If you're like me, when you think of world records you think of that weird guy in the Guinness Book ca. 1980 with the really really long fingernails that curled around and around. Those sort of odd records continue to intrigue me so I came up with a list of 8 that are equally, if not slightly more wacky.
1. Most Spoons Balanced on the Face
In 2004, twelve-year-old Jonathan Friedman made it into the Guinness Book of World records for balancing 13 stainless steel spoons on his face for two minutes. Tim Johnston, who balanced 15 spoons for 30 seconds, quickly shattered the record a couple months later. The current reigning champ is nine-year-old Joe Allison who managed to balance 16 spoons on his face in 2008. He continues to practice and hopes one day to break his own record, but says his face needs to grow a bit first so he has more room to rest the spoons.
2. Longest Speech
Lluis Colet holds the title for the world's longest speech, which lasted a staggering five days and four nights—124 hours in all. The epic speech was about Spanish painter Salvador Dali, Catalan culture and various other related topics. This is not the first world record title for Colet who scored the longest speech title originally in 2004 with a 48-hour speech. But the record was later broken by a man who delivered a 120-hour speech. Colet was determined to win his title back. Fittingly, he dedicated his win to all those who work to promote and preserve the Catalan language and culture.
3. Most Piercings In One Session
All world records demand stamina but some are downright, er piercing. Twenty-one year-old Matt Robinson recently walked into a piercing studio with 27 piercings and left with 1,143. He received 1,116 new piercings on his back and arms to break the world record. Kam Ma had originally set the record in 2002 with 600 in one session. Robinson had set a goal of receiving 400 more than Ma to shatter the record. However, when Ma got wind of Robinson's plan, he decided to break his own record with 1,115 piercings just days before Robinson's scheduled session. So Robinson upped his number to 1,200! However, after hours of torture, he decided to just break the record by one piercing and stopped at 1,116. And get a load of this: He had the piercings removed a few days later, all except number 1,116 which broke the world record.
4. Eating the Most Hot Peppers
Pain comes in many forms. For Anandita Dutta Tamuly, the pain of eating 51 hot peppers in 2 minutes has to be weighed with this fact: the peppers were ghost peppers known to be the hottest peppers on Earth—twice as hot as Red Savina Habaneros. In 2002, Anita Crafford set the record by eating 8 jalapeÃ±os in 1 minute. The ghost peppers that Tamuly consumed were 100 times hotter than the jalapeÃ±os in the original record. Tamuly says she developed a taste for ghost peppers as a child when the paste had been smeared on her tongue to cure a childhood illness. She would even pick and eat ghost pepper while other children in her village were busy picking berries. To prove how resilient she was to the peppers, she smeared 25 of them in her eyes before consuming them.
5. Side Wheel Driving Through Smallest Gap
Dave Ackland broke the world record for side wheel driving when he drove his Vauxhall Viva on 2 wheels through an opening that was only 67 cm wider than the car was high. The previous record had been set by Terry Grant at the Santa Pod Raceway, Wellingborough, UK on October 17 2006. Ackland is a professional stunt driver and had been practicing for a long time (first on a bicycle!) to earn himself the title. As a kid, her looked up to such daredevils as Evel Knievel and Eddie Kidd. Ackland hopes to go on tour with his own stunt show that he says will include new blindfolded stunts and audience participation. Yeah, you can count me out of the audience of that show!
6. Most Pumpkins Carved in One Hour
Schoolteacher Stephen Clarke has a special talent that has not only earned him two world records but a lot of notoriety. He held the record for fastest pumpkin carver for sculpting a Jack O'Lantern in just 54.72 seconds. However, he broke his own record in 2006 by carving a pumpkin in just 24.03 seconds. Clarke also was published in the Guinness Book of World Records for carving 42 pumpkins in one hour on CBS's The Early Show, in 2002. In 2008 as a part of Publisher Scholastic Media's promotion of Goosebumps Horrorland, the company's first interactive game system, he broke his own record, carving 50 pumpkins in 1 hour before 3,200 witnesses!
7. Oldest Bungee Jumper
Ninety-six year-old Mohr Keet became the oldest bungee jumper in the world when he jumped off of the world record highest bungee jump location, Bloukrans Bridge outside Mossel Bay, on April 7, 2010. The title had previously been help by James Talbot Guyer at 74 years 47 days old. Guyer still holds the record for oldest base jumper which he earned after parachuting off the 486ft high Perrine Bridge in 2002. These guys are proof that extreme sports are not limited to the young. Keet began bungee jumping at 88 and had actually set the record for oldest bungee jumper jumping off the highest bungee jump three times, but he didn't apply to get the feat certified as a world record until the April 7, 2010 jump.
8. Most World Records Record
In 2009, Ashrita Furman set a new world record for holding the most world records at one time: 100 simultaneously. Furman has spent the past 30 years of his life training for and breaking world records. He says his interest in breaking world records stems from childhood. As a kid, he would much rather be reading the Guinness Book of World Records than playing sports. In all, Furman has set 236 world records and currently holds 98. His records range from pogo stick jumping and peeling and eating a lemon to poetry recitation and underwater juggling. The most records anyone person has held simultaneously since Furman set his record is 20. Furman feels confident that no one is catching up to him anytime soon, but just to be safe he continues to practice for and set world records. Maybe we can convince him to set the world record for leaving the most comments on a mental_floss blog post, which shouldn't be too hard considering the present record is only about 10!