Magician Scares The Masses By Sneezing His Head Off His Shoulders
Jay Dawson May 31st 2017 Entertainment
It's probably not a headline you'd read every day, but then again, this unbelievable stunt really only comes once in a lifetime. As this insane video shows, true magic is still alive and well, and it's stalking the streets of sunny California. From one of the world's most incredible magicians, we're going to take you through one performance you won't want to miss...
Not Your Usual Halloween
It was a Halloween that few of these innocent bystanders would ever forget. In the streets of San Luis Obispo, California, on Halloween, the city was terrorized by a new and never-before-seen phantom: a man whose head, when he sneezed, completely fell off. It could have been dismissed as just another act of Halloween prankery, but it was broad daylight. And the monsters were only supposed to come out at night.
Of course, it was all the work of one very dedicated trickster, a magician by the name of Rich Ferguson. Originally born in San Luis Obispo, he had taken to the streets of his hometown to show off his latest trick. And boy, was it a crowd-pleaser. It was also a crowd-rib-tickler, and a crowd-jumper, and a crowd-terrifier. See if you can work out from the following video how it was really done...
Who Is This Guy?
The names Ferguson... Rich Ferguson. His start to life in the town of San Luis Obispo was not an auspicious one - his father was in and out of jail for most of his life, and his mother was murdered when he was just four - he has risen to become the city's darling, and one of the most successful magicians in California.
Also known as "The Ice Breaker", Rich studied Engineering at college then worked for United Parcel Service. In 1997, he quit to become a full-time entertainer and has never looked back. Renowned for his sleight-of-hand, mentalist skills, and proficiency at poker, he's been the recipient of dozens of awards, including from the famous Magic Castle, and even featured on Ellen and The Today Show. Not only that, he's a motivational speaker for troubled youths, helping them overcome life's obstacles and stay on track in life. In short, he's more or less the best guy in the world.
From the time of Houdini and even before, magicians have constantly battled to outdo each other's stunts, tricks, and illusions. For decades, it seemed that every year brought a new and more elaborate ruse, designed at astounding and baffling the world. Without fame, of course, magicians are nothing. So they set out to grab more and more of the audience's hearts and minds, and perform a trick that no-one has seen before.
No-one who was alive in the eighties would forget the stunning moment when the megafamous David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear. Or even when he topped himself, three years later in 1986, by walking through the Great Wall of China. Then there's David Blaine, who spent 44 days suspended above London, without food, in a glass box. That was really only to one-up Criss Angel, who spend 24 hours chained underwater in 2002. There's never any rest when you're famous.
Making Money Appear
But all of these tricks are making magicians millions upon millions of dollars. Unlike many celebrities these days (we're not going to name names), to be a magician, and to have the stage presence required to destroy an audience, requires real talent, a talent that only a handful of people across the world really have. True magicians - true entertainers - are in short supply, making them worth their weight in gold.
Want to know exactly how much you can make being a magician? Forbes has done all the digging. The top three earners - David Copperfield, Penn & Teller, and Criss Angel - earn between $19 million and $64 million per year, thanks to TV, internet, and show earnings, alongside advertising and merchandise. It's a lucrative industry, and despite the internet's best efforts to debunk the tricks, it's still something that people are wowed by.
Trick Or Treat
Another industry that just keeps on growing is Halloween. In fact, Rich Ferguson's idea to pull his particular stunt on Halloween was probably his best move of all. Halloween, in one form or another, stretches back as far as 500BC, celebrated in a similar manner by Celtic pagans as a way of marking the transition between the end of summer and the start of winter. Known as Samhain, some of the traditions, like the wearing of costumes, still survive to this very day.
Christian influence brought with it a kind of religious mingling: they kept part of the old rites, but added their own spin with the notion of "All Hallow's Eve" - the root of the current name, Halloween. This was brought over by the Anglican and Catholic settlers of the now-United States of America, and when mass migration of Irish and Scottish people occurred in the mid-19th century, the holiday's fate - and popularity - was sealed forever.
The Holiday That's Getting Wackier
Nowadays, Halloween has taken a tone that's far removed from the original pagan rites. Apart from the wearing of costumes, it's become a purely commercial affair. Only the carved pumpkins really serve to remind us that this was once a celebration of the end of a bountiful harvest season. Even the costumes have gone far off track from ghosts and ghouls, as people just use it as an excuse to dress up as whatever they like. Sexy cat, anyone?
