The Curious Case of Charles Osborne: The Man Who Hiccuped For 68 Years Straight

Charles Osborne had an accident on June 13, 1922, when he was only 15 years old, that caused him to have hiccups that persisted for more than six decades. On average, he experienced 20-40 involuntary diaphragm spasms per minute. In total, he hiccuped an estimated 430 million times. Though Osborne traveled long distances to visit an array of doctors, none could find a cure. Over the years, he used a breathing technique that minimized the characteristic “hic” sound, which is caused by the sudden closure of the vocal cords after an involuntary contraction. To suppress the noise, he breathed in between hiccups. Despite his affliction, Osborne was a jovial, fun-loving man who didn’t talk much about his condition. In 1978 — after having hiccuped incessantly for 56 years — Osborne said in an interview that would give everything he had in the world if he could get rid of the hiccups. In 1990 his wish came true, when, for reasons unknown, the hiccups suddenly stopped. Osborne died a year later, after what had been a blissfully hiccup-free few months.