If you were over the age of 6 in 1998, then you’ll remember when Guinness World Records had its primetime TV show. For many of us, the show was a shining example of how bizarre and extraordinary the human body could be. More often than not, it featured people who could perform or show off their world record consistently — some people ate metal, while others covered themselves in bees, and others acted as human speed bumps. There’s no shortage of humans doing amazing things, but here are our picks for the eight coolest, most extraordinary records the human body could complete — in no particular order.
The Longest Time Holding The Marinelli Bend
The Marinelli Bend involves not only contorting the body into a head-seat position — where the body bends backward like a scorpion, with the legs over the head — but also great strength in the teeth, as they’re the only things holding onto a small post while in this position. On April 18, 2009, Iona Oyungerel Luvsandorj from Mongolia set the record for the longest time holding the Marinelli Bend. She held on for 50 seconds. You can see video of her beating a previous record below.
Most Big Macs Consumed
Take a look at the documentary Super Size Me, and your fondness for McDonald’s will probably die. But for Donald Gorske, of Fond du Lac, Wis., eating Big Macs is an everyday thing. In fact, as of Aug. 17, 2008, he had eaten 23,000 Big Macs over the course of 37 years. In 2011, he was still going, having reached 25,000. Though most people would believe he’d be unhealthy by this point, he says he manages his diet so he doesn’t gain weight — a request made by his wife.
The Living Person With The Smallest Waist
Corseting, also called tight lacing, was widely popular from the 16th century up until the French Revolution. Due to health concerns, many women have since stopped practicing the body-modification technique. “Corset training can restrict any type of movement in your midsection,” Dr. Nicole Florence, co-director of Memorial Weight Loss and Wellness Center at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, Ill., told Ebony magazine. “It can restrict your lungs, which can cause lung infections and other lung problems, as well as restrict your bowels, which can cause constipation. It can also cause bruising and rib pain.”
Cathie Jung, also known as the Corset Queen, doesn’t seem to mind the possible health risks. She is still the woman who holds the record for having the smallest human waist, measuring 38.1 centimeters around — about the size of a “regular jar of mayonnaise,” her site says. Without the corset on, her waist comes in at a little over 53 centimeters.
The Most Tattooed Female Senior Citizen
Who said people who got tattoos would regret them as they age? None of them have heard about Isobel Varley from the UK. She started getting her tattoos late — sometime in her late 40s — and has since gone on to cover over 93 percent of her body from head to toe, according to Guinness World Records. “I went to a tattoo convention and had one tattoo — and then it just went from there,” she told the BBC. “This came about as I was so impressed by the sheer beauty of the tattoos and I found that the people there were ordinary people from all walks of life and were not strange.”
Three Contortionists In A Box, For Quite Some Time
Contortionists, like Luvsandorj above, have unusually flexible bodies, which they’re able to take charge of with the help of acrobatic and flexibility training. With consistent training, they’re able to bend their spines forward or backward — usually not both — to the point where they’re completely twisted. Other people learn to do this with their legs, completing splits of over 180 degrees.
Hailing from New Zealand, Skye Broberg, Nele Siezen, and Jola Siezen used their command of the skill to squeeze into a glass box measuring only 26 x 27 x 22 inches. They then remained in the box for six minutes and 13 seconds on Sept. 20, 2009.
The Man With The Longest Fingernails — Ever
Fingernails are already weird enough when they get to be about an inch long, but for Melvin Boothe, who unfortunately died in December 2009, having fingernails with a record-breaking combined length of 32 feet, 3.8 inches could have been deadly — though that’s only speculation.
After fellow long-nailed friend Lee Redmond lost her nails in a car crash, she said this about meeting Melvin:
I have very, very fond memories from Melvin, he touched my life. He also broke my heart, to see this man who wouldn’t even go out of his home. Tears when I left, both he and I. I hope that someday he will realize that he’s more than his fingernails … I think the difference between Melvin and me, for one thing they didn’t keep me from going out in public, and they didn’t make me be secluded. I would have never, never chose to keep them if they would have had to keep me away from people or you know, living whatever normal is you know. I hope he will decide to go out and interact with people, and I’m sure that he felt the love that I had for him, and respect. It wasn’t the fingernails, it was him that I cared for.
The Hairiest Teenager
Informally known as werewolf syndrome, the world’s hairiest teenager, Supatra “Nat” Sasuphan, has a form of hypertrichosis called hirsutism, which is exclusive to women and children. It’s characterized by unwanted male-pattern hair growth, and results in excessive hair growth in many parts of the body, including the face, chest, and back. Sasuphan was declared the world’s hairiest teenager on March 4, 2010.
“I don’t feel any different to anyone else, and I’ve got lots of friends at school,” she told Guinness World Records. “Being hairy makes me special.” The adjudicator who confirmed Sasuphan’s status as a record holder, Marco Frigatti, said that she’s proud of who she is, and that it’s “those who treat her differently who’ve got the problem.”
One of the more popular appearances on Guinness World Records Primtime was that of Kim Goodman, who holds the record for the farthest eyeball pop. Using her eye muscles, she’s able to pop her eyeballs out of their sockets so that they protrude 12 millimeters. She’s held the record since November 2007.