Today, the cinematic universe is abuzz over the incredible appeal of superhumans and their incredible abilities. They are the subject of popular films, books, and television series. There is something very alluring about the extraordinary and unbelievable. Those of us who enjoy a good superhero flick, torn right from the pages of the comic books we loved as children, get intrigued when we learn that humans with such abilities do indeed walk among us. No, they’re not from other planets and nor were they irradiated by mutant spiders or spilled plutonium waste; they are just extraordinary individuals who, by some quirk of nature, can perform extraordinary feats. I’m not talking about average world-record fare: longest beard, tallest human, oldest man. I mean individuals who possess singular talents and abilities that set them apart from what we understand about the limits of human capabilities.
These include the unexplained brainpower and memory abilities of certain savants, such as the megasavant Kim Peek or Daniel Trammet, who can recite by memory Pi to 22,514 digits (it takes 5 hours non-stop to do so). You might have heard of the incredible abilities of Tom Cridland, aka Zamora the Torture King, who possesses what might be highest threshold for pain of any human. There is Dickson Oppong, whose stomach can hold 4.5 liters of water (normal humans can only hold about 1 liter), and then using his incredible stomach muscles can release the water like a fountain! More and more of these incredible superhumans are being discovered all the time, so much so that narrowing this list down to fifteen was incredibly difficult. Nevertheless, join me as I share with you 15 of the most unbelievable people with real superhuman abilities.
15. Lidell Simpson (Photonic Hearing)
Though Lidell Simpson was born deaf, he is quick to point out that he has never really known a day of silence in his life. His inner hearing allows him to register sounds uniquely, that he tries to relate to us as being akin to techno dance music. As the ability began to manifest itself, around the age of 4, he was unable to express the experience. He was misunderstood by doctors who then unsuccessfully attempted to have him institutionalized. He went on to understand that he had developed synesthesia, a neurological phenomenon where stimulation of one sense results in an involuntary experience felt in another sense. Researchers believe Lidell’s synesthesia was the result of his brain responding to a lack of sensory stimulation in one pathway by rewiring its sensory perceptions. Basically, he can experience almost anything around him as sounds: motion to sound, touch, taste, and smell to sound, emotions to sound. He calls it “Photonic Hearing.” His ability even allows him to watch television with the sound muted and still be able to hear the voices coming from the actor’s mouths.
Considering that he could have ended up in a mental institution, the lesson learned from Lidell is that just because we don’t understand something, doesn’t mean we should dismiss it. His parents refusing to heed doctor’s recommendations resulted in Lidell becoming the man he is today. He has mastered several languages, become a talented fencer, and even conducts research into synesthesia to help others understand the phenomenon. He strives to create awareness for this ability since there is a good chance there are other deaf children around the world who might have developed this same inner hearing.
14. Annalisa Flanagan (The Human Megaphone)
When Annalisa Flanagan speaks, people listen, they have to. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Annalisa is the world’s loudest woman. She can speak at a normal level, same as you and I, but if she desires, she can shout so loud that her voice has been equated to the sound of a jet engine. I thought my mother could yell loud, but evidently not this loud, in fact, no one can, she’s held the record for over 20 years now! Her voice has been registered at 121.7 decibels (the average rock concert registers at about 110 decibels)! As a gag, during the sound competition she shouted “quiet” towards the audience. Needless to say, she got their attention.
Her unsurpassed voice comes is quite useful in her occupation. Annalisa is an elementary school teacher, though she tries very hard not to shout at her students (for the very real fear of damaging their eardrums.). Her ability does come in handy at sporting events though or when she’s trying to call someone from a distance. Oh, apparently loud voices run in the family as her twin sister actually set the record first in 1992, with 119 decibels; a record she held for approximately one minute before Annalisa promptly broke it and set the new record.
13. Aaron Evans (The Human Spring)
Milwaukee-native Aaron Evans is a gymnastics specialist who first gained a passion for the sport when he was only five years old. He had watched a Bruce Lee film (arguably a superhuman himself) in which Lee ran up a divider and performed a reverse somersault, landing on his feet. Evans immediately went into his mother’s lawn and attempted the maneuver, succeeding on the first attempt. After, that he continued to teach himself tumbling and acrobatic tricks of all levels, on concrete at that. His school life was tumultuous and he attending eight different schools until finally graduating at the age of twenty. His final few years spent living out of his car with his trusty pet iguana. Throughout it all, however, he never lost his passion for acrobatic performances.
