History or Hoax – The Immortal Baby

History or Hoax - The Immortal Baby

Caroline Dew, Senior Editor

We live in a day and age where medicine is constantly advancing. We also live in a day and age of fanatics and people with unconventional ideas. Sometimes, we see people with unconventional ideas about medicine. Most of the time, these ideas are brushed off by most. Sometimes, however, with enough support, these obscure ideas can become a reality. This was the case with the cult, The Royal Fraternity of Master Metaphysicians. This group believed that they had concocted the perfect recipe to make for an immortal person – with no crazy medical key to immortality. This cult believed that the secret to raising an immortal person, was to feed them a perfect diet, and to isolate them from bad thoughts.


In 1939, a woman named Catherine Gauntt, a waitress in New York, indicated that she was too poor to raise her baby, Jean Gauntt. She gave permission to the leader of the Royal Fraternity of Master Metaphysicians (RFMM), James Schafer, to raise her baby. It should be noted that Catherine was not a member of this cult.


The baby was taken to an extravagant home. She was given a private nursery, where she was watched over constantly by a nurse and members of the RFMM. One of the ways that Schafer planned to make the baby immortal, was to shield it from all negative thoughts. Jean was never to hear any mention of death or disease, and no unkind words were to be spoken around her. They also planned on feeding her a completely vegan “eternity diet”. When she grew up, she was going to take the role of the leader of the cult, as their immortal leader. Schafer is quoted as saying “I can think of no child outside of royalty who might have had a better start in life.”


We will never know if this eternity recipe would have worked, however, because the experiment lasted only fifteen months. The RFMM had not actually legally adopted Jean, and Catherine Gauntt wanted her daughter back. Catherine Gauntt had gotten a lawyer to demand the child back. The RFMM gave her back, and Schafer tried to put a positive spin on it. The same lawyer ended up representing many clients, and soon Schafer was in court defending himself against grand larceny. Baby jean was brought back to her parents house, along with instructions on how to maintain the eternity plan. Her parents didn’t keep her on it though – it was reported that within hours, Jean was eating prunes, a food that wasn’t on her diet.


Who knows, maybe the eternity diet and eternity lifestyle would have worked. Maybe, had it followed through, Jean would still be around and living – and would remain alive and living forever. Personally, though, I doubt it.