Kiju! Viva! L’Chaim! Long Life! Living to 152 years old?! Yes, someone really did! Do you want to learn their secrets? Celebrate these long, healthy lives of real people — one of whom individually lived beyond 152 years old — yes, you read that correctly. How did these super-centarians do it?
In western culture, according to Genesis 5:27, Methusalah was the longest-lived Human, ever, dying at the age of 969 years. There is scientific evidence that humans used to live longer than they have in modern recorded history. Scientists also see that, even now, our genetic profile of metabolic rate and other scientific parameters sets our real mammalian life-expectancy to normally average 150 years, but we know of only one man who made it, for sure.
Above, is the oldest documented modern human, Thomas Parr, who was “borne in the yeare 1483 in Rayne of King Edward IV being 152 years in ye yeare 1635” near Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England. His birth and death are well-researched and he is buried in the south transcept of Westminister Abbey, in London. He is sketched here, a few months before he died, by famous artist Peter Paul Rubens.
Thomas lived a pastoral life in Winnington, his home, and was a bachelor for 80 years. When he finally married, he fathered 2 children; both died in infancy. Before his first wife died, he was ‘punished’ by the vicar of Alberbury Parish Church for fornication, at 105 years old!
At 122 years old, he married the “young lady in question”, Catharine Milton, and fathered more children. Then, when he was 152 years old, his fame had reached the ears of Thomas Howard, the second Earl of Arundel, who had his estates in Shropshire. The Earl was struck by Parr’s intelligence and demeanour and so had special equipment and an entourage (including one of his daughters-in-law, Lucye) set up to have Thomas travel to meet the sovereign in London. King Charles (the tenth “Prince” Thomas had as sovereign), wanted to interview Parr personally, in the hopes of finding his secrets. Now, what do you think that information was worth?
No mention that he intended to help Thomas in any way. Hmmm. Interesting.
The King wined and dined Thomas and disrupted the old man’s Routine. As you will see below, with other super-centarians, this had disastrous effects. Thomas succumbed in November — really dumb timing for a trip, keeping him in foul London so close to winter, I’d say. Don’t you agree?
The King ordered Dr. William Harvey, MD the famous renegade scientist and physiologist, to perform an autopsy, and Harvey stated ‘Thomas’ internal organs were in an unusually perfect state and that his cartilage was unossified.’ Thomas was supple and still threshing corn when he was 130 years old. Amazing, don’t you think?!
Parr’s penis was ‘neither retracted or thin nor was the scrotum distended by watery hernia’ as it often is in older people. ‘His testicles were large and sound’ so he definitely was still able to father children, even then. Who needed Viagra! Why do men one third Thomas’ age “need” it now? He’d kept up a healthy intercourse with his wife until 12 years before his death, she testified.
In Dr. Harvey’s opinion, Thomas Parr’s body was ‘remarkably strong and healthy, without any trace of decay or organic disease, so that had it not been for the abnormal influences to which he had been subjected for a few months previous to his death, there seems little doubt that Parr might have attained even much greater age‘. But the fouled air of London and rich foods and closed quarters did Thomas in.
Robert Parr, one of Old Parr’s grandsons, was born at Kniver in 1663 and died in 1787, at age 124 years old. Not quite as long as Old Parr but still better than anyone else has been able to do in all the centuries since!
What made Old Parr’s life that long in the first place? It’s even a more extraordinary accomplishment, at that time, when we understand that life-spans were nowhere close to even our own average.
We’ll discuss the life-affirming life-style choices Old Parr made, another day. Now, let’s see what we’ve learned about the other record-holders listed here, in Part 1.
After I wrote this piece, I read about a Chinese general, Li Qing-Yuen (various spellings), who was also a Taoist Master and who lived an extra-ordinarily long life, to age 256 years! I profiled him later in the Recipes for Longevity Series, Part 3, when I found out about him. See instructions below to access the Title Archive for that post.
Who is the oldest known person in modern times? That title is held by Jeanne Louise Calment, pictured above. She was 122 years, 144 days old when she died in 1997 and lived in Arles, France, where she had been born in 1875, meeting the ‘dirty, foul-mouthed, disagreeable’ artist Vincent van Gogh as a child in her father’s store.
She married one of her second cousins, Fernand. They had one child, who died in 1934, and one grandchild. She outlived all of them. Jeanne almost made it into a third century of time. Can you imagine the changes she must have seen?
Who is the human unequivicably documented as the oldest person alive at the moment? The Guiness Book of World Records verifies it is Yone Minagawa, who has lived her 114 years in southern Japan. Lately, we have found that the “oldest” person alive is getting younger at death. Unfortunately, maybe the notoriety is having an adverse effect on these centarians’ health and well being.
Yone is the youngest person ever to hold the title, then at 114 years 25 days. She bore and mothered 5 children and was sole financial support for them after her husband died early. All but one of her children have died, but she has 6 grand-children and 12 great-grand-children. She lived alone in an apartment near Seinan Gakuin University until she was 112 years old.
Yone assumed the title when American, Emma Tillman, died in January 2007 at 114 years and 67 days old – and four of Emma’s siblings had lived to be over 100 years old, too.
Who is currently the oldest man on our planet? His name is Tomoji Tanabe, and this 111 year old lives in an area of southern Japan close to where Yone, the currently “oldest human” also lives.
Tanabe now lives with his daughter Motoori who is 66. He already has 8 children, 25 grandchildren and 54 great-grand-children.
Shigechiyo Izumi, another Japanese, may have been the only modern man to have lived 116 years, and his career as a sugar-cane farmer spanned 98 years, the longest known for any human. Izumi never held the “oldest Human” title as Jeanne Louise Calment was still alive.
There is actually only one man who has held the title of “oldest Human” in modern times, and that was Emiliano Mercado del Toro of Puerto Rico, who was 115 years and 5 months old when he died in 2006, and he is also the oldest military veteran, ever.
Currently, Japan (mostly the southern provinces and Okinawa) has the highest number of super-centarians in the world, which has quadrupled in the last decade. In Japan, there are now 28,000 regular centarians – proportionally more than in any country.
Since 2003, even the average Japanese woman has the best chance of longevity in the world, at 85.3 years as does the Japanese male at 78.3 years. Nearly one-fifth of the Japanese population is already older than 65. How does that longevity compare with the rest of the countries?
Well, everywhere, women usually outlive men. And, people in other first-world countries can hope to live 77-81 years, depending on gender. Those in the second-world can expect 65 – 77 years. And people in the third-world can only expect to live an amazing 35 – 60 years; this great disparity is one of the world’s most distressing inequalities in need of redress.
In my next article, I will introduce you to a few more amazing Elders and, later, we will start to discuss what has helped the centarians and super-centarians attain such Health and Longevity.
Best to all — Em
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Notice, at the bottom of that page, there is a link to page 2 and following pages of the Archive. Thanks for reading. I hope my work helps you!
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