Real Name: John Irving Bentley
Case: Unexplained Death
Location: Coudersport, Pennsylvania
Date: December 5, 1966
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. He 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 it. 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 walker or blister paint on the nearby bathtub. To date, the cause of it has defied explanation. Skeptics believed that his pipe might have been the cause, as he had a history of setting his clothes on fire with it. He also had a habit of keeping matches in his bathrobe 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 case first aired as was part of a segment on "spontaneous human combustion" on the March 14, 1997 episode along with those of Kay Fletcher and George Mott.
- Irving Bentley on Unsolved.com
- Irving Bentley on Wikipedia
- Retired Coudersport Doctor, 92, Burned To Death
- Not-So-Spontaneous Human Combustion
- Another anniversary passes, but Bentley mystery remains
- Irving Bentley on Find a Grave