43 Curious Facts About the World’s Strangest People

“Sometimes I pretend to be normal. But it gets boring. So I go back to being me.” – Ain Eineziz

We’ve all known somebody who seems a little bit left of normal, but some people are just so strange that it can be hard to believe that they are real. Well, believe it: Below are 43 curious facts about the strangest people in the world.

43. No Barber for Him

A Vietnamese herbalist named Tran van Hay was known as the man with the longest hair in the world. Until his death at age 79 in 2010, he hadn’t cut his hair in 50 years, and had only washed it a few times.

42. Keeping a Hand Up for Peace

In 1973, holy man Saduh Amar Bhirati raised his right hand in the air for peace, and never put it down. Before 1970, he was a normal, middle class man. Then one morning he woke up and decided to leave it all behind to serve the Hindu god Shiva. Three years later, believing that he was still too connected to the pleasures of mortal life, he decided to raise his right arm and keep it raised—forever. 38 years later, it’s still up in the air.

41. I Ate This

Yoshiro Nakamatsu is a Japanese inventor with over 3,000 patents to his name; he claims he’s the original inventor of the floppy disc. For the last 40+ years, Nakamatsu has been conducting research on how to expand his lifespan, which is why he’s meticulously photographed, catalogued, and analyzed everything that he’s eaten since he was 42. In 2005, his investigations into the links between intelligence and eating habits earned him an Ig Nobel Prize (that’s the bad one).

40. Odd Parts

Elieen Brown, a woman from Bolton, England, became a real-life bionic woman when she had all but two of her joints replaced to treat her rheumatoid arthritis. Her left elbow is now the only original joint remaining in her body.

Lindsay Wagner played The bionic woman in the ’70s

39. Unicorn Woman

In 2015, an 87-year-old Chinese grandmother stumped doctors when she came to them with a large, curved horn on her head. According to reports, it started out as a black mole on her forehead, and then suddenly the mole split open and a horn started growing. The actual medical term for her condition is a cutaneous horn, which is a usual yet benign skin tumor.

World’s Strangest People facts

38. Big Mouth

Francisco Domingo Joaquim holds the record for the world’s biggest mouth. His mouth measures 17 cm wide at its fullest, and Joaquim has fit anything from a soda can to a wallet in his maw.

World’s Strangest People facts

37. The People’s Pope

In 1990, Daniel Allen Bawden was elected Pope in a papal conclave attended by 6 people, including Bawden himself and his own parents. He calls himself Pope Michael, and the conclave was called because Bawden believed there had been no legitimate Pope elected since the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958. As of 2009, he claimed to have 30 “solid” followers.

World’s Strangest People facts

36. Surprise Sibling

Bhagat, an Indian man from Nagpur, always felt self-conscious about his big belly. One night in summer of 1999, he was rushed to the hospital with a stomach so swollen he could barely breathe. The doctors discovered the half-formed body of a twin brother who had never been born.

World’s Strangest People facts

35. A Little Crowded in There

In 1999, Karen Overhill began finding herself in strange places with no idea about how she got there. She also found bookmarks further into books than she remembered reading, heard voices at night recapping her day, and ran into people who she didn’t know but who knew her. She discovered that she was suffering from an extreme case of multiple personality disorder, and had been living with 17 distinct personalities. She was eventually able to get rid of them all, and can finally be alone with her thoughts.

World’s Strangest People facts

34. Time Warp

Hiroo Onoda was an Imperial Japanese Army officer who stayed at his jungle post in the Philippines for 29 years, refusing to believe that WWII was over. He survived on coconuts and bananas and would sometimes kill villagers he thought were enemies. Local authorities and military searched for Lieutenant Onoda, yet he evaded capture. Finally, a man named Norio Suzuki found and befriended Onada, but despite explaining that the war was long over, Onoda still refused to surrender. Suzuki travelled back to Japan and summoned Onoda’s former commanding officer, who personally flew to the Philippines to issue orders relieving Onoda from duty. He finally surrendered in 1974; his uniform, cap and sword were all in good condition.

