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My guest tonight is Mark Muncy. Mark has written numerous books regarding everything strange in Florida.
Most know Florida as the land of endless sunny beaches, but the state is home to numerous eerie legends and mysterious creatures. The Everglades is home to the elusive Skunk Ape, a strange bipedal creature recognized by its odor.
An uncanny doll reputed to have a life of its own greets visitors in a Florida Keys museum. An ancient monster is reported to roam the rivers in the northeast corners of the state, and in South Florida, a man built “America’s Stonehenge” via mysterious means.
Mary Hardy Reeser (March 8, 1884 – July 2, 1951) of St. Petersburg, Florida was a suspected victim of spontaneous human combustion.
On July 2, 1951, at about 8 a.m., Reeser’s landlady, Pansy Carpenter, arrived at Reeser’s door with a telegram. Trying the door, she found the metal doorknob to be uncomfortably warm to the touch and called the police.
Reeser’s remains, which were largely ashes, were found among the remains of a chair in which she had been sitting. Only part of her left foot (which was wearing a slipper) and her backbone remained, along with her skull. Plastic household objects at a distance from the seat of the fire were softened and had lost their shapes.
Reeser’s skull had survived and was found among the ashes, but shrunken (sometimes with the added descriptive flourish of ‘to the size of a teacup’). The extent of this shrinkage was enough to be remarked on by official investigators and was not an illusion caused by the removal of all facial features (ears, nose, lips, etc.). The shrinking of the skull is not a regular feature of alleged cases of SHC, although the ‘shrunken skull’ claim has become a regular feature of anecdotal accounts of other SHC cases and numerous apocryphal stories.