The truth about the man who ate an airplane

An adorable trick for persuading stubborn babies to eat food is to pretend their spoonful of Gerber slop is an airplane landing in their mouths. Presumably, a young Michel Lotito was so consumed by the joy of eating planes that he never grew out of it. Lotito, who came to be known as "Monsieur Mangetout (Mr. Eat-all)," certainly lived up to his nickname. Between 1978 and 1980, he scarfed down the scraps of an entire Cessna 150 airplane, according to Ripley's Believe It or Not. Admittedly, that's hard to swallow. Then again, so is all airplane food. Yet airline passengers manage to stomach their "chicken cardboard blue" while involuntarily huffing the farts of their fellow travelers all the time.

But while it's no secret that airplane food is more plain than food, munching on an actual plane adds a heaping spoonful of danger. How did Lotito avoid ripping his innards to bits or choking to death on all that metal? And what in the world compelled him to add a Cessna to the menu in the first place?

A feeling in the cockpit of his stomach

A man who could eat a horse but preferred devouring the buggy instead, Michel Lotito had pica, explains Mental Floss. People with pica compulsively eat things that lack nutritional value, such as dirt. But considering the kinds of things Lotita consumed, it's amazing he didn't bite the dust instead. While most people boast about eating nails for breakfast, Lotito literally did it. He also ate shattered glass and enjoyed chewing it as a child, per Ripley's Believe it or Not. Gastroenterologists later determined that he had especially robust guts with an unusually thick lining and possibly stronger-than-average gastric juices.

Lotito's intestinal fortitude proved profitable. As Monsieur Mangetout, he fascinated and puzzled the public by eating a total of 18 bicycles, 15 supermarket carts, 7 televisions, 2 skis, a coffin, a bed, a computer, the Cessna airplane, and probably all five golden rings during the 12 days of Christmas. He ingested an estimated 9 tons of metal during a 40-year span, according to Mental Floss Mental Floss. He died at the age of 57 of natural causes.