Page last updated at 13:53 GMT, Thursday, 6 August 2009 14:53 UK

Hermit leaves tower after 40 days


Ansuman Biswas describes life in the Gothic tower

A hermit is re-entering society after spending 40 days and 40 nights in Manchester Museum's Gothic tower.

Ansuman Biswas, 43, from London, chose 40 objects from the museum collection during his isolation, where he contemplated "loss and extinction".

He posted his thoughts on the items on a blog, as well as practising yoga and meditation for up to five hours a day.

Mr Biswas, an artist, told the BBC it had been a wonderful experience which he hoped to repeat in the future.

"It's flown by really. I wish I could have another 40 days and 40 nights," said the hermit.

"There's so much to do still and I've got lots of ideas that I've run out of time now to realise.

"Except I could continue to do them in real life, or whatever real life is."

Human skull

Each day Mr Biswas studied one object from the museum's vast collection of 4.5 million artefacts, which he had chosen in advance.

He mused on its relevance to the world and posted his thoughts on a blog, sparking debate among members of the public.

The items included a human skull, an extinct St Helena giant earwig and a honey bee.

"The objects have been a revelation," said Mr Biswas.

"They've just opened up areas of thinking and it's been a chance to really look into different disciplines and different ways of looking at the world.

"So the opportunity and the time to do that has been the most amazing thing, really."

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