The World’s Most Surreal People and Their Stories
Fascinating people are all around us. Flash back to a few centuries ago and people who were deemed “strange” or “interesting” according to their physical appearance were often made to appear at traveling circuses to entertain others.
Today, we have better understanding about the medical or genetic conditions that may cause physical differences in one’s shape, size, and appearance. While some people are born with unique differences, others try to deviate from the norm through cosmetic surgeries and other lifestyle changes. Here are a series of stories behind some of the world’s most fascinatingly unique individuals.
World's Most Flexible Woman
Young children train for years to become top of their gymnastics class in hopes of going to the Olympic games. Zlata is naturally so flexible that she’s broken several world records.
The reason why gymnastics is typically a sport for young people is all about the ligaments. As we age, ligaments harden a bit, which makes us less flexible over time. Zlata’s ligaments don’t have that same disadvantage. It’s likely that she’ll be this limber for the duration of her life.
World's Skinniest Man
Parks and Recreation‘s Chris Traeger was the most proud of his top physique and made sure everyone knew he only had 2.8% body fat. Well, Chris, you have been bested by Tom Staniford.
With 0% body fat, Tom is one of only eight people to have Myelodysplastic Preleukemic syndrome. It’s a condition that renders him incapable of keeping even the smallest amount of fat on his body. Perhaps that makes for less wind resistance and improves his abilities as a cyclist. Either way, he chooses to go through life focusing on enjoying physical endeavors.
Giant Handed Boy
Mohammed Kaleem came into this world already unique from everyone else. When his mother first saw him, she recognized immediately that his hands were not like the other newborns.
Born with a rare condition, Mohammad’s hands were double that of his peers. As he grew, his hands grew faster and eventually, it was tough for him to walk around with them by his side. After traveling a great distance to be treated, he was able to get the surgery needed to actually use his hands.
World's Strongest Child
The last child couldn’t use his hands for a long time. This child, Liam Hoekstra, is using his to build muscles. Starting as a toddler, Liam’s parents saw something different with his body. He seemed to be growing muscles at a surprising rate for such a little person.
As it turns out, similar to select athletes, Liam has a condition where his body puts together muscles at a speedy rate. That almost eliminates fat from building. He’s definitely one to watch as he gets older!
Brittany and Abigail Hensel share their lives together, literally. It would sort of be impossible not to when there is only one body between the two of them.
Despite two distinct personalities inhabiting one body, they have their own internal organs and, obviously, brains. Having to create a life separate from your sibling would be impossible, since it takes two hands to text or two legs to walk somewhere different. Luckily for them, they also shared the same passion for education and are now school teachers.
World's Longest Tongue
Many people joke about being able to wrap a cherry stem into a knot with only their tongue. Nick Stoeberl could probably wrap his entire tongue into a knot.
Talk about making the most of what you’ve got. Nick is a model and artist. His painting style? You guessed it! He uses his tongue to create unique originals that could be viewed as abstract, but fun to watch, art. This human tongue twister put that talent to use by auditioning for America’s Got Talent. He didn’t make it, but he gave everyone something to talk about.
A Literal Lifesize Barbie
Valeria Lukyanova was introduced to the petite framed doll as a young child. She grew to idolize the style and shape of her favorite toy.
That fascination followed her into adulthood and Valeria decided to make the look her own. Now a model in her native Ukraine, she is living to embody classy fashion as well as keeping her Barbie-esque figure.
A Legless Life
The Special Olympics gives an opportunity for those who are challenged in some way to overcome the odds and show the world how talented they are. This is the mindset that lets Zion Clark shine.
Abandoned at birth due to an issue with his lower half, Zion was shuffled around a lot growing up. It wasn’t until it was suggested to him to try wrestling that he found a greater purpose. Not having legs had no impact on his ability to take down opponents. As he continued on, he grew in strength and is now a professional wrestler. After seeing other athletes find him inspiring, he decided to become a motivational speaker as well.
