Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Sunlight Diet

This story first cropped up a couple of years ago and I was utterly intrigued and wondered if there was any truth to it. Mr. Hira Ratan Manek (also called Hirachand) an Indian mechanical engineer in his sixties, has purportedly not eaten a thing in almost a decade. He survives on liquids (water, coffee, tea) and by staring directly at the sun for an hour in the evening, which he says provides him all the nutrition he needs. (For most people, staring at the sun is a quick route to blindness, so I'm not recommending this - though Manek claims that in the evening the damaging ultraviolet rays aren't as intense.)

According to some reports, NASA, the US space agency, observed Mr. Manek for over 4 months and declared the phenomena to be real - but after a bit of digging, I've come across this report that NASA had never had any contact with him. James Randi, noted skeptic and debunker, looked into the story with similar results. (Randi also mentions that Manek consumes buttermilk and fruit juices - things that can be quite nutritious. In related news, I've just finished a delicious smoothie and I don't think I'll be hungry for hours. A miracle!)

So I'm left with the feeling there's a lot less to this wonderful tale than I first thought. But if you want to find out for yourself, you can always look up Manek through his web site and see if he's coming to your area. Just remember to bring sunglasses.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Wisconsin Freezerburn

Welcome to Strange But True, a blog devoted to all things odd, anomalous, enigmatic, unexplained, uncanny, and whenever possible, comical. For our first post, I'd like to honor a fellow straight from today's headlines. Hearty Wisconsonite Philip Schuth was hauled in after police found his deceased mother encased in a block of ice in a freezer in his basement. I'm sorry to say it, but he looks exactly like the sort of guy - I mean, troubled loner - who'd keep his mother frozen in a block of ice. Doesn't he?

Post-refrigeration, Philip proceeded to cash his mom's Social Security checks for almost 5 years. And he undoubtedly would've continued to do so, if he hadn't slipped up and hit the neighbors' kid, and hadn't then pulled a gun on said neighbors when they came over to chat about it, and hadn't then holed up inside the house with his extensive firearm collection when the police came. Best quote from the subsequent armed standoff: Philip's claim that he had "more than 10 but less than 100" bombs stockpiled in the house.

Oh, and there's also some likelihood he actually killed his mom (shocking, I know), since he has a singularly strange excuse for not reporting her death in the first place - that there were bloodstains on the walls from a "cat attack" on his mom many years ago, and because of all the blood he thought the police might consider him a suspect in her death. I can't imagine why they'd go thinking that. People who hole up in houses full of firearms are so rarely violent.

If that's not odd I don't know what is. See you next post.