Have you ever tried not speaking for 10 minutes? An hour? An afternoon? How about for an entire day? Sure, if you live alone, you could probably get by without saying anything to anyone. Plus, technology these days means you can have a lot of communication.

But how long do you reckon you'd be able to stay mute?

We mean proper mute, where you don't even talk to yourself out loud, sing along to a song, or anything. Zip. Nothing. Pure and utter silence.

via GIPHY

Well, one bloke in China managed to do it for 12 years.

The man, known only as Zeng, was charged with murdering his wife's uncle after a disagreement over unpaid rent. But it's reported by the Telegraph that ever since that 2005 incident, he's remained mute to avoid being arrested.

Zeng reportedly left his village after the alleged murder and started begging on the street while pretending he couldn't speak. Chinese state media report he then moved 700km north, scored a job, got a wife and fathered a child.

He managed to do all that while remaining completely silent.

Getting a job is hard even when you're doing everything in the book to sell yourself to your employer - yet this bloke managed to do it while being mute.

But his craftiness came undone last year when police, who were conducting random household surveys, found he had no identification documents.

Authorities took a blood sample and, lo and behold, discovered they had a wanted man in their grasps.

But the most bizarre aspect of this case is that after more than a decade of pretending to be mute, Zeng's vocal chords became useless and he found he was no longer able to talk, according to Zhejiang Daily.

That's a strange one as most of the muscles we use for our voice continue to be used in a range of ordinary things like coughing, swallowing or even forcing out a shit.

Speech language pathologist Katie Plattner told Gizmodo: "You might have some trouble with vocal control just because you'd be out of practice, but your vocal folds would probably still be in fine shape.

"It's not like they'd completely atrophy or anything."

So maybe Zeng just needs a few more days at getting his voice back under control. What would your first words be after 12 years of complete silence?

Sources: Telegraph, Gizmodo

Featured Image Credit: PA

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