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Charles Osborne, the man who hiccupped for 68 years

Hiccupping occurs because of the contraction of the diaphragm, usually sudden and convulsive and accompanied by an inarticulate noise which is caused by the air passing through the glottis, the opening of the larynx between the two vocal cords. Most of us may have bouts of hiccups occasionally that may last from several seconds to several minutes. This was not the case, however, with Charles Osborne.

Charles Osborne was born in 1894 in the state of Iowa. He had a perfectly normal life for almost three decades, but then one seemingly insignificant event was going to change his life forever.

One day in the year 1922, when he was 28 years old, he was the preparing to kill a pig of about 160 kg. As he struggled with the pig, Charles fainted, and later it was found that because of the great effort he exerted, a blood vessel broke in his brain. This cerebral accident had the effect of inhibiting the reaction of his brain to hiccupping, which could not be controlled afterwards.

Osborne started hiccupping in 1922 and stopped only in 1990 after 68 years. During this period, it is estimated that Charles Osborne hiccupped about 430 million times.

Charles Osborne, the man who hiccupped for 68 years
Charles Osborne as a young man

At the beginning, the frequency was 40 hiccups per minute. During the first week after the hiccupping began, Charles Osborne consulted with doctors from various countries trying to find a solution to stop this terrible ordeal. After a while, since there were no results and also because of the high travelling costs, he gave up looking for remedy.

Because of his condition, Charles’ life changed dramatically. He couldn’t eat and drink normally, so he usually had liquid food or purees and drank water in small sips.

In order to lead a more or less normal life was to learn to cope with the problem. He learned a breathing technique that reduced the frequency of hiccupping to about 20 per minutes.

Despite this very unpleasant ordeal, Osborne had a rather normal life. He married twice and had eight children altogether. He earned a living selling agricultural tools and organizing animal auctions.

Charles Osborne, the man who hiccupped for 68 years
Charles Osborne died in 1991

After hiccupping continuously for the most part of his life and trying all sorts of treatments and techniques to stop the problem, it disappeared as suddenly as it appeared – he just stopped hiccupping out of the blue.

Nevertheless, Charles couldn’t enjoy for his hiccup-free life for too long. After only several months, in 1991, Charles Osborne died at the age of 97.

At the moment there are several people in the world who suffer from this chronic disorder. However, no one ever beat Charles’ record.

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