It snowed overnight on the 6th, and it was extremely cold on the morning of the 7th. Father Andrew went out after receiving a call, but he never came back once he left. A day later, the anxious family called the police. The police tracked down the source of the call. An old man in a neighboring town who was about to die asked him to pray on his deathbed. According to the family, the priest left after praying at two o’clock in the afternoon the previous day. He said he went straight back to the town. So the police searched along the small road between the two towns and found a strange pile of wreckage in the clearing beside the small road.
To be precise, this should be regarded as a pile of ashes, with a few small pieces of human bones remaining in it. After forensic identification, it was a burned human body. A metal cross that was burnt and deformed confirmed that the deceased was Father Andrew. On the thick snow around the scene, no other people’s footprints were found except for the priest’s footprints. Experts pointed out that in order to turn a corpse into ashes, it would take at least a thousand degrees to burn for 90 minutes. .
Who is the murderer? How did he incinerate the priest’s body in the low temperature of minus 20 degrees Celsius? Inspector Paul, who was in charge of investigating the case, looked puzzled. Just when the detection of this case was at a deadlock, the same incident happened again!
In the middle of the night of November 11, when the fisherman Meyer and his family were asleep, they were suddenly awakened by a light noise outside the window. It seemed that someone had touched his yard, and Meyer, regardless of his wife’s obstruction, put on his coat, picked up the fishing fork and walked out of the house.
When the wife heard her husband’s heavy footsteps chasing out of the yard and heading eastward, she suddenly became inexplicably confused. Ten minutes later, there was a dead silence outside, and the wife who was worried about her husband got dressed and went out to see the situation.
At this moment, a scream cut through the night sky, and Meyer’s wife heard that it was her husband’s voice, and she ran in the direction of the cry desperately. When she followed the sound to the seaside of Zhendong, she saw a cluster of burning fire from a distance. When she came closer, she saw a terrifying scene: Meyer’s tall and burly body had shrunk into a fireball. His wife took off her coat and rushed up madly, but the flames burned more and more like a certain kind of magic. She watched her husband’s body disappear little by little and finally turned to ashes. Meyer’s wife wailed and collapsed to the ground.
Two consecutive cases have plunged residents into infinite panic. The pressure on Inspector Paul also suddenly increased. Feeling helpless, he began to visit the residents. Unexpectedly, an almost forgotten legend began to spread in the town. This story called “Witch’s Revenge” changed the already terrifying atmosphere. It’s more mysterious.
Days do not put out the fire
on the east side of the beach rock in Felton, stands a huge stone cross, surface traces of fire still remnants of carved stone passage, this passage is reputed to have the “witch’s curse.”
”Fear, I am Lilith, the dark soul of the world, destined to fear mankind! Shake! I am the fog, you are the stars, you are just a point in the light, and I am the eternal darkness in the night When I return, my fire of vengeance will fall from the sky and turn you into ashes! And it will never go out!”
This is a true past. In Europe in the 16th century, the hunt for witches was once popular. People believed that witches were people who sold their souls to the devil. At that time, Felton lived with a witch named Holly. When this witch-eliminating wind blew here, people began to stay away and hate her.
One day, this fear-derived hatred reached its climax. Holly was caught by the villagers to the beach, tied to a cross built in advance, and set up firewood underneath. Facing death, she didn’t have any fear, her eyes swept across everyone’s face coldly, and then she said the above paragraph with a sullen expression, making everyone present shudder like a sharp blade. According to the “Legends of the Centuries”, the Lilith mentioned by Holly was the first woman in the world, who later rebelled against God and became the lover of the devil Satan, possessing more power than angels.
Father Peter, who presided over the fire festival, was a little flustered. He ordered the light to be lit as soon as possible, and Holly’s laughter continued for a long time. A week later, Father Peter suddenly fell ill and passed away. At this time, people were shocked to discover that someone had carved Holly’s dying sentence on the cross that bound her. As a result, “The Curse of the Witch” became a mysterious story passed down from generation to generation in the town. Fortunately, the curse of the witch did not come true.
The two bizarre incidents now remind people of the ancient curse. Coincidentally, this Father Andrew is the offspring of Father Peter, who burned the Holly Witch to death, and the person responsible for the ignition happened to be Meyer’s ancestor. Holly once said: “My fire of revenge will fall from the sky and turn you into ashes!” This coincides with the bizarre death of the two people. People firmly believe that it must be the powerful Lilith who resurrected the witch and returned for revenge!
