Woman died of starvation from sunlight only diet

Report: Swiss woman starved to death doing guru-inspired ‘sunlight’ fast.

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.

  6 comments for “Woman died of starvation from sunlight only diet

  1. Reges
    April 26, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    Well, if someone want more info ’bout this, there’s the guru’s name and the title of the “documentary” here:

    Hope more and more believers start to follow this fast asap.

  2. Massachusetts
    April 26, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    Reges, do you mean you want more people to fast and die? Is that a sarcastic “evolution and action” style quip, or do you believe this is a fast that is beneficial?

  3. Massachusetts
    April 26, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    Reges, oh…perhaps you mean people should follow the news story about the fast?

  4. Massachusetts
    April 26, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    In the book “The Science of Yoga” an Indian Yogi was profiled. He claimed to be able to defy death by surviving in a sealed, air-tight glass coffin for weeks and weeks. One night skeptics hid in the room with the coffin and late in the evening the Yogi opened the coffin from the inside, got up and grabbed a drink of milk from a nearby kitchen They surprised him and he promptly skipped town.

    It would be interesting to surveil this Guru and see what his diet and lifestyle are really like.

  5. Tom
    April 27, 2012 at 4:31 AM

    At least it doesn’t harm others, unlike the anti-vax movement.

  6. AK
    May 3, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    You know how this will be spun in the “believers'” circles, right? The lady wasn’t spiritually enlightened enough yet to embark on this diet. It was her fault; people can REALLY live 70 years without food and water.

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