At the same time, the trick-or-treat tradition that was a staple of every American kid's life in the past few decades is slowly dying out. Candy's bad for you, in case you didn't know. It rots your teeth. And while you're at it, it's really not that safe to walk around after dark as a young child. So people are turning to weird, wonderful, and wacky ways to pass this national holiday. Oh, and that peeled-grape as eyeball thing is so 1990s.
Secrets Of The Magicians
The thing about magic tricks is that as much as the audience might try, it's still incredibly hard to figure out how it's all done. Magicians spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on some of their more elaborate ruses, sometimes licensing them to other magicians, and to lose that revenue thanks to audience disinterest would be a terrible blow to their performances.
Because of that, there are a strict set of ethics surrounding magicians and what they disclose to the public. Although technically not enforced, contravening these rules (made up by the International Brotherhood of Magicians and Society of American Magicians) is heavily frowned upon by other magicians, and may result in the offender being shunned from performing for a very long time. In a famous case, Val Valentino, performing as The Masked Magician, revealed the mechanics behind several tricks in the Fox series "Breaking The Magician's Code". For years he was essentially blackballed by other magicians and struggled to find work.
How Was It Done?
With all that in mind, it can't hurt to speculate how exactly this amazing trick was done, right? Of course, we don't know exactly - and we wouldn't tell you even if we did - but we do have a pretty good idea. Keep this in mind when you watch the video, or you might be just as shocked and fooled as the rest of the crowd.
So, one possibility is just that Rich Ferguson is simply ducking down into his jacket. The jacket itself would have to be a rigid structure - so it stays up when his head "falls off" - and through a cut in his shirt, his head could be seen to "fall", even though he is merely lowering it very quickly. This doesn't explain everything, but it's a pretty good guess. Besides, it's good to leave a bit of mystery for the audience.
What He's Doing Now
In the years following this incredible Halloween stunt, Rich Ferguson's star just keeps on rising. He followed up the next year with a memorable punking involving a human coffee shop chair, and has also produced a mentalist smartphone app that can actually read your mind. Not only that, he's also appeared on The Today Show a further three times, as their regular "prank expert".
Coupled with his side business in what he calls "creative consultancy", as well as speaking for businesses and performing across the world, Rich Ferguson is one busy boy. It's all part of what makes him such a great magician, though. The enthusiasm he brings to every project, and the sheer energy, will always keep him a crowd favorite. No matter what he does, and no matter how much money he's already made, he's not going to stop giving joy to us.
The YouTube Sensation
Alright: now for the video you've all been waiting for. Now to watch people scream, cry, laugh, and flee in absolute terror at this insane trick. And now to scratch your head, sit back in the chair for a couple of hours, and think: how in the hell did he do that? And why am I not a flippin' awesome magician, instead of an investment banker?
In the hours after it was uploaded, this video had already racked up close to five million views and made him instantly world famous. Since then, and with multiple reposts and copies, he's racked up a cool 20 million views. People can't get enough of this one weird trick. It'll never get old. Just watch it and see if you can be a magician too. See if you can do the impossible, and keep the smile off your face.
50 Extraordinary Women You Won't Believe Actually Exist
Luke Chase May 25th 2016 Entertainment
It's likely that the women in your day to day life are pretty "normal" in appearance. So when you see someone whose appearance differs from what you expect it to be, it can be kind of a shock. The ladies in the following slideshow are definitely far from average. Some of these women spent thousands of dollars on plastic surgery, tattoos, or body piercings. Others are born with strange birth defects such as excessive facial hair, a gigantic butt or even an 8 inch tongue. See for yourself!
Lauren Williams: 4 Foot Long Legs
Lauren Williams has the longest-known legs in the United States, with her eye-catching limbs measuring an incredible 49 inches from hip to heel. Lauren's height and long-legged genes can be attributed to her family as her father, mother and twin sisters are all 6ft or taller.
She has US size 11 feet (UK size 10), and revealed that she can find it tricky to buy clothes that fit. When modelling, single Lauren - who has worked on campaigns for global brands such as Nike - does everything from sports and fitness to high fashion and swimwear.