Being Your Own Twin
It’s not every day you come across someone who has two sets of DNA. Sounds like it might be a headache for heritage DNA sample results.
Taylor Muhl has a condition called chimerism. Basically, she originally had a twin that didn’t make it past the fetus stage. She then absorbed what was left and picked up that twin’s genetic coding. People with the disorder have subtle showings of it, so it can be undiagnosed for years. All in all, Taylor is able to live a normal, healthy life.
World's Most Pierced Man
Some people like to get a piercing to do something different. Rolf Buchholz wanted to be different entirely. There are a number of things people do on a daily basis to alter the way they look.
It may not be as extreme, but Rolf is probably a lot more relatable than most would expect. Tattoos and piercings can be a way of expressing oneself. We hope the 453 piercings he has truly brings him all the happiness in the world.
Remembering ALL THE THINGS
Imagine being able to remember what a loved one was wearing and the words they said the last time you saw them years ago. Joey DeGrandis, for better or worse, was gifted with this ability.
It’s called Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory and it enables a person to remember every minute detail of their existence. There are only about 100 people alive who can do this and as Joey would say, it’s not as fun as it sounds. The amount of anxiety one can get from keeping so much in their brains is exhaustive. However, he’s using it to help others by participating in research studies.
World's Longest Dreads
Modern Day Rapunzel, Asha Mandela, has spent her life taking extra special care of her hair. It most certainly has paid off.
Taking pride in your appearance is one thing. But growing your hair so long that it surpasses a ladder, that’s a world record. Asha’s dreads have become so popular that she’s even gotten to share her hair and secrets on TV shows and news networks across the nation and beyond.
Living With Highlander Syndrome
It happens all the time, going out for a drink with your friends after work and having to show your ID when you know good and well that you’re 30. Imagine having to do that for the rest of your life. That’s the life of Shin Hiomin.
Ten-year olds are cute and often get their cheeks pinched for it. However, when you’ve been “ten” for 20 years, it’s no longer cute. In fact, it could be viewed as downright annoying. Shin is a fully functioning adult and has no developmental issues. By all intents and purposes, he’s a grown man. It just so happens that he has highlander syndrome that keeps him from aging above his current ten-year-old look.
World's Hairiest Man
Once upon a time, someone with Yu Zhenhuan’s condition might be paid a hefty salary to tour around with the circus.
Thankfully, we have advanced as a civilization and treat conditions with greater care. Yu gets to live out his life in China as a respected member of society with thick hair that covers his body almost entirely.
World's Longest Fingernails
There are plenty of acrylic nail designs going around today that make most people take a second look and question the utility of such. Then there’s nails that are almost 20 feet long that Christine Walton can tell you all about.
Coming to you straight from Sin City, The Dutchess, as she’s known in Vegas, takes great pride in her nails. It’s been over 30 years since she has pulled out a pair of fingernail clippers and that might be the last time. While the singer never meant to break a record, she has no intention of stopping now.
Perpetual Insomnia to the Extreme
It’s not uncommon to have people complain about the lack of productivity they’ve had in a day or week. Imagine how much more you could get done if a third of your life wasn’t spent under the covers.
Well for Thai Ngoc, that’s the story of his life. Thai considers himself to be an extreme insomniac and reported that he hasn’t slept for 46 years straight now. He uses his spare him doing hours more of heavy labor rather than getting a good night’s rest.
Human Tow Truck
There’s strength, then there’s pull-a-truck-with-your-teeth strength. Velu Rathakrishnan didn’t get that nickname for being a bystander.
Do not try this at home should have been posted on his jacket. Imagine someone trying to top this crazy achievement and losing their teeth. No, thanks. Velu told local news that he was able to pull over half a million pounds by an extreme form of meditation that he used to put all his focus on his teeth and mouth. That mental discipline provided him with the strength to set records.
