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Phuket: The Big List: Human Mutants

HUMAN MUTANTS: Everybody is special, but some people are born just a little more special than others. Forget Wolverine, Professor Xavier, Magneto, Storm and the rest – these are the real X-Men.


By Jean-Pierre Mestanza

Tuesday 29 October 2013, 09:02AM


Ben Underwood

At the age of two, Ben Underwood was diagnosed with a rare retinal cancer and had both of his eyes removed. Three years later, the young Californian began to teach himself how to “see” using sounds that bounce off his surroundings. Though he succumbed to his cancer in 2009 at the age of 16, by this point Underwood had developed his skills to the point where he could ride a bicycle, rollerskate, climb trees, play video games, and walk around without ever needing any assistance. By making click sounds with his mouth, Underwood could visualise his surroundings through the echos bouncing off objects around him.

 

Wim Hof

Nicknamed the “Iceman,” Dutch adventurer Wim Hof holds several Guinness World Records that are based around his unusual ability to withstand frigid temperatures. In 2011, he broke his own record when he stayed immersed in ice for one hour and 52 minutes. Just two years prior to this, he reached the top of Mount Kilimanjaro within two days – wearing just his shorts. Doctors found that Hof is able to directly influence his own automatic nervous system and immune system, controlling his cortisol levels by using meditation techniques. He failed to climb Mount Everest in his shorts in 2007, but was able to finish a full marathon in the polar circle in Finland in 2009.

 

James Holman

QSI International School Phuket

Like Underwood, James Holman lost his eyesight permanently but was still able to visualise his surroundings. What's impressive is that Holman did this in the 1800s, during a time when losing your sight was often considered akin to living a life as a leper or beggar. After losing his eyesight at the age of 25, Holman was assigned to live in a hospice for retired soldiers in England. Instead, the resilient young man decided instead to travel the known earth from East to West. He was turned back in Russia after the Czar thought he was a spy, though eventually Holman did complete his goal. He tapped his cane to listen to the echoes from nearby objects, allowing him to navigate.

 

Dean Karnazes

Everybody can run, but Karnazes doesn't know how to stop. The Californian climbed Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the contiguous United States – for his 12th birthday. Karnazes, now 51, has been featured in numerous publications for his endurance feats. In 2006, he began a well-publicised journey of running 50 marathons in 50 days. He began with the Lewis and Clark Marathon in St. Louis, Missouri, and ended with the New York City Marathon. Race officials from each marathon were on hand to certify his runs. After the final race, he decided to run to San Francisco from NYC, making a stop in Missouri to spend more time with his family.

 

Isao Machii

As several reports indicate, Isao Machii lives in the Matrix. As a Japanese laido master and modern samurai, Machii holds several Guinness World Records for his sword skills. The records include “most martial arts sword cuts to one mat,” “fastest 1,000 martial arts sword cuts,” and “fastest tennis ball cut by sword.” One of his most amazing feats was captured on video and saw him cut a speeding pellet, moving at about 321 kmh, in half with a sword. Dr. Ramani Durvasula, an associate Professor of Psychology from California State University, has this to say: “This is about processing [things] at an entirely different sensory level because he is not visually processing it.”

 

 

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