Having played volleyball in college, as well as being extremely active, Lauren also enjoys shooting sporty campaigns. As well as modelling, Lauren works as an educator at a children's museum in Houston and enjoys travelling. When out and about, her striking looks and long limbs mean she gets comments about her legs on a daily basis.
Pixee Fox: Dangerously Small Waist
Swedish born Pixee Fox had already spent more than $80,000 on plastic surgery attempting to sculpt the perfect hourglass figure. But now she has taken her obsession even further by having 6 of her lower ribs removed - so she can shrink her waist to a record-breaking 14 inches. Pixee, from Sweden, said: "People often come up to me and say, "don't take this the wrong way, but you look like a cartoon" - but for me that's a compliment, that's what I want to achieve.
With 6 of her lower ribs removed, Pixee's lower internal organs, including the liver, have lost some of their natural protection - but she isn't worried. She said: "Before if I was in a car crash I would normally break my ribs. If that happened now I'm probably going to break my spleen instead. In total she has had four rhinoplasties costing $14,000; four breast augmentations of 200cc, 525cc, 800cc and 1400cc costing $28,500; two rounds of liposuction at $5,000; two upper eyelid surgeries at $6,000; a labiaplasty costing $4,000; a Brazilian butt lift at $9,000 and cool-sculpting, cheek injections, and lip injections at about $12,000.
Bethany Hamilton: One Armed Pro Surfer
Bethany Meilani Hamilton-Dirks is an American professional surfer who survived a 2003 shark attack in which her left arm was bitten off, but ultimately returned to-and was victorious in-professional surfing. On October 31, 2003 Hamilton, aged 13 at the time, went for a morning surf along Tunnels Beach, Kauai, with best friend Alana Blanchard, Alana's father, Holt, and brother Byron. Around 7:30 a.m., with numerous turtles in the area, she was lying on her surfboard with her left arm dangling in the water, when a 14-foot tiger shark attacked her, severing her left arm just below the shoulder.
Despite the trauma of the incident, Hamilton was determined to return to surfing. Three weeks after the incident, she returned to her board. Initially, she adopted a custom-made board that was longer and slightly thicker than standard and had a handle for her right arm, making it easier to paddle, and she learned to kick more to make up for the loss of her left arm. After teaching herself to surf with one arm, on January 10, 2004, she entered a major competition. She now uses standard competitive performance short-boards. The broken surfboard that Hamilton was riding during the attack is on display at the California Surf Museum
Mayra Hills: World's Largest Fake Breasts
Mayra Hills - also known as Beshine - measures at 59-28-36 and says she's the proud owner of the world's largest fake breasts. And it's not hard to believe her claim to fame, considering each of her breasts have 10,000 cc of saline implants and weigh 20 pounds a piece! As you can imagine, it's difficult for Beshine, who wears a size 32Z bra, to find clothes that fit, so the German-born woman has a lot of her items custom-made.
But bra shopping isn't her only woe. She can no longer tie her own shoes and has run into trouble when she's knocked things over with her chest - but it appears she's satisfied with her body, troubles and all. "Some people maybe think the sheer size of my t-ts bring too many handicaps in my everyday life, but hey, having big boob problems is amazing," she wrote on her blog.
Anastasiya Shpagina: Real Life Anime Girl
It's official, this real-life anime trend has gotten completely out of hand. Hardly a day goes by that we don't stumble upon some photos of girls going to any lengths in order to look like real live anime characters. Today's example, Anastasiya Shpagina, an Ukrainian girl who has even taken a Japanese name - Fukkacumi. 19-year-old Anastasiya (Nastya) Shpagina has been called "the new Barbie" by national news outlets, but she later revealed she's striving to become a real-life Japanese anime character, not a doll. She even posted "I am not like a doll, a doll is like me."
Apparently, Nastya has been passionate about makeup even as a young child, always experimenting with it in the mirror. Over time she also developed a thing for Japanese cartoons and it was only a matter of time before she started using her make-up artist skills to transform herself into a real-life anime girl. But just putting on makeup wasn't enough to attain that coveted look, so she decided to lose weight in order to seem more genuine. At 1.58-meters-tall, Anastasiya weighs just 39 kilos and is trying to lose one more in order to look just right.