World’s Strangest People facts

Hiroo Onoda and Norio Suzuki are photographed above. While we’re on the subject of strange people, Norio Suzuki was a bit of an odd duck himself. When he found Onoda, he was on a mission travelling around the world to find “Lieutenant Onoda, a panda, and the Abominable Snowman, in that order.” Suzuki died in November 1986 in an avalanche while searching for the abominable snowman.

33. That’s a Lot of Ink!

Before her death in 2011, the most tattooed woman in the world was 57-year-old Cynthia Martell. At the time of her passing, she had 96% of her body covered in tattoos, making her the most tattooed person in history.

Isabel Varley Chynthia Martell

Isabel Varley, who held the record for the “Most Tattooed Pensioner,” with 93% of her body covered in tattoos before her death in 2015.

32. Beware the Reptiles

Former Pro Football (Soccer) player and BBC sports presenter David Icke has been what he calls a “full-time investigator into who and what is really controlling the world” since 1990. He believes that the world is ruled by a secret group of reptilian humanoids known as the Elite, and that many prominent people such as former President George W. Bush and Queen Elizabeth II are descended from these humanoids.

World’s Strangest People facts

31. Tall Order

The world’s tallest living man is Sultan Kösen from Turkey, measuring in at eight feet and three inches. That’s still not quite as tall as Robert Wadlow, who measured just under nine feet before his death in 1940. Wadlow consumed an average of 8000 calories a day, wore a shoe size 37AA, had 32.4cm hands, and an almost 10 foot arm span.

World’s Strangest People facts

30. Genuine X-Man

Alex Lenkei is a hypnotist from Surrey, England. Lenkei’s mesmerizing powers are so strong that in 2008 he underwent an invasive hernia surgery without the use of anesthesia, opting to put himself into a trance instead. Lenkei has hypnotized himself for surgical procedures a total of six times.

World’s Strangest People facts

29. Not Dead Yet

In 1975, the Indian Government officially declared Lai Bihari dead—only Bihari was still very much alive. Bihari’s uncle, in a ploy to steal Bihari’s ancestral land, bribed the government to file his nephew’s death. Bihari tried everything from organizing his own funeral to signing letters “the late Lai Bihari” to prove that he was alive, but it still took 19 years to have his death annulled.

World’s Strangest People facts

28. Bug-Eyed

Actress Jalisa Thompson’s eyes literally pop right out of her head. She attributes her unusual ability to amazing muscle control, and is a two-time winner of Ripley’s “Great Face Off” contest, where people compete to see who can make the weirdest, funniest faces.

World’s Strangest People facts

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

27. Black Rapunzel

Asha Mandela has 55-foot dreadlocks, and calls herself the Black Rapunzel. It her takes two days to completely wash and dry her hair, and she has to wind the dreads in a baby sling when she leaves the house to prevent the hair from becoming trapped in doors or snagged on bushes. Despite doctors’ warnings that the weight of the dreadlocks could paralyze her, Mandela has no plans to ever cut them.

World’s Strangest People facts

26. X-Ray Vision

Hailed in Russia as the “girl with the x-ray eyes,” Natasha Demkina claims to have x-ray-like vision that allows her to see inside human bodies. Her diagnoses have often been more accurate than doctors, and she has developed a following of doctors, patients, journalists, and others who believe her powers are real.

World’s Strangest People facts

25. IceMan

Wim Hoff is a Dutch daredevil nicknamed Iceman for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures. He once submerged himself in an ice bath for nearly two hours. He attributes his abilities to meditation, exposure to cold, and breathing techniques.

World’s Strangest People facts

24. Tree Man

Dede Koswara, and Indonesian citizen known as the “Tree Man,” had more than 13lb of bark-like warts on his hands and feet; locals believed his condition was the result of a curse. In 2008, he had surgery to remove the warts from his body, but the growths continued to return, and he ultimately died from a series of complications.

