Comic books and action movies give an unrealistic expectation of superhuman abilities. In reality, having an extra-human ability isn't all explosions, saving the world from evil, and flying off into the distance. If X-Men was real, for example, and we were all born with a random mutant ability, you can bet we wouldn’t all be able to read minds and control the weather. While there are some people with some pretty awesome "superpowers" (you can read about them in our article here), most of us would end up with these rather lackluster talents.
Most people only get goosebumps when they are cold, experiencing strong emotions, or listening to “Africa” by Toto; however, a select few people have the ability to consciously give themselves goosebumps on cue.
“It starts in the back of my neck,” an Argentinian man with this superpower recently told The Atlantic. “It’s like I have a muscle there and I just make it work.”
A recently posted pre-print study described 32 people who can control their goosebumps. They found that people with this ability tend to have personalities that are more open to experience. Other than this, it remains a bit of a mystery, although it doesn’t appear to be associated with any health problems.
Pretty cool as party tricks go, but unlikely to stop any villains from taking over the world.
The Real-Life Matter-Eater Lad
Michel Lotito was a Frenchman with the incredible ability to eat more or less anything he wished (except bananas and hard-boiled eggs, which reportedly made him sick).
During his lifetime, he consumed 18 bicycles, 15 shopping carts, seven TVs, six chandeliers, two beds, and even a Cessna 150 light aircraft – yup, he ate a whole plane. Of course, he ate the objects in smaller chopped-up pieces with liters of water, but it’s still fairly remarkable.
Lotito was awarded a brass plaque by the Guinness Book for his achievements. He was so honored, he ate that too.
The Human Towel-Dryer
Scientists have shown that some people are able to consciously up their body temperature through meditation.
During this study, the researchers headed to Tibet to witness a practice where nuns were able to raise their core body temperature and dry up wet sheets wrapped around their bodies in the cold Himalayan weather (-25°C/-13°F) while meditating. Lab experiments later showed that the nuns were able to consciously increase their core body temperature from 37 to 38.3°C (98.6°F to 100.9°F). It’s likely that the temperature of their fingertips and toes increased even higher.
There’s a genetic condition dubbed “immigration delay disease”, where people have no fingerprints.