While most of us spend mealtime eating, well, food, there are those who walk amongst us who prefer to eat the place setting.
Yes, there are people out there who indulge in such delicacies as silverware, glass, bicycles, drywall, and even a whole private jet, and we’re about to introduce you to a few of them.
There are two types of people who eat crazy stuff: those who do it for the shock value (and hope that it will bring fame and fortune), and those who do it because it’s an addiction.
Back in the vaudeville days, folks looking to make a quick buck as a sideshow act would train themselves to eat light bulbs, pocket watches, and other inedible things for the shock value, and some of them made quite a pretty penny and rose to astronomical levels of fame, even though they’re largely forgotten today. There are still a handful of entertainers of this caliber out there today, but they’re certainly a dying breed.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are the people who eat this stuff because they have to. They’ve risen to marginal fame because of appearances on shows like TLC’s My Strange Addiction (who says that The Learning Channel isn’t educational anymore!), but they otherwise indulge in these sad and strange eating habits in the comfort of their own home, which is on the verge of collapse because they’ve eaten all the drywall.
There’s still a lot of mystery around the desire to eat things that aren’t food, namely because the average person can’t eat a tire and get away with it. Some of these folks are taking advantage of a stomach that can simply tolerate it; others do it because of some deep-seated psychological issue or a legitimate nutritional deficiency, or a medical disorder called Pica that makes people eat inedible things.
Either way, there are plenty of people out there who eat some crazy stuff.
So read on to learn all about them, and the next time someone dares you to eat a light bulb… on second thought, don’t ever eat a light bulb.
1. Michel Lotito - Glass, silverware and bicycles
Lotito is also known as “Monsieur Mangetout,” which translates to “Mr. Eat Everything,” and that tells you everything you need to know. The guy has eaten everything from glass,silverware, and bicycles to an entire freakin’ Cessna 150 light aircraft (he reportedly ground it up into powder and sprinkled some on his toast every morning for two years), and thanks to a stomach with lining that’s twice as thick as the average person’s, it’s never made him sick.
2. Henry Harrison - Nails and knives
Known as the “human ostrich,” Henry Harrison was a hugely successful “sideshow eater” around the turn of the 20th century (and also a bit of a playboy). His act was pretty simple: audiences would toss things up on stage, and he’d eat them. Glass, nails, screws, even pocket knives would be swallowed down with ease. Amazingly, he never suffered any ill effects, except for one time when he ate a package of pins and the packaging lodged in his intestine.
3. Todd Robbins - Lightbulbs
When this famed illusionist and trickster was a teenager, he learned from a Coney Island sideshow performer how to eat lightbulbs, and since then he’s eaten more than 4,000 of them. He also partnered with Teller (of Penn & Teller fame) to bring his show, Play Dead, to off-Broadway.
4. John Fasel - Pocket watches and keys
As opposed to Harrison, poor John Fasel, who also made a career for himself eating keys, knives, and whole pocket watches, didn’t have a digestive system that could handle it. In 1901, doctors removed three watch chains, five hairpins, three keys, a ring, 128 pins, and 12 horseshoe nails from his stomach, and Fasel retired from the scene after that.
5. Chaz Chase - Match and more
When entertainer Chaz Chase got caught bringing 400 cigarettes and 75 cigars into Australia in 1947, customs officials thought he was a smuggler until he proved otherwise by eating some of them. One of vaudeville’s longest-running acts (he worked well into his 80s), Chase would eat just about anything — lit matches, flowers, coins, paper — and also appeared in many silent films.
See more of the world's wackiest eaters.
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