Cult watchers have probably seen it all by now. Since the beginning of time, humans have looked for ways to exert control on their environment. Our mythology and religions (not to mention social/cultural norms) are all rooted in the idea that the world is chaos and God (or, more precisely, man) imposes order. Enter restrictions on sex, dress and other behaviors, including eating.
OK, so I can see some basis in looking twice at pork and shellfish. Hello, have you ever had food poisoning? It ain’t pretty. But let’s start talking about not mixing meat and dairy. That do anything for you? No meat on Friday maybe? Let’s ban eating meat altogether.
I’ll take it a step further. Maybe we should try fasting and have a good, old-fashioned high-colonic. Still not one with the Universe? I have the secrets to never eating again, and, at the same time, achieving cosmic harmony and advancing to another level of reality populated by space people.
Wiley Brooks, Breatharian Cult Leader
You got me. I don’t have the secrets. But some people think they do. They’re a dangerous cult called “Breatharians”. They like to say that they root themselves in Eastern ascetic traditions, but, honestly, that’s total B.S. While there have been claims to surviving without food throughout history in both Eastern and Western religions (check out the starting line-up of Catholic saints), there has never been a religious cult solely based on it and the claims have certainly never been verified by Western medicine (or any rigorous Eastern science, for that matter).
Bretharian cult believers (or practitioners of Inedia) claim to be able to go without food or water “indefinitely”, living only on air, sunlight and good vibes. Famous fruitcakes (without the fruit or cake) include Wiley Brooks and Jasmuheen. I’m not going to give either of these snake-oil salesmen a lot of coverage here because, frankly, credibility can only be stretched so far without snapping.
Jasmuheen, a.k.a. Ellen Greve, continues to peddle this nonsense even though she submitted to testing as part of 60 Minutes on Australian television and was found to be suffering from acute dehydration, stress and elevated blood pressure after just 48 hours on “pranic nourishment”.
Still curious? Let’s leave it at this:
The five magical 5th dimensional words.
1. Jot Niranjan
5. Sat Nam
Start meditating with these magic words for at least 30 minutes a day to begin with and increase your meditatiing [sic] time to 2 hours a day as soon as possible. Repeat them in the exact order that they are.
Do the meditation excersize [sic] before drinking lots of diet coke in the 20 oz and 1 liter sizes (with caffeine) in the plastic bottles only. Along with a double-quarter-pounder/with cheese [sic] meal at McDonald’s only. Always meditate 30 mins to an hour before eating. Try to eat at least one meal a day for a while [sic]. Go back to my web site periodically to see if you can start to feel the magic after reading a few paragraphs.
–Wiley Brooks, Breatharian, Spiritual Teacher, Inter-dimensional Traveler, and Founder of the Breatharian Institute Of America [sic]
OK, so the [sic] is starting to make me sick. But if you’re ever in Santa Cruz, California, USA with an extra cool $15M, give Brooks a call. He’ll likely take you to Mickey D’s or out for a Slurpee before laying on the “science” about living on air. That’s right, fifteen million dollars for the secrets of the cult. Enlightenment isn’t free, m’kay?
Note: This is really no joke. There have been at least 4 documented deaths associated with followers of this cult. We try to keep an open mind here, but there’s a less-than-fine line between curiosity and supporting charlatanism.
Weird science researcher, mystery investigator, cockeyed optimist. If what you see in front of your eyes every day is the sum of things, why the hell get out of bed in the morning?
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