When it comes to controversial discussions in the mainstream about "Breatharianism" the Australian author Jasmuheen is often taken as example that the whole topic is nonsense.
Perhaps the most popular allegation against my film is the "missing" TV-experiment done with Jasmuheen by the Australian TV Program "60 Minutes". Whenever you google "Jasmuheen" or "Breatharianism", this TV experiment is used as key evidence that Jasmuheen is a fraud and the concept of Breatharianism is plain rubbish.
So from the filmmaker´s point of view, of course, I wanted to show an excerpt of this TV segment, if just for completeness and entertainment. I already had interviewed Jasmuheen concerning "60 Minutes" to be able to show also her point of view.
But when it came to editing, I was not allowed to use even one second of the TV show. Let me explain: While everybody uploads (illegally) this kind of TV footage on YouTube or Vimeo, you need a clearance of rights if you want to use footage of another production company in your own film. So when I approached the agency that is selling the "60 Minutes" footage, they wanted 15,000 Euro (which is equivalent to more than $ 20,000 U.S. dollars) per minute for the rights - as their best price. The rights budget for my whole film was 10,000 Euro - so I had to renounce from using the footage.
For legal and financial reasons it was not possible to use footage of the "60 Minutes" episode in "Light". But it is uploaded on Youtube and it is available to everybody.
Of course I would have found a way to broach the issue of this TV experiment if it would had been more than just controversial entertainment. I am sure the producers of this show really believed in the truth of their story, even though it had no scientific or educational value, as it does not even bear up against recent metabolic research.
So what happened seems to be that Reporter Richard Carleton was clearly biased right from the beginning . He uses words like "gibberish", "tripe", "deluded" and "fraud" to describe Jasmuheen´s claims and writings. Then he says:
"So you are happy if we lock you up for seven days and watch you die ? ".
Jasmuheen speaks in the original "Light"-Interview about her experience with "60 Minutes".
Richard Carleton is without a doubt convinced that it is impossible to survive the first week of the so called "21 day process", that Jasmuheen describes in her book - meaning seven days without eating and drinking.
He obviously believes in the old myth that after three to five days of not drinking you have to die - which is actually contradicting recent medical findings.
At this point we have to make clear that Jasmuheen normally drinks water, fruit juices, tea and coffee. She just stated that she renounced also from drinking during the first seven days of the 21-days-process.
So when she is normally drinking - it´s completely normal that she shows signs of dehydration and weight loss after four days without water, especially as there were emotional stress and disadvantageous social and environmental conditions during the test. For example, Jasmuheen stated that the guards and the reporter where smoking in front of her room and "mobbing" her during the test.
Jasmuheen normally drinks. She only claimed that it would be possible to survive 7 days without drinking. So the dehydration and the weight loss recorded were something she expected herself to happen during the experiment.
"Why would an intelligent person have agreed to do this experiment with 60 Minutes if it wasn´t possible for that person to do ?
.... The weight loss recorded was what I told them to expect."
states Jasmuheen in her own Youtube-statement concerning the experiment.
The changes in her blood count are nothing special and do not mean that she would have died after seven days. Considering medical experts, who think up to 10 days and more without water are possible, I see no reason why Jasmuheen should not have passed this test. But it was stopped by the "60 Minutes"-team, who did not want to take any responsibility - and of course "prove" their story.
But just recently the "60 minutes" experiment was replicated under controlled conditions in Israeli television with Breatharian Ray Maor. Luckily the involved journalists and doctors were less biased than Richard Carleton and so Ray Maor could continue his experiment till the end and. He survived 8 days of not drinking and eating without problems.
Of course this is not recommendable, especially not for people who are already in bad health, as this can be very dangerous, but it´s possible in many cases - that´s for sure.
On day 5, Richard Carleton and his medical advisor decided to stop the test because of "danger to life" - without actually proving or disproving anything. But would Jasmuheen really have died after seven days ? It´s highly doubtful.
In 2013 the Isreali TV replicated the "Jasmuheen" experiment under tightened conditions. The involved journalists and doctors were less biased and allowed Breatharian Ray Maor to finish the experiment of 8 days without eating in drinking. (Continue with part 2)
So, please do not try this at home, but stating that it is not possible, like the "60 minutes"- story did, is just plain wrong !
That´s why the 60-minutes-experiment is useless as evidence when it comes to researching the truth or lies about Breatharianism.
It´s a piece of misleading infotainment and that´s the reason why I decided that I do not have to discuss it in my film (particularly as it would have appeared quite clumsy without being able to show the actual footage).
If I did have had the budget to clear the rights and show the footage it would have only added entertainment value and saved me from a lot of criticism and derogative comments. It would not have added clarity or enlightening information concerning the topic, however. So I can live with my decision very well.
And what happened with Jasmuheen: The "60 minutes" destroyed her public reputation and though she stopped giving interviews in the mainstream media, she still continues to share research about Breatharianism and other spiritual topics in her seminars and books. She still drinks and states (also in "Light") that she eats sometimes small amounts of food. So like most "Breatharians", she lives on a diet of a few hundred calories per day now for more than two decades which is also remarkable from a medical point of view ! She has a normal weight and lives quite a challenging lifestyle with a lot of traveling around the world. Up to date, she never had been part of a serious scientific examination. So from the medical, scientific point of view, it does not make much sense to discuss about the case of Jasmuheen. In this context other cases like the one of Prahlad Jani are much more interesting.
Breatharian Ray Maor is only the latest example of people who demonstrated under controlled conditions that it is possible for (some) humans to survive 7 days and more without eating and drinking.
Bottom line: Richard Carleton´s "60 minutes" segment about Jasmuheen is provokingly controversial and entertaining. When it comes to researching the truth about Jasmuheen, the phenomenon of Breatharianism and the mysteries of the human body in general, such biased infotainment does not help..