Suddenly Speaking South African
Have you ever had a headache so bad that you felt like your skull was splitting in two? Julie Matthias had one that had her speaking in tongues. Well, different accents at least. What Julie experienced was a migraine that was so severe that it likely caused her very minor brain damage.
She developed what is referred to as “Foreign Accent Syndrome”. Basically, someone who just starts speaking with a foreign accent with no real explanation. While it can lead to depression, the condition has been exceedingly rare over the past half century. Julie can be found sounding South African, French, or Italian.
World's Heaviest Man
There comes to a point in life where you have to ask yourself if you’re happy. Patrick Deuel decided he was not and it was time for a change. That change for him was getting gastric bypass surgery. At the time, he was 1,126 pounds and desperate to be freely mobile again. So much of your life is put on hold when you are anywhere close to that size.
Patrick got the help he needed and even lost well over half his body weight. He was going through too many changes for his heart to keep up with and he unfortunately passed away, but not before inspiring others on their own journeys.
World's Dirtiest Man
Back during the dark ages, it was seen as a negative to take baths. People avoided them like the plague. Amoo Hadji has carried on this sentiment into the 21st century.
Going almost six decades without taking a bath or shower has an unbelievable impact on your skin. Amoo is rough to the touch and often devours rotten meat he finds. Luckily for people who do bathe, he is a wanderer who seems to enjoy having the freedom to do what he wants away from society. It clearly works for him, he has lived well into his 80s.
Professional Breast Crocheter
Not every passion project gets to grow the way Audrey Horncastle’s has. The best part? Her efforts go to educating new mothers.
Audrey spends her time crocheting breasts in a variety of colors and sizes. She spends the time making sure each one is rich and squishy, which is exactly the consistency to give lessons on breastfeeding. What a wonderful way to give back to women in need.
World's Tallest Man
Sultan Kösen has got legs and he knows how to use them. Well, they certainly know how to grow, anyway.
Standing at a whopping eight feet and three inches, Sultan’s bones have elongated to an extent that makes it difficult for him to get around. Fortunately, he has support from his community in Turkey and is able to function normally, for the most part.
World's Shortest Man
We’ve seen what extreme length can look like. Now we get a glimpse at the opposite thanks to Chandra Bahadur Dangi.
The native of Nepal could easily be mistaken for a babydoll, given that he was under two feet tall. He may have been vertically challenged, but that didn’t stop Chandra from living a long and happy life. He passed on at age 75.
World's Shortest Woman
Coming in at just a few inches taller than the shortest man, Jyoti Amge still sets a record of her own.
Living in a time that provides her with more opportunities as a person with limited height than she may have had in the past, Jyoti is making the most of it. She’s using that big, bright smile to get into acting. She even got a job on American Horror Story.
World's Tallest Model
Everyone knows that models are known for their natural vertical talents. That fact was an opportunity to stand out and be remembered for Yekaterina Lisina.
Yekaterina is six foot nine inches and has used that to her advantage in many ways. First, she played basketball at the professional level for a number of years. She was so good, in fact, that she was able to take her talent to the top stage in athletics, the Olympics. After winning a medal, Yekaterina now models full-time.
One of the most exciting parts about having a baby is getting to watch them grow and evolve into their own person. That wasn’t in the cards for Brooke Greenberg’s parents.
As the first year of life came and went, they started to notice something unusual. Brooke wasn’t aging. After tests were run, the doctors came to one conclusion: she had a condition that they hadn’t seen before. She lived twenty years inside the body of an infant. Hopefully, her existence will lend new knowledge about the condition to science.
History's Biggest Sumo
Sumo wrestlers are known worldwide for their girth more than their fighting talent. In Japan, however, sumo culture is popular and the athletes are highly regarded.
Ōrora Satoshi knew where to find his people when he decided to join the sport. From an outsider’s perspective, you might believe that someone who is more than twice the size of most other sumo wrestlers would have a clear advantage. Oddly enough, that did not prove to be the case. The 645-pound Soviet Sumo had to go into early retirement after not winning a single match.
