Despite what the detractors say, a good superhero tale never has and will never go out of fashion. Whether they have shown up in the form Greek Mythology with demigods like Hercules and Perseus achieving feats that are far beyond human capabilities, or from the pages of comic books to the big screen with the likes of Captain America, Batman, Superman and others showing up in films like The Avengers and The Justice League.
Even in the real world, the fascination with superhumans extends to our belief that human beings are capable of great things whether it’s learned or genetically inherited. While we are a long way from web-slinging through New York City or being faster than a speeding bullet, there are several men and women out there that have still achieved some incredible feats, be it through a mutation of the genes or a product of their environment. Most people like to believe that they have a talent or are special in some way, but there are people who take their gifts and abilities far beyond what is considered “normal”. Such people have broken world records, lived better lives, and just like superheroes strove to help others. Here are 15 people gifted with real-life superpowers that you wouldn’t believe.
15. BEN UNDERWOOD: A REAL-LIFE DAREDEVIL
Ben Underwood was diagnosed with retinal cancer at the age of two, and as a result had both of his eyes surgically removed when he was just three years old. Despite this, Ben managed to learn how to live a full a life as possible through the use of echolocation.
Echolocation is the ability to detect objects in their environment by sensing echoes sounds bouncing back from those objects. Ben was able to navigate the environment using clicking sounds from his mouth, so he could use auditory rather than visual cues and taught himself how to ride a skateboard, a bike and play football. It is very similar to the sonar ability that allows bats and dolphins to hunt their prey, and communicate, or even the Marvel’s Daredevil. Sadly Ben passed away in 2009 at the age of 16 after another battle with retinal cancer.
14. WIM HOF: THE ICEMAN COMETH
Wim Hof is a daredevil from Sittard, Limburg in the Netherlands who earned the nickname “The Iceman” because of his incredible ability to withstand extremely cold temperatures. Hof attributes his ability to withstand such extreme temperatures by using special breathing and meditation techniques that are similar to Tibetan practices of Tummo — the ability to increase one’s body temperature through yoga. However, experts believe that Hof may possess much higher levels of brown adipose tissue, the fatty tissue in the body that aids in cold resistance.
Hof currently holds 26 world records. Some of these extraordinary feats include running 22,000 feet up Mount Everest, and the top of Mount Kilimanjaro wearing nothing but shorts. He also holds the Guinness World record for staying submerged in ice for an hour and 52 minutes. In 2011 Hof ran a full marathon across the Namib Desert without water.
13. MASTER ZHOU: THE TRUE PROTECTOR OF K’UN-LUN
Grand Master Zhou is a living treasure and is known to his birthplace of China as “Jewel of the Nation” because of his 18th Generation Wu Dang Lineage. Master Zhou is a Kung Fu and Tai Chi master has shown the ability to generate heat of up to 202 degrees Fahrenheit through his hands. Master Zhou has also displayed the of the power of healing through a method known as Qi Gong.
Master Zhou has appeared on several television shows such as the History Channel’s Stan Lee’s Superhumans and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. He travels the world doing Qi Gong demonstrations in front of thousands and has taught and treated people like the Dalai Lama, the LA Lakers, and several celebrities and athletes.
12. RAJ MOHAN NAIR: A REAL-LIFE ELECTRO
Indian born Raj Mohan Nair came to be known as the “Electro-Man” discovered superpower when he tried to commit suicide at the age of seven by climbing a transformer and grabbing one of the live wires. Amazingly, he wasn’t hurt, and he came to believe that he was blessed with a gift from God.
Nair has the ability to withstand up to 10 amps of electrical current, and tests have proved that he is able to withstand ten times more electrical current than the average human body. He can power light bulbs and appliances by allowing electrical current to pass through his body, by using his tongue for better conductivity. On Stan Lee’s Superhumans Nair showed off the ability to power a three amp blender using his tongue — if a normal human tried this, they would most certainly be killed.
11. TIM CRIDLAND: IMPERVIOUS TO PAIN
Tim Cridland is a sideshow performer who also calls himself the Zamora the Torture King. This is because Tim has a seemingly unbelievable endurance withstanding pain. Being one of the original members of the Jim Rose Circus, Tim has performed incredible feats for decades, such as skewering himself through any part of his body, swallowing flaming swords, electrocution and laying on a bed of nails and getting audience members to jump on him.
Experts believe that Tim has a rare genetic disorder known as Congenital Analgesia where he is unable to feel any pain, although he attributes his abilities to his knowledge of martial arts, middle eastern teachings, and anatomical science. Tim has featured on Stan Lee’s Superhumans, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, and travels all over the world performing his one-man shows for everyone to see.
10. DANIEL BROWNING SMITH: FANTASTICALLY FLEXIBLE
Daniel Browning Smith is a contortionist that has been dubbed Rubber Boy because he holds seven Guinness World Records earning him the title of the most flexible person in history. Daniel can dislocate his arms, legs, ribs, and turn his torso 180 degrees.
The secret to Daniel’s unbelievable flexibility is a rare medical condition known as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. It’s a collagen disorder which allows him to have hyper-flexible joints giving his body an elasticity that Mister Fantastic would be proud of. Daniel currently performs at NBA halftime shows, is a stuntman in movies and television, but he’s perhaps more recognizable to those who watched Stan Lee’s Superhumans as the host and narrator throughout the duration of the series.
9. LIEW THON LIN: THE MALAYSIAN MAGENTO
Liew Thow Lin from Malaysia became known as the Magnetic Man because of his ability to stick metallic objects to his body. Even though a university study was done to prove that Lin has no actual magnetic properties, it did prove that his skin has special suction properties which allow the metal to stick to it.