Chanel Tapper: World's Longest Tongue
The longest female tongue measures 9.75 cm (3.8 in) from the tip to the middle of lip and was achieved by Chanel Tappe on 29 September 2010. Chanel, from Houston, US, shot to fame aged 13 when she was spotted sticking out her monster tongue in a YouTube video. In September Guinness invited Chanel to Los Angeles where they measured her tongue and she narrowly beat two other female contenders to the record.
She said: "I have always been silly and goofy. I love sticking my tongue out at people. I started doing that back in school. I've never had a problem with having a long tongue, it's just fun." Chanel now has set her sights set on Hollywood after finishing her studies. She said: "I'd love to be in a movie. I'm certainly pretty dramatic, so I think I could have the acting gift. "Really, I'd love to meet Adam Sandler, he's my favorite."
Sarah Massey: World's Largest Butt
Sarah Massey would be just another 33-year-old mother-of-two from Chicago - if it weren't for the fact that she also happens to have the world's biggest butt. Though not officially recognized by the prudes at Guinness, Massey's massive 7-foot wide keister requires a pair of 10XL trousers that would comfortably fit all of the Kardashian sisters combined.
Massey insists the condition that resulted in her museum-sized bubble butt is hereditary - "there's nothing I can do about it," she says - but that her love of ice cream certainly contributed to its maintenance. Massey would still like to lose some weight, but says she now has a new-found appreciation for her natural assets, and fervently defends them against anyone who calls them fake. "Some people can't believe one person can have this much butt," she told Barcroft. "Because I've got a relatively small frame on top they say, 'that can't be real.' I carry this weight with me all the time, everywhere I go, it's definitely not fake. Big booties are just in my blood."
Zlata: Extreme Flexibility
Russian-born former gymnast Zlata, 29, posed in leather and lingerie to adopt a series of poses that seem to defy every law of biology. Zlata, who now lives in Germany, is able to create astounding shapes with her body and is so flexible she can cram herself into a 50cm square box. One of her favorite acts is to bend backwards at a 90 degree angle, so the back half of her hands touch her feet and she can also peer through her own legs from behind.
Zlata's gift of flexibility was discovered when she was four years old and by six she was training as a contortionist at a circus school. She has a rare condition which makes all her tendons extremely pliable, which helps in her profession. The former gymnast now spends most of her day working out and training for shows around the world. In 2011 she set the Guinness World Record for the most beer bottles opened in a minute using only your feet.
Kim Goodman: Eyeball Protrusion
Kim Goodman is a woman who is able to pop her eyes out of her eye sockets by 12 millimeters (0.47 inches). She holds the world record for the farthest eyeball protrusion. She lives in Chicago, Illinois. She discovered her eyeball popping talent one day when she was hit on the head with a hockey mask. Her eyeballs popped out much further than usual and ever since that day she could pop them out on cue, as well as when she yawns.
She has appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman. In 2004, Goodman was included by Guinness World Records in their 50th anniversary list of top ten "feats" of all time. Kim originally had the record for being able to extend her eye balls beyond her eye sockets by 10mm. This was matched a few years by a new contender, but when Kim was re-measured she found she could now reach 12mm - breaking her own record and keeping the title.
Natalia Partyka: One Armed Table Tennis Champ
Natalia Partyka (born 27 July 1989) is a Polish table tennis player. Born without a right hand and forearm, she participates in competitions for able-bodied athletes as well as in competitions for athletes with disabilities. Partyka reached the last 32 of the London 2012 Olympic women's table tennis. Partyka began playing table tennis at the age of seven. She won her first international table tennis medal in 1999 at the disabled World Championships. At the age of 11, she competed at the 2000 Summer Paralympics in Sydney, becoming the world's youngest ever Paralympian. In 2004, she won a gold medal in the singles event and silver in the team event at the Athens Paralympics.
Partyka competed for Poland both the 2008 Summer Olympics and the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing - one of only two athletes to do so, the other being Natalie du Toit in swimming. They were her third Paralympic Games, and her first Olympics. Competing in class 10 at the Beijing Paralympics, she won gold by defeating China's Fan Lei by three sets to nil. In 2008, she won a gold medal in the singles event and a silver in the team event at the Beijing Paralympics, repeating her Athens Paralympics result.