Everybody wants to be a superhero. Or rather, everyone wants some sort of ability that makes them stand out from everyone else that they know. While a lot of us can’t actually be the special snowflakes that we were told we are as kids, there are actually a handful of people in the world with incredible abilities. While some of these abilities are a little useless, some of them have changed the person’s life forever.
10. Veronica Seider – The Bio-Binocular
Veronica Seider set the world record for having the strongest eyesight in the world. Through a series of tests conducted by the University of Stuttgart in 1972, it was concluded that Veronica had eyesight that was 20 times better than the average person. This meant that she could identify people from literally a mile away.
One of Veronica’s other amazing feats is that she was able to write the equivalent of a 10-page letter on the back of a postage stamp, and be able to read it aloud after. She was able to do this in a demonstration to a group of Stuttgart University professors. Instead of writing a letter on the back of a postage stamp, she wrote 20 verses of a poem on a piece of paper the exact size of her thumbnail without a magnifying glass!
9. Shakuntala Devi – The Human Calculator
Shakuntala Devi was an Indian woman nicknamed the human computer. She was called this for her ability to solve complicated multiplication problems in a matter of seconds. As a young girl, Shakuntala and her father would display her mathematical talents at schools and businesses. By the time she was a teenager, her mathematical skills had caught the fascination of those around her, and she was the primary breadwinner for her family. So, how good was she?
To prove that she was as good at multiplication as she was rumored to be, she was tested multiple times by different groups and the results were recorded. On June 18, 1980, Shakuntala was asked to multiply two 13-digit numbers, selected at random. (7,686,369,774,870 x 2,465,099,745,779) She was able to solve the problem in 28 seconds, just a little bit slower than it would take for someone to write down those numbers. In other instances, Shakuntala was able to solve these types of math problems in her head literally faster than it took someone to write them down. What a nerd.
8. Igor Zaripov – The Titanium Tooth
Igor Zaripov comes from a long line of circus performers. He has performed in Cirque du Soleil, but after a bicep injury, he left Cirque and started performing his unique talent around the world. You see, Igor has freakishly strong teeth.
Although his teeth aren’t actually made of titanium, you would assume that they were because of the weight that Igor is able to pull using nothing but his mouth and teeth. In fact, he holds the world record for fastest time pulling a car 100 feet with his mouth and teeth. (15.7 seconds) In addition, Zaripov toured with Michael Jackson in the UK during The Immortal World Tour and pulled a red double-decker bus weighing 27,249.14 pounds with his mouth and his teeth.
But, my personal favorite is when Igor set the world record for longest aerial suspension with the mouth and teeth. (2 minutes, 32 seconds) Though he was the first person to try actually try this, it’s safe to say that his record won’t be broken. He was able to hang from rope using only his teeth longer than an athletic person could using their arms.
Don’t believe me? Check out this video of him doing it on “Good Morning America”:
More videos of his world records can be found here. They are all a little scary, to be honest.
7. Charlotte Heffelmire – Teen Tenacity
19-Year old Charlotte Heffelmire from Virginia briefly entered the public eye when she rescued her father from underneath a burning truck. Her father, Eric, had been working on a GMC truck when the truck fell from its jack and gasoline spilled, causing the truck to ignite. He was struggling for around 10 minutes before his daughter ran into the garage in her bare feet. He added that he felt the weight shift from on top of him, and then Charlotte pulled him out from under the truck. After saving her own father, Charlotte then drove the three wheeled burning truck out of the garage, contained the fire within the garage, and then made sure everyone in her house got out safely. She then started putting the fire out with a hose after calling 911.
You may find this story hard to believe because Charlotte is only 117 pounds, and although she is a student at the US Air Force Academy, there is absolutely no way a person of her size could lift a truck that heavy. However, through what is known as hysterical strength, amazing things have been accomplished. Though it is often hard to verify the truth to the claims of hysterical strength, it is believed that when people are in a life or death situation, their adrenaline gives them enough power to do the unimaginable.
6. Kim Peek – The Human Encyclopedia
Kim Peek, besides being the inspiration for the movie Rain Man, is an interesting scientific case because he truly was one of a kind. Scientists aren’t entirely sure why he his brain worked the way that it did. There is speculation that his brain made unusual connections due to the absence of a corpus callosum, which allowed him to have an increased memory capacity. In layman’s terms, once Kim Peek read something, he would have absolutely no problem recalling that information later in life. It is said that he was able to accurately recall the contents of at least 12,000 books, as well as read two different pages of a book at the same time, using one of his eyes for each.
At the age of 18, Kim was started working at a company where he managed the payrolls of 160 people, a task that he could do in a few hours, without the help of a calculator. However, a decade later his employers decided to try computerized payroll accounting, causing him to be replaced by two full-time accountants and a computer.
Now, he may seem like a super genius when you read about his accomplishments, but that’s not actually the case. While Kim Peek was gifted in remembering anything he read, he was unable to take care of himself, and lived under the care of his father his whole life. It is said that while he had tons of information in his brain, he didn’t actually understand the information, he could just recite it.
5. Ben Underwood – The Actual Batman
Ben Underwood lost his eyesight when he was three years old due to cancer, but that didn’t stop him from doing the things that other kids did. Believe it or not, Ben was able to train himself to use echolocation, a technique used by bats, and other animals to ‘see’ their surroundings.
