Jasmuheen (born 1957 as Ellen Greve) is an Australia-based proponent of “pranic nourishment” or breatharianism, defined as the practice of living without food or fluid of any sort. Jasmuheen makes appearances at New Age conferences worldwide, has hosted spiritual retreats in Thailand and promotes many self-penned books and audios on her website, all of which are accessible for a fee.
Ellen Greve was born in 1957 in New South Wales, of post-war Norwegian migrant parents. She married and had two children. Thereafter, Ellen developed her financial and business management skills, working full-time in the industry. From 1992, she began to combine her experience in business and finance with meditation, selling access to workshops and seminars on the topic and, by deed poll, changed her conventional, two-word name for the more esoteric Jasmuheen.
When the Australian television programme 60 Minutes challenged her to demonstrate how she could live without food and water, the supervising medical professional Dr. Beres Wenck found that after 48 hours Jasmuheen displayed symptoms of acute dehydration, stress and high blood pressure. Jasmuheen claimed that this was a result of “polluted air”. On day 3, Jasmuheen was moved to a mountainside retreat about 15 miles from the city, where she was filmed enjoying the fresh air she said she could now live on happily. However, as the filming progressed, her speech slowed, her pupils dilated and she lost over a stone (6 kg or 14 lb) in weight. After four days, Jasmuheen acknowledged that she had lost weight, but stated that she felt fine. Dr. Wenck stated “You are now quite dehydrated, probably over 10%, getting up to 11%.” The doctor also announced, “Her pulse is about double what it was when she started. The risks if she goes any further are kidney failure.” Jasmuheen’s condition continued to deteriorate rapidly in the clearly demonstrated context of acute dehydration, despite her insistence to the contrary. Dr. Wenck concluded that continuing the experiment would ultimately prove fatal. The film crew concurred with this assessment and ceased filming.
She is quoted by the Correx Archives as saying, regarding how much she eats:
Generally not much at all. Maybe a few cups of tea and a glass of water, but now and then if I feel a bit bored and I want some flavour, then I will have a mouthful of whatever it is I’m wanting the flavour of. So it might be a piece of chocolate or it might be a mouthful of a cheesecake or something like that.
Jasmuheen has stated that she has lived on approximately 300 calories per day for the last fourteen years, maintaining full health through supplementing a fluid intake with ‘cosmic particles’ or micro-food, which she describes as prana. Jasmuheen has also stated that she has not yet mastered the ability to be fluid-free for more than short periods.
She was awarded the Bent Spoon Award by Australian Skeptics in 2000 (“presented to the perpetrator of the most preposterous piece of paranormal or pseudoscientific piffle”). She was also awarded the 2000 Ig Nobel Prize for Literature for her book Pranic Nourishment — Living on Light, “which explains that although some people do eat food, they don’t ever really need to.”
Jasmuheen maintains that some of her beliefs are based on the writings and “more recent channelled material” of the Count of St Germain. She states that her DNA expanded from 2 to 12 strands to take up more hydrogen. The extra strands of DNA have not been demonstrated, and when offered $30,000 to prove her claim with a blood test, she stated that “you cannot view spiritual energy under a microscope.” She claims that such a challenge is a deliberate attack on her beliefs, and she refuses to act as an example of her claimed paranormal attributes.
In 2005, James Randi offered her the James Randi Educational Foundation US$1 million prize to demonstrate her claims.
Three deaths have been directly linked to breatharianism and Jasmuheen’s publications.Jasmuheen has denied any moral responsibility for this. In reference to the death of Lani Morris, for example, she said that perhaps Morris was “not coming from a place of integrity and did not have the right motivation.” Verity Linn starved herself to death and her “diary mentioned the teachings of self-proclaimed prophet Jasmuheen who believes people can draw nourishment from the ‘divine life force in the form of liquid light’.” After an investigation by the Australian and British police, Jasmuheen was not charged in connection with these deaths.
Jasmuheen (on a superseded but still available website) attempted to distance her writings from the death by dehydration of keen believer Verity Linn, whose body was found in a tent with little but a sleeping bag, her clothing, and a single book, one of Jasmuheen’s publications. In response to Verity’s death, Jasmuheen wrote “If you haven’t found the light that will nourish you, you may have the intention to become a breatharian, but in fact you may be putting yourself through food deprivation. There is one known case where a person died when trying to become a breatharian.”