Fasting Girls: The Bizarre Victorian Fad Behind “The Wonder”

Fasting Girls: The Bizarre Victorian Fad Behind “The Wonder”

On a scale from American Hustle to Godzilla of “movies likely to be based on a true story,” Netflix’s The Wonder would seem to fall somewhere around Donnie Darko. This particular story of a girl whose family insists she never eats and doesn’t require food to live is not, in fact, true, which is probably a good thing. Not to spoil too much, but it’s pretty goddamn harrowing.

There were, however, plenty of girls and even a few poorly adjusted women who claimed to have fasted for years, mostly during the 19th century in Europe and America. Their reasons varied, from picking up a side hustle in the lucrative starvation exhibition business to just trying to catch a break from their awful parents, but it usually involved either their own religious convictions or that of others. Like a guy with a birthmark in the shape of the Virgin Mary, they were part miracle, part freak show.

The (Not) “Fasting Woman of Tutbury”

Ann Moore revived the fasting craze. 1813 CRACKED.COM She was an English woman known around town for eating the bare minimum, which is pretty standard for impoverished single mothers, but eventually, she claimed she'd eaten nothing for more than four years. She was declared a miracle and even an omen of famine.


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