These real human superpowers are way better than that stupid party trick you do
From synesthesia to remote viewing to superhuman feats of strength, many (much cooler) people possess powers that exceed the vast majority of human ability. Here are some real-as-cornbread superhuman abilities that make Stranger Things look like a historical documentary.
In 1975, a man named Ingo Swann was recruited as a spy by the CIA. A known psychic with proven abilities to see things others couldn’t, Swann was instructed to spy on the Soviet Union. Not in the field, though. From thousands of miles away … in a CIA cubicle … in the United States.
Swann was a remote viewer; someone who can see and describe a location and its contents anywhere from a half-mile to a half-million light years away. People who bear this parapsychological ability appear to be able to leave their body and travel to a particular destination without being detected, a beautiful talent, which, like all magical things, was of particular interest to the CIA and NSA. Who, after all, wouldn’t want to weaponize a mind like that? Imagine the espionage abilities. Go ahead. We'll wait.
Swann is far from the only remote viewer on the block, though. Multiple known individuals harbor this ability, many of whom were part of a series of infamous (and recently declassified) Stanford University experiments in which they were asked to describe distinct objects located in a separate room, and in other locations after being provided with nothing more than geographical coordinates. Swann was a participant, and according to a report in the journal Scientific Exploration, he was able to identify and describe a ring around Jupiter that researchers didn’t know existed until it was confirmed during a flyby by the spacecraft Pioneer 10 shortly thereafter.
Researchers aren’t entirely sure what gives some people this ability (it has something to do with quantum mechanics), but intelligence agencies don’t care — they’ve invested obscene amounts of money into the program (Project StarGate) … ostensibly so they can watch you use a Hot Pocket as pretend trombone in your underwear right ... now.
Here, you try:
People with synesthesia experience two senses at once, and their life would often seem, from an outsider's perspective, to be one long mescaline vacation. An entire lifetime of hallucinatory ability.
They taste color. They feel music. They visualize their orgasms in shockingly lucid shapes and patterns. They picture abstract concepts like mathematical operations or time as distinct images projected around them. Most commonly, they hear color. It comes in many varieties and combinations of senses, and it affects no two people the same. Some even experience more than one type of it. Nabokov had it. So did composer Olivier Messiaen and the physicist Richard Feynman.
Synesthesia is an interesting challenge for scientists, who can't quite figure out why so many have it (it occurs in 1 in every 2,000 people). Research has found that it's a biological, unlearned phenomena, and that it's very distinct from a hallucination or a metaphor, but still ... there doesn't seem to be a clear purpose for this surprisingly common superhuman ability.
What's it like to have it? Watch this visualization to get a tiny idea of it.
Most of us mortals need things like steroids and a talented plastic surgeon to develop the sort of muscle mass that Michigan boy wonder Liam Hoekstra has. Not him. He just needs like 12 pounds of beef per day. Literally.
"He's hungry for a full meal about every hour because of his rapid metabolism," his mom Dana Hoekstra told the AP. "He's already eating me out of house and home."
Liam has a rare genetic condition that prevents his body from producing myostatin, a protein which inhibits muscle growth. That means his muscles are free to grow and expand at alarming rates, causing him to be way too strong for anyone to mentally process. At 5 months old, Liam started doing an expert gymnast move called the iron cross. By 8 months he was doing pull-ups, and by 9, he was cruising up and down stairs like some sort of 'roided up Schwarzenegger baby.
Individuals or animals with this super human condition have larger muscles and almost no body fat, so hello Abercrombie contract! And while Liam hasn’t started lifting the tops off buildings like The Incredible Hulk quite yet, he’s definitely way stronger than all his friends and therefore way dreamier.
Some people think it’s real. Others think it’s bullshit. But whether you’re a believer in psychokinesis or a cold-blooded skeptic, there’s no doubt that it’s one of the most compelling phenomena of all time. Of all time!
Psychokinesis (aka telekinesis) is the ability to move objects with your mind. According to some reports, the human superpower has been observed in labs and in what were called "PK parties," a cultural fad of ‘80s where groups of people were guided through "rituals and chants" to awaken the paranormal and their so-called “metal-bending powers.” Although scientists blamed the supernatural occurrences that took place there on heightened suggestibility, many participants reported being able to bend metal objects with their mind. It was enough to catch the interest of the military — Army Colonel J.B. Alexander joined up with Houck at these PK parties, and reported his findings back to the government (no word on whether any of the people at these sessions were named Eleven).
One so-called psychokinetic, Uri Geller, even performed his metal-bending for the government during a speech at the U.S. Capitol Building in which he caused a spoon to contort upward with no physical force applied in front of an astonished crowd. For this, Geller got $250,000 from a skeptic’s organization who offered prize money to anyone capable of proving instances of the paranormal under controlled conditions. Hot party trick, man.
Researchers think they know what could cause some people to have psychokinetic abilities — they’re banking on either the theories of quantum entanglement or the quantum double split. But so far, the diagnosis seems to be straight-up pseudoscience.
... That doesn't mean we're not going to show you this YouTube psychokinesis how-to, though. Welcome!
People diagnosed with high-functioning autistic savant syndrome that same year have really fucking good memories. Although the things they’re able to remember differs person to person, they’re able to perform a number of complex mental tasks like drawing or memorization far beyond what most of us are capable of and learn at the rate our basic minds could only imagine. This is actually common among autistic people — 10 percent of the autistic population has savant abilities.
One of these people, Stephen Wiltshire, has the uncanny ability to take a photo of something in his mind, then recreate it with unholy accuracy after having seen it for only a few seconds.
After being diagnosed with autism at age 3, Wiltshire discovered that his memory was like a photograph, and he now spends his time recreating jaw-droppingly precise drawings of cityscapes after looking at them for about the amount of time it takes to say the words “Why am I a muggle?”
Here’s a video of him drawing the Singapore skyline from memory. Meanwhile, you can’t even draw an ampersand while looking at it.
Other savants like Daniel Tammet have blown people away with their computer-like memories. In 2004 Daniel blew minds when he recited the mathematical constant Pi (3.141…) from memory to 22,414 decimal places in five hours, nine minutes, without error during a world record-setting recitation at the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford.
Daniel doesn’t think he’s that special, though. He’s heavy into emphasizing the similarities between his mind and those of non-savants, stressing that his supernatural memory isn’t due to some convenient genetic mutation, but simply to a rich and complex associative form of thinking and imagination he’s perfected. Savant thought, he argues, is just an “extreme variation of a kind of thinking that all of us do, from daydreaming to using puns and metaphors.”
BRB, going to pun our way to memorizing our own phone number …
Yeah, yeah, we know. Meditation is good for you.
But did you know it can unlock superhuman powers? There’s no shortage of literature when it comes to earth’s resident meditation pros, Buddhist monks, possessing “supernormal” abilities to control their own bodies with their minds. Monks have been observed changing their own body temperatures by up to 17 degrees, decreasing their metabolisms by 64 percent and, the most famous example, lighting themselves on fucking fire, all while in a deep, meditative trance.
Non-monks, too. One man, Wim Hoff, was able to use meditation to submerge himself in ice for almost two hours without his core temperature changing, a highly compelling feat that shows just how strong the psychosomatic connection can be. Wim has also wowed by using meditation to climb Everest in his shorts (shrinkage?), resist altitude sickness, run a marathon in an African desert with no water (more shrinkage?) and prove in a clinical setting that he can control his nervous and immune systems with his mind. Meanwhile, we didn’t eat that third piece of pizza earlier, so we must be nearing Wim-level capacities.
Check out the documentary VICE News did on him.
The ability to party