Wiley Brooks, the founder of a bizarre American cult called “Breatharianism”, preached a daily intake of nothing but sunshine and air and Scarface actress Michelle Pfeiffer admitted to being drawn to it.
The leader of a cult who preached that humans can exist without food or water has been scolded by followers who found him eating a McDonald’s dinner.
Wiley Brooks, the founder of a food cult called “Breatharianism”, preached a daily consumption of nothing but sunshine and dust.
It was sold as a way to stay in shape while expanding spiritual awareness and gained a large following in the 1980s – even in Hollywood, media screenshots report.
In a 2013 interview, Scarface actress Michelle Pfeiffer admitted to being drawn to the cult of the regime and its leader Brooks in the early 1980s.
Brooks himself claimed that he had fasted for 19 years without a break and got his nutrients from the air and the sun. During an American talk show, he announced that anyone could and invited others to do the same.
He told host Tom Snyder: “Breatharianism is a philosophy that believes that the human body, when in perfect harmony with itself and nature, is a perfect Breatharian – you know, all the constituents of which we need [are] extracted from the air we breathe.
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“There is only one thing that keeps the human body alive, and that is breathing. The food we take is the same as anything else we take into the body because it becomes a habit. In other words, eating is an acquired habit, just like alcohol or cigarettes.
But he wasn’t done there, and went on to crazier claims, including that Breatharian moms don’t need to feed their babies — and that infants are born with the ability to live without food or water.
To dispel perhaps the most obvious examples of death by starvation, he claimed that the hunger strikers died of their “death wish” rather than not eating.
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Despite its absurdity, the movement has gained strong popularity in the United States.
And in 1982, Brooks regrouped his followers and opened a Breatharian Institute in California.
Rather than throwing them straight into starvation, he asked them to consume 24 “yellow vibe quality” foods – including grapefruit, chicken and haagen-dazs ice cream – designed to “clean the blood”.
But scandal hit the community after Brooks – who claimed to have fasted for 19 years – was repeatedly spotted walking out of fast food outlets with hot dogs in his hand, or being scolded with a room full of room service food.
Lavelle Lefler, who was a co-founder of the movement and Brooks’ partner, revealed that she caught him repeatedly breaking his own rules.
In 1983, he was spotted carrying a Slurpee, a hot dog and Twinkies at a 7-Eleven convenience store. He was also scolded for trays of food delivered to his hotel room in Vancouver, including chicken pot pies and cookies.
Lefler said he got into the habit of waiting until everyone was asleep before going out for a snack.
She said: “The truth is he sneaks into 7-Elevens and fast food joints and eats like all of us, except worse because he has to rely on places that are open late at night.”
The revelations about his midnight parties angered followers, and he began losing them quickly.
Responding to Lefler’s comments, he said: ‘No one can prove that I took food.
But after he was caught poking fun at McDonald’s, he made the fast-food giant’s fare part of his philosophy.
According to Brooks, McDonald’s branches are built on areas protected by higher energies and that they even contain spirit portals.
He then told his followers to sip as many Diet Cokes and down as many Double Quarter Pounds with Cheese as possible before meditation.