The human body is resilient, adaptive and incredibly strange. Every now and then, the medical world comes across rare cases that mystify and stun them. Some are true medical marvels, involving miraculous recoveries and near-superhuman abilities, while others deliver shock and awe. In all cases, doctors and researchers continue to search for the answer to these mysteries, to no avail so far though!
1. The Boy Who Lost his Appetite, Iowa, USA
In October 2013, Landon Jones, at the time 11 years old, found himself suddenly experiencing dizziness and severe chest congestion. His parents rushed him to the doctor's where it was determined that he was suffering from a bacterial lung infection, a side effect of which was a lack of hunger. The infection was treated and cured, and young Landon returned to his usual fine spirits or so it seemed. Landon’s loss of appetite, unfortunately, remained.
Prior to the day that Landon experienced the symptoms of lung infection, the young man had a normal healthy appetite. However, on his return home, his desire to eat had diminished completely, to the point where his weight dropped rapidly in a very short period of time.
Landon has since visited a number of doctors and taken numerous tests but the cause of this prolonged disinterest in consuming food or drinks remains a mystery. Some doctors have speculated that the ailment has been caused by some oddity in the portion of the hypothalamus that controls hunger and thirst. However, the same has not been conclusively determined.
As a result of his yet to be diagnosed disorder, Landon’s parents and teachers work diligently to ensure he remembers to eat and drink enough to remain healthy. “Take a bite…” has become a recurring chant in the life of this young man.
Landon's parents discuss the struggle in this interview:
2. The Woman Who Regained her Sight, Auckland, New Zealand
When she was 11 years old, Lisa Reid lost her sight due to a brain tumor pressing down on her optic nerve. The doctors removed the tumor, but could not restore her sight, and so Lisa adjusted to life without it. As she grew older, she got a seeing-eye dog named Ami to guide her on the streets.
Ami turned out to be a wonderful blessing in more ways than one. One night, when Lisa was 24 years old, she bent down to give Ami a kiss. In the process, she accidentally hit her head on the coffee table. Shaking it off, Lisa went to bed. The next morning, Lisa awoke to find her sight fully restored, more than 10 years after going blind.
(By Hurricane Omega, Wikimedia Commons)
Baffled by this sudden blessing, Lisa approached numerous doctors, but none had an explanation of how her sight was miraculously restored after more than a decade of being blind.
Lisa is still legally blind, however, as the bump only partially restored her sight, so her guide dogs remain by her side, giving her confidence.
3. The Boy Born without Skin, Texas, USA
Ja'bari Gray was born on January 1, 2019, in San Antonio, Texas. Despite a seemingly normal conception and pre-natal growth, towards the end of his term in the womb, his mother, Priscilla Maldonado began to experience some discomfort. She was rushed to the hospital, and a few hours later, her third child was born. However, unlike her other two children, Ja'bari was born without skin on the majority of his body.
Ja'bari came into the world silently, without any tears. His eyes were fused shut and his veins are arteries were visible. Since the day he was born, Ja'bari has remained in the hospital. However, despite many fears doctors had about his survival, Ja'bari continues to live and is treated with skin grafts and regular surgeries to keep his health condition stable.
It was determined first that Ja'bari likely suffers from a rare skin disease called Aplasia Cutis, but at a later point, doctors gave a tentative diagnosis that the boy suffered from an acute connective tissue disorder called Epidermolysis Bullosa.
The mystery remains as to how the boy contracted the ailment, as it must be passed on genetically and neither parent is a carrier. Ja'bari and his family continue to fight for his survival until today.
To know more about Ja'bari's battle, watch the following video, but keep in mind that some parts of the video might be too much to handle for sensitive viewers:
4. The Girl Who Never Aged, Maryland
Brooke Greenberg was born in 1993 as a seemingly normal young baby girl, same as her two elder sisters. But as time passed, it became apparent that Brooke was not aging quite as she should.
Brooke's first six years on this planet were spent in and out of hospitals recovering from a number of severe health problems, including 7 perforated stomach ulcers, a brain seizure, followed by a stroke and a 14-day long coma caused by a brain tumor.
