Did Mountain Man Really Live 256 Years?

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Li_chingYuenWe’ll be the first to admit that the story we’re about to share with you is a little farfetched at best, but the account of one Chinese mountain man living to be 256-years-old has captured our imagination and we can’t help but share it!

The story begins in 1827, when the Imperial Chinese government issued a letter to one of its residents, Li Ching-Yuen, congratulating him on his 150th birthday.

Roughly a century later, a Chinese professor discovered additional documents from 1877, congratulating this same man on his 200th birthday.

In 1928, an investigative reporter for the New York Times published an article about a man living Sichuan, China, claiming to be Li Ching-Yuen. According to the article, many of the old men in the community vouched for the man’s identity and even claimed that their grandfathers knew him when they were boys – and even then, they said that Li was a grown man.

According to contemporary investigators, at the age of 130, Li met an older hermit – living in the mountains – who claimed to be over 500-years-old. The hermit reportedly taught Li a series of breathing instructions, exercise and dietary recommendations.

Li was quoted as saying the secret to his longevity “is due to the fact that I performed the exercises every day – regularly, correctly, and with sincerity – for 120 years.”

In the end, however, even Li’s astonishing story ended in death in May 1933.

Friends of the Chinese mountain man stated that his last words were “I have done all I have to do in this world. I will now go home.”

A week following Le’s death, Time Magazine published an article, featuring Li’s life story. According to the article, Li told their reporters that the secret to a long life is to “have a tranquil mind, sit like a tortoise, walk sprightly like a pigeon and sleep like a dog.”

According to popular accounts, Li outlived twenty-three wives and produced over 200 children.

Critics of the narrative point the shear implausibility of the story, arguing that Li must have assumed the identity of someone else.

Whether the story of Li Ching-Yuen is true or not, the fact remains that Asian countries account for three of the top five nations in terms of life expectancy; the United States ranks 35th.

What do you think? Do you believe there could be the slightest inkling of truth to the story Li Ching-Yuen? Share your thoughts!

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