Internet fooled by fake claims ‘living mummy’ is 163 years old after viral video

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A series of clips which began appearing on everyone’s For You page over the past week have left TikTok users in awe – and confusion.

The video shows an elderly man receiving care in a hospital in Thailand, and his extremely frail appearance got people talking about his age.

Some rumours have claimed that he is 163-years-old and practises a self-mummification technique popular among Japanese Buddhist monks.

The old man – who is believed to be a monk – has left the Internet fascinated and his granddaughter, who films the clips, has gained 530,000 followers on TikTok. But is there any truth to the claims about his age or him practising self-mummification?

Is the old man from TikTok really 163 years old?

The rumours that emerged on TikTok about the 163-year-old monk aren't actually true. The elderly man in the clip is not 163, instead he is a 109-year-old Thai man named Luang Pho Yai, according to fact-checker Snopes.

While he really does appear to be a monk in Thailand, he doesn't appear to practise the self-mummification technique known as Sokushinbutsu.

The TikTok account @auyary13, which shared the clips, is run by his granddaughter Auyary, who gives fans daily updates about her grandfather.

The earliest videos on the account, from around November 2021, show the old man at home. However, in January 2022 he was brought to Dan Khun Thot hospital in Thailand after breaking a hip bone, with Auyary's clips updating people about her grandfather's health being viewed millions of times.

Recent videos even show that his health has been improving. He’s been able to eat, exercise and visit with family.

After his clips went viral, a number of people made cruel jokes about his age. In the comments of one video, @Auyary13 states that he is 109 years old, also responding to one comment which referred to him as a corpse saying: "[He is] not a corpse .. Let’s have some respect for Luang Ta. If you don’t like it, please scroll past and don’t comment anything like this."

What is Sokushinbutsu?

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A rare practice among Buddhist monks in Japan, Sokushinbutsu sees people entering mummification while they're still alive by following a gruelling regime of self-discipline.

The practice involves a strict diet and the monks dehydrating their bodies from the inside out by ridding themselves of fat, muscle, and moisture before being buried in a pine box to meditate through their last days on Earth.

However, there's no proof that Luang Pho Yai, the man in the video, practises this self-mummification technique.

There doesn't appear to be any mentions of the practice on @auyary13’s TikTok account, so it's likely just a rumour spread by third-party viewers after the clips went viral.

Who is the oldest person in the world?

Currently the oldest person in the world is a Japanese woman called Kane Tanaka. She is 119 years old, and according to the Guinness World Records lives in a nursing home in Fukuoka, Japan.

The oldest man alive in 2022 is 112-year-old Juan Vicente Pérez Mora from Venezuela. The oldest verified person to have ever lived is Jeanne Louise Calment, from Arles, France. Born in 1875, she lived until 1997 at the age of 122 years and 164 days old.

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