Famous Fasts in History Mark Twain

About the famous faster Mark Twain who promoted fasting as a cure for illness.



Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) thought fasting to be one of the best cures for illness. According to Joseph Pilcher, author of the book Fast Health and a faster himself, Twain was a firm believer in going without food. Twain had once written an article "urging temporary abstention from food." He was accused of jesting, but, Twain assured his readers, "I was in earnest." In an article written in 1866, he recounted the adventures of 15 survivors of a ship that had sunk. The emaciated men had spent 43 days in a lifeboat with only three days' rations, yet Twain quoted one of the survivors as saying that throughout the ordeal the men stayed "hearty and strong" and that some of the men were "wonderfully recovered" from diseases that had plagued them on board the ship. Twain commented, "Considering the situation and circumstances, the record for the next day, May 29, is one which has a surprise in it for those dull people who think that nothing but medicines and doctors can cure the sick. A little starvation can really do more for the average sick man than can the best medicines and the best doctors. I do not mean a restricted diet; I mean total abstention from food for one or two days. I speak from experience; starvation has been my cold and fever cure for 15 years and has accomplished a cure in all instances."

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