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Breatharianism: When living on air can kill you

Part of “Pseudoscience A to Z”, a series of brief articles in the OSSCI newsletter about topics that have not been subjected to much critical thinking by their promoters.

Let’s get one thing absolutely clear: Yes, you can live without food or water, as Breatharians claim. Yesterday I did it for at least nine hours, between my late-night beer and my morning granola bar. I sometimes go even longer. But I doubt it has anything to do with Prana Globules in the air. Confused? Attend….

Breatharianism was the philosophy espoused by Therese Neumann (1898-1962), who claimed that from 1926 until her death in 1962 she lived on nothing but transubstantiated bread. Transubstantiation, as you may already know, is the belief in some Christian sects that the bread served at communion actually becomes the flesh of Jesus Christ. Photographs reveal a rather chubby-cheeked, well nourished woman with all the signs of a healthy appetite, so I presume that the nutritional value of the bread would change, but that is not really our concern here. She was also a stigmatist, one who shows signs of crucifixion, and a mystic. And, for one who lived on very little, she appears surprisingly chubby in photographs. She is no longer with us (her lifestyle apparently does not extend the life expectancy), but she lives on as the patron saint of Breatharianism.

For living without food the proper term, if there can be such a thing, is Inedia. I have been unable to find a proper pronunciation, but let’s assume it’s ‘I need ya’, which is what I would be screaming at every doughnut after a few days. Ah yes, doughnuts. Could you make a good one with Prana globules instead of the usual ingredients? Juergen Buche, ND, thinks that is what enables one to live without food, which he claims is “not only unnecessary, but actually harmful to our health and well-being.” Prana is “divine energy”, and our Sun is a power station for its distribution. And food, well, that just poisons us. He claims that he was enlightened during a solo sailing trip up the East coast of the U.S. He began fasting, and claims that after three weeks he was “detoxified”. An interesting way of referring to food.

Another adherent is Ellen Greve, also known as Jasmuheen, who runs the CIA. No not that CIA. This is the Cosmic Internet Academy, and for the outlay of a few thousand bucks you can attend one of her seminars and learn to live on nothing but air. She lives in a house full of food, but she claims that this is only for her husband, a mere mortal. During a four day long test of her abilities administered by the Australian version of 60 Minutes she may have died if not for the intervention of a supervising medical professional. Her followers are not so fortunate, as at least three of them have died of starvation.

Dr. Johnny Lovewisdom (!) is another purveyor of Prana, and the author of such page turners as The Ascensional Science Of Spiritualizing Fruitarian Dietetics, Spiritualizing Dietetics: Vitarianism, and Maitreya: The Lovewisdom Autobiography, Volume 2, in which “He describes the events that led from his hermit life at lake Quilotoa to his founding of The Pristine Order Of Paradisian Perfection”.

The Common Sense of Physical Immortality, a book by Leonard Orr, gives us such advice as “Death is a grave mistake”, “If you can’t take it with you – don’t go!”, and “Dying is no way to live!” He missed his calling. He could have made legitimate money writing bumper stickers.

Can anyone take this stuff seriously? Unfortunately many do, and as noted it has killed some people. Adults may fall for whatever foolish notion they wish, but many times innocent children are involved, as with the infamous Jim Jones and the massacre of his followers. The promoters of Breatharianism do not seem to make any distinction as to who may follow the path, and no doubt some people are involving their offspring in something which can be easily and quickly lethal. Here is a clear case where society and its institutions should take a firm stand against such nonsense. Living without food or water is so fundamentally and obviously wrong that one must question why no action has been taken so far against those who would make anyone believe otherwise.

Really, I can’t do this subject justice. Check out their websites for more info. Their own words will hang them.

One response to “Breatharianism: When living on air can kill you”

  1. Valli says:

    It is possible to live without food and only through breathing. But it is not required for everyone to follow it
    The woman yogi who never eats.

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