Why is Evans called The Human Spring? Many athletes can jump high, football combines prove this annually. What sets Aaron Evans apart from all other athletes is his unworldly spatial abilities when jumping. Evans can run towards a car travelling at 30 mph and somersault directly over it. He set the record, recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for jumping over three moving cars, which has been done before by others. However, Evans did it in just 29 seconds, faster than anyone has ever done before. He’s been featured on television shows and studied at universities. Evans ability is awe-inspiring; the sheer distance he can cover with his high leaps has yet to be matched.
12. Stig Severinsen (The Man Who Doesn’t Breathe)
Stig Severinsen is a remarkable human being. Born in Aalborg, Denmark, he has a Ph.D. in medicine and is an accomplished athlete. He has represented Denmark nationally in both Underwater Rugby and swimming. He is a four-time world freediving champion, having set four freediving AIDA world records. In addition to those accomplishments, Severinsen set the Guinness World Record for holding his breath an amazing 22 minutes! In case you fail to recognize the significance of that number, consider that a normal human being will die after just three minutes without taking a fresh breath. Most people find it very difficult to hold their breath longer than a minute or so. A television special once tested Severinsen where researchers found that his body used the red blood cells of his spleen, very similar to a dolphin, to help him achieve his otherworldly feats.
Severinsen has always been fascinated with how long he could hold his breath. In 2010, utilizing his knowledge of physiology, freediving, and yoga, he wrote Breatheology, and founded an online program of the same name, where he teaches health and performance via breathing and mental training techniques. That same year he set two records: swimming 236 feet (72 meters) under ice wearing only swim trunks and goggles (beating the famous Iceman Wim Hof’s record by almost 48 feet!); then swimming in a shark-infested tank (for some added stress) and holding his breath for 20 minutes and 10 seconds. It was in May 2012, that he set the new record of 22 minutes.
11. Jerry Miculek (Speed Shooter)
The fastest shot ever was supposedly the old west’s famous “Wild Bill” Hickock who reportedly killed over a hundred men, never losing a gunfight. However, he never met Jerry Miculek. Miculek is world-renowned as quite possibly the fastest and greatest all-around shooter of all time. He has set over 20 world records, most notably emptying a revolver in an astonishing 0.57 seconds, into a pattern grouping the size of a playing card! Born in Texas, but raised in Louisiana, Miculek has been an avid shooting and hunting enthusiast his whole life.
Miculek holds over a hundred shooting titles, including the International Revolver Championship, which he’s won 21 times. He’s also the 10-time Revolver Champion, 8-time National Revolver Champion, and is one of the few people to be honored with a lifetime achievement award in shooting. In 2003, he fired six shots from ten different revolvers in just 17.12 seconds, setting a world record. His ability to shoot fast and accurately is what has set Miculek apart from the rest of the sport shooting world. In 2013, he fired six shots from a rifle in 0.98 seconds, later firing five shots from a pistol in 0.82 seconds. If that weren’t impressive enough, in 2014, Miculek fired nineteen shots from two .233 pistols, at five different targets, in 3.10 seconds. The man’s skill with a firearm is uncanny, bordering on the impossible. There’s no question that no one can handle a gun like Jerry Miculek.
10. Harold Williams (Super Linguist)
The common person has the capacity of learning six different languages, of which a person might be fluent in three with the others being spoken or written with plenty of grammatical and spelling errors, easily evident to any native speaker. Harold Williams was fluent in a remarkable 58 languages! Born on April 6, 1876, in Auckland, New Zealand, Williams seemed like any normal child. By the age of 7, however, he felt compelled to learn different languages. He first mastered Latin, one of the hardest languages to learn even now. By the time he entered high school he was already fluent in more than ten languages. He attended Auckland University and then Munich University in Germany, where he completed his Ph.D. in languages at the age of 26.
