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photosynthetic man
April 29, 2010 1:37 PM   Subscribe

Jani, a hindu man in western India, claims not to have taken in any food or water for 70 years. He has been under 24 hour surveillance since April 22 by a hospital team. This video goes into a little more detail.
posted by mdn (82 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Spoiler alert: Ur'f ylvat.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 1:41 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's terrible that the "testers" are going from the assumption that he's telling the truth and that they want to "understand what is the structure of Jani’s body, what is special about it, because of which he can survive normally". It's nearly guaranteed they aren't being diligent or skeptical enough to actually catch him cheating.
posted by splice at 1:41 PM on April 29, 2010 [13 favorites]


At first I didn't think highly of the first like, then I got to the end:

TOP READ ARTICLES:

On coffee machines and why you ought to invest in one

Know your coffee beans

Decaf: the what, the why and the how

Coffee, coffee houses and history

Coffee: the good, the bad and the ugly

Branded coffees: A round-up

Coffee and smoking: what's the connection?

Big names in the coffee business

The origins of your morning cuppa

5 ways to drink coffee creatively


Now, that's what I'm talking about!
posted by fuq at 1:41 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


However, at present the medicos do not have any scientific explanation for the same but help of senior scientists and medical personnel of the country is being taken for the same.
What?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 1:42 PM on April 29, 2010


Jay's Journal of Anomalies details past hunger artists. Every single one of them was faking it, some very cleverly.

Unless this guy is regularly losing body mass, he's replenishing the energy he burns off somehow. How? I would literally bet everything I own that he is surreptitiously eating.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:44 PM on April 29, 2010 [13 favorites]


SkepticWiki on Breatharianism.
posted by zarq at 1:44 PM on April 29, 2010


I'm more than confident that this dude drinks toilet water when nobody's watching. Doing that since April 22, in itself, is a feat.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:44 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


wiki article on the concept, and on Jani, who is known as a "village fraud" by the Indian Rationalist Association, a voluntary organisation in India whose 100,000 members promote scientific skepticism and critique supernatural claims.
posted by radiosilents at 1:46 PM on April 29, 2010 [10 favorites]


Set up a 24/7 webcam viewable to anyone online. Leave it up for 6 months. Let's end this debate.
posted by naju at 1:47 PM on April 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


Tell me about these "Branded Coffees." I would like to know more.
posted by rhizome at 1:47 PM on April 29, 2010


"Is that a banana in your loincloth?"
posted by swift at 1:48 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I just want to grow that awesome beard, paint my toenails red, and carry around a trident. He can keep the photosynthetic hole in his throat that allows him to eat the hard crusty substance that keeps him alive.
posted by cashman at 1:48 PM on April 29, 2010


Nice, I think I'm gonna put "Village Fraud" on some business cards.
posted by rhizome at 1:48 PM on April 29, 2010 [9 favorites]


If the answer is yes, it could be useful for soldiers and astrologers, added Dr Wazgan.

Mutant soldiers that don't need to eat or drink, I get. But astrologers? Other than making stuff up, I don't see the connection.
posted by lukemeister at 1:50 PM on April 29, 2010


"I always wanted you to admire my fasting," said the hunger artist. "We do admire it," said the overseer, affably. "But you shouldn't admire it," said the hunger artist. "Well then we don't admire it," said the overseer, "but why shouldn't we admire it?"

"Because I have to fast, I can't help it," said the hunger artist. "What a fellow you are," said the overseer, "and why can't you help it?" "Because," said the hunger artist, lifting his head a little and speaking, with his lips pursed, as if for a kiss, right into the overseer's ear, so that no syllable might be lost, "because I couldn't find the food I liked. If I had found it, believe me, I should have made no fuss and stuffed myself like you or anyone else."


A Hunger Artist (English, Urspruengliuch)
posted by kid ichorous at 1:51 PM on April 29, 2010 [8 favorites]


naju: "Set up a 24/7 webcam viewable to anyone online. Leave it up for 6 months. Let's end this debate."

