We all have our own ways of passing the time. A lot of us have the conventional hobbies like reading, playing video games, or going jogging. Others may be into more specific things like fly-fishing or salsa dancing. But do a quick inventory of all the hobbies among your friends and family and you’re unlikely to come across a pastime as weird as the ones listed below. So your Dad's interested in antique stamp collecting? I doubt it can beat faking your own death as a hobby!
How about doing some ironing in mid-air in the middle of a skydive? If you think you know what a bizarre hobby looks like, you haven’t come across these people before. Taking up an interest in your spare time and sticking to it takes passion and dedication, but to read about some of the following pursuits it would seem that insanity is also a vital ingredient to maintaining a hobby. What makes someone suddenly decide that they want to start collecting their own belly fluff and keep it in a jar? Gross.
In some ways, these weird past times from around the globe involve a lot of the same elements as your average ones – collecting, being outdoors, crafting, etc. But this is most definitely where the similarities end. Each of these so-called "hobbies" has put a strange twist on everyday pursuits and the results are equally hilarious and gross. Here’s a collection of 15 insanely weird hobbies from around the world...
15 Collecting Navel Fluff (Australia)
You know that gross habit you might do absent-mindedly sometimes? One guy has made a hobby out of it. Australian man Graham Barker has spent the last 26 years of his life harvesting his own belly fluff and collecting it in jars. No, seriously. Barker started this super gross past time way back in 1984 and has since amassed so much of the stuff, he has stored it all up in various jars – all 22.1 grams of it. Why he’s actually weighed the stuff, we don’t know. It’s not like someone’s going to beat him to that record anytime soon.
We can’t imagine a magazine being dedicating to navel fluff extraction in the near future, but it appears to have made Mr. Barker happy. Apparently, when asked why on Earth he decided to do this for more than 20 years, Mr. Barker has always replied: “Why not?” Um, so many reasons, dude. The main one being that if you ever have hopes of being in a long-term relationship, you might want to lose your lifelong body museum pronto.
14 Extreme Ironing (UK)
For those of you out there who aren’t exactly bowled over by regular ironing, maybe you’d like to take up extreme ironing? This takes the boring household chore and puts a slightly death-defying spin on it. The hobby that began in the UK has gained appreciation worldwide and has seen dedicated followers posting pictures of themselves ironing on mountain tops, on kayaks and even while skydiving. Eat your heart out, Evel Knievel!
The sport of extreme ironing apparently began back in 1997 in the UK when a guy named Phil Shaw from the West Midlands had plans to go rock-climbing with some friends but also had a mountain of ironing to do that day. His solution? Take the mountain of creased clothes to the mountain itself! Well, not quite a mountain, but a tall rock formation. From that day forth, a hobby was born. When the view from your kitchen window isn’t enough...
13 Faking Your Own Death (USA)
If the name Chuck Lamb rings a bell with you, congratulations – you’re a hardcore horror film geek. Chuck Lamb from Ohio is also known as the "Dead Body Guy" and has made appearances in several horror films – all thanks to his bizarre hobby of faking his own death. Chuck originally had dreams of being an actor, but after deciding that he didn’t feel confident enough in a speaking role, he changed his focus to a more silent kind of role...make that very silent.
Lamb’s oddball hobby of playing dead has gained the attention and admiration of horror fans around the world and it has even helped him earn a modest career as a corpse in a few horror movies. Some of Chuck’s movie credits include things like "Corpse #3" and "Dead Guy" in the TV series What I Like About You. Chuck was dying to be an actor and he looks like he finally got his wish (sorry).
12 Mooing (USA)
This is about as minimal as a hobby can get. The activity of mooing pretty much just involves...that’s right, mooing. However, professional mooers (or is that mooists?) didn’t think it was enough just to imitate a cow with their voice, so they built an entire community around it and that, of course, involves dressing up as cows and holding state fairs and competitions around the country to celebrate the wonders of mooing together. How udder-ly ridiculous.
The hobby of mooing originated in the dairy state of Wisconsin where the official mooing competition known as "Moo-la-palooza" is held in order to try and find the best cow impersonator ever. The most recent winner of the Moo-la-palooza grand prize was 10-year-old Austin Siok who delivered a "Moo" so fantastic, he won $1000, a golden cow bell and a year’s supply of sub sandwiches. (If any of them contain beef, isn’t that a bit cannibalistic for a dedicated cow impersonator?)
