February 19, 2012

Man survives, trapped in a snow-bound car, for 2 months.

This happened in Sweden, where the temperature was as low as -22°.
The man, who was too weak to utter more than a few words, said he had been inside since 19 December. He may have survived by drinking melted snow.

Police say they have no reason to doubt his story.
Hmmm. Isn't his survival, under those conditions, a reason?
One doctor told the newspaper that the man might have survived so long by going into a kind of hibernation.
Hibernation! Can human beings hibernate? That's a good question to ask Google. I came up with this:
A Practice closely akin to hibernation is said to be general among Russian peasants in the Pskov Government, where food is scanty to a degree almost equivalent to chronic famine. Not having provisions enough to carry them through the whole year, they adopt the economical expedient of spending one half of it in sleep. This custom has existed among them from time immemorial.

At the first fall of snow the whole family gathers round the stove, lies down, ceases to wrestle with the problems of human existence, and quietly goes to sleep. Once a day every one wakes up to eat a piece of hard bread, of which an amount sufficient to last six months has providently been baked in the previous autumn. When the bread has been washed down with a draught of water, everyone goes to sleep again. The members of the family take it in turn to watch and keep the fire alight.

After six months of this reposeful existence the family wakes up, shakes itself, goes out to see if the grass is growing, and by-and-by sets to work at summer tasks. The country remains comparatively lively till the following winter, when again all signs of life disappear and all is silent, except we presume for the snores of the sleepers.

This winter sleep is called 'lotska'. These simple folk evidently come within '0 fortunatos nimium sua si bona norint!'

In addition to the economic advantages of hibernation, the mere thought of a sleep which knits up the ravelled sleeve of care for half a year on end is calculated to fill our harassed souls with envy. We, doomed to dwell here where men sit and hear each other groan, can scarce imagine what it must be for six whole months out of the twelve to be in the state of Nirvana longed for by Eastern sages, free from the stress of life, from the need to labour, from the multitudinous burdens, anxieties, and vexations of existence.
Much more on human hibernation if you go to that link or Google as I did, but I'll stop there, because it's so cool. And cold.


Mark O said...

Great news. According to this, soon the Republican candidates will wake up.

Bob Ellison said...

It must be said: Houdini woulda got out in ten minutes.

Rob said...

The car was only half a mile from the main road and wasn't buried in the snow. Jeebus, was the guy just sitting there for two months waiting for the Government to rescue him? Sweden!

rhhardin said...

Family planning must be tricky.

ricpic said...

Sleeping lotska dreaming latkes.

madAsHell said...

Methinks it was a suicide attempt.

Carnifex said...

Yes starvation conditions are very relaxing. The Jews in Buchenwald relaxed right into the gas chambers.

I am amazed at how dumb our scientist are sometimes. We see story after story of animals surviving under horrendous conditions, but are shocked when people do it. Like we didn't evolve on the same planet.

I can see this as the next new Hollywood diet scheme though.

edutcher said...

The Russians had food (not much) and a fire.

And they may have been severely depressed. That makes people sleep more.

Don't think we have the same thing here.

Petunia said...

Apparently the Swedish TV footage showed a lot of food packaging in the car. Maybe the guy had stocked up on food for the winter and then went off the road on his way home.

bagoh20 said...


Freeman Hunt said...

Envious of people whp spend half their lives asleep to escape starvation? Not so much.

Alex said...

How did he escape hypothermia?

Ann Althouse said...

It's the opposite of working out on a Stairmaster or whatever trying to burn off extra calories.

Avoid moving at all to conserve calories.

Quaestor said...

Carnifex wrote:
I can see this as the next new Hollywood diet scheme though.

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. What you're thinking of is likely very similar if not identical to a weight loss therapy (or quackery) called twilight sleep therapy. It was popular in the 1950's among Hollywood tele-tubbies like Victor Mature, Johnny Weissmuller and Esther Williams who tended to chubbers when not under strict observation by The Studio. The idea was to check-in to Italian or Swedish weight loss clinic offering twilight sleep (the practice was condemned by the AMA and unavailable stateside) where you would be given a regimen of sedatives to keep you in a sleep-like state for several weeks. During that time you would receive only water and vitamins for nourishment -- basically starvation with lots of benzodiazepine to keep you dormant and content. The problem is that humans aren't metabolically equipped to hibernate. The twilight sleeper does lose some fat, but he looses other tissue as well including tissues from vital organs. Mario Lanza did the "sleeping pill diet" several times in a vain effort to keep his matinee idol figure. It eventually killed him at the ripe old age of 38.