The Greenbergs were prepared for the worst, but Brooke awoke from the coma, completely free of the tumor. Brooke persevered and lived to the age of 20. However, her body and mind continued to remain as that of an infant, though she developed the ability to recognize her loved ones and show excitement.
Her disorder was entitled Syndrome X and was studied extensively by one Dr. Richard F Walker, whose life's mission is to discover more about Syndrome X and other kids suffering from similar ailments.
You can learn more about her story here:
5. The Man with the Putrid Finger, Wales
In September 1991, in Wales, a man walked into a doctor's office with a seemingly minor injury. He had been pricked on his finger by a chicken bone and the resulting wound became red and began to emit an unpleasant smell.
The doctors inspected his wound and determined it was an infection. The infection was treated and cured. However, the horrid smell still remained. The doctor then tried a number of other antibiotics and medications to no avail. The smell persisted. Every test, surgical option, biopsy, and exploratory procedure was attempted.
The doctors at the University of Wales looking into his unending stench called out for help in determining and curing this unexplainable ailment. But to no avail. The man continued to suffer and stink. His strange ailment was made more mysterious by its sudden miraculous disappearance.
One day, 5 years after walking into the doctor's office after that seemingly insignificant prick, the man woke up and the smell was gone. The cause of the smell and it's disappearance remain unknown.
6. The Girl who Cries Stones, Yemen
This is the story of Saadiya Saleh, daughter of Mohammad Saleh Al Jaharani, both residents of a small Yemeni village. Saadiya was one among 20 other siblings and she is unique. When she cries, small stones fall from her eyes instead of tears.
Unsure of what to do, and stunned by this strange development that has never afflicted any of his other children, Jaharani took her to every local doctor he could find. They were as baffled as he was. Numerous X Rays showed that there was in fact absolutely nothing wrong or different with Saadiya's eyes.
They could find no explanation for the strange phenomenon, though the case mirrored that of a 15-year-old girl from nearby Bejel City who appeared to have the same condition or a similar condition at the very least.
Though doctors continue to look for an explanation or a remedy, Saadiya lives a relatively normal life, as the stones do not cause her any pain, and do not appear to stop her from experiencing normal tears as well. However, rumors do frequently fly in the village of the girl being possessed or of her being under a black magic spell.
7. The Man With an Unending Appetite, France
The story of Tarrare is more the stuff of legend than medical history, but thanks to a few accounts found in not just medical journals, his story lives today as fact. Tarrare was a man born in France to a family of modest means (and many children) in the late 1700's.
His appetite was so voracious and unquenchable, his family tore the home apart to feed him, and still could not keep his hunger at bay. Unable to feed him and themselves, they threw him out onto the street.
Tarrare then came under the employ of a conman who kept the young man fed by using him as a sideshow attraction. Tarrare and this man would travel across France astounding people with the boy's ability to unhinge his jaw and eat anything, from inanimate objects to living animals. Rumour has it, he once ate a live cat for a show! Still, his hunger remained unquenched and he continued to search for anything that could be eaten, and many things that couldn't.
It was the French army who then came to his supposed rescue, finding use for his strange "talent" in serving his country. His job was to swallow any messages or important deliveries from beyond enemy lines and smuggle them back home, where they could be safely retrieved from his feces and the enemy would be none-the-wiser.
However, after being captured by German soldiers during one mission and beaten badly due to his inability to speak German, he left the army and was taken in by a doctor looking to learn more about his ailment.
Again, no amount of food proved to be enough, and Tarrare began eating things far beyond the norm, including surgical equipment and corpses from the morgue. But his stay at the hospital had ended when accusations surfaced that the man had apparently eaten an infant.
Tarrare returned once again to scrounging the streets and dumpsters for anything to fill his bottomless appetite, until his death a few years later, caused by tuberculosis, though Tarrare swore it was because of a golden fork he had eaten a few years prior. The fork, however, was not found during the autopsy. Nor was the cause of his unending hunger.
To know more about Tarrare's bizarre condition and life, take a look at this video: