#3. Kim Peek Remembers Everything
"Anyone up for a stirring monotone recitation of Finnegan's Wake?"
One reason he was able to put away so many books is that he could read them two pages at once, one page with each eye, because apparently that's something you can do. It is claimed Peek had an eidetic memory, or photographic memory, something that people aren't even sure actually exists. However, if it does exist, Peek is probably the best case for it, reportedly being able to recall 98 percent of everything he ever experienced in perfect detail. To compare, most of us can't recall 98 percent of the previous goddamned sentence.
Peek's story was also the inspiration for the film Rain Man. However, when someone asked Peek to read a book on gambling (which would have taken him about 30 minutes), he told them that using his powers for gambling would be "unethical."
In your face, Hoffman.
So What's Going on Here?
Many assumed Peek was, like the guy in the last entry, an autistic savant, because Americans think "autism" means "Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters." This wasn't the case; Peek's incredible ability is believed to have come from a congenital birth defect, which resulted in increased memory capacity. This is another way of saying he memorized everything, including the 12,000 books we mentioned earlier and sports statistics spanning decades. For a given person's hometown, he could tell you all highways leading to it, the county, area code and ZIP code, television stations available in the town, the name of the local telephone provider and any notable local history.
Throughout it all, Peek only wanted to share his gift with the world. His father and caretaker never accepted anything in exchange for Peek's appearances, except for the joy Kim felt when meeting other people. When Dustin Hoffman met him to research his role for Rain Man, he was quoted as saying, "I may be the star, but you are the heavens," presumably before Peek told him his future and levitated out of the room.
Richard Green, Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System
And then stole his goddamn car.
#2. Wim Hof Is Cold-Proof
Wim Hof is a Dutch-born man with the incredible ability of being invulnerable to cold, which he has proven by swimming in ice cold water and being buried completely in ice. You might scoff at this, because you saw David Blaine do the same thing. OK, how about this: He climbed up Mount Everest in a goddamned pair of goddamned shorts.
Tejiendo el Mundo
His testicles have retracted up behind his eyelids at this point.
He has been dubbed "Iceman," because the Dutch have no imagination. Hof's ability is so great that even when submerged in freezing water that would pretty much kill a normal human in a few minutes, his body temperature barely drops, and when he climbed Everest (in bicycle shorts, we really can't stress that enough), he said it was easy.
So What's Going on Here?
Hof himself claims that his remarkable abilities come from meditation, which sounds like total hackneyed bullshit to us, as no amount of thinking can keep your flaccid penis from fusing to a block of ice.
When he stands up, it's going to sound like baseball cards in bicycle spokes.
Researchers finally got curious and decided to test Hof, and amazingly, they found that he can actually control his autonomic nervous system and immune response through concentration and meditation. In case you're unclear, that means he can totally control his response to cold, just by thinking really hard.
The researchers stressed that Hof is an entirely unique case, and his ability to basically control his body and the way it reacts isn't something other people can learn or do unless accidentally exposed to gamma rays or a radioactive comet.
Awww, cheater! He's wearing sandals.
#1. Isao Machii Lives in the Matrix
Isao Machii is a Japanese man with superhuman reflexes, which he stereotypically uses to do all sorts of amazing tricks with a katana, including peeling an apple and cutting an Airsoft pellet in half in midair.
The following video is from a show that is very, very Japanese, but it showcases many of Machii's abilities quite well:
Here's the uncanny thing to consider -- Airsoft pellets travel at roughly 160 feet per second. That's too fast for the human eye to even register, let alone pinpoint in order to bisect with a goddamn sword.
So What's Going on Here?
Machii isn't seeing the pellet with his eyes: He's sensing it in some other way. Here's what clinical psychologist Dr. Ramani Durvasula has to say about him: "This is about processing at an entirely different sensory level, because he's not visually processing this. This is a different level of anticipatory processing ..."
"It's also a different level of salad preparation."
We can all sort of do this, obviously -- catching a ball when somebody throws it to you requires you to anticipate where it's going. A baseball player, with practice, gets so good at it that he can hit a fastball coming in at 90 mph. But he's still doing it by sight -- years of practice have taught him that the trajectory of the ball can be predicted by how it looks leaving the pitcher's hand. The difference is that Machii's brain is wired so that he can hit things that are moving too fast to see.
According to the expert up there, Machii isn't even sensing the pellet at all. He's anticipating where it will be and when it will be there. That basically makes him a Jedi.
For more superpowers that are all around us, check out 5 Superpowers You Didn't Know Your Body Was Hiding From You and 5 Superpowers We All Had as Babies (According to Science).
And stop by LinkSTORM to discover the power hidden in Brockway's mustache.
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