Fox proposes Ally McBeal spin-off.
November 25, 2003 11:28 PM   Subscribe

 
He's just kidding.
posted by Witty at 11:36 PM on November 25, 2003


"Prahlad Jani, a holy man, or fakir..." : Pretty much says it all (once it is spelled correctly).
posted by mischief at 11:40 PM on November 25, 2003


Well he went a week under supervision with no food or water. What if his story turns out to be true?
posted by futureproof at 11:52 PM on November 25, 2003


See David Blaine.
posted by mischief at 12:08 AM on November 26, 2003


AFAIK Blaine was fed liquids during his stay above the Thames.
posted by futureproof at 12:26 AM on November 26, 2003


Yawn. Bullshit. Its not a miracle folks, human cells cannot survive without sustenance. Call me a realist.
posted by Keyser Soze at 12:28 AM on November 26, 2003


It's interesting that while under supervision, the doctors watching him were able to detect urine forming in his bladder, which was then reabsorbed. Also, while he did not consume anything in those ten days "neither did he pass urine or stool."

nutty.
posted by futureproof at 12:36 AM on November 26, 2003


Yawn. Bullshit. Its not a miracle folks, human cells cannot survive without sustenance. Call me a realist.

That's true...

OR IS IT?

*ominous music*
posted by The God Complex at 12:37 AM on November 26, 2003


The only thing that's got them baffled is where, when, and how he's sneaking his food and drink.
posted by kavasa at 1:01 AM on November 26, 2003



Via the back door?!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 1:12 AM on November 26, 2003


Hey guys, guess what? I haven't taken a crap in 3.5 years! Who do I contact for the media frenzy?
posted by item at 1:20 AM on November 26, 2003


Who should I believe: The laws of nature, or the word of some guy who's greatest achievement is pinching his sphincter for 10 days?

Tough call...
posted by spazzm at 1:57 AM on November 26, 2003


I think this does not exactly credit his claim:
"At the end of his confinement, doctors noted no deterioration in his condition, other than a slight drop in his weight." (emphasis mine)

Why would he suddenly loose weight after 10 days, when he allegedly haven't had anything to eat or drink for 'decades'?

Maybe 'decade' is means '45 minutes' in some Hindi dialect?
posted by spazzm at 2:05 AM on November 26, 2003


I haven't taken a crap in 3.5 years

Take cover, SHE'S GONNA BLOW!!
posted by spatula at 2:35 AM on November 26, 2003


spazzm: perhaps 30 years ago this guy was a gigantic fatass and he's just been living off ihs own blubber all this time.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:45 AM on November 26, 2003


Hey guys, guess what? I haven't taken a crap in 3.5 years!

I believe I have had some of your share in the last few weeks. I have boxed this up and its in the post.
posted by biffa at 3:17 AM on November 26, 2003


I bet this guy helped kill Kennedy.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:33 AM on November 26, 2003


He must be some kind of monster... KILL HIM!
posted by internook at 4:06 AM on November 26, 2003


Maybe he can be the next Jared from Subway commercials...
posted by davidmsc at 4:19 AM on November 26, 2003


I am convinced that soon some writer will put out a book titled The Ganges Weight Loss Program....Sound slike this Indian guy has little fancy for fast food joints.
posted by Postroad at 5:04 AM on November 26, 2003


Rather than dismissing him, I'd want to see him locked in a sealed room until he knocks on the door to ask for food.

I agree that the chances of him being able to do this are so close to zero it's not worth talking about, but (if nothing else) it'll be fun to watch him try! ;)
posted by twine42 at 5:22 AM on November 26, 2003


I think I know how he does it! he secretly eats a little bit when no one is looking.
posted by mcsweetie at 5:41 AM on November 26, 2003


He says he has survived several decades without food or water because of a hole in his palate.

Drops of water filter through this hole, he says, sustaining him.


Um, considering that the nasal passages are what one finds above the palate, I think this guy is really surviving on a trickle of his own watery mucus. Or something.
posted by beth at 5:47 AM on November 26, 2003


Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. 10 days of observeration AND weight loss is far from needed evidence.

Men have survived weeks without food and many days without water before, so I would think a minimum of 60 days of tight observation would be in order. Of course I sympathize with the "researchers," if they held him up to his claims they would probably have a corpse on their hands and the locals would be outraged and rightly so for taking a crazy old man seriously. Using the ten day method, everyone saves face, including educated researchers who don't like to admit to being fooled by some wacky locals, as has been the case before with such claims.

With "news" like this being "reported" by the "media" no wonder the people at CSICOP are so rabid.
posted by skallas at 6:14 AM on November 26, 2003


Sometimes, just sometimes, I wish that these miraculous feats were real. I think that we need our beliefs in the "facts" and "science" and "realism" to be shaken up - it's often the mysterious that gives us reason to explore and discover. Call it the dreamer in me, or watching my three-year-old play, but magical moments are too few and far between.