Felton fell into a panic. Paul naturally didn’t believe in words like spell magic, but in the face of the rumors, he could not come up with a more reasonable explanation. Holly said before she died that this flame “will never go out!” Everyone wondered uncomfortably whether this death would continue?
Unfortunately, people’s worries became a reality. Just ten days after Meyer died, the skyfire descended on Felton again! This time the deceased was a widow and lonely old man named Stephanie. She had no children after her marriage. Her husband died of illness a few years ago. Now her only relative is Jackson, a distant nephew who teaches at Newcastle University. He will visit her every once in a while.
On Christmas Eve, Jackson made a special trip back from the field to visit his aunt. The door of the old man’s room was closed, and Jackson knocked for a long time and no one answered. An ominous premonition made Jackson make the decision to break in. When the neighbor followed Jackson into Stephanie’s cabin, he saw a shocking scene.
There was no one in the house, and a faint burning smell remained in the air. In the place where the old-fashioned rocking chair was originally placed, a large hole was burned through the wooden floor. In the ashes, people found a few small pieces of burned vertebrae and a skull shrunk into the size of a baseball, not far from the corpse. The silk cotton handkerchief was intact, without any trace of burning. Inferring from the situation at the scene, Stephanie should have been sitting in a rocking chair to rest when a natural disaster suddenly came and turned her to ashes.
the matter so that residents who fall into greater panic, Felton spent Christmas Eve in the midst of gloom, the shadow of death hovering over their heads.
Inspector Paul, who was so devastated by three bizarre corpse burning cases, suddenly thought of a man in despair-Dr. George. He has had several connections with Paul. He is a fire trace expert of the Newcastle Police Headquarters. He has unique insights into various fires. He has helped the police crack many arson-related cases. Paul holds a glimmer of hope. Dialed George’s phone.
That afternoon, George arrived at Felton. Unexpectedly, the strange case of Felton made this time-tested fire expert also shouted strangely. Two days later, the doctor left with full of doubts. Paul also seemed to lose faith in solving the case. However, Holly’s pace of revenge did not stop. At the end of December, two more similar cases occurred. Even Paul, who did not believe in ghosts and gods, waved in his beliefs.
Soon, at the invitation of Felton Catholics, the London Church sent a pastor to hold an exorcism ceremony here. In the six months since then, the mysterious sky fire never burned again, and the town slowly recovered. The silence of the past.
But Inspector Paul couldn’t let go of this, he needed a scientific explanation. At this moment, George, who had not heard from him for a long time, suddenly called and talked to Paul about spontaneous combustion. George gave a detailed explanation to Paul over the phone. He said that the details in several Felton cases were consistent with the phenomenon of spontaneous human combustion, but this phenomenon has occurred independently in history and has never occurred at the same time.
The phenomenon of spontaneous combustion of the human body has puzzled scientists, mainly because people do not understand what kind of fire engulfed a living person without harming the things around him. In addition, a human body must be turned into ashes. , It must be burned at high temperature for a long time. Even if the corpse is cremated in a blast furnace in the crematorium, there will be a lot of residual bones, not like these spontaneous combustion cases, except for a small part of the residual limbs, all turned to ashes.
Although scientists have also given some explanations, they cannot fully explain every specific detail of this phenomenon.
After searching for relevant information, George learned that a new theory called the candle wick effect has recently appeared. The theory is that we can imagine a person wearing clothes as a candle that turns inside and out. Clothes are candle wicks and body fat is wax. Even a small flame may penetrate clothing, ignite fat, and then burn slowly and continuously. This can explain why all combustible items around the ashes remain the same, because the candle flame only burns spontaneously inside and does not touch the outside.
The famous forensic biologist Mark demonstrated this effect with a piece of cloth and pork, proving that if the conditions are met, the fat and cloth will burn like candles. George also personally verified through experiments, confirming that the human body has a source of combustion, as long as the environmental conditions are right, the human body can burn itself.
What the candle wick effect fails to answer is the question of how bones are turned into ashes in the spontaneous combustion of the human body. Soon, Angie, a British anthropological researcher, overcame this problem. He found that the bone conditions of the victims of spontaneous combustion are basically similar to those of the people most likely to suffer from osteoporosis. Facts have proved that people with osteoporosis are more likely to burn their bones during cremation.