So while he doesn’t have Magneto’s powers, he does have some form of friction manipulation powers (even though his skin isn’t sticky or rough to touch), as he was able to display his level of extreme friction by pulling a car by himself, without causing any damage to his skin. In addition, it seems that whatever these powers are, it is hereditary as Lin’s grandsons also possess the exact same abilities he does.
8. NATASHA DEMKINA: THE GIRL WITH X-RAY VISION
Russian born Natasha Deminka and is known as the Girl With X-Ray Eyes because she claims she can through peoples skin and diagnose medical ailments inside the body. Natasha claims that she first discovered her ability at the age of 10, when she told her mother that she could see her organs and could switch her X-Ray vision on and off at will.
Word quickly spread amongst the local population and Deminka would regularly provide medical consultations. It wasn’t long before the media took an interest and Natasha would eventually take part in a Discovery Channel funded study in 2004 where she correctly identified and diagnosed the ailments of four volunteers. Despite this, the study proved inconclusive and lacked the sufficient evidence to promote further study.
7. STEPHEN WILTSHIRE: THE HUMAN CAMERA
Even from an early age London born Stephen Wiltshire showed an incredible talent for art and drawing. He was diagnosed with autism at the age of three and his father passed away in a motorbike accident. Stephen learned how to express himself through art, and his teachers would use to his passion to help him communicate verbally. His gifts didn’t go unnoticed, and he received his first commission at the age of 8 for the former prime minister Edward Heath.
Stephen gained international recognition through his gift of a photographic memory and his ability to draw entire cities like London, New York, Sydney and Singapore from a single helicopter ride. He uses his abilities to help raise funds and awareness for autism charities worldwide.
6. DEAN KARNAZES: UNLIMITED ENDURANCE
Dean Karnazes is an ultra-marathon runner from Los Angeles, Inglewood, California that may have the secret limitless cardiovascular endurance. He has an impressive list feats such as running 350 miles in 80 hours and 44 minutes without sleep, single-handedly completed a 199-mile relay from Calistoga to Santa Cruz 11 times, and he and ran a marathon in 50 states in 50 consecutive days.
Doctors conducted a medical study on Dean and discovered that he has a unique physiology that allows his muscles to work longer and harder than that of the average human being. In addition, his body is also able to regulate the blood in his circulatory system allowing his cardiovascular system to work more efficiently than the average person.
5. MATSUTATSU OYATA: THE GODHAND
Masutatsu Oyama is a karate master that created and founded the Kyokushin Karate style that is considered the most influential style of full contact Karate. Additionally, Oyami is the teacher of some the worlds best and most successful martial artists and champions.
Oyama earned the nickname of “Godhand” after battling bulls barehanded, three of which he killed with a single strike. However, Oyama truly earned his nickname when he competed in and won a 100-man Kumite, three times in a row over the course of three days defeating a total 300 opponents in full contact martial arts contests. Oyama has had a manga series and a 47-episode anime based on his legacy, and the Mr. Karate character from SNK’s King of Fighters series was based on the karate master.
4. BYRON FERGUSON – MASTER MARKSMAN
Byron Ferguson discovered his love for archery since the age of 12 and is capable of incredible feats of skill with the longbow. He supposedly perfected his unique abilities by practicing in a dark room and shooting arrows at candle flames. Bryon featured on Stan Lee’s Superhumans and demonstrated his incredible skill by having his wife throw an aspirin pill in the air and shooting it with an arrow. He’s featured on other television shows like History Channel’s Extreme Marksmen, and More Extreme Marksmen.
Bryon has better than average eyesight with a vision rating of 20/15, meaning that he can see at 20 feet what normal people can see at 15 feet away. So just like Hawkeye, he has a combination of remarkable skill and the natural talent to make him the perfect marksman.
3. LIAM HOEKSTRA: THE STRONGEST THERE IS
From a very early age, Liam Hoekstra’s adopted parents noticed that he far more physically capable than what is considered normal for a child of his age. At the age of just six months, he was already walking upright and making his own way up and down stairs without aid. More incredibly, he was able to do chin ups when he was one, and he was moving heavy furniture around the house by 18 months old.
When Liam was three, doctors conducted a strength test which showed he was three times stronger than a boy of his age, had 40% more muscle and is stronger than 85% of most kids double his age. The reasoning for Liam’s strength comes from a deficiency in his protein myostatin, this leads to double the muscle mass and a faster metabolism of body fat.
2. WILLIAM TRUBRIDGE: A REAL-LIFE AQUAMAN
William Trubridge is a world champion and record holding free diver from New Zealand. By the age of eight, William was already able to free-dive to 15 meters and was already competing against his brother to see who could make it to the deepest depths and for longer.
William became the main subject of Martin Khodabakhshian’s real-life documentary Breathe which followed him in his pursuit to become the first free diver to ever reach the depths of 300 feet on a single breath. Additionally, William currently holds 15 world records, including the Free Immersion dive to 396 feet in 2011. William doesn’t think his abilities come from any genetic advantage and feels his talent was learned through training, perseverance and spending a lot of time growing up in the water.
1. ISAO MACHII: THE REAL “ONE”
One of the coolest and most memorable scenes in The Matrix is when Keanu Reeves’ character Neo realized he was able to see and dodge bullets. Aside from being an amazing action scene, it’s memorable because it defies logic and seems totally impossible.
Super Samurai Isao Machii is a real-life man that can not only defy logic, but he can do it by slicing pellets traveling 160 feet per second which is faster than the human eye could register. His other feats include being able to slice a baseball in half traveling at 100mph, and he holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest tennis ball cut by a sword at 820km/h. Machii is able to demonstrate an inhuman level of spatial awareness, anticipatory processing that completely defies belief. It’s no wonder the Samurai were considered the greatest swordsmen to have ever lived.
Which of these “powers” would you love to have? Let us know in the comments!
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