Famous Fasts in History Henry Tanner

About the famous faster Henry Tanner who promoted fasting as a cure for illness.



Dr. Henry Tanner, a short, stout, gray-haired man, had a theory that people suffered from eating too much. He became fanatical about it--so fanatical that his wife divorced him. In 1877, at the age of 54, he put the theory to the test with a 10-day fast with which he hoped to alleviate a heart condition; he was so pleased with the results that he extended it for 32 days more. Three years later, when the validity of this was challenged by medical authorities, Dr. Tannerrented Clarendon Hall on East 13th Street in New York City, enclosed himself in a railed space 35 ft. by 45 ft., and began a 40-day fast under public scrutiny. It excited national attention and intense debate in medical circles when, midway through the fast--in spite of strict, unrelenting surveillance--he actually gained weight for a brief time. Tanner survived the ordeal with his health intact and later that year lectured in New York on the merits of fasting and the defects of orthodox medical thinking.

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