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Who Are the Real Life Superheroes?An interview with the 'Dark Guardian'. A real life superhero who dons spandex and takes to the streets to fight crime (and hunger).
Real Life SuperpowersBy Adam Sinicki
The follow people are all real life examples of how we can develop superhuman abilities. It's pretty amazing stuff, but the comics are no longer the only place to find superheroes...
Killer Kiai (Master Sasaki) - A 'Kiai', also known as a 'spirit shout', describes the way in which a martial arts practitioner yells during an attack. Normally used to throw the opponent off guard and to put extra emphasis into the strike, Master Sasaki among others has honed its use to become something more - developing his lungs and muscles to such an extent that he's able him to stun opponents by yelling alone causing them to fall to the ground. He demonstrates this ability by ringing a bell by yelling and his master could allegedly kill birds and other small animals with the attack.
Magnetic Man (Liew Thow Lin) - While not quite as impressive as X-Men supervillain Magneto, Liew Thow Lin is able to 'stick' metal objects to his body magnetically. So powerful is this ability that he can use it to drag cars by items attached to his body. The abilities also exist in three of his children suggesting a genetic cause.
German Super Child - Born in 2004, the German 'super child' is the first example of a human born with mutations on both genes responsible for producing myostatin - a protein that suppresses the production of muscle. This has lead to the boy having abnormal amounts of muscle and being able to perform the iron cross and upside down sit ups while still an infant. Interestingly his father has a mutation on just one of the genes and was a former sprinter, and even more interestingly scientists have managed to replicate this 'ability' in mice with gene doping techniques (altering their DNA).
The Bionic Man (Oscar Pistorius) - An Olympic runner who uses bionic attachment s which look like 'skis' in order to run after losing both his legs. Amazingly he actually has an advantage over 'ordinary' athletes and can run faster while using less energy. This lead to controversy when in 2008 the Olympics committee stated he wouldn't be allowed to compete.
Project Grizzly (Troy Hurtubise) - Troy Hurtubise has developed a suit of armour to allow him to wrestle bears. Possibly the closest thing to a real life Iron Man armour it also allows him to take hits from trucks and hurl himself down steep mountains. The suit is called 'Ursus' and like Iron Man comes in various versions referred to as marks. It's recently generated interest from the military.
The Real Life Daredevil (Ben Underwood) - Ben Underwood is a blind child who managed to overcome his disability by learning 'echo location' - the ability to click and then listen to the sounds reverberating from nearby objects to create an impression of his surroundings via sonar like a bat. This ability enables him to play football and engage in other normal activities without the need for a cane.
The Boy With the Incredible Brain (Daniel Tammet) - Daniel Tammet is a high functioning autistic savant meaning despite a condition where he lacks certain social skills, he makes up for it in terms of his amazing mathematical ability and ability to recall dates and numbers. Not only does he speak a wide variety of languages, but when challenged he was able to learn fluent Icelandic in just one week (he is now working on his own language 'Manti'). He holds the Guinness world record for being able to memorise and recite Pi to 22,514 digits in just over five hours. He describes some of his ability as being a result of 'synethsesia' where your senses overlap. In his case he can 'see' and 'feel' numbers and describes Pi as being 'beautiful'. Which is kind of deep and mystical I think...
The Cyborg (Kevin Warwick) - Kevin Warwick can control robot arms across continents with his mind, navigate blindfolded and even communicate telepathicaly with his wife who is also part cyborg. And how can he do all this? Through an array of 100 electrodes (25 of which can be accessed at any one time) implanted to interface with his nervous system (Tony Stark actually did that!). This was complicated enough to allow him to control the arm and combined with ultrasonic sensors attached to a baseball cap he achieved extra-sensory vision.
The Rubber Boy (Daniel Browning Smith) - Daniel Browning Smith is the five time Guinness world record holder for the most flexible man alive; able to crawl through an unstrung tennis racket and contort his body into shocking positions.
Jet Man (Yves Rossi) - Recently having garnered attention in the media, the 'Jet Man' has developed a backpack with wings that allows him to fly solo when dropped from a plane. Combine this with the Ursus and you've got yourself a real Iron Man.
The God Hand (Masutatsu Oyama) - Born in Korea in 1927, Masutatsu Oyama (previously Choi Yeong-eui) had such amazing karate that he could kill a bull with his bare hands which he often did as a demonstration. Not terribly moral and probably he'd have a few animal rights activists to punch to death if he was around today. But still...
Pyrokinesis (Qigong Master Jo) - Qigong Master Jo, as his name suggests, is a master of 'Qigong' (or Chi Kung) which involves controlling and manipulating the 'Qi' within the body. The Chinese believe that 'Qi' is the energy that runs within all living organisms and dictates whether we have good or poor health. While many Qigong practitioners and Shaolin monks demonstrate impressive abilities utilising their Qi to break boards or take powerful hits, Qigong Master Jo has taken this ability one step further and claims to be able to cause things to combust spontaneously and vaporise water simply by channelling the energy through his hands. Several videos exist online demonstrating this power but whether or not it's trickery remains to be ascertained for certain.
The Blue Man (Paul Karason) - Paul Karason has a condition known as 'Argyria', the most dramatic symptom of which is entirely blue skin. The condition is permanent and was caused by the ingestion of colloidal silver. In other words, if you wanted to be blue you could simply repeat the process yourself by consuming large amounts of the silver. While being blue isn't really a superpower in itself, it is often the defining characteristic of a lot of superhero and alien characters in films and comics. Probably gets fed up with people saying 'why so blue?' and 'I'm blue dabadee dabadie'.
Now imagine if you did all these things... Or if these guys met these guys...