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Observations placeholder

Fakeer buried alive



Type of Spiritual Experience



In the example below, a fakir, able to control his metabolism using breathing techniques, is buried alive in order to induce a profounder spiritual experience. He manages to achieve, via this route, total sensory deprivation, so by a very bizarre combination of techniques - hypoxia induced slowed metabolism and total sensory deprivation, - he achieves his aim.

A description of the experience


The Hasheesh Eater – Fitz Hugh Ludlow

This remarkable phenomena transpired under the eye witness of many eminent men of the medical and other professions in India.

So important a field of inquiry did these phenomena seem to open, that Dr Braid of Edinburgh, a physician of considerable fame, made it the groundwork of a book, condensed, yet valuable for its research, upon the trance condition, and the scientific mind throughout Great Britain took a lively interest in the subject.

A fakeer presented himself at one of the Company’s stations, and proffered the singular request that he might be buried alive.

Though not much astonished at any possible petition coming from one of an order of men so wildly fanatic as those who infest India with their monstrous devotions and insatiable alms begging, the servants of the Company still treated him as insane and answered his request with corresponding neglect. Still the fakeer insisted upon their compliance, asserting that he possessed the power of separating soul and body at will, and was able to live without air or food for the space of thirty days.

Upon his producing native witnesses who fully corroborated his statement, he obtained a more deferential attention to his demand. As his reason for asking sepulture, he stated the desire for a more complete abstraction of soul than he could obtain above ground and among the things of sense, positively assuring his questioners that this abstraction, as he had tested by repeated experiments, was in no danger of proving fatal to his body.

At last then, his petition was granted. By an effort of will he threw himself into the ecstatic or trance state, and when the vital processes had become absolutely imperceptible, and he lay to all appearance dead, he was closely wrapped in a winding sheet and for fear of imposition, buried in a tightly masoned tomb.

The opening was then filled with earth, and the mound thus raised above him thickly sown with barley. A Mohammedan guard (the last in the world which would be likely to connive at the cheat of a disciple of Brahm) was stationed about the grave night and day.

The barley grew up undisturbed till the month was accomplished, and at the expiration of that time, hundreds of people thronged to be present at the disentombing of the fakeer. Among them were grave men, men of calm and scientific minds, and many utterly incredulous of the possibility that human life could have been sustained from inner sources through so long a period. Every test was thus present which could make evidence of any fact conclusive beyond doubt.

The body of the faker was found unadulterated by decay, yet shrivelled to a mummy. Means of restoration were used very similar to those employed in bringing a cataleptic patient to consciousness. Presently the seemingly dead man began to breathe, his colour returned and before the close of day, as the nutriment which was given him was assimilated, all his functions were in their ordinary activity.

A more complete separation of the animal and spiritual probably never existed without death, yet the two lives, through the whole period of sepulture, were sustained apart without the slightest consciousness in the soul that the body was growing emaciated, convulsed and juiceless.

The source of the experience

Hindu and yoga

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Controlled breathing
Sensory deprivation