11 Polishing Dirt (Japan)
They say you can’t polish a turd, well some people of the world like to polish something pretty similar – bits of dirt and mud. The Japanese art of polishing up mud balls is known locally as Hikaru Dorodango and it involves rolling bits of mud into a ball and coating it in fine grains of soil to create a smoother surface. After repeating this process several times, the moisture is drawn out of the mud balls, allowing the person to polish them until they’re left with a shiny ornamental ball (and very smelly hands).
How and why this ever became a thing is unknown, but the hobby of refining and polishing balls of dirt is said to have been a traditional game among children. Looking at the finished product, you’d think they were expensive ornaments from Pottery Barn, but we know the truth and it's pretty gross.
10 Toy Voyaging (Worldwide)
Buzz and Woody went on their own little adventures in Toy Story, so who’s to say real-life toys can’t experience the same fun? The hobby known as "toy voyaging" has gained momentum on social media in recent years and it involves sending your favorite toy out into the world for a vacation. The odd part is, you won’t be there with it. A company called ToyVoyagers actually arranges for your toy to be sent to a temporary accommodation anywhere in the world and then sends you photo updates of your little stuffed pal.
Once someone across the world has your beloved toy, you can even give them instructions and missions as to where you’d like to see them go. This sounds really cute and inventive and all, but what if your toy got lost or stolen by its temporary owners? No good can come of this! Plus, it’s a bit of a kick in the teeth to come home from a lousy day at the office only to find photos of your teddy bear drinking wine under the Eiffel Tower.
9 Extreme Dog Grooming (China)
Competition among dog owners is nothing new, but some have taken one aspect of dog care to the extreme. If you’ve ever wasted hours on funny YouTube videos of animals looking stupid (who hasn’t, right?) you’ll have probably come across some poor dog dressed up to look like a superhero – but this is amateur hour. Fanatical dog groomers aren’t content with dressing their dog up for fun at home, they make it their mission to transform their poor pooch until they’re pretty much unrecognizable.
The pastime of competitive dog grooming originated in China and has since spread to other parts of the world – particularly in the US, where obsessive dog owners enter their insane creations in the National Dog Groomers Association of America. Some owners disguise their poor four-legged friends as tigers and pandas, others decide to turn them into popular TV and film characters. We appreciate the creativity on display here, but I bet the dog doesn’t.
8 Tattooing Vehicles (Taiwan)
A Taiwanese man likes to practice something most of us would get arrested for in a heartbeat – decorating cars with ink. Except, 71-year-old pensioner Li Zongxiong is not vandalizing the vehicles, he is tattooing them in intricate works of art. In his own unique form of graffiti, Zongxiong covers entire vehicles – from the wheels to the rear view mirrors – in inspirational words from Buddhist texts. Hey, we could think of far worse things to be tattooed onto cars!
The artistic 71-year-old apparently makes his family nervous with his hobby. They fear that any new vehicle he buys will only end up covered in tattooed Buddhist writing – no matter how pricey the car. Zongxiong currently has cars, motorbikes and pickup trucks covered in his own intricate handiwork, but he has his eyes set on bigger things. His grandson has sweetly promised to buy him a big bus so that his hobby can last him a little longer.
7 Collecting Ecstasy (Netherlands)
Taking up this kind of "hobby" would normally get you arrested faster than you can say MDMA, but one man in the Netherlands has managed to get a pretty big collection of ecstasy going. He doesn't actually take the stuff, he just hoards a case full of it. (Sure, we believe you.) Dutch authorities were alerted to this man’s illegal hobby when they received a report of theft in 2009. It was the 46-year-old ecstasy collector, telling them that a burglar had stolen his E collection (2,400 pills worth, to be exact!).
The Dutch man - who is yet to be identified – had reportedly started collecting ecstasy pills because he appreciated the various colors and stamp markings on them, but had denied ever taking the drugs himself. The Dutch police never charged the man for possession as they didn’t have sufficient evidence. Although, as a police spokesperson commented: “Why would you make this up?”
6 Bug Fighting (Japan)
A bit like cock fighting but with insects, the unusual and cruel sport of bug fighting is a hobby that has gained a huge following online in Japan. All manner of insects are entered into a fighting pit or "arena" and pitted against each other to fight to the death. These fights are usually recorded and put up online, where a loyal (and quite clearly disturbed) audience watch with the same level of excitement as the Super Bowl.
