Ever felt like you’re a bit inadequate? Well, bad news. We’ve got a list of people here with some incredible abilities that have wowed people over the years.
From the ability to see 100 times more colors than anyone else to being able to smell a disease, there's no shortage of humans with some superpower-like skills.
So let's take a look at some of the most amazing people that, through one way or another, have developed traits the rest of us can only dream of having.
Wim Hof is a Dutch athlete with a difference. He’s known as “The Iceman”, as he’s able to survive extremely cold temperatures – which he says is due to his unique breathing technique.
He may achieve this by consciously hyperventilating, keeping his heart rate and adrenaline high. A study earlier this month suggested he can regulate his temperature with his unusual breathing method, leading to an increase in nervous system activity.
However he does it, he’s been able to withstand some extreme conditions, including taking the world’s longest ice bath in 2011 – 1 hour and 52 minutes. He also completed a marathon in Finland in temperatures of about -20°C (-4°F) in 2009, dressed in just shorts. Oh, and he climbed Mount Everest in his shorts, too.
An artist called Concetta Antico has a peculiar power, in that she can see way more colors than other people. It’s due to being something known as a “tetrachromat”, which means she has two different mutations on each X chromosome.
This means they have four cones in their eyes, rather than three as most people have. Although the mutation isn’t that rare – half of women in Europe may have it – very few have reported having enhanced vision like this.
To Antico, something as simple as a pebble can look like a rainbow. It’s reported she can see 99 million colors, compared to just 1 million seen by most.
A French entertainer called Michel Lotito wowed audiences in the 20th century with his ability to eat, well, pretty much anything.
This included bicycles, televisions, shopping carts, and more. But his biggest stunt of all came in 1980, when he successfully finished eating a Cessna 150 plane – which took him two years.
How was he able to do this? Well, scientists think he had a rare condition called pica, a psychological condition that meant he had an appetite for inanimate objects. A thick stomach lining apparently enabled him to eat without injury.
By some accounts he had eaten 9 tons of metal – plus a coffin – by the time he passed away in 2007, apparently by natural causes. As far as superpowers go, though, this one’s pretty impressive.
Isao Machii from Japan is a martial artist with a difference. His reflexes are apparently so impressive that he can cut a BB-gun bullet fired towards him with a sword.
He holds numerous Guinness World Records, including the fastest BB pellet cut by a sword, at a whopping 158.29 kilometers per hour (98.36 miles per hour), and the most sword cuts delivered to a straw mat in 3 minutes (252).
It’s not entirely clear how he’s able to do it, but it appears he’s processing what he sees on a different level to normal people. Whatever he’s doing, it’s mighty impressive.
Actress Marilu Henner, famed for her starring in the sitcom Taxi, has an unusual gift. She has a super memory, being able to remember nearly all moments in her life in detail.
“I can literally listen to a song on the radio when I’m driving and go to every single time that I’ve heard it, like a flash montage,” she told the New York Times last year.
It appears she has a rare condition called hyperthymesia, a neurological disorder, or highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM). It’s not entirely clear what causes it, but it may be that she revisits memories more often than others, known as absorption, allowing her to build stronger foundations for recollection.
The Human Calculator
Scott Flansburg is a machine. Not because he’s super strong or anything, but because he can solve calculations faster than a calculator.
Listed as the Fastest Human Caclulator by the Guinness Book of Records in 2001 and 2003, he was found to be able to add the same number to itself 15 seconds faster than someone with a calculator.
More recently, he can be found entertaining people with his amazing skills and helping young people develop a love of math. In November at the 2017 PGA Junior League Championship, he also wowed crowds with his abilities.
“Flansburg asked for someone to volunteer their birthday. ‘January 6, 2005,’ called out Hunter Po, of Team New Jersey,” they wrote.
“Without missing a beat, Flansburg replied, ‘You were born on a Thursday. Remember when that happened?’”
Joy Milne from Perth, Scotland, has a particularly unusual power. She is able to “smell” Parkinson’s disease on people, before it has been diagnosed.
In tests conducted by Edinburgh University, she was able to successfully identify Parkinson’s 11 out of 12 times. It’s hoped there could be a molecular signature responsible for the odor that makes it possible for scientists to replicate the feat.
Milne’s husband died from Parkinson’s in 2015, with her last promise to him being that she would investigate her special ability and help others.
Using her powers for good – just like, we hope, most of the other people on this list are.