The Man Who Ate An Airplane

The Man Who Ate An Airplane


If you’re a long-time fan of The Infographics
Show then you probably saw our previous video Man Who Eats Everything From Human Flesh To
Live Eels. In that video we told you about an unfortunate
soul named Tarrare who grew up in nineteenth century France and suffered from a freakish
medical condition that saw him have an unstoppable appetite. Always hungry, Tarrare ate anything that he
could get his hands on, and eventually was kicked out into the streets by his destitute
parents whom he had literally eaten out of house and home. Eventually he got a job as a sideshow performer
and ate everything on stage from live eels to even kittens. Well, we’re back again with another weird
eating story, and once more the star of today’s show comes to use from France. Seriously, isn’t France supposed to be famous
for their snooty, high class palates? Go to France and ask for ketchup and see how
many people look down their long, French noses at you in disgust at your peasant tastes. Yet for a second time though our weird eater
comes to us from France, which makes us wonder about some of those French stereotypes. Michel Lotito was born in Grenoble, France
in 1950 and seemed for all intents and purposes, another healthy, perfectly normal child. As he grew up though, he started getting weird
cravings- and we’re not talking about salted butter mixed with vanilla ice cream weird,
which by the way is delicious, we’re talking about legit weird, like fresh dirt weird. Or paper napkins. Late in his teens those weird cravings grew
even stronger, and eventually he was diagnosed with pica- an eating disorder that affects
millions of people, though rarely with the severity that it affected Michel. It turns out that pica is one of the most
widely studied eating disorders, and the population of a mental institution can have anywhere
from 4% to 26% of its patients suffering from this malady on top of other possible mental
disorders. Clearly it’s very widespread, yet we don’t
regularly hear stories about people eating things like metal. That’s because most pica sufferers tend to
limit themselves to discrete items such as small pieces of plastic, hair, cloth, even
small articles of clothing. Patients can actually pull out strands of
their own hair and eat it, and one woman who complained of intestinal pains for months
was discovered to have a fourteen pound hairball in her stomach! The condition comes with many potential health
hazards, as is to be expected. One of the biggest though is a lack of nutritional
intake, as the individual feels ‘full’ from eating non-nutritional items. This can lead to severe weight loss and threat
of catching other illnesses as the body is too weak to fight off infection. Infections can also come from within as individuals
eat contaminated items, and the ingestion of some items such as metal can lacerate the
insides and pose a very serious threat. In 2008 a British woman was discovered with
a whopping 78 pieces of cutlery in her stomach, and she had somehow managed to avoid cutting
herself or puncturing her esophagus or stomach while eating sharp forks- though she did say
that she purposefully avoided knives. Treatment for pica requires ongoing therapy,
and there is no surefire solution to this eating disorder. It’s likely that a sufferer will continue
to consume innutritious items their whole life, and instead treatment is all about managing
what you eat and how much of it you consume. For Michael Lotito though, treatment was never
an option, and instead he chose to embrace his very unusual eating disorder. At age sixteen, Michael got into the sideshow
business, realizing that he could turn his talent for eating the strange and dangerous
into personal profit. He began by eating small items such as cutlery
and other small pieces of metal and plastic, but soon he was moving on to bigger objects. Between 1959 and 1997, Michael ate an estimated
nine tons of metal, which is about nine tons more than the average human being. The items he ate included a total of 18 bicycles,
15 shopping carts, 7 tv sets, 6 full-size chandeliers, 2 beds, 1 pair of skis, a coffin,
four hundred meters of steel chain, and the piece de-la-resistance, an entire Cessna airplane-
a Cessna 150 to be exact. He didn’t exactly just start munching on the
airplane though, and it took him several years to complete the feat, eating up to two pounds
(1kg) a day of metal. The plane was broken down into small pieces
so that he could successfully swallow them, as his prodigious appetite was not backed
up with adamantium teeth. If you think he skimped out on the interior
parts of the plane, guess again, because he ate not just the metal but the rubber from
the seats, the glass in the windows and cockpit displays, and all the various wiring. Incredibly, Michael- known as Monsieur Mangetout,
which means Mister Eats All- never once hurt himself eating all this metal and other weird
items, nor did he suffer ill effects from toxic materials. Doctors credit this to an unusually thick
stomach and intestinal lining, which protected him from the sharpened metal bits and any
toxic residues on them. To wash down all that junk, he used a large
amount of water, regular tap water or sometimes mineral water. Michael would die on June 25th, 2007 at the
age of 57, although not from anything that he ate. He passed away from completely natural causes,
