Monday, May 3, 2010

Burnin' Up the Dancefloor

Around Midnight on August 27th, 1938, Phyllis Newcombe was leaving the dancefloor of the Chelmsford Shire Hall when she burst into a bright, blue flame. Though her date tried to beat-out the flames with his hands, Miss Newcombe was fatally burned before the ambulance arrived. Nothing else in the hall was damaged.

Coroners originally thought someone had set her dress alight with a cigarette, but Miss Newcombe's father proved in court that it would have taken an open flame to start it burning, and that a cigarette alone could not have ignited it. All of the witnesses from the dance hall swore no one struck a lighter or match at the time Newcombe went ablaze.

The case remains unsolved.

© C Harris Lynn, 2010

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