6 months? It wouldn't take 6 days (if not 6 hours).
posted by yiftach at 1:52 PM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


They all laughed when I spliced myself with chlorophyll production genes. But I will have the last laugh... up until the first couple cloudy days.
posted by Babblesort at 1:53 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


SPOILER ALERT!













he's eating and drinking somehow
posted by sourwookie at 1:53 PM on April 29, 2010 [21 favorites]


Oh, I fully agree, yiftach.
posted by naju at 1:53 PM on April 29, 2010


Indian astrologers are very poor. I for one hope this study helps them.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 1:53 PM on April 29, 2010


What a jerk not to share his secret with all the starving children on Earth.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:54 PM on April 29, 2010 [11 favorites]


More proof that many people claiming religious devotion are capable of astounding lies, and that there is no shortage of those who desperately want to believe those lies.

-
posted by General Tonic at 1:56 PM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


Actually, I guess I'd feel bad if he accepted the webcam challenge. He'd probably just die in a rather unpleasant way while everyone watched.
posted by naju at 1:57 PM on April 29, 2010


Pffft. Everyone's always so dismissive of the whole "pulling nutrition from an alternate dimension" theory.
posted by GuyZero at 1:58 PM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


How did David Blaine pull off his tricks, like the London trick, or the "Buried Alive" trick? I'm presuming it's a combination of hidden IV tubes, lookalikes and staged shenanigans, such as how in London, his box needed to be lowered in order to be "cleaned" after "hooligans" threw debris at it.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:59 PM on April 29, 2010


He has been under 24 hour surveillance since April 22 by a hospital team.

They're stupid I guess
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:59 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Remind me not to be impressed if he ever goes on a hunger strike.
posted by Bromius at 2:00 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think he's part of the avant garde of the undead army which will be mounting a full conversion attack in 2012.
posted by not_on_display at 2:01 PM on April 29, 2010


you guys i just figured it out



he's dead
posted by shakespeherian at 2:01 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Optimus Chyme: "He has been under 24 hour surveillance since April 22 by a hospital team.

They're stupid I guess
"

They're big into shaming people is more like.
posted by boo_radley at 2:03 PM on April 29, 2010


What a coincidence! I ain't had nothing to eat since I was twelve neither! This astounding feat of metabolism* is 100% true, I swear it on my life.

*by metabolism, I of course mean double negatives
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 2:04 PM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


wiki article on the concept, and on Jani, who is known as a "village fraud" by the Indian Rationalist Association, a voluntary organisation in India whose 100,000 members promote scientific skepticism and critique supernatural claims.
posted by radiosilents


Thats some selective quoting. They call him a village fraud but are mostly angry that other institutions were given access to him but not them:

If they are still marveling at the 'unexplainable miracle' due to inexperience and lack of skeptical faculties, we demand urgently that the opportunity to be given to the Indian Rationalist Association's experts to overtake and complete the investigation."

This guy was already observed for 10 days and all they noticed is slight weight loss?? I am impressed either way!!!
posted by vacapinta at 2:05 PM on April 29, 2010


WC Fields also managed to avoid food and water.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:06 PM on April 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


the "Starving Maidens" of the Victorian era often had food passed to them from sisters or parents via kissing which is somehow more creepy.
posted by The Whelk at 2:06 PM on April 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


What that is just how I eat.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:09 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


They're big into shaming people is more like.
posted by boo_radley 6 minutes ago


If they were big into shaming people they'd do a proper job and watch this dumbfuck con artist die like a man instead of sneaking him Oreos or whatever bullshit they're doing.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:11 PM on April 29, 2010


This is so silly. I can't decide if it's better, worse, or just other from BranGelina/MileyCyrus/NameYourCelebrityScandalOfTheWeek...
posted by From Bklyn at 2:12 PM on April 29, 2010


How did David Blaine pull off his tricks, like the London trick, or the "Buried Alive" trick? I'm presuming it's a combination of hidden IV tubes, lookalikes and staged shenanigans, such as how in London, his box needed to be lowered in order to be "cleaned" after "hooligans" threw debris at it.

