Saturday, 13 August 2016

It Appears That There Are Reality Shows,

where people on television compete to make some sort of achievement,

 well this was going one for years before the televised ones, but not as you might think, in the late 1800s the name of the game was fasting, being on public view and not eating, when Henry Tanner performed a 40-day fast in New York in 1880, under the supervision of the U.S. Medical College, spectators were admitted for 25 cents a ticket, the 2016 equivalent of about $6, they came in throngs, spurred by breathless newspaper coverage, to watch Tanner in his rocking chair, mopping his face with damp cloths that were sometimes inspected to ensure they didn't secretly contain soup, those who couldn't attend sent 300 to 500 pieces of fan mail a day, above a picture before and after of Henry Tanner, on the final day of the fast, admission was raised to 50 cents a ticket, for a box office take estimated at $2,000 ($44,000 in today's dollars), Tanner also received a $1,000 reward from William Hammond, a former U.S. Surgeon General convinced that surviving more than 30 days without food was impossible, after his 40-day fast, Tanner went on to open a successful health clinic in southern California, where he mentored other fasters pursuing both medical and preformative excellence

amazingly he was not the master of the fast, that honour belonged to Italian superstar Giovanni Succi, (above), probably the most direct inspiration for Franz Kafka's short story "A Hunger Artist," which many modern readers presume to be an allegory along the same lines as the cockroach in The Metamorphosis, but Succi was perhaps even stranger than his fictional counterpart: His fasting career began at the age of 32, and included more than 30 public fasts in the space of 20 years, five of them in 1888 alone, crikey I have only been up a couple of hours and I am missing breakfast already! but who was the fastest of them all? the answer Heros the Hungerer, Willy Schmitz, who fasted for an incredible 79 days! 

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