You guys are way to cynical.
posted by ashbury at 6:25 AM on November 26, 2003


too cynical.
posted by ashbury at 6:33 AM on November 26, 2003


I think that we need our beliefs in the "facts" and "science" and "realism" to be shaken up.

Yeah. It's a drag remembering that we have to "eat" and "drink" to "live." People who have freed themselves from these "facts" will live a much happier life if they don't "starve."
posted by ptermit at 6:35 AM on November 26, 2003


>You guys are way to cynical.

Or people have standards for what should be presented as facts and news.
posted by skallas at 6:37 AM on November 26, 2003


Hey, hold on. Don't for a minute think that I think this fakir is doing what he says he's doing. He has to eat and drink to sustain himself, period. What I'm trying to say is that the mysterious and unexplainable can be a healthy thing for those who believe in science and fact.

skallas, your point is valid. This is a fluff piece that is big on the unknown and short of actual facts. I was just expressing a wistful what-if sentiment.
posted by ashbury at 6:53 AM on November 26, 2003


a slight drop in his weight

Just to point out that a slight drop in weight doesn't mean anything. Most people's weight fluctuates on a daily basis. But most people would probably lose a substantial amount of weight (a few pounds or more?).
posted by jennak at 7:11 AM on November 26, 2003


...that the mysterious and unexplainable can be a healthy thing for those who believe in science and fact.

Or they can be deadly to the gullible and profitable to predators.

If you want to have hippie-dippy "what if" fantasies about a fakir who can live without food and water, fine... but it's a bit presumptuous of you to say that those who won't partake of your pipe dream are "too cynical."
posted by ptermit at 7:11 AM on November 26, 2003


he was blessed by a goddess at the age of eight

There's your answer, folks. Dunno why it wasn't the lede.
posted by soyjoy at 7:13 AM on November 26, 2003


James Randi on a similar claim made earlier this year: "Ah, but as the Hindustan Times story developed, it was discovered that Manek took a bit more than sunlight for sustenance. His wife had somewhat hyperbolized his claim — what a surprise! — and admitted that he also consumed buttermilk and fruit juices. The miracle begins to fade somewhat at this point, don't you think?"

There's plenty of magic and mysterious stuff out there to believe in, if you look for it in the right places - like all those vast reaches of outer space about which we know comparitvely little. Maybe some sort of humanoid creature out there lives on sunlight alone, but not on this planet.
posted by dnash at 7:15 AM on November 26, 2003


"Fettle" is a funny word. Sounds like it tickles.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:13 AM on November 26, 2003


I think I know how he does it! he secretly eats a little bit when no one is looking.

In a thread where people are crawling over each other to make jokes, this modest little gem outshines them all. Mcsweetie, I salute you.
posted by Hildago at 11:00 AM on November 26, 2003


If you want to have hippie-dippy "what if" fantasies about a fakir who can live without food and water, fine... but it's a bit presumptuous of you to say that those who won't partake of your pipe dream are "too cynical."

ptermit, your links are taking this way beyond my meaning. I completely agree with you that a lot of the mumbo-jumbo out there is quackery at its finest, or sleight of hand on a grand scale, or crazy get-rich power schemes. All that I am saying is that there are bizaare-o things out there that defy scientific explanation, at least for the time being. Every once in a while a part of me stops and says: "yeah, but what if it's true?" After all, isn't that kind of wonderment the basis our myths and folklore? Isn't it where we get most of our entertainment, be that via movies, video games and books?

I realize that it's a harsh world and that often the only way to deal with it is in a pragmatic and realistic way. But our dreams and imaginings count for a lot more than we often allow them to. I have no doubt that this fakir is somehow faking it, but in the faking he has offered us a glimpse of something taboo, or out of the ordinary.

I'm not asking anybody to share in a pipe dream; there is no pipe dream. I'm suggesting that we all have funny superstitions and ideas that don't fit in with the sciences of the modern world. What could yours be?
posted by ashbury at 11:35 AM on November 26, 2003


If you want to have hippie-dippy "what if" fantasies about a fakir who can live without food and water, fine... but it's a bit presumptuous of you to say that those who won't partake of your pipe dream are "too cynical."

not too cynical, too rational.