World's Smallest Waist
There once was a time when women loathed wearing corsets because of the internal damage being done after years of wearing them. As time changed and technology evolved, women like Michèle Köbke have found a way to bring the fashion trend back.
For many reasons, it’s good that corsets are no longer made from whale bone. That means they are likely more comfortable than they were a century ago, but probably not enough for most women to be interested in getting to a 16 inch waist, like Michèle has. As interesting as it looks, if she took it off, it would soon go back to normal.
Out of the Socket
Remember those cartoon foxes when they saw something they really liked? Their eyes would pop out of their heads repeatedly. Well, it’s all fun and games until actual humans like Kim Goodman can do it.
Getting her eyes to pop out of their sockets has solidified her place as a record holder. She can push them almost half an inch out! If that’s not the best trick for a mom when she’s mad, we don’t know what could be.
World's Most Tattooed Woman
Whenever Julia Gnuse heard the phrase, “A body is a blank canvas,” she took it as a challenge and became the most tattooed woman in the world.
At almost 100% capacity, there is barely any room left for a new idea. That might not have stopped Julia from coming up with additional work to already represented images on her body. Unfortunately, she passed away but the mark she left on the tattoo world will not be forgotten.
World's Most Tattooed Man
Lucky Diamond Rich actually did reach 100% coverage with his tattoos. He has so much ink with a mix of colors, he has a sort of blue shade to his skin.
Not only did he reach all the surface area, he got work done on the inside of the eyelids. Can you imagine how much planning it went to come up with that many designs? Let’s hope all the effort was not in vain and that he feels more at home in his body than ever before.
World's Strongest Man
You know that saying about how if a mother’s children are in danger, she can lift a car off of them due to adrenaline? Well, Žydrūnas Savickas can do it without any help.
Deadlifting 1,155lbs is basically a superhuman feat. It’s also one that Žydrūnas trains to increase daily. Weighing in from Lithuania, he’s a power lifter full time, so, don’t be surprised if he does break his own record. The only thing heavier than the weight he lifts is his ego.
For Whitney Weldon, “frozen” is more a state of being than a lovable movie. This is the story of fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva. Out of 8,000,000,000 people in the world, only 800 have been diagnosed with FOP. This is a disorder that causes parts of the body to essentially fossilize whenever they are injured in the slightest.
Over time, those parts of the body harden into oblivion and are rendered useless. Whitney started to experience this at nine and has slowly become more impaired. She has help with mobility but is looking forward to treatment when it’s fully developed in the future.
World's Widest Hips
Mikel Ruffinelli is one who embraces what she has. She proudly holds the title for the widest hips in the world.
Remember the image of the famous reality star, Kim Kardashian who took a picture with a glass on her behind? Well, Mikel can place an entire pot of tea on hers, including the cups. She’s going the extra mile to be able to make them even bigger. They currently come in at around eight feet from one side to the next.
World's Widest Mouth
In many parts of the world, being told you have a big mouth means you talk too much or you say things you ought not to be saying. For Francisco Domingo Joaquin, it’s a little more literal.
From an early age, Francisco realized he had more elasticity than his classmates. As kids do, when they pull their mouth to the side to stick out their tongue, he could stretch out so much further than the rest. If it was a contest, he’d win 100% of the time. As he got older, he knew this was something remarkable and the Guinness Book of World Records confirmed it. At seven inches wide, he holds the record.
Real Life Smurf
Paul Karason wasn’t always this shade of blueberry. In fact, this situation came to him much later in life.
One day, Paul was innocently attempting to treat a skin condition with colloidal silver. Unfortunately, being outside in the sun caused an adverse reaction that irrevocably turned him blue. To his credit, silver is no longer allowed in over-the-counter medication.
It’s not hard to find someone who has passionate feelings about tattoos and piercings one way or another. María José Cristerna found them fascinating from a very young age. Her obsession turned into reality by the time she was 14. It was at that age she was ready to get some ink of her own.
