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When you’re suddenly attacked with a bout of the hiccups, it can feel like they last forever.

And for one man, that was almost the case!

Charles Osborne (USA, 1894-1991) was the victim of the longest attack of hiccups, which lasted a jaw-dropping 68 years.

Charles, then working as a farmer, was trying to weigh a hog that he was planning to slaughter when he fell and started hiccupping back in 1922.

He told People magazine in 1982: “I was hanging a 350-pound hog for butchering.

“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 doctor, Terence Anthoney, believed that when Charles fell, he destroyed a small area in his brain that would have inhibited his hiccup response.

Charles tried again and again to find a cure for the annoying bodily function, but it wasn’t until one morning in February 1990 that they eventually stopped, with the final year of his life bringing him that long-awaited reprieve. 

Despite this rather frustrating factor in his life, he still managed to lead a normal one.

He got married twice and fathered eight children, all while hiccupping.

Charles made headlines many times in his life, including a newspaper story in 1978 which carried the headline ‘Man still seeking cure for 56 years of hiccups’.

His employer, who perhaps felt some form of responsibility for the never-ending hiccups, even sent Charles for special treatment in Omaha, Nebraska.

It seemed to work at first, but then his hiccups would start up again as soon as he returned home.

He told La Cross Tribune: “I made four trips to Omaha. But every time I got back home they would start again. I’ve had them ever since.”

At the time, he also said that the longest break he’d had from hiccups was just 50 hours.

What’s worse is that he hiccupped anywhere between 20 and 40 times per minute day and night, ruining both his sleep and his enjoyment of solid food.

It's said that he hiccupped more than 420 million times in his life.

Dr Anthoney said: “I don’t know what to make of it. My feeling is he popped a small blood vessel at the base of his brain when he was lifting that hog.”

Many doctors tried to help Charles with his problem, taking some pretty extreme measures along the way.

One physician is said to have ‘cured’ Charles’s hiccups by placing him on carbon monoxide and oxygen, which would have been great if he could have breathed the poisonous gas without dying.

While he couldn’t stop his hiccups, Charles says he did learn how to stop making any noise while he did it, which would have only made life more comfortable for the people around him, rather than himself.

He learned a technique – breathing in between hiccups – to minimize the sound, caused by the sudden closure of the vocal cords after an involuntary contraction.

Charles also estimated he received around 4,000 letters of sympathy from people who had heard tales of his case.

Many of them offered advice and home remedies that had worked for them, but none of them did the trick for Charles.

His friends went to extreme lengths to try and scare his hiccups away too, with one once firing both barrels of a shotgun right behind him.

“It scared me some, but it didn’t scare the hiccups out of me,” he told People.

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