Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger reports that a woman starved to death after embarking on a spiritual diet that required her to stop eating or drinking and live off sunlight alone.
The Zurich newspaper reported Wednesday that the unnamed Swiss woman in her fifties decided to follow the radical fast in 2010 after viewing an Austrian documentary about an Indian guru who claims to have lived this way for 70 years.
Tages-Anzeiger says there have been similar cases of self-starvation in Germany, Britain and Australia.
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This woman stopped eating because she sincerely believed this “guru” lived off of nothing but sunlight for 70 years? The mere concept is preposterous.
But people believe it because it may have been presented as miraculous. The article does not note the name of the guru but says there have been other reports like this.
UPDATE: (27-Apr-2012) Orac has done a blog post on this with information on the history of this nonsense. Rightly so, it was a topic long picked at by skeptical investigators. He also notes:
[T]he death of this unidentified Swiss woman who apparently was inspired by the German movie In the Beginning, There Was Light to stop eating and drinking demonstrates conclusively that, no matter how utterly impossible science tells us that a particular belief is (homeopathy, anyone?), there will be people who will believe in it fervently enough that they will bet their lives on its correctness. Whether it is gullibility or mental illness that drove her to starve herself into apparent dehydration and death, it just goes to show that no belief is so ridiculous as to be harmless.