That started a journey that eventually led to her being tattooed on 95% of her body. For a time, she held the world record as being a woman with the most. Her interest expanded into piercings, implants, and much more. María dispels any stereotypes about professionals with tattoos, as she’s a lawyer and owns her own tattoo shop.
People complain about their bodies every day when they do nothing but exist. Then you have someone like Mandy Sellars whose body is sabotaging her, but she continues to look on the bright side.
If you were to look at her from the waist up, you’d see someone who looked normal. However, Mandy’s legs have a genetic mutation that causes them to grow exponentially. There really is no end in sight. Due to the attention she received from local news, awareness has spread, which hopefully in the future will help the medical community make discoveries for those suffering.
The Persian Hulk
You wouldn’t want to be around this guy when he’s angry. Sajad Gharibi has not only grown into his nickname, he embraces it every day through training.
The Iranian weightlifter has been obsessed with bulking up for years. Long before he picked up weights, it was an interest and he became dedicated to seeing how far he could push the envelope of his muscles. He takes his physical training and nutrition very seriously and hopes to continue expanding over time.
Plastic Surgery Obsession
Of all the obsessions to have when you have an abundance of funds, plastic surgery has taken Jocelyn Wildenstein by hold.
In an effort to look more like the wild cats that roam across the African continent, Jocelyn went in for procedure after procedure. Catching her husband in the midst of an intimate moment with another woman, she left him and continued her look-altering surgeries independently.
Inherited Thumbs From Each Parent
You know how proud you feel when you see a body feature that you inherited from your parents. This man’s parents must be very proud. This couple’s son inherited a thumb finger from each of them.
Although this unique and perfect condition does not have a name, it deserves to be on our list. However, the shorter thumb has a condition known as Brachydactyly, which causes his right thumb to be shorter.
Boy With Vitiligo and Colored Eyes
This boy was born in Uganda with a condition that develops at birth known as unilateral vitiligo. This condition causes some random parts of the body to have white patches.
He was also born with the most amazing blue eyes that can catch the attention of anyone. The blue eyes are a result of a condition known as ocular albinism. This boy’s combination of fantastic body features is such a sight to behold.
The Woman Who Can't Smile
Tayla Clement suffers from a neurological disorder called Moebius syndrome. This is a rare congenital condition that results from underdevelopment of the facial nerves (in utero) that control someones eyes movements and facial expressions. Despite under going a surgery at the age of 12 to try and give Tayla some resemblance of a smile it was unfortunately unsuccessful.
Despite her condition, Clement is the physical embodiment of joy. Tayla stated “I now know I was born to stand out. I was born to make a difference in this world and I know that whole-heartedly. My syndrome and not being able to smile is the greatest gift I could have ever been given, it has allowed me to already help and inspire so many people”.
All About Big Macs
McDonald’s famous Big Macs have been a culinary hit since they came out in 1968. Created by early employee Jim Delligatti, the burger featured three pieces of sesame seed buns mixed with two beef patties, signature sauce, and veggies.
As you can tell by the name and ingredients, it’s a massive meal. So, who has eaten the most of them? That honor goes to Wisconsin resident Donald A. Gorske. In 2018, he ate his 30,000th one – after nearly 46 years of eating them daily.
The Most Pierced Woman
When former nurse Elaine Davidson got her first piercing back in the early part of 1997, it was a transformative experience – so she got more, and more, and more. By May of 2000, she broke the Guinness Book of World Records for most piercings – a total of 462!
However, she didn’t stop there. By January of 2019, her total number of piercings reached 11,003. She not only holds the record for most piercings, but also the record for holding that record longest!
The World's Stretchiest Skin
Most people’s skin can stretch somewhat – and often more so as we age. However, is there a limit as to how far it can go? If there is Garry Turner set the bar pretty high.
