UK hermit may lose home

UK hermit Katen Markham is distracted from her eremitic life by the possibility of losing her dwelling-place, notes the article “Modern hermit Karen Markham fights for solitude” in the Telegraph. She has been a hermit at her cottage, her Hermitage of Divine Wisdom in Shropshire, for six years but the owner now wants to sell the property. From the article:

Miss Markham, who used to teach at Radley College, has converted a piggery into a chapel and keeps chickens in the garden, where she grows her food.

Her daily regime follows the rules of solitary living laid down by St Benedict, the founder of western monasticism, and involves rising at 4am to spend three hours praying and chanting divine names, as well as spending time in contemplative silence. She is committed to a life of chastity.

She has no television, takes no holidays and has very few personal possessions. She weaves rugs on a hand loom using wool from local sheep. Her interest in the solitary life began after she spent three years as part of a Muslim Sufi community in America; that led her to study the Christian saints. “Very few people want to live on their own, but it works for me and allows me the space to try to live a holy life,” she said.


Other reports:;

Hermitage appeal fund information:

Mental Health Foundation (UK) on loneliness

Not the only source on the web on this topic, a short BBC News Magazine item titled “What’s the difference between being lonely and a loner?” Mentions the Loneliness Project report, based on a survey of UK residents, released by The Mental Health Foundation. In brief, the answers to the title question:

  • Loneliness is not about being physically alone
  • It’s about each individual’s evaluation of isolation
  • A loner gets satisfaction from being alone, someone who is lonely doesn’t

Among other conclusions, the Mental Health Foundation report notes that:

  • younger people (up to 60% of those surveyed aged 18-35) feel more lonely than older people (at 35%);
  • technology has an isolating effect if not complemented by social networks;
  • growing emphasis on work and productivity diminishing the importance of social life exacerbates loneliness;
  • smaller family size contributes to more loneliness and depression.

BBC News article:
Mental Health Foundation news release page:
MHF Loneliness Project with download links for the report:

India hermit: no food, water

This is not the first report on Mataji, the India hermit who claims to have not eaten food or drunk liquid almost all of his 82 years of life. This Independent Television News (ITN) item features a 2+ minute video. (The video is also available from the Telegraph TV (UK) filed under “Weird News”; see link below. The text of the article is reprinted here since such items often disappear from the web:

An elderly Indian hermit man has stunned doctors in the western city of Ahmenabad, after claiming he has not eaten of drunk anything for seventy years, and then proved that he can survive without fuel or water for four days.

Prahlad Jani who is known by his followers as Mataji, which means the Mother Goddess, is an 82-year-old.

Medical staff, researchers and scientists from New Delhi-based Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences of India (DIPAS) carried out an observational study on him after he made his claim, to verify whether it was a hoax.

But, staff are astonished that he has survived even their four day test, let alone seventy years without food and drink.

Neurologist Sudhir Shah of the Sterling hospital where the study was conducted on Jani claimed that his survival and biological processes are miraculous.

He said: “I want to tell you that we are all watching a miracle in the science, or biology so to say, because it is already 108 hours since Mataji’s admission into this hospital and he has not eaten anything; he has not drunk a little drop of any kind of liquid but more importantly, he has not passed a drop of water or stool.

“That makes science a little difficult. A person can live without food and water for three or four days.”

Mataji claims he was blessed by the Hindu goddess Amba when he was just eight.

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