World’s Strangest People facts

23. Snake Girl

Kajol Khan, a young Indian girl, calls deadly cobra snakes her best friends. She eats and sleeps with her scaly companions, despite having been bitten by them a couple of times. Her affinity for the creatures stems from crawling around with them as a baby, and she hopes to be a snake catcher like her dad when she grows up.

World’s Strangest People facts

22. World’s Dirtiest Man

83-year-old Iranian man Amou Haji hasn’t bathed in more than 60 years because he believes that being clean will make him sick. His favourite food is rotten porcupine, and he likes to relax by smoking a pipe filled with animal faeces. He sleeps either in a grave-like hole in the ground or an open brick shack, and drinks 5 litres of water a day from a rusty oil can. He’s also single and reportedly looking for love, but hasn’t had any takers.

World’s Strangest People facts

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

21. Bulking Up

Romario Dos Santos Alves is a body builder from Brazil who went to extreme lengths to emulate the Incredible Hulk. He injected his arms with a potentially lethal combination of oil and alcohol, and nearly had his arms amputated as a result. His horrifically swollen muscles have earned him nicknames such as “Beast” and “Monster.”

World’s Strangest People facts

20. Do You Have Anything Smaller Than a Zero?

German woman Michelle Kobke shrunk her waist down from 25 to 16 inches by wearing a corset 24/7. She’s not done yet, and is still hoping to get her measurements whittled to a even tinier 14 inches.

World’s Strangest People facts

19. Gino Smash!

Gino Martino is a professional wrestler and strongman who has a superhuman ability to smash through things with his skull. His specialty is breaking concrete cinderblocks over his head with the help of an assistant. In 2011, Martino set a Guinness World Record for the most concrete blocks (45) broken on his head.

World’s Strangest People facts

18. Lizardman

Eric the “Lizardman” Sprauge is an American sideshow performer known for his sharpened teeth, full-body tattoo of green scales, split tongue, and green-inked lips. He makes his living performing on television and in front of audiences around the world.

World’s Strangest People facts

17. Monkey Man

China’s Yu Zhenhuan has hair on over 96% of his body. Because of his resemblance to an ape, he’s often called “Monkey Man.” Not one to let it hold him back, Yu is also an aspiring rock star.

World’s Strangest People facts

16. World’s Biggest Boobage

Annie Hawkins-Turner, the woman with the world’s largest natural breasts, wears a bra size equivalent to an American 52L, and has repeatedly refused breast reduction surgery. As she explains, “I don’t want to mess with nature. As my breasts grew the muscles in my back developed and supported them.”

World’s Strangest People facts

15. Taunting Death

Norwegian extreme artist Eskil Rønningsbakken travels all around the world to perform death-defying stunts. His feats include balancing acts at the top of canyons and cliffs and tightrope-walking between two hot-air balloons in flight. He first got into balancing at 5 years old, and continues to amaze and shock the world with his risky repertoire.

World’s Strangest People facts

14. The Man Who Never Sleeps

Thai Ngọc is famous for his inability to sleep. The Vietnamese man claims that he hasn’t slept at wink after getting a fever in 1973.

World’s Strangest People facts

13. Double Wide

Mikel Ruffenelli has hips that are eight feet wide: the widest hips in the world. She weighs more than 420 lbs and stands five feet four inches tall. She eats 5,000 calories per day, and has to buy two tickets if she wants to travel by plane or train.

World’s Strangest People facts

12. He’ll Eat Anything

Michel Lotito is famous for eating any number of bizarre objects ranging from bits of nails to nine tons of metal. As a child, Lotito suffered from pica, which causes people to compulsively eat non-edible items such as dirt and plastic. He turned his condition into a career and was known as Monsieur Mangetout (Mr. Eat-All) in his native France.

World’s Strangest People facts

11. Mule-Faced Woman

Sturge Weber Syndrome is a rare neurological and skin disorder that causes developmental anomalies. Grace McDaniels, the “Mule-Faced Woman,” suffered from this condition. She joined a sideshow in 1935, with her son managing her career. She died at home in Florida between tours in 1958. Her grave is now a Florida landmark.