Turner has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a very rare medical condition that results in very stretchy skin – his stomach can go out to 6.25 inches! Although the stretching isn’t painful to Turner, his joints often ache.
Give This Man A Spoon
If you’ve ever wondered how many spoons you can put on a human body, well, we are proud to let you know that you’re not the only one! One person, in particular, has thought about it long and hard and decided to master it.
Etibar Elchiyev currently holds the world record for putting the most spoons on a human body. The picture above shows him in Tbilisi, Georgia in December of 2011 when he managed to hold a total of 50 spoons on his body.
This Model Has 40-Inch Long Legs
Long legs are considered a part of beauty for most women, and most would do anything to have long, slender legs. But how about having 40-inch long legs? This Swedish female model has 40-inch long slender legs caused by an unusual genetic condition. Her legs, however, have enabled her to have a successful modeling career.
Like most people on our list, this model has gone through stigma and ridicule in school as a child. However, while growing up, she has found a way to embrace this condition and make the most out of it.
The Girl With Uncomfortable Hair
Shilah Madison is a girl who was born with a hair condition known as “uncomfortable hair syndrome.” The condition makes her hair stand up at all times, and her mother confirmed that the hair could be a little painful at times.
The uncomfortable hair syndrome makes the hair frequently break from the root, which can be painful for a little girl. The hair looks interestingly beautiful, though. Surprisingly enough, Shillah has embraced the condition that makes her look like a cute, little lioness.
Tallest Women In The World
You might not have heard about this, but the gigantism condition allows one to grow taller than usual. This woman is the tallest in the world at the moment.
Her name is Elisany da Cruz Silva and her height truly makes her unique. She is 6 feet and 9 inches tall.
Twin Sisters Bone Are Turning To Stone
Zoe Buxton and Lucy Fretwell, 26, both suffer from ibrodysplasia ossificacans progressiva (FOP), a condition that affects just 800 people worldwide. The debilitating condition causes muscle tissue and tendons to be replaced by bone forming outside the skeleton.
Zoe and Lucy, who live in Ballymena, County Antrim in Northern Ireland, are just one of three sets of twins in the entire world to have FOP. The girls parents both notice at birth both girls were born with small bony lumps on their toes. This is a common sign of FOP, however, doctors didn’t detect it until the girls were older.
A Condition That Causes The Bones To Grow Longer Than Usual
Approximately one infant in every 10,000 births is affected with Marfan Syndrome, making it a somewhat common condition. People who have it have an utterly distinctive appearance since their bones develop considerably longer than they normally would, resulting in very thin arms and legs, as well as a bent spine, in comparison to the rest of the population.
Bradford Cox of Deerhunter was born with this disease, and he has been very outspoken about the physical challenges he has encountered throughout his life. Fortunately, this has not prevented him from following his musical career to date.
The Stunning Winnie Harlow
You may have heard of model Winnie Harlow by now since she has risen to become one of the world’s most recognizable faces in a very short period of time. Her dark complexion is complemented by slight depigmentation, resulting in a look that is amazing, one-of-a-kind, and one that is nearly hard to forget.
The model came to prominence after participating on the reality television show America’s Next Top Model, and she has since worked with major companies such as Victoria’s Secret, Marc Jacobs, Fendi, and Nike.
Young and Stunning
This young girl, Ava Clarke, is a model and actress who has charmed people worldwide due to her incredibly unique look.
Ava has a condition called albinism and is a naturally gorgeous child. It makes sense that she has caught the attention of the modeling and acting world.
The Longest Mustache In The World
If you’ve ever grown a mustache, then you know that it can take a lot of maintenance. Most people get annoyed somewhere along the line and end up trimming it for convenience. Ram Singh Chauhan, however, never did that.
Chauhan kept his mustache growing for 40 years before the Guinness Book of World Records decided to see how long it got. When they measured it in March 2010, it was 14 feet long! It takes an hour of daily grooming to maintain.