I was under the impression that none of these feats are considered to have been done with trickery. While difficult, they are all within the limits of human endurance. People can go for weeks without food. Blaine did drink water during these "displays."
posted by justkevin at 2:13 PM on April 29, 2010


This guy is full of hot air.




Hot, tasty air.
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:14 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Sometimes there were nightly groups of watchers who carried out their vigil very laxly, deliberately sitting together in a distant corner and putting all their attention into playing cards there, clearly intending to allow the hunger artist a small refreshment, which, according to their way of thinking, he could get from some secret supplies. Nothing was more excruciating to the hunger artist than such watchers. They depressed him. They made his fasting terribly difficult."

. . .

"in fact, no one was in a position to spend time watching the hunger artist every day and night without interruption, so no one could know, on the basis of his own observation, whether this was a case of truly continuous, flawless fasting. The hunger artist himself was the only one who could know that and, at the same time, the only spectator capable of being completely satisfied with his own fasting."
posted by ekroh at 2:16 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wait. I figured it out! This guy has just been using AXE Dark Temptation Body Spray! And he's already dark-skinned since he's Indian -- It's the perfect cover!
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:17 PM on April 29, 2010


Ugh, Axe Commercials make me want to move to Mars.


Well no, they give me ANOTHER reason to want to move to Mars.
posted by The Whelk at 2:21 PM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Miracleman Survives Without Eating

In Ahmedabad, 81 year old con man Prahladbhai Jani has survived for over 70 years without consuming any food or liquid. Further, Jani hasn't had a bowel movement or urinated in as long.

"I know it sounds amazing," Jani - known by some in town as "that son of a bitch who owes me money" - told reporters. "All I do is retire to my regeneration room and when I come back I'm refreshed and healthy." When asked where his regeneration room is, Jani pointed to his kitchen.

Jani has been under observation since April 22nd, as Science Staff from Sterling Hospital have watched him around the clock and will continue to do so until May 7th. "Basically," head Doctor Sudhir "Trembling Hands" Shah said, "we figure that we'll see how he survives without eating. Otherwise, he'd have to have fooled us for 2 whole weeks, which... I mean, come on." When asked if they were concerned that Jani's alleged diet was unhealthy, Dr. Shah replied "Well, if it is he'll die, and then we can dissect him and find out how he lived for so long."

Local townspeople have been gathering around Jani's residence ever since the news of his miraculous diet garnered government attention. "Oh we all know about Jani," said one neighbor who chose to remain nameless. "No one ever sees him eat. We all assumed it was because he owes so much money around town that he doesn't want anyone knowing he has enough money to buy food. I mean, he's a total con man. Seriously, the guy is just an out and out liar. Wouldn't trust him as far as I can throw him.

"I'm sure this diet of his is for real, though," she added.

Tensions within the Jani residence have been high since the 16 hour a day watch started. "Yeah, we're all nervous," Dr. Shah said. "Nobody wants to disturb his process for surviving, since we don't know how it works. That's why we only watch him for 16 hours a day. Guy needs to sleep, you know?" When asked if they worried that he was secretly consuming food during the other hours, Dr. Shah replied, "What? No.... that's... pfft! He tells us he sleeps during those hours. Why would he lie about that? I mean, that's... pfft! pfft! Come on, now."

"Anyway, we want to make sure we study this properly, so we can make all of our soldiers into magic killing machines that don't eat. Science first and foremost."

this is a parody. not a quote of anything. no lawsuits, people!
posted by shmegegge at 2:23 PM on April 29, 2010 [18 favorites]


Even today he can climb a seven storey building without any exhaustion, said Dr Shah.
Are we talking going up the stairs, or actually scaling the exterior? I'd be delighted to see anybody who's 70 do the latter, regardless of how much they ingest.
posted by knile at 2:25 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hmm. He says in that video that the body he's got now will last him 10,000 years.