The son of a Methodist priest, Williams later became a pastor, and wrote two books. He would also work as a journalist and an adviser of Russian affairs to the British ambassador. Some say he spoke and wrote Russian better than many of the native Russians he dealt with. Harold Williams’ ability to master so many languages redefined what we believed the limits were of the human brain. So far, no one else has been revealed to have learned as many languages as Williams, and it is quite possible no one else ever will.
9. Isao Machii (Super Samurai)
Legend tells us that the samurai were some of the most disciplined, noble, and skilled warriors to ever walk the planet. Their legacy lives on in Isao Machii, whose incredible abilities have led to him being dubbed “The Super Samurai.” Machii holds numerous Guinness World Records for phenomenal skills with a sword. He is a Japanese master in Iaido, which is the art of drawing a sword, striking swiftly and accurately, and then replacing the sword into its scabbard, or saya. He routinely amazes audiences with his extraordinary sword skills. His abilities have been considered near-impossible, but Machii possesses sensory capabilities that border on otherworldly, and are far beyond anything ever seen in an average human being.
One of his awe-inspiring feats was when he drew his sword and split in half a pellet fired from a BB-gun travelling at a speed of 200 miles per hour. The attempt was captured on video and when viewed revealed just how skilled Machii really is. A normal person would only just begin to register the sound of the BB-gun firing, yet Machii instantaneously anticipates the location of the pellet and strikes effortlessly and smoothly. The video of the feat is online and has to be seen to be believed. That achievement is only one of many that demonstrate Machii really is a “Super Samurai.”
8. Liam Hoekstra (Super Strength)
Liam Hoekstra was born in 2005, and lives with his adopted parents Dana and Neil Hoekstra in Michigan. Liam’s unbelievable strength was first displayed when he performed an iron cross at 5 months old! If you’re unfamiliar with the term, an iron cross is an extremely difficult skill performed on the gymnastic rings. To execute correctly, a gymnast must extend both arms straight out from their sides mid-air while holding the rings and maintain position for a number of seconds at least. It almost defies the laws of gravity and requires almost impossible core body and arm strength. Liam did it on a whim! His parents were amazed and enrolled their young son in a gymnastics class. While other children struggled with basic exercises, Liam performed them effortlessly. He even held his torso above the chin-up bar and held it for minutes on end.
After a system of tests and medical exams, it was discovered that Liam had a rare genetic myostatin-related condition called Muscle Hypertrophy. This is basically a medical condition where the body builds muscle quickly while preventing body fat. His skeletal structure and muscle mass increase rapidly without any heart damage or side effects. While still a very small child, Liam had 40% body muscle with almost no fat. I know what you’re thinking – he’s just a kid. I’ve seen guys at my gym stronger than this boy! Sure, but they’ve worked years to attain that level of strength, through vigorous exercise and diet. Liam can sit on his couch all day, eating ice cream and potato chips, and then still be in the best shape of any child you’ve ever seen. His strength and speed are superior to anyone his age and he will outclass them all in any strength-related activity he tries. Proportionately, he could be one of the strongest people on the planet.
7. Byron Ferguson (Hawkeye)
Byron Ferguson possesses eyesight greater than that of a normal person, 20/15. This basically means he can see clearly at 20 feet away what normal people can see 15 feet away. He has used his incredible eyesight to become an extreme archer of superhuman skill. Fascinated with the bow and arrow since the age of twelve, Ferguson says that to become a good archer one must make the bow and arrow an extension of your own body. Featured on numerous television shows, including History Channel’s Extreme Marksmen and More Extreme Marksmen, Ferguson further developed his marksmanship skills by developing how own style of archery by sitting in a dark room and shooting arrows at candle flames.
He uses a traditional long bow and one of his incredible feats was having his wife throw a small aspirin up into the air and him striking it with an arrow. Using no sights or aim enhancers, he has become a trick shot master and long bow legend. A few of his famous tricks include once shooting eight dimes in a row out of the air, and splitting a playing card in half – from the side! One of his most difficult shots was when he was put on the spot while filming a television show in Japan. Without notice, they asked him to shoot an arrow through a diamond ring. Without practice, Ferguson made the shot on his first attempt. While hosting a television show on the outdoors once, a tribe of Apache Indians named him “Tdo-ee-cee-e,” which means “The One That Doesn’t Miss.” How appropriate.