though some believe that the special diet he had enjoyed his whole life nonetheless
had something to do with his early passing. For us, the biggest mystery here is what it
must have felt like on the way out, because the thought of all that sharp, jagged glass
and metal going out the exit route scares us to death. Other weird eaters have included the likes
of Todd Robbins, who also performs at carnivals and sideshows. He is best known for doing things such as
swallowing swords, although he doesn’t eat them, and hammering a nail into his nostrils. He also has an affinity for eating glass,
though he doesn’t suffer from pica and simply does it for the wow value. He generally eats light bulbs, and has eaten
over 5,000 light bulbs throughout his career. During his routine he’ll screw in a light
bulb to a lamp to show the audience it is real, and then unscrews it, removes the metal
off the bottom, and then bites into the bulb as if he was eating an apple. Robbins’ routine certainly comes with risk,
and he’s cracked his teeth several times from chowing down on glass. He also admits that he has no idea if eating
a light bulb will hurt him or not, remarking that once he’s eaten it he has no idea what
it might do on its way through his body. To keep his insides healthy, he maintains
a strict diet that includes drinking lots of herbal drinks and eating lots of fiber. Teresa Widener is no sideshow performer, and
instead prefers to keep her weird eating a discreet affair. Unlike most pica sufferers though, Teresa
doesn’t like eating many different types of weird objects- just one: rocks. She says that knowing she has a hoard of edible
rocks in her kitchen gives her comfort, and she chows down on them as she feels she needs
to. Clearly Teresa’s condition is linked to some
underlying psychological issues, but so far her self-treatment doesn’t seem to have caused
any permanent harm. Teresa explains that she enjoys going out
to look for new rocks to eat, and even likes to suck the mud off them before pocketing
new acquisitions for her dining collection. If a rock is too big she smashes it to pieces
with a special hammer before chowing down, and she’ll even chew on them with the teeth
on the left side of her mouth, which definitely can’t be very good for those teeth. Teresa says that she really likes the earthy
flavor of rocks though, and they seem to bring her great comfort. We guess that people have certainly done weirder
things for comfort, but Teresa says that she does get stomach aches and rarely goes to
the toilet. Lastly we have the story of the subject of
an episode of TLC’s reality show, My Strange Addictions. Known as Casie, this young woman developed
her eating disorder when her husband passed away and she ended up widowed at the age of
twenty six. Grieving for her husband, Casey developed
a deep depression, and to cope she would carry her husband’s ashes with her everywhere she
went. She got into the habit of even cooking meals
for him, which she herself would not eat, and she would go to bed with the ashes next
to her. You probably already know exactly where this
is going, don’t you? Well, one day as she was carrying the vase
with her late husband’s ashes in it, some of them accidentally spilled out and she got
them on her fingers. Not wanting to simply wash them off, she decided
to lick them off her fingers. After that, she could no longer stop herself
from sampling the ashes from time to time, sneaking in tastes throughout her day. It might be easy to make fun of or be disgusted
by people such as Casey, but clearly she has suffered a deep psychological trauma at a
very early age. Expecting to be wed for the rest of her life,
Casey’s marriage ended just a few short years after it began when her husband Shawn died
from a severe asthma attack. Tragedy can have a funny effect on someone’s
mind, and though the act may be appalling to the rest of us, eating Shawn’s ashes was
likely a way for her wounded mind to heal from the pain of such a great loss. Do you know anyone that suffers from pica? Do you have any weird cravings? Let us know in the comments! And as always if you enjoyed this video don’t
forget to Like, Share, and Subscribe for more great content!

100 thoughts on “The Man Who Ate An Airplane

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  2. You know what I'd really like to see? The story of Elizabeth Bentley 's Soviet espionage and eventual defection from the Communist party. She exposed 25 (give or take) people working "for" the US Government, when, in fact, they were spies themselves.

  3. "Be careful though. Earl is kinda crazy, He ate one of my cars once…..Yea… the whole thing… kinda like.. with a fork"
    – Scooter

  4. My cat has pica he tries to eat plastic bags and the little plastic things on clothes used to hang them.

  5. when i was 4 i thout hmm that knife looked yummy it look like one of those knifes that had food on it i ate it then went to the hospal and got surgy not worth it it tasted like a lego.

  6. Dear infographics,
    If you are frozen in a block of ice as we see i movies. Will our lives be preserved or are we going to die almost instantly?

  7. She keeps edible rocks in her kitchen…

    Edible rocks.

    Edible.

    Me: I don't think you understand the meaning of that word.

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