Japan is certainly no stranger to fighting games and weird competitive sports. This is the birthplace of sumo wrestling and Pokémon after all – these guys know how to stage weird-ass fights. Speaking of Pokémon, the hobby of bug fighting is thought to be inspired by the popular TV series and video game. I don’t remember the blood and guts shown in the original Pokémon games. Also, they were virtual animals, so it wasn’t as morally questionable when you watched their health bar drain to zero.
5 Painting The Biggest Ever Ball Of Paint (USA)
Some record-breakers have tried making the world’s largest ball out of rubber bands, but this concept is so last decade. How about a ball made up of endless layers of paint? Now you’re talking! What started out as a regular size baseball has now become a gigantic paint ball weighing a whopping 3,500 lbs (1587 kg) after a man began covering his baseball with a coat of paint every day since 1977!
Michael Carmichael from Indiana asked his son to paint the first ever coat of paint back in the late 70s. Since then, he has applied a new layer of paint ever since with only one rule – that each layer has to be a different color from the last. The mammoth ball of paint has attracted tourists from all over the world to Michael's home and some are even allowed to add the next coat to the ball. He apparently has plans to pass the ball on to his grandchildren as a family heirloom.
4 Collecting Airline Sick Bags (Singapore)
Who wouldn’t want to fill their home with in-flight barf bags? This bizarre hobby thankfully refers to collecting brand new, empty sick bags as opposed to taking them from a nauseous passenger, although this doesn’t make this pursuit any less ridiculous. One of the original sick bag collectors or "baggists" as they're sometimes known, is from Singapore and has reportedly collected 288 sick bags from 186 different airlines. That’s...dedication.
Not content with the impressive number of in-flight sick bags already collected from traveling to 81 different countries, the original Singapore baggist is always on the hunt for more and there is even a website to help him “catch them all.” No, really. There is a community of baggists who trade in their sick bag duplicates for sick bags that are still missing from their collection. Those new to the hobby can actually get a "starter kit" too. WTF...
3 News-Bombing (UK)
News-bombing is essentially photo-bombing but instead of walking into the frame of someone’s holiday snap, you’re getting in the way of someone’s live TV report. We’ve all seen it happen once or twice while watching the news – a person waving or smiling at the camera in the background of a news report, but how often do you see the same person news-bombing on camera? People in the UK are familiar with Paul Yarrow – a guy who loves to spend his free time standing behind journalists.
For years, Yarrow has been spotted across all of the major news networks in the UK, including the BBC and Sky News. Whenever there’s a major news story, you can bet he’ll be there. At first glance, it might seem like he’s news-bombing for the same reason anyone does – for a laugh – but Yarrow is apparently making a point with his stunt. Allegedly, Yarrow wanted to highlight the fact that broadcasters only allow attractive people on camera. Not sure if you’ve noticed, Paul, but not every TV reporter exactly qualifies for supermodel status.
2 Knitting Breasts (UK)
Before you snicker, this is actually educational – but we’d like to see the look on stranger's faces when they walk into this lady’s living room! When you picture most 84-year-old ladies knitting, you imagine them making a tea cozy or maybe a wool sweater for their grandson, right? Not this grandma. Audrey Horncastle from East Sussex in the UK has knitted over 100 breasts and no, she doesn’t have a one-track mind – she makes them for midwives and nurses to help them educate new mothers about breastfeeding.
Of all the weird hobbies on this list, this one is definitely the most useful, but it certainly isn’t your average knitting project! Mrs. Horncastle started making woolen bosoms for her daughter Rhona who works as a community nurse. They hope that by raising awareness of breastfeeding, more new mothers will feel less stigmatized by feeding the natural way. Impressive. Not many people can say their hobby also helps a lot of people. Still makes us blush though!
1 Train Surfing (Germany)
The incredibly stupid and dangerous hobby of train surfing is pretty self-explanatory – daredevils looking for a final adventure hitch a ride on the outside of a passenger train and cling on for dear life. Long before people were "planking" and "dabbing" on railway tracks, some idiots started the far more death-defying craze of simply jumping onto and keeping their balance on a moving train. This hobby apparently started in Germany back in 1980 and has been growing in popularity ever since.
Despite the alarming fact that at least 40 young men died in 2008 alone as a result of train surfing in Germany, this reckless pastime still has its fans. Even if people manage to cling on to the trains while "surfing" them, they also risk death from colliding with tunnel entrances, not to mention the risk of electrocution from overhead pylons. The craze has even swept to underground train surfing, with several incidents reported in Moscow. Insane.
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