Cave Celebration Confusing

Man who is living in a French cave celebrates New Year a little late

Imagine no clock, no sense of time, darkness and yet still knowing the Year 2000 is around the corner. A Frenchman, Michel Siffre, celebrated New Year's Eve three-and-a-half days late thinking Tuesday was really Friday.

Michel Siffre rang in the year 2000 with a traditional French meal of foie gras, white wine and a little champagne. Problem is, he thought New Year's Eve was on Tuesday afternoon.

Siffre's been living 2,970 feet underground since November 30. He will stay in the cave for two months while scientists study his sleep patterns. Siffre tells researchers what day he thinks it is, so they can learn about his notion of time.

It's hard to keep on track with time when there's nothing around you but darkness. Siffre celebrated Christmas two days late and forgot his 61st birthday, which was on Monday. Electrodes attached to his body allow scientists from the National Institute of Space Studies to take measurements that will be useful for future space expeditions.

It's certainly not an easy job for Siffre. Not only did he miss ringing in the new century with the rest of the world; he misses his family and friends also. Siffre told scientists he wished he could have spent the holiday at home, but he chose to be a part of this experiment and therefore he has to stay put until the end of the month.

Siffre spends his time underground reading novels and scientific journals. This isn't his first time living alone in darkness. Siffre spent more than six months in a cave once. Back in 1972 Siffre lived at the bottom of Midnight Cave in Del Rio, Texas as part of a different scientific study.

When he comes up from this adventure you can bet there will be a big celebration with friends and family.

After all, when he went down underground it was a different century than the one he will return to shortly.

Source: Associated Press

DATE: 1/5/2000

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