Look up “ewww” in the dictionary and you’re likely to find a picture of this procedure. A self-proclaimed healer in Bosnia and Herzegovina claims she can treat eye ailments, remove particles and even cure blindness by licking a person’s eyeball with her tongue. If that image doesn’t gross you out, you may want to contact her because her children aren’t interested in carrying on the family business.
Hava Celebic is known to her neighbors and friends as Nana Hava and to people with things in their eye as a cheap alternative to the emergency room. According to a recent interview, the 80-year-old woman says she learned the eye-cleaning technique of lift-lid-and-lick from another old woman, also named Hava. Nana Hava estimates she’s licked over 5,000 eyeballs clean in her career, which means she made anywhere from 2,500 to 5,000 people happy. These are people who came to her with pieces of metal, wood, glass, dust and other particles under their lids causing severe eye irritations and, according to her, left unblinkingly happy.
Let’s stop here to mention what you already know but we’re legally obligated to say anyway: “DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME!” Hava Celebic is a trained professional who learned the skill from another trained professional and uses the standard eyeball-licking preparation technique of rinsing her mouth with liquor … hopefully something at least 100 proof. Before you call this quack medicine only practiced by backwards villagers in remote areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hava claims her reputation has drawn patients from America and Russia.
If “eyeball-licking” sounds familiar to you, you’re even creepier than the Nana. Oculolinctus is an alleged sexual fetish where partners tongue each other’s eyeballs for erotic gratification. While the practice has a medical name, the sexual fetish story - as well as tales of a craze among teenagers - is believed to be a hoax started in Japan by a tabloid that referred to it as Gankyū name purei or “eyeball licking play.” Seriously, DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME! The common tongue – even one that’s seen a couple of whisky shots - is full of germs that can cause conjunctivitis, Chlamydia and other eye infections. And those bumps on the human tongue can be just as abrasive as whatever is stuck in your eye causing the irritation.
Can Hava Celebic cure eye problems caused by “eyeball licking play”? That sounds like a paradox for a pair of real docs – one for the eye and one for the head. Nana Hava only wants to see people with eye problems that their doctors couldn’t cure or who are too poor or have no insurance.
There are a lot of those that modern medicine could not help. They came to me out of the hospital with swollen eyes, I clean them and remove the speck. I don’t charge licking for those who are not employed and have no money but my service fee normally costs around 10 Euros.
That’s just under $11, plus a tip to pay for the licker liquor (you knew it was coming eventually). If you decide to visit Hava Celebic, treat her nicely. She’s tried to teach her children the skill but they’re grossed out. If no one carries on the practice, she’s afraid someone will cut out her tongue after she dies and set up a new practice that’s even more gross than hers.
Nana and the Eyeball Lickers would be a great name for a country band.