During a 10-year period (1980-1989), at least 43 cases of self-incineration with lethal outcome took place in Denmark. The incidence seems to be increasing: 11 cases took place in the first 5 years and 32 cases in the last 5 years. An even sex ratio as found (male:female = 23:20). The median age was 43 years, with a broad age range (20-87). Many incidents of self-incineration as a form of political protest were reported in the press especially during the 1960s and 1970s, and the press reports often inspired others to commit suicide in the same way. None of the cases in our investigation were politically motivated or reported in the press, and only one case could have been inspired by another similar case. Other investigations have shown that self-incineration is more common in some cultures than in others, and many have found that a religious motivation was common. In our investigation, all victims were of Danish origin, and a religious motive played no significant role. Most of the victims were suffering from mental illness, and a majority had tried to commit suicide before. None of the victims left a suicide note. The scene was most often at home and indoors--only a minority committed suicide in remote areas of the countryside. Most were found dead at the scene, and the cause of death was usually heat exposure. Only a minority had a lethal carboxy-hemoglobin (CO-Hb) concentration. It is concluded that close cooperation between police, fire experts, and the forensic pathologist is necessary to permit a correct classification of the mode of death in these cases.