World’s Strangest People facts

10. Forget-Me-Not

Jill Price, an American woman from Southern California, has a condition called hyperthymesia: she never forgets anything. Since she was 14 years old, she’s been able to remember everything, even the most obscure detail. While it might seem like a gift, Price calls it a curse, claiming that never forgetting anything is a burden on her sanity and gives her no peace.

World’s Strangest People facts

At least she doesn’t need post-it notes.

9. The Man with the Eyeball Tattoo

Jason Barnum, who is currently serving 22 years in prison for shooting a police officer, earned the nickname “the Eyeball” because of a tattoo that darkens the white part of his right eye. He also has other designs tattooed on his head.

World’s Strangest People facts

8. Vampira

Mexican lawyer Maria Jose Cristerna transformed herself into a vampire woman. She injected titanium horns into her head,  formed her teeth into fangs, and covered her body in tattoos. Known as the Vampire Lady in her Mexican home town, she spends her time assisting women who have suffered from domestic abuse.

World’s Strangest People facts

7. Zombie Boy

Canadian artist and model Rick Genest was diagnosed with brain cancer at age 15; he had nearly half his brain removed to fight the disease. He got his first tattoo of a skull and crossbones on his arm at age 16, and today over 90% of his body is covered in ghoulish tattoos, making him look like a zombie. Genest apparentely wants to take his body modification further, and he plans to have his teeth sharpened to look like fangs and his eyeballs tattooed green.

World’s Strangest People facts

6. Papa Smurf

After a decade of using a silver compound to promote rejuvenation, Paul Karason’s skin turned blue. Karason became an internet sensation, and claimed to see positive changes in his health. Despite this, he died at the hospital in 2013 after suffering a heart attack and a stroke.

World’s Strangest People facts

5. Postmarked the Airport

Mehran Karimi Nasseri is an Iranian refugee who spent 18 years living in the departure lounge of Terminal One at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in France. Expelled from Iran because of his political views, he made up his mind to settle in England.

In 1988, the briefcase containing his refugee documents was stolen at a Paris train station, but he decided to board his plane to England anyway. The English Government sent him back to the French airport when they discovered that he had no passport but, having no documents, there was no country for immigration to deport him to. Time after time, he refused efforts to relocate him anywhere other than England, and insisted on staying at the airport. In 2006, he was hospitalized, and in 2007, transferred to a homeless shelter in Paris. His story was the inspiration for the Tom Hanks Movie The Terminal.

World’s Strangest People facts

4. Meet My Pet Tiger

A Florida woman named Janice Haley keeps two Bengal tigers in her garden as pets. To her they’re just cuddly kitties, and as she explains: “As far as they’re concerned, I am mommy.” The tigers live in an enclosure in her backyard, and she feeds them by hand three times a day.

World’s Strangest People facts

3. Magneto

56-year-old Bosnian Muhibija Buljubasic has such a strong magnetic force in his body that other magnetic objects stick to him. Other items such as iPhones and remote controls also find him irresistible. Buljubasic isn’t really sure what causes this, but figures he has a “special energy” flowing through his body.

World’s Strangest People facts

2. The Man Who Swam with Bears

B.C. animal trainer Mark Dumas has an unusual swimming partner: a 16-year-old female polar bear named Agee. She is the only trained polar bear in North America, and Dumas and his wife have owned her since she was six weeks old. Bear and man have a special bond, and even nap together inside Agee’s enclosure.

World’s Strangest People facts

1. Extreme Attraction

Mechanophilia is the compulsive sexual attraction to machines. Washington resident Edward Smith took this attraction to the next level, and admitted to having sex with over 1000 cars. His first sexual encounter with a car occurred when he was 15, and he considers his Volkswagen Beetle, Vanilla, to be his girlfriend.

World’s Strangest People facts

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

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