6. Grandmaster Zhou, The Jewel of China
A small group of Tibetan monks known as the Tummo Monks attract visitors from around the world with their ability to enter deep meditation, and in doing so concentrate their body heat, raising their body temperature to unbelievably high levels, which lacks all scientific explanation. One Thai Chi and Kung Fu master has refined this ability even further. He is Grandmaster Zhou and he is a Qigong healer. The “qi” in Qigong translates to the English word “heat,” and this is the centerpiece of the grandmaster’s fame. He is able to concentrate heat into his hands, and then soothing pain and ailments by then putting those hands on his patients. Born Zhou Ting-Jue in mainland China in 1934, he is a Grandmaster, 18th Generation of the Wu Dang lineage.
When asked to demonstrate his abilities, he has been known to dry up soft clay in his hands or, more impressively, boiling water by simply holding it! He has had hundreds of satisfied patients, including the Dalai Lama and members of the Los Angeles Lakers professional basketball team. His fame and abilities have earned him the name, “The Jewel of China.” Skeptics and researchers have tested Grandmaster Zhou and can find no scientific explanation for his abilities. According to Zhou, his power stems from being able to harness his “chi” through meditation and concentration, focusing it into the palms of his hands. The heat generated by his hands has been measured up to 202 degrees Fahrenheit, proven by thermal imaging. He is further known for the astounding ability to support his entire body weight on a single sheet of paper – truly superhuman.
5. Veronica Seider (Super Vision)
Earlier we told you about Byron Ferguson and his extraordinary vision. Veronica Seider would consider Mr. Ferguson vision-impaired. You see, while a human has visual acuity of 20/20, with Byron Ferguson possessing 20/15, Veronica Seider has acuity of 20/2. What this means is that the amount of detail a person can see at 20 feet away, Veronica can see at just over a mile (1.6 km)! Her remarkable eyesight has redefined the known limits of human eyesight. It is, quite literally, superhuman.
Born in West Germany in 1951, she was a normal student growing up, but her abilities began to be noticed when she was a student at Stuttgart University in 1972. She was easily identifying people from a mile away, as well as judging their relative distance from her position. Her vision was compared to a telescope in that she claims she can differentiate the grades of color that make up a particular color. In easy terms, we know that a particular color is composed of different shades of three primary colors: red, green, and blue. A normal person can see a color as a product of the mixing of these primary colors. Veronica can go a step further and actually make out the individual component shades that make up those colors. Despite her superhuman ability, Seider continued her education as a normal person and achieved her professional goal by becoming a dentist in West Germany.
4. Grandmaster Pan, The Iron Fist
Orphaned at a young age, Pan Qing Fu grew up in the crime-ridden streets of rural China. Filling a need to protect his younger siblings, he turned to the Buddhist philosophy and martial arts of the famous Shaolin Temple of Henan province. Quickly rising to the role of instructor, Pan would eventually become an expert in twenty different styles of kung fu. He won the Chinese National Wushu (Kung Fu) Championships many times and taught martial arts at multiple Chinese universities. He then became the head coach of China’s national kung fu team, and subsequently became one of China’s most respected martial artists.
Pan Qing Fu’s specialty was the iron fist technique. To perfect his technique, he would punch hard surfaces, including iron, up 1,000 times a day, quickly attaining the trademark callused knuckles. While his combat techniques were many, his iron fist was the one that no opponent could counter. Anyone he hit would be knocked unconscious with just a single punch. He once said that he never used more than a fraction of his strength when delivering the deadly blows. To demonstrate his power, he would often punch sheets of steel and offer up the bent plates as proof of his technique. In the mid-1960s, he was recruited to be an instructor to both the Beijing Police and the Chinese Special Forces. As such, he would lead police on daring raids to capture deadly Triad leaders, eventually capturing 23 single-handedly. In the early 1990s, Pan Qing Fu played himself in the film, Iron and Silk, based on the Mark Salzman book of the same name. Currently living in Ontario, Canada, Grandmaster Pan was bestowed with a 10th Level degree, from the Confederation of Canadian Wushu Organizations.
