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The New York Tribune makes the following remarks on Dr. Tanner’s fast : “ Doctor Tanner’s fast continues to excite a languid interest in the general public in harmony with the enervating condition of the weather. The affair impresses many as a ghastly farce. The solemn convocation of doctors about the cot waiting inactive ‘ until the sudden fall in his pulse and temperature will indicate approaching dissolution,’ when they propose to- rush in with their late remedies and run a neck-and-neck race with Death for Tanner’s soul, is the most absurd feature of it all. It reminds us oddly of the convocation of zealous men who used to assemble in olden days to pray the devil out of a man possessed. ‘ For three days and nights,’ says an old writer, ‘they sang and prayed about a boy in Gray’s tavern, never daring to give over for an instant, as none could tell the moment the fiend would be ready to escape from his mouth.’ . . It is pitiable to see such enormous will-power so nearly uncontrolled by common sense. If he is honest, and has been fasting as he claims; the frightful torture has been largely useless, as he unfortunately did not make such arrangements as would prove his honesty to scientific men or even to the general public. An impression prevails, too, among some devout people, with what substratum of truth we know' riot, that this fast of forty days, is intended to throw discredit on the miraculous fast of the Saviour, and that Dr. Tanner has been incited to this exhibition by persons actively antagonistic to the Christian faith. Naturally, whether this be true or not, orthodox people will put little reliance on the evidence of the heterodox class of watchers, whether eclectic or regular physicians. Two of them in cob lusion could very readily keep the faster supplied with food. It would only be the old story of Blitz, a clever confederate and gullible public. Even if these suspicions are ill-founded, and the man is really able to do without food for this exceptional length of time, what is gained 1 His power is abnormal ; no universal truth is proved or even strengthened. No physician would dare starve his patients for twelve or even two days because there is a Tanner in the country, any more than he would set them to lifting' iron weights with their teeth because there is somewhere a man with an iron jaw.”

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 150, 9 September 1880

Word Count

A SENSELESS SHOW. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 150, 9 September 1880