I think the best test is: we should just wait and see.
posted by koeselitz at 2:26 PM on April 29, 2010


what I think I find most fascinating about these kinds of stories is trying to understand motives. I mean, I am very interested in how he's doing it, but I think even more than that is why he does it. It seems like such an extreme level of denial, to try not to be a material being, to try not to be an animal - but then I wonder if all the ways humans reject their animal foundations are really just kinda wishful thinking (and then I go off on some Nietzschean tangent...)
posted by mdn at 2:41 PM on April 29, 2010


May I have his dessert, please?
posted by briank at 2:43 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Who needs food when you're full of baloney amirite??!
posted by biddeford at 2:44 PM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


See, I told my mom that the starving kids in India didn't want my food either.
posted by khaibit at 2:50 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


the "Starving Maidens" of the Victorian era often had food passed to them from sisters or parents via kissing which is somehow more creepy.

Fascinating. Do you have a link?
posted by moira at 2:55 PM on April 29, 2010


This doesn't mention the food-via-mouth method (I wish i could remember the name) but here's an overview of the fad, Fasting Girls
posted by The Whelk at 3:01 PM on April 29, 2010


Actually, I guess I'd feel bad if he accepted the webcam challenge. He'd probably just die in a rather unpleasant way while everyone watched.

I wouldn't feel bad for any fraud that willingly chooses this fate for themselves.
posted by sourwookie at 3:07 PM on April 29, 2010


what I think I find most fascinating about these kinds of stories is trying to understand motives.

In a country with a billion+ people, there are many who are starving for attention.
posted by gman at 3:08 PM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


In a country with a billion+ people, there are many who are starving for attention.

Ha!
posted by kmz at 3:18 PM on April 29, 2010


Easy way to solve this: put Jani in a room with the average household dog. Vigorous tail wagging and pleading puppy eyes will ensue the moment even a molecule of food is detected.
posted by jamaro at 3:38 PM on April 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


If you watch very carefully, at 0:51 in the video you can see the curtain behind our Jani shiver as the pizza delivery boy drives up on his scooter. Our Jani hides the double sausage pie between those two pillows on his bench. He sneaks bites by forking slices with the trident.

Simple really, when you think about it.
posted by chavenet at 4:00 PM on April 29, 2010


> "Is that a banana in your loincloth?"
> posted by swift at 4:48 PM on April 29 [2 favorites +] [!]

No, sahib, I'm just glad to see you.
posted by jfuller at 4:25 PM on April 29, 2010


In the Suzette Elgin Haden speculative novel Earthsong, a group of linguists eliminate the need to eat via a technique of drawing all their nutrition from song called "audiosynthesis." Their inspiration for this discovery? Spiritual people who claim to have never eaten.
posted by sobell at 4:31 PM on April 29, 2010


Liar Gets Attention, Film After You Pay Me $20 (SAIT)
posted by DU at 4:46 PM on April 29, 2010


WILL STARVE FOR FOOD
posted by jonmc at 4:54 PM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


Guys, I think he's telling the truth.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:59 PM on April 29, 2010


Guys, I think he's telling the truth.

Hamburger?
posted by Alnedra at 5:56 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


After 70 years, you offer cow meat??
posted by gman at 6:09 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I look forward to the production of 168+ hours of video that prove conclusively that no one and nothing has been anywhere near his mouth, even his own hands... wait, what's that you say? Part of his breatharian discipline is that he has to periodically put his head under a blanket which none but the holiest of holy may inspect? Well, that's alright. After all, it's not all that different from Joseph Smith's story, and he's totally legit.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:55 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'll be impressed when he admits he is gay.
posted by shockingbluamp at 7:10 PM on April 29, 2010




What will people not believe? Seriously... you'd think we would have reached the point in humanity when we understand that people need to eat and drink to survive, and that someone like this would not be given the time of day... much less interviewed.
posted by odinsdream at 9:11 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


and that someone like this would not be given the time of day... much less interviewed.

