Man snacks on light bulbs

Wang Xianjun of theLinshui County, Sichuan province, China, allegedly snacks on light bulbs. According to the People Daily, the 54-year-old has eaten approximately 1,500 bulbs since he had his first taste at age 12. This reminds me of an old Guinness Book of World Records I had as a kid that listed a man who ate an entire bicycle. And, of course, Pica syndrome sufferers who eat non-foods. Of course, that's a very real psychological disorder and Wang Xianjun's story may be, er, a slight exaggeration. From the People Daily:
When he was 12 years old, he accidentally swallowed a fish bone, and his parents became very worried. To their surprise, Wang did not feel uncomfortable at all. Then out of curiosity, he boldly picked up a piece of broken glass, and felt no adverse effects after eating it...

However, he does not eat bulbs every day. He sometimes only eats bulb splinters at breakfast, and at most, one bulb each time.
"Chinese man eats 1,500 light bulbs over 42 years"


  1. I would caution the would be pantophage (is my Greek right?) that what goes in, all too often must come out.

    1. You know, some people skip the means and go right to the end. ‘Light bulb in rectum’ is not an uncommon ER diagnosis.

  2. Mmm, yummy. I guess if you grind the glass into small enough pieces you avoid hurting your innards. Reminded me of the Derren Brown trick:

  3. Not as good as M. Mangetout.

    Dude ate a plane, several coffins, and other delicious non-foods.

  4. An early internet meme was to translate the phrase “I can eat glass and it doesn’t hurt me” in as many languages as possible. I guess this guy can actually say “我能吞下玻璃而不伤身体” and be telling the truth.

  5. “Eating glass” used to be a standard carnival trick, to go along with fire-eating and strong-man routines.

    As a technogeek, my only carnival trick is byting the headers off live checksums.

    1. Standard would be overstating it a bit but there are a few people who include this stunt in the routines regularly today, the most notable probably being my good friend Todd Robbins.

      As has been covered, the key is grinding the glass down essentially to sand but there is a great deal of technique and even skill involved. Given time, dedication, and healthy teeth most people could do it with little to no ill effect as desired

  6. My nephew is a key grip who works in feature
    films in New York City, One night on a shoot a
    man came up to his crew and started eating lightbulbs.
    He didn’t stop for about 5 minutes eating incandescent
    bulbs from the set.
    You don’t have to go to China for a person that desires
    a bulb diet and we ain’t talking garlic.

  7. He sometimes only eats bulb splinters at breakfast, and at most, one bulb each time.

    So just a light breakfast.

  8. Jim Rose of the Jim Rose Circus (Formerly The Jim Rose Circus Sideshow) eats light bulbs on stage for a living, besides running the circus.

    1. Jim Rose does not (and never did) regularly eat light bulbs (but he does know how to and has probably done it rare occassion) – he gets other people to do it. The act Jim is best known for is the razor blades which is actually a magic trick and not a stunt. Jim likes to take credit for doing a lot of stunts (especially in the press and his books) but if you ever saw the show or were in it (like myself) you know he primarily presents other people doing the stunts. The circus is effectively defunct now but he still sometimes gets out on his own with local guest talent or as a host (Dos equis tour a year or two ago)

  9. This reminds me of the great Harry Crews’ early novel Car, in which a man tries to eat an entire Ford Pinto. Wonderful book.

  10. I still eat bulbs in my act, though I do try to limit it a bit. I probably average 5-10 a month, for about 5 years now. No ill effects as long as I don’t get too “creative”.

  11. my father used to talk about going through basic training (Vietnam-era) at Fort Leonard in Missouri with guys who would do anything – really, anything – to get out of the service, including one who ate lightbulbs. my dad said it was only a problem when they ate the metal sockets, because you needed those to get the replacement bulb to work.

  12. So he swallowed a fish bone, got massive amounts of attention from his worried parents, and decided to continue his attention-seeking activities? How is this anything but pathetic?

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