Paul couldn’t help sighing after hearing this: “I didn’t expect such a bizarre puzzle, but with such a simple answer.” George interrupted him and said, “However, in this case, there is another crucial issue that needs to be clarified. That is the source of fire! Although the candle wick effect can explain why the human body burns spontaneously, what ignites this human candle is the key to solving the case.” George’s words poured cold water on Paul’s enthusiasm, yes. , What caused the fire on the burned person? Apart from the Holly Witch incident, what are the hidden connections between the several cases?
The murderers to justice
time blink of an eye to March 2007, a sudden unexpected news of the case took a dramatic turn. During a business trip, Paul ran into old friends who had been at the Newcastle Police Station. The two talked about Felton’s mystery. When the names of Stephanie and Jackson were mentioned, the friend suddenly provided Paul with a clue. As far as he knew, Professor Jackson was a genius chemist and a well-known gambler who had owed a large amount. He was gambling debts and was pursued many times, for which he divorced twice. About a year ago, Jackson seemed to have suddenly made a fortune. He not only paid off his gambling debts, but also continued to gamble with huge sums of money. I heard that it was because he inherited an inheritance from his aunt.
heritage? How could Stephanie, a poor widow, have a huge inheritance? Paul immediately rushed to the Kobe law firm responsible for handling Stephanie’s estate, but Kobe’s lawyer seemed unwilling to disclose the situation. Paul showed the police officer’s card, and Kobe finally told the truth about Stephanie’s legacy. It turned out that two years ago, Stephanie accidentally won a £30 million lottery ticket, and she quietly deposited the huge sum of money in the bank for her life of diligence and frugality, and she still lives a life of simplicity. When she died, the money went to her only heir, Jackson, of course.
This result surprised Paul. For more than a year, every time he thought of a series of incineration cases, the first problem of criminal motives began to perplex Paul’s thinking. If someone really committed a crime, what was the motive of the crime? None of the dead were rich, and they had never had any hatred with others. Now this problem seems to have turned around. Money has always been the best criminal motive.
Through further investigation, Paul learned that Jackson was a professor of chemistry at Newcastle University and was not in Newcastle on the day of several cases. He had the time to commit each case! So will the mysterious fire source have anything to do with him? Paul went to ask George again.
After listening to Paul’s introduction, George frowned and muttered to himself: “Jackson…” Suddenly raised his head and asked, “Is his full name Jackson Barber?” Paul nodded in confusion, seeing George excited. He stood up and mumbled: “I understand, I understand…” While he was talking, he rushed to the computer. After searching, he beckoned to Paul, and he was already unable to restrain the curious Paul and hurriedly visited. When I went too far, I saw that George had turned out a paper with the title “On the Combustion Characteristics of Metal Sodium”, signed by Jackson Barber.
”Metal sodium?” Paul still wondered, “Does this have anything to do with the fire case?” “Of course there is, this is the source of fire we are looking for!” George cried, and then he gave Paul a detailed explanation .
It turns out that sodium is a waxy metal that is insoluble in water. Not only does it have a very low ignition point, it is easy to spontaneously ignite in the air, but it also reacts strongly with water to form sodium hydroxide, which will catch fire and release a huge amount of Heat, and this kind of flame is difficult to extinguish.
Because of this, elemental sodium does not exist in nature at all, but it can be extracted in the laboratory and needs to be preserved in paraffin. This is easy for Jackson, a professor of chemistry.
George speculated that Jackson was probably driven to despair by his creditors, and was eager to get his aunt’s huge inheritance in advance, so he used Felton’s long-lived legend about Holly’s skyfire and his chemical expertise. , Quietly put the homemade elemental sodium on her body, and at the same time spread the rumors of the witch curse. In order to avoid suspicion, people involved in the witch burning incident of the year were selected to create chaos and cover people’s eyes.
However, this is purely an inference. In order to find strong evidence, Paul and George conducted tests on the evidence of the incineration case preserved by the police station. Sure enough, sodium hydroxide, a combustion product of sodium, was found in the remains of each case.
Immediately, Paul filed a lawsuit against Jackson for murder. After a difficult trial and defense, the jury found that Jackson was guilty and he would spend the rest of his life in prison. The shadow of death that enveloped the town of Felton was finally lifted.