well... it's a pretty dumb way to do science, to ignore anomalies and just assume everything is the way you think it is. I mean, yes, in this case it would be a pretty major upheaval if the primary issue weren't, but giving far-out claims the time of day is often what science is about. If no one ever sees this guy eat, drink, pee or poop, and he says that this has gone on for 7 decades, he must be living on a fairly remarkably limited number of calories. If he appears healthy, that in itself seems worth understanding.
posted by mdn at 9:46 PM on April 29, 2010


No one has seen me poop in nearly 3 decades.

Scientists remain baffled.
posted by dgaicun at 10:01 PM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


If no one ever sees this guy eat, drink, pee or poop, and he says that this has gone on for 7 decades, he must be living on a fairly remarkably limited number of calories.

He lives in a cave. I'm pretty certain he doesn't go out to restaurants and shit.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 10:37 PM on April 29, 2010


I should think he can shit lots of places besides restaurants.
posted by shmegegge at 11:12 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


> Three deaths linked to 'living on air' cult.

Thank you Sticherbeast for the link! Although it is actually called Living on Light. A friend of mine went wwoofing on a farm and was disappointed to discover they were only allowed to eat a small bowl of brown rice and some beets everyday, because the couple on the farm was reading that book. They were trying to whittle down their daily intake until they just... lived... on light.

The mind boggles.
posted by molecicco at 2:58 AM on April 30, 2010


Oh my mistake, it seems they are trying to live on invisible crystals in the air. But the book is called Living on Light.
posted by molecicco at 3:01 AM on April 30, 2010


If no one ever sees this guy eat, drink, pee or poop, and he says that this has gone on for 7 decades, he must be living on a fairly remarkably limited number of calories.

He lives in a cave. I'm pretty certain he doesn't go out to restaurants and shit.


So...he shits in the cave then?
posted by biscotti at 4:16 AM on April 30, 2010


So...he shits in the cave then?

Which means he shits where he eats- so instead of eating shit-all he's eating all shit?
posted by molecicco at 4:18 AM on April 30, 2010


At the age of eleven years he was blessed by a goddess.

Lucky. She kept me waiting until I was 17.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 5:13 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


No one has seen me poop in nearly 3 decades.

But many people have seen you eat, many people have seen you drink, and many people have seen you go into or come out of a bathroom, and perhaps even heard you flush a toilet or something like that. Evidence that you take in food and expel waste is not lacking. I'm not saying it would be impossible to hide behavior, but if you were processing 1500 calories a day, I'm pretty sure you'd get caught sometime over the years. This guy is maintaining his body on much less fuel than normal but doesn't seem to be tired or distended or hungry.
posted by mdn at 9:18 AM on April 30, 2010


Geez, I have timestamped, geolocated tweets that broadcast my every bite, sip, pee, and bowel movement. What's wrong with you people?

Metafilter: Evidence that you take in food and expel waste is not lacking
posted by lukemeister at 10:12 AM on April 30, 2010


I get the feeling the people around this guy will try to deny any evidence they see for want of publicity, and/or subliminally wanting it to be true. That's why he didn't go with the Rationalists, who would want to find proof that he does eat.

That said, this guy is doing a good act to keep it up for so long. I totally hope somebody carbon-dates the food in his stomach at time of death, hoping to find it to be 70 years old.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:17 AM on April 30, 2010


You don't even need to monitor him. Just lock him in a room with no access to food or water (monitor him or not, but it's not necessary) and then let him out in, say, three months. If he's dead, he was fibbing. If he's alive, he's gonna be gnarly as hell.
posted by Never teh Bride at 11:50 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mmmm, mouth food. Nice. thanks for idea, Whelk.
posted by rudster at 1:20 PM on April 30, 2010


According to Michael Pollan, I lived on not food, but food-like products in college. Can I get some followers?
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:25 AM on May 1, 2010


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