(imo) it's right to be completely skeptical of this man's claims of not eating or drinking for 30 years (since no one has ever proven it possible, nor does any research indicate that it might be even close to possible), but burdens of proof lie on both sides.

his proof is 10 days with minor weight loss. we (the skeptics) have thousands of years of scientific and anecdotal research on eating/drinking that indicate his claims are impossible. i'd say the skeptics are leading at this point. if he really wants to validate his claim, he should be observed for a longer span. he probably doesn't care too much about scientific validation, so we'll never really know the truth (unless one of his friends spills the beans on how he does it). (on preview: if there's a history of scams like this, his claim is further damaged.)

if forced to decide, i'd say he's simply exaggerating to the extreme. from the article, however, i'm still open to the 1/jillionth percentage chance that he's telling the truth b/c i am not 100% rational. none of us are. how many believe in immaculate conception? if "miracles" are possible in one instance, they're possible in all circumstances.

i've never seen or believed in any supposed miracles, but i don't think i've completely ruled the possibility of them out of my personal belief system. many people have, i'm sure.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:03 PM on November 26, 2003


Bullshit. Pure and simple.

See Michelle Stacey's The Fasting Girl for a good book on the Victorian bedridden young woman Mollie Fancher, who provided a similar claim, despite the fact that photos showed her with flush cheeks and that there was no real way to confirm her condition. (And it resulted in a flurry of publicity and argument in the various New York newspapers. Stacey makes a good case in her book that Fancher suffered from an early form of hysteria.)
posted by ed at 12:16 PM on November 26, 2003


our dreams and imaginings count for a lot more than we often allow them to

I'm with you on that, ashbury.

I have no doubt that this fakir is somehow faking it

This I'm less inclined to endorse. I mean, what plot have the yawning realists in this thread uncovered, anyway? Ah, yes, I see - he lived in a cave for more than 60 years so that he could re-emerge, hoodwink a couple of doctors in Delhi, and become a slice-of-life story on the BBC. How devious! Thank god he's been found out before he could feature in another human-interest piece at some other gullible media outlet, rooking the innocent public out of 30 more seconds of their leisure time. The cad!

Me, I'm inclined to believe that someone who's spent that much time in solitude meditating - and I have no doubt that that part of the story's true, there are sadhus who've been holed up in caves for decades all over India - that someone who's done that might have discovered some things about the body and about human existence that are beyond my ken. And frankly I like it that way. I like knowing that the best scientific minds on the planet can't predict with absolute certainty the behaviour of a few cells in a petri dish, and I like how that means that while the world is comprehensible, it's not really fully knowable.

Which is to say: There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

And I'm thankful for that.
posted by gompa at 12:26 PM on November 26, 2003


See Michelle Stacey's The Fasting Girl for a good book on the Victorian bedridden young woman Mollie Fancher, who provided a similar claim, despite the fact that photos showed her with flush cheeks and that there was no real way to confirm her condition. (And it resulted in a flurry of publicity and argument in the various New York newspapers. Stacey makes a good case in her book that Fancher suffered from an early form of hysteria.)

I fail to see how that relates at all, since she wasn't observed for any length of time.

Personally, I have a hard time believing he hasn't eaten for thirty years. I wonder, however, whether there's any scientific proof to suggest that such a hole in the palate would collect condensation. If that's possible, then he could easily survive the ten days on water alone. The water he used for mouth wash and then spit out could be used to wet his mouth in order to start collecting condensation--at least that was my first impression.
posted by The God Complex at 12:45 PM on November 26, 2003


"Let us forego our responsibility to be precise and, instead, let us take on the responsibility of being i n f i n i t e." -- Tim "Speed" Levitch, SPEEDOLOGY

"I'd rather be an optimist and proven wrong, than a pessimist and proven right." -- Will Rogers

If nothing else, think of what this would do to the food and tissue paper industries. hehehehehehehe
posted by jackspace at 1:02 PM on November 26, 2003


When I was a student at Oberlin, there was a guy at the vegetarian co-op I was in (shaddup, it was the '70s) who was a "fruitarian." He ate only fruits and nuts, believing that those were the natural gifts of Nature, rendered unto us for our sustenance, and creating no bad karma in the process.

Alas, he was pallid, thin, low energy and he seemed like a strong wind might blow him down the block.

After several years of vegetarianism, I went back to eating meat. Now, at 45, I'm very overweight -- which I am remedying with the Atkins diet, which means I eat meat all the time.

Life is strange. :)
posted by digaman at 1:12 PM on November 26, 2003


What gompa said.
posted by dejah420 at 9:20 PM on November 26, 2003


Hey guys, guess what? I haven't taken a crap in 3.5 years!

You're fulla shit!!
posted by jonmc at 5:07 PM on November 28, 2003


"Doctors and experts are baffled by an Indian hermit who claims not to have eaten or drunk anything for several decades - but is still in perfect health."

Those are some pretty shoddy doctors, then. And even shoddier "experts".
posted by Ynoxas at 6:05 AM on November 30, 2003


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