The general idea behind echolocation is that an animal, or in this case Ben, makes a sound, then uses the echo of that sound on objects near them to paint a picture of their environment in their head. Ben trained himself how to do this at the age of five. He appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show (as well as having numerous television specials about him) because only a handful of humans have been able to use echolocation as a means of ‘seeing’ their environment.
In this video, you can see Ben confidently clicking to play basketball, ride his bike, and walk down the stairs at his house without fail:
In other videos about Ben, he is able to walk down a street, click, and tell the reporter what is immediately around him. For example, if there are garbage bins to his left, or right.
To this day, he is considered one of the most proficient human echolocators. Unfortunately, Ben passed away in 2009 after the cancer that took his vision spread to different parts of his body. He was 16 years old.
4. Liew Thow Lin – Magnet Man
Liew Thow Lin has unusual skin. For a somewhat unknown reason, he is able to stick metal objects to his body, and surprisingly, they’ll stay there until he removes them. But I’m not talking about that stupid trick where you breathe on a spoon and stick it to your nose; Liew is better than that.
Magnet Man can stick full chunks of metal to his body. He has performed at charity events, sticking a total of 79 pounds worth of metal to his body, and he has also pulled a car using his unique ability.
However, it was discovered that while he can stick metal objects to him, he is not actually magnetic. Scientists from Malaysia’s University of Technology tested Liew and did not find a magnetic field in his body. Although they did note that his skin has high levels of friction that provide somewhat of a suction effect, scientists also believe that this odd condition is genetic, because three of Liew’s grandchildren are able to stick things to themselves as well.
His superhero name is a little misleading, but in my defense, “Magnet Man” sounds better than “Suction Skin Guy.”
3. Dean Karnazes – Marathon Man
Dean Karnazes is the type of athlete that makes running a marathon look like child’s play. From an early age, Dean was exhibiting unnatural levels of athleticism. On his 12th birthday, for example, he cycled 40 miles to his grandparents’ home just for the fun of it. Now, Dean is considered by doctors to have unbelievable levels of endurance.
Essentially, when you work out, you are exerting yourself and causing your body to be temporarily damaged. From my understanding, this is measured through what are called CPKs. After running a marathon the average person measures around 2,400. Dean the Marathon Man Karnazes, on the other hand, only had a CPK measurement of 447…after 25 consecutive marathons.
Essentially, his endurance is so unbelievably good that he is hardly even affecting his body when he exercises. Scientists also discovered that Dean has more blood in his circulatory system than the average person, which means that he needs less oxygen and is able to stay hydrated for longer. Doctors believe that if he were to stay properly fed and drink enough water, he could keep a seven-minute-mile pace forever.
Dean isn’t wasting his talent, either. He has completed countless marathons and long endurance races, for charity. Most notably, he completed 50 marathons, in 50 states, in 50 consecutive days!
2. Wim Hof – The Frosted Fellow
Wim Hof is a dutch daredevil, known for his ability to withstand the extreme cold. Through a series of tests, scientists have concluded that Wim is able to control his autonomic nervous system to control his body temperature. The man can literally dictate how hot or cold he is. Don’t even try to tell me that’s not a super power.
Wim holds 20 different world records, and you’ve probably seen some of them aired on a television show of some sort. He has broken the record for world’s longest ice bath numerous times. The current record stands at 1 hour, 52 minutes, and 42 seconds.
Wim was able to climb to an altitude of 22,000 ft at Mount Everest wearing nothing but his shoes and his shorts. He only failed to reach the summit because of a recurring foot injury that prevented him. In 2009, Wim completed a full marathon above the Arctic Circle in Finland, where temperatures reach -4 °F in nothing but shorts in a time of 5 hours and 25 minutes.
But the Frosted Fellow isn’t only able to withstand cold temperatures. In September, 2011, he was able to run a full marathon in the Namib Desert without any water. The run was performed under the careful supervision of a witch doctor. I guess running a regular marathon just isn’t challenging enough for him.
1 Isao Machii – The Swift Samurai
Isao Machii is a Japanese Iaido master, who holds a number of Guinness World Records for his sword skills. His most impressive record by far is “Fastest tennis ball(590 mph) cut by sword.” For reference, the fastest MLB pitch ever recorded was 105 mph, thrown by Aroldis Chapman. Isao was able to cut a ball travelling more than fives times faster than the fastest MLB pitch because he doesn’t just react to what he’s seeing and hearing. If he did, he would still be too slow. He is essentially predicting where his targets will be in the air, and slicing accordingly.
This video, where he cuts a pellet travelling towards him from 70 feet away at a speed of 200 mph, breaks down just how amazing Isao really is.
In the video you can’t see the pellet travelling towards him, but you hear him slice it. Even when the video is slowed down, it is still relatively difficult to actually see the pellet, and predict where it will be in the air when Isao hits it.
Do you know the saying where if you put in 10,000 hours into anything, you will become a master at it? Judging by his skill level, Isao has put in millions, if not billions of hours. I don’t care if it’s not physically possible for one person to put in that many hours of work. There’s just no other way to explain how good he is.