Real Name: Dr. John Irving Bentley
Case: Unexplained Death
Date: December 5, 1966
Location: Coudersport, Pennsylvania
Details: On December 5, 1966, a gas company meter man named Don Gosnell went to the home of ninety-two-year-old Irving Bentley, a retired physician. Don went into the basement when he found a pile of ashes on the floor. There was a strange odor in the room. When he looked up, he discovered a hole in the basement ceiling. There were red embers around the hole. He went upstairs to the bathroom and discovered what was left of the remains of Irving: his metal walker, part of his head, and part of his leg in a boot. Everything else had turned to ash.
Irving had apparently died of a fire hot enough to burn through the floor but not potent enough to claim the whole house. It also was unable to melt his aluminum walker or blister paint on the nearby bathtub. To date, the cause of the fire has defied explanation. Skeptics believed that his pipe might have caused the blaze, as he had a history of setting his clothes on fire with it. He also had a habit of keeping matches in his bath robe pockets. Many, however, believe that spontaneous human combustion is to blame. Some also believe that natural electric currents in the body could cause these fires.
Extra Notes: This original airdate for this segment is March 14, 1997. It was part of segment of "spontaneous human combustion" which also featured the stories of Kay Fletcher and George Mott.
- Irving Bentley at Unsolved.com
- Irving Bentley on Wikipedia
- Another anniversary passes, but Bentley mystery remains
- Dr Irving Bentley at Find a Grave