Rajeshwari Karnan rushed her infant son to the Government Kilpauk Hospital in India to be treated for burns on his feet, claiming that the child had spontaneously combusted while she was taking a bath.
The infant boy, only 10 days of age, had about 10 percent burn damage to his feet, and has spent more than a month in the neonatal intensive care unit. The child is now well enough to be discharged, as his burns have healed, but social workers are questioning whether or not it is safe to release him back into the custody of his mother, Rajeshwari Karnan.
Many would have trouble enough believing that an infant's feet spontaneously combusted. It gets even harder to believe when learning that the older son of Rajeshwari Karnan also made headlines around the world in 2013 for spontaneously combusting -- four times.
As previously reported by the Inquistr, Rajeshwari Karnan claimed in 2013 that her older son, who was an infant himself at the time, had spontaneously combusted several times. In the first incident, the baby was rushed to a hospital after neighbors heard the baby screaming and discovered the baby on fire in his crib. Karnan claimed that the baby caught fire three more times after that incident, without explanation -- and, apparently, without much questioning on the parts of medical or legal authorities. The baby was allowed to go back home with his parents, despite the dubious claims of spontaneous combustion.
Fortunately for the first baby, no more reports of spontaneous combustion were reported over the next year and a half -- until the birth of their second son. And it seems as though the medical professionals dealing with a mother who claims her children spontaneously combust are finally showing some concern.
Narayana Babu, dean of the hospital where Karnan's son has been treated, says, "All tests reveal he is completely normal. The parents went through psychiatric counselling and were found to be normal."
Normal except for that part where their babies keep catching on fire, that is.
Despite Karnan passing the psychiatric testing, the medical professionals are still very reluctant to hand the now-healed child back to his parents. They suspect that Karnan suffers from a mental illness called Munchausen by proxy syndrome. Munchausen by proxy isn't just a mental illness, though -- it's also a form of child abuse, as the syndrome is defined by a caretaker who either makes up symptoms or creates symptoms in order to make it look as though their child is sick, in order to gain attention for themselves.
Child psychiatrist Shiva Prakash Srinivasan believes this is what Karnan suffers from, at the expense of her own children.
"This need for attention is fulfilled by bringing the child into a hospital with a medical condition, and getting attention, and in this case with worldwide headlines."
But medical professionals point out the fact that spontaneous combustion has never been proven to exist, and that many doubts over its existence remain because of the amount of water the average human body contains.
British research biologist Brian J. Ford, however, has argued in two articles that spontaneous combustion could be a real occurrence caused by the chemical acetone that is produced naturally in the human body, but disposed of by healthy people through their urine. Acetone is extremely flammable,and when some suffer from certain illnesses, the flammable acetone can build up in the body.
But even if that theory is believed, Karnan's son was found to have normal levels of acetone in his body.
Many believe that Karnan is looking to make money off her burning baby, as she happened to do so with her first son. Karnan and her family were forced out of their village after their first child was said to have spontaneously combusted four times, with locals fearing that the baby may start a major fire. After being forced out, a large amount of money was raised to help the family start a new life, and they were able to buy a new house. Skeptics now wonder if Karnan has produced a second baby who spontaneously combusts in order to get another paycheck.
To read more about Rajeshwari Karnan and the chilling clues that started when she was a child in her own village, click here.
[Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]