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Michel Lotito, The Man Who Ate Everything

Michel Lotito is probably better known by one of his famous pseudonyms, including Mr. Eat All or ‘Monsieur Mangetout,’ a pet name from his homeland, France. 

We’re not talking snap peas here but regular fare of the most extraordinary kind, well beyond the appetites and belief of any average person.

Michel Lotito biting the clutch of a car. Image via Jalopnik.

A Varied Diet

Michel Lotito gained notoriety for eating unnatural and unusual materials, including glass, metal, and rubber. Famously, he ate an entire aeroplane but was also known to snack on bicycles and razor blades.

Whatever the meal of choice, Lotito prepared it by cutting up the selected item with an electric saw. The chunks were bite-size, and Lotito never chewed, just swallowed. 

As a beverage, Lotito drank large quantities of water and mineral oil for lubrication. Larger objects were consumed over the course of several days.

It is remarkable that he survived the passage of these objects through his body without any ill effects; it would be easy for sharp edges to damage the delicate lining of the stomach or intestine and cause severe bleeding.

The big question is, how did he do it?


In an interview with Guinness World Records in 2006, Lotito disclosed that he had begun practicing something called sophrology as early as age eight.

Lotito had always indulged in schoolboy pranks, allowing his classmates to hit him on the back of the neck with a baseball bat or pierce him with needles.

Even as a young child, it was clear to Lotito that he didn’t experience pain in the same way as other children.

Sophrology was created in the sixties by Alfonso Caycedo, a Columbian neuropsychiatrist who blended techniques and philosophies from Eastern and Western medicine and practices. 

Sophrology contains elements of Japanese Zen, Buddhism, mindfulness, hypnosis, and yoga and is designed to promote mental, physical, and spiritual health. 

Lotito discovered that sophrology aided relaxation and could assist with pain control, both of which he used later to seemingly digest objects that would be, at the very least, uncomfortable, if not impossible and dangerous.

There Must Be More To It Than That?

Just a high pain threshold cannot explain away Lotito’s strange eating habits; his dietary choices were extraordinary, to say the least.

Lotito’s unusual behaviour was caused by Pica. Pica is eating items that are not typical food or the craving for them.

Michel eating the spokes from the rim of a bicycle wheel.

Plenty of pregnant women suffer from Pica, and some common snack choices include paper, ice, ash, soap, and chalk. 

Pregnancy suggests an underlying hormonal trigger for Pica and one that is temporary. However, in females who aren’t pregnant and males, Pica is a psychological disorder rather than a biological one.

Once Lotito’s parents realised there was something wrong with their child, Lotito was taken to the doctor, and Pica was diagnosed when he was still young.

Lotito later downplayed the Pica element to his condition and stressed instead elements of his strength like his teeth, making it possible for him to do what he did.

Lotito also stated that his gastric juices were so powerful that during an endoscopy, a standard medical procedure, doctors noticed a corrosive foam that literally could eat metal.

The conclusion was also reached that Lotito had a thick stomach and intestinal lining, which meant he could eat sharp metal objects without damage. 

However, Lotito’s lifetime doctor, Dr. Morzol, maintained that Lotito’s constitution was the same as the next person and that the trigger for his weird diet was more of a mental issue.

Morzol went into more detail on the French show, ‘Wild and Weird’ in 2000, explaining that Lotito had undergone almost every medical examination. Still, there was nothing unusual about his anatomy or physiology.

Rather ironically, Lotito struggled with soft foods, which gave him indigestion and made him feel sick.

By Accident, Not Design

Clearly, a young man interested in the workings of the human body and mind, and despite the diagnosis of Pica, Lotito’s introduction to dietary oddness occurred by accident.

He broke a glass, a clumsy mistake, and, with a piece of glass still in his mouth, decided to eat it, based on curiosity, if nothing else. The teenage Lotito had seen other people do this before. 

From a moment of chance, Lotito then moved on to other small objects like plates, razor blades, and small pieces of metal. It seemed to have an effect on him like chocolate: he became addicted.

Lotito’s Exceptional Pain Threshold

Lotito became a bit of a hit with the media and started eating more significant items. It wasn’t long before he was appearing at fairs and then eventually on television in Canada and South America. 

But what this is really about is Lotito’s exceptionally high pain threshold, demonstrated by other activities not confined to the dinner table.

Lotito would allow members of the audience at these shows to light matches under his fingernails and throw darts at his back. He could also bend coins with his teeth and, at one fair, had his arm squeezed in a gigantic pair of pliers held by eight men.

This audience interaction turned Lotito into a showman, and as the work increased, so did the money. In the 1980s, Lotito was earning around $1,000 per day.

A Cessna 150 aircraft, similar to the one that Michel consumed.

Lotito was married, but there is little information about his wife or how she managed the daily challenge of deciding what to serve for dinner.

The Demise Of Michel Lotito

Lotito died from what is described as natural causes in June 2007 at age 57. He is buried in Grenoble.

There was nothing exceptional about his passing, so presumably, any questions about examining the state of his stomachs and intestines went unanswered.

It was also never established whether Lotito’s bizarre diet played any role in his death, which, at age 57, could be described as premature.

Not A One-Off

There was a bit of a trend in the 1980s for seemingly impossible feats. A man called Guy St-Laurent had a large booking agency full of daredevils, illusionists, and people doing the downright strange and impossible. 

These included human torches, people undergoing surgery whilst awake, and helicopter wrestlers.

Some of these acts were based partly on illusion or deception, but the element of risk would still always draw a crowd.

The Guinness Connection

Lotito has a mixed history with Guinness World Records.

His first record was in 1979 when he was accredited with eating a bicycle in 15 days between 17th March and 2nd April 1977. Lotito’s recognition was in the category of speed-eating or gluttony records. 

A year later, Lotito broke his own record, eating a bicycle weighing more than 15 lb in twelve days. He did not eat the pedals or the handlebars, which he classified as ‘inedible.’

Guinness World Records made an exception in the gluttony records for Lotito’s achievements because it was unlikely anyone would copy him.

Lotito ate an entire Cessna 150 plane between 1978 and 1980, and in the 1984 Guinness Book of Records, Lotito is recorded as eating seven television sets and a supermarket trolley.

Fast forward to 1999, Lotito had consumed eighteen bicycles, six chandeliers, fifteen supermarket trolleys, two beds, a computer, and a coffin.

Estimates suggest that Lotito ate around nine tons of metal during his life, including the Guinness World Records commemorative brass plaque awarded to him to recognise his achievement.

Guinness awarded Lotito the record for the world’s strangest diet, but this category has now been ‘rested.’

Guinness World Records doesn’t want to encourage people to take on a challenge, which almost certainly means they participate in a seriously harmful activity. 

Also, the category definition is subjective and challenging to measure another reason to put it on the back burner.

An Unusual Legacy

Lotito’s death is still relatively recent, so there are plenty of people around who can remember him.

However, Lotito is not likely to be consigned to the annals of history as his story is the inspiration for a novel by Ben Sherwood called ‘The Man Who Ate the 747’.

Written in 2000, seven years before Lotito’s death, Sherwood was able to interview Lotito and gather authentic information and research for his storyline.

The plot follows an official working for ‘The Book of Records’ who comes across a farmer attempting to impress a woman by slowly eating a Boeing 747. Sound familiar?

In more recent times, ‘How to Eat an Airplane’ was published in 2016, a picture based on Lotito’s story written by Peter Pearson. It seems likely that Monsieur Mangetout will remain in the public eye for some years to come.


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