ha­bit­u­ally in­cen­di­ary rhetoric. There are rather more se­ri­ous ac­counts and analy­ses in the books we dis­cuss here, though that doesn’t pre­clude a leav­en­ing of mad­ness...

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