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Larry E. Arnold

(2 Hours, 26 Minutes)

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BoA:Audio explores the mystery of Spontanteous Human Combustion with Larry E. Arnold, the world foremost authority on the phenomenon. In this over two hour conversation, we'll cover SHC from a myriad of angles, including the earliest known cases of Spon Com, the evolution of SHC research and public perception, the renaissance in Spon Com interest in the 1970's. We'll hear about some of the most famous cases of Spon Com, including Dr. John Irving, Mary Reeser, George Mott, Helen Conway, and SHC survivor Jack Angel. We'll also journey down a plethora of side roads such as Larry's take on skeptics and a potential SCH media cover-up, why the debunkers' 'wick effect' theory does not stand up to experimentation, unique SHC trends his research has uncovered, and tons more.

This comprehensive interview will enlighten the listeners to a paranormal phenomenon that has existed on the periphery of esoterica for decades, if not centuries, and, in recent times, has been kept alive thanks to the tireless work of our guest Larry E. Arnold, author of Ablaze: The Mysterious Fires of Spontaneous Human Combustion.

Full Preview: We kick things off with the bio / background on Larry E. Arnold and find out how he got interested in Spontaneous Human Combustion. Larry also details why he refers to himself in the 1st person plural and the origins of this speaking style. We begin the SHC discussion by bringing newcomers up to speed and having Larry define Spontaneous Human Combustion. Refuting the skeptics, Larry also explains how, in the Summer, a smaller version of SHC happens every day. Looking at the history of Spon Com, Larry talks about how the phenomenon is not merely a product of the 1970's paranormal boom, but was actually heavily debated in the 18th & 19th centuries and has been referenced as far back as the 1400's.

Tracing the evolution of the SHC debate, Larry recalls how, in 1850, a well-respected German chemist formally debunked the phenomenon and, in turn, relegated it to the paranormal, where it has existed in subsequent years and decades. Larry also explains why the chemist's SHC experiment had false conclusions, how he tried to replicate it for the BBC, and the spun the results, once again, to refute the existence of Spon Com. This leads to some discussion on the vehemence of SHC skeptics and how they often resort to personal attacks against Larry and his work. Staying on the topic of the evolution of SHC research, Larry traces the public perception of the phenomenon from 1850 through a pair of mini renaissances in the early 1900's and late 1930's, culminating in a return to paranormal prominence in the 1970's.

Beginning our examination of the phenomenon, itself, we start by looking at some of the most famous and critical Spontaneous Human Combustion cases, starting with the John Bentley Irving story from 1966, which Larry talks about in remarkable detail. Larry also explains how this case contrasts with what we'd expect to see from an accidental fire and what we know happens when a body is purposely cremated. Taking things to a meta level, we talk about how, with SHC, we have actual, graphic pictures from key cases, which has the effect of both captivating and repulsing people who see them.

Think all Spontaneous Human Combustion cases are fatal? Think again. Larry details the amazing story of a man named Jack Angel, who appears to be a survivor of an SHC event from 1974. Getting meta, once again, we reflect on how SHC is perhaps the only paranormal genre where the potential for death is specifically attached, which lends it a unique place in the pantheon of esoteric mysteries. Based on his research, we ask Larry how prevalent SHC cases may be and how often they go unreported due to firefighters or coroners being unaware of (or afraid to blame) the phenomenon.

Aside from the Jack Angel case, we have Larry detail some cases where people were fully conscious during the SHC event. We go back to the totality of Larry's research and ask him which potential causes pique his interest as the source of SHC events. Larry also responds to critics who, wrongheadedly, decry SHC for being impossible to study because, by its very nature and name, it is spontaneous and, thus, cannot be duplicated in a lab. Larry addresses the skeptics' biggest weapon in debunking Spon Com: the 'wick effect' and he proceeds to deconstruct this theory and explain why it cannot possibly account for Spontaneous Human Combustion. He also talks about the amazing lengths they will go to 'replicate' SHC, while essentially cheating and using underhanded techniques to create the phenomenon's effect. To that end, Larry also points out how the media is often complicit in helping these debunkers 'disprove' SHC and we examine why they feel the need to cover-up the phenomenon.

Getting back to key cases of SHC, Larry shares the story of Helen Conway's tragic death at the hands of, what appears to be, Spontaneous Human Combustion. He recalls how he first discovered the case while attending a fire prevention course and noticed a previously unseen picture of an SHC victim, which led him to this case. Larry then traces the evolution of his investigation into the case and proceeds to detail the evidence of SHC at the fire scene. Larry also talks about one significant and stunning aspect of this case: the fire appears to have incinerated Conway's body in merely six minutes.

Looking one of the most famous cases of Spontaneous Human Combustion ever, Larry details the Mary Reeser case from 1951, which remains one of the keystone events in Spon Com history. This leads to the observation that fire has been around since the dawn of mankind and, yet, we still apparently do not fully understand it, since we cannot adequately explain Spontaneous Human Combustion. Jumping to an end game scenario, we ask Larry if he ever sees SHC becoming recognized as a real fire-related phenomenon. Larry then talks about the George Mott case from upstate New York which saw fire officials go on the record saying that the victim died via Spontaneous Human Combustion.

Heading towards the close of our conversation, we find out about an amazing discovery that Larry's research has yielded, which suggests that these SHC events are actually happening along some kind of geographical line. Larry details how, using this trend, he's discovered a number of new cases in the UK. We also have Larry tell us about the most recent cases that his research has uncovered. We also look at Larry's early century prediction that there would be a boom in SHC in 2004, he explains why that projection may have been wrong, and talk about what sort of patterns have emerged from his research.

Closing out the conversation, we find out where people can get a copy of Ablaze, Larry's massive book covering Spon Com as well as a remarkable guarantee by Larry for potential readers. Larry also puts forward his concept for a new name for Spontaneous Human Combustion, to help change the public perception surrounding the phenomenon. Larry also advances his suggestion for a new degree of burn that would encompass the extremes of SHC. And, of course, we find out what's next for Larry Arnold as 2011 unfolds and 2012 looms on the horizon.

Larry E. Arnold Bio

Larry Arnold was trained in the methodology of science with an undergraduate major in mechanical engineering. He later worked for the private-sector in electrical engineering. Larry developed a burgeoning fascination with human consciousness potential and undertook a new province of study: the unexplained.

In 1976 he founded ParaScience International. As director of PSI, he combines his scientific background with investigating and describing the intriguing world of forteana - those unconventional subjects and weird events that fail to find acceptance, let alone explanation, within the boundaries of today's science. Larry is internationally recognized for his pioneering research in spontaneous human combustion.

His website is www.parascience.com

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BoA : Audio, Season Six archive