Sceptics have put up $100,000 in a bid to make a controversial Australian spiritualist eat her words over claims she does not need food.

The New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists has put up the purse as a reward to New Age teacher Jasmuheen, if she can go a month without eating, but there is a catch.

The group wants to keep her in a house for a month under the watchful eye of security guards. She would then have to run a kilometre to prove she was still healthy. Jasmuheen, aged 43, says she has not needed to eat for five years and is nourished by her internal power source. She is the author of a book, “Living On Light”, and her teachings have been linked with three starvation deaths overseas. The humanists have offered to put up Jasmuheen in a house in sunny Nelson to give her a sporting chance to collect their $100,000, said spokesman Bill Cooke. Members of their association do not believe in God or the supernatural.

“On the serious side, it has been reported three people around the world died from having too uncritical an idea of following what is said in her book, while on the flippant side we just don’t believe it,” said Mr Cooke. “If she can prove she can go without food for a month and live on the blue god of light or whatever it is, she deserves $100,000.” He said the group was serious and had the money. Jasmuheen – real name Ellen Greve – left Auckland yesterday after lecturing at a seminar, but was not available at her Brisbane home to comment on the group’s offer. She had previously denied any responsibility for the deaths of women who were apparently following her teachings, saying they had not prepared properly for the 21-day no-eating programme. She said she drank tea and water and occasionally ate cake to be sociable if she was out. The author of 10 books, Jasmuheen said “breatharianism” is about spiritual enhancement, and the realisation people do not need to eat to survive is a byproduct of this.

From the New Zealand Herald Website Thursday 28 October 1999

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