This is Charles Osborne, he had the hiccups from June 13, 1922 to June 5, 1990.
Charles Osborne was born in 1893, but his hiccups didn’t start until 1922, when he was a 29-year-old farmer. They began one day while Osborne was preparing to butcher a hog in Union, Nebraska.
Osborne remembers that day well. “I was hanging a 350-pound hog for butchering,” he recalls. “I picked it up and then I fell down. I felt nothing, but the doctor said later that I busted a blood vessel the size of a pin in my brain.” The result, according to Dr. Terence Anthoney, a Carbondale, III. specialist in the biology of behavior who has treated Osborne for the past four years, is that “he destroyed a small area in the brain stem that inhibits the hiccup response.”
At a rate of some 20 per waking minute, Osborne has hiccuped a total of roughly 420 million times. Yet he has led a surprisingly normal life. Now retired, he held a variety of jobs, including farm machinery salesman and cattle-and-hog auctioneer. He’s been married twice and fathered eight children. He wooed and won second wife Lucille, hiccups and all. Osborne’s curious malady has even brought him a measure of fame: He was on Robert Ripley’s Believe It or Not radio program and is currently listed in The I Guinness Book of World Records.
While awake, Osborne manages to suppress most of the noise by breathing between hiccups, a technique taught him 30 years ago by doctors at the Mayo Clinic. During sleep the hiccups subside. Osborne used to be able to eat anything he wanted, but for the past 10 years he’s had to put his meals through a blender to make it easier for food to reach his stomach. “I’ve worn out two Osterizers,” he says. Although chronic hiccups have been known to cause severe weight loss and even death due to exhaustion, the 5’4″ Osborne keeps his weight steady at 145 pounds.