Alexander Imich

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Alexander Imich
Alexander Imich

(1903-02-04)February 4, 1903
Died(2014-06-08)June 8, 2014
(aged 111 years, 124 days)
World's oldest verified living man (24 April 2014 - 8 June 2014)

Alexander Imich (February 4, 1903 – June 8, 2014) was a Polish-American chemist, parapsychologist, zoologist and writer who was the president of the Anomalous Phenomena Research Center in New York City. He was born in 1903 in Częstochowa, Poland (then part of the Russian Empire) to a Jewish family.

Imich, a supercentenarian, also became the oldest living man at age 111 after the death of almost 112-year-old Arturo Licata, of Italy, on April 24, 2014.[1][2][3] Until his own death a little more than a month later, at the age of 111 years and 124 days, Imich was certified by Guinness World Records as the world's oldest living man.

Imich was also the last surviving veteran of the Polish-Soviet War.[4]

Early war service[edit]

Imich stated that, at age 15, he and the rest of his class joined the Polish forces to fight the Bolsheviks in 1918.[5] His older brother reportedly served as an instructor in the automobile division, so Imich learned to drive trucks for the army until the Bolshevik forces were pushed back and Imich returned to school.[6]

Academic career[edit]

He earned a Ph.D in zoology at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków in 1929,[6] but as he could not find an academic position in zoology, he switched to chemistry. During the 1920s and 1930s he did some research on a medium, Matylda, for the Polish Society for Psychical Research. He published a report in 1932 in a German journal called Zeitschrift für Parapsychologie, but all of the unpublished notes and photos from the research were lost during World War II.[7]

Alexander Imich was already mentioned in a couple of English-language psychist books and journals as early as 1933 and 1934.[8][9][10]

World War II[edit]

During World War II, Imich and his wife Wela (pronounced Vela) fled to Soviet-occupied Białystok, where he was employed as a chemist.[11] The couple were later interned in a labor camp for the duration of the war due to their refusal to accept Soviet citizenship. They were eventually freed and chose to emigrate to the U.S. in 1951, as almost all of their Polish relatives and friends were murdered in the Holocaust.[citation needed]

Life in the United States[edit]

In 1952, Imich and Wela (who died in 1986) emigrated to the United States, first to Pennsylvania and then to New York, dividing their time between both places. To make a living, Imich initially took up chemistry, but once Wela made a career for herself as a psychologist in 1965, he turned to parapsychology.[3] After becoming a widower, he continued his lifelong interest in parapsychology, giving out the Imich prize for parapsychology research for several years until he began experiencing financial problems.[11]

Imich wrote numerous papers for journals in the field and edited a book, Incredible Tales of the Paranormal, which was published by Bramble Books in 1995. He formed the Anomalous Phenomena Research Center in 1999, trying to find a way to produce "The Crucial Demonstration", the goal of which is to demonstrate the reality of paranormal phenomena to mainstream scientists and the general public.[12] In 2012, he began to transfer the records of his research into the paranormal to the University of Manitoba Department of Archives and Special Collections.[3]

Imich suffered a fall either on[13] or shortly before his 111th birthday--with him spending his 111th birthday in the New York City's Roosevelt Hospital.[14] After his release from Roosevelt Hospital, Imich belatedly celebrated his 111th birthday either in late April or early May 2014.[13]

After being the world's oldest living man for around 1.5 months, Alexander Imich died on June 8, 2014 at 9:03 AM from natural causes at the age of 111.[15] He was succeeded as the world's oldest man by Sakari Momoi of Japan (who was born on February 5, 1903, just one day after Imich).[15]


  1. ^ "Meeting Alexander Imich 111-years-old". The Jewish Press. February 28, 2014. Retrieved March 5, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Rabbi Meets Oldest Man in America, Resulting in a Flurry of Good Deeds". March 26, 2014. Retrieved April 23, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b c "University of Manitoba Libraries: Alexander Imich profile". University of Manitoba Archives. Archived from the original on August 23, 2014. Retrieved June 9, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "New Yorker officially deemed oldest living man on earth". May 5, 2014.
  5. ^ "Alexander Imich, Czar's Last Bar Mitzvah Boy". The Forward.
  6. ^ a b Halper, Lyn (2002). Mystic Souls: Nineteen Remarkable People Tell Their Stories. IUniverse. p. 129–130. ISBN 0595228917.
  7. ^ Imich, Alexander (1995). Incredible Tales of the Paranormal: Documented Accounts of Poltergeist, Levitations, Phantoms, and the Phenomena. Bramble Books.
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ [3]
  11. ^ a b Winter Miller (November 27, 2007). "Still Pursuing a Lifetime's Worth of Interests at 104". The New York Times. Retrieved June 9, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ Imich, Alexander (2002). "Who Will Create the New Nobel Prize?" (PDF). The Mindshift Institute. Retrieved September 12, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ a b "An Ever-Curious Spirit, Unbeaten After 111 Years - The New York Times". The New York Times. May 5, 2014. Retrieved May 20, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ Sarafraz, Beth (April 4, 2014). "Meet Alexander Imich, oldest man in America - Heritage Florida Jewish News". Retrieved May 20, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ a b Lori Bordonaro (June 9, 2014). "Oldest Man in the World Dies in New York at 111". NBC New York. Retrieved June 9, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)