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These recently unearthed pictures help tell the story of a bizarre phenomenon, the so-called 'fasting girl' that captured the public's imagination in the Victorian era.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, several young women and girls around the world emerged with the same claim, that they could survive without any food or drink.
Renown - Celebrity - People - Distances - Eyes
Many achieved local renown and some even achieved international celebrity, with fascinated people travelling great distances just to lay eyes on them.
The reasons behind their apparent fasts included a religious gift and a link to psychic powers.
Women - Tests - Claims
However ultimately all four of these women were uncovered as frauds - with one dying during the scientific tests to verify her claims.
Some psychologists and historians claim this phenomenon could be a precursor to the condition now known as anorexia.
Help - Illustrations - FEMAIL - Stories - Girls
Here, with the help of contemporary illustrations, FEMAIL explores the stories of four 'fasting girls'...
In the late 1860s, people from across Britain flocked to a tiny village in Carmarthenshire to see a girl who claimed she never consumed any food or drink.
Sarah - Jacob - Welsh - Fasting - Girl
Sarah Jacob, known as the Welsh Fasting Girl, fell ill at the age of nine and was told to take bed rest.
It is believed that she found her time reading the bible and composing poems while convalescing to be far more enjoyable to the back-breaking farm work she was previously occupied with and so began to refuse food to keep herself weak.
Parents - Evan - Hannah - Jacob - Ruse
Her parents, Evan and Hannah Jacob, soon joined in on the ruse and publicly claimed she had taken no food or water for two years. The story quickly spread and Sarah soon became a celebrity.
However Sarah's continued growth and apparent health raised suspicions as far away as London.
Doctor - Guy - Hospital - Sarah - Claims
A doctor from Guy's Hospital arranged for Sarah's claims to be tested, believing one of...
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