3. Bruce Lee (Super Skill)
There are few who haven’t heard of the incomparable Bruce Lee. His martial arts skills were legendary – much more formidable than what was portrayed in the action films he starred in. In fact, in those films Bruce actually had to slow down his techniques and exaggerate his strikes in order for the camera to be able to capture them. Bruce was born in California, in 1940, but raised in Hong Kong, where he trained in Wing Chun Kung Fu under the renowned Master Ip Man. During his younger years he was involved in quite a few street fights and ran afoul of the local police. To keep Bruce out of trouble, his parents sent him to live with his older sister in the United States.
While in the United States, Bruce became concerned that traditional martial arts were too bound by form, with easily countered fixed patterns. In response, he created Jeet Kune Do, loosely translated from Cantonese as “Way of the Intercepting Fist.” This non-traditional art was not fixed, patterned, and was more of a philosophy of using what works, discarding what doesn’t. It was based on the concept of attacking an opponent at the moment right before they launch their own attack. Bruce Lee believed in minimal movement with maximum effect. While teaching and demonstrating his art, Bruce developed his body to the peak of human perfection and revealed his superhuman abilities. He could perform one-fingered push-ups, one-armed pull-ups, and catch flying rice with chopsticks. His most impressive technique was his devastating one-inch punch, which would send opponents flying back many feet. If you thought the Bruce Lee you saw in the movies was impressive, it was nothing compared to his real talents. Bruce Lee was without a doubt the most influential martial artists of all-time.
2. Mas Oyama, Godhand
Masutatsu Oyama was born July 27, 1923, in South Korea. He was an undefeated martial arts master of both Shotokan and Goju-Ryu Karate, spending over a year training alone in mountain seclusion. His training was harsh and included breaking rocks with his bare hands, punching tree trunks, and enduring freezing waterfalls. When he emerged, he was a confident, extremely skilled martial arts expert. He began to give demonstrations of his skills by breaking tops off bottles or splitting rocks in two with a single strike, or by fighting bulls bare-handed. He fought 52 bulls, wrestling them to the ground, breaking off their horns, and on three occasions killing them instantly with one punch to the head. His deadly one-punch earned him the name “Godhand.”
In 1952, he toured the United States, taking on all-comers, again often ending the fights with one devastating punch. In 1957, he formalized his hard-striking technique into his own martial art and founded Kyokushin – literally “the ultimate truth.” Through this art, Oyama would test himself, most famously, through kumite, a progression of non-stop fights, with the winner proceeding to the next fight one after the other. Oyama fought 300 opponents, 100 per day, over a period of three days. He only stopped after none of the fighters were willing to continue. As a direct result, still today, in order to receive your 4th degree black belt in Kyokushin Karate, you must fight 100 men in a row! Grandmaster Mas Oyama, the superhuman “Godhand,” passed away on Apirl 26, 1994, at the age of 70.
1. Slavisa Pajkic (The Battery Man)
Every year, thousands of people are treated for electrocution, some even dying. One man who never has to worry about that is Slavisa Pajkic, “The Battery Man.” Pajkic stands out, even among other superhumans, due to his extraordinary ability to withstand and conduct extremely large amounts of high voltage. He can store electricity in his body and release it at-will, such as when he showcased his abilities on television by setting wood and paper items on fire by simply touching them. As a testament to his electrical abilities, he once knocked a television cameraman to the ground while he was wiring the room during setup. Pajkic had absorbed a large amount of electricity in preparation for a demonstration when the cameraman accidentally bumped into him. Think of accidentally touching someone and getting a static shock, except multiply it by 100!
Despite his potentially deadly abilities, Pajkic led a relatively normal childhood in Serbia. He discovered his incredible ability at the age of 17, and has been fascinated by it ever since. Though a normal person would receive serious injury with only 50 volts, Pajkic can withstand and store as many as 20,000 volts. In 1983, he set a record by withstanding 20,000 volts of electricity without injury. He set another record in 2003, by conducting enough electricity through his body to heat a cup of water to 206 degrees Fahrenheit (97C). He can use his body alternatively as a conductor, an insulator, a heater, or a battery depending on how he wants to use it or what is needed. What’s even more incredible is that, even after numerous tests and studies, scientists are baffled on how exactly Pajkic is able to accomplish these incredible feats! Some believe it is due to an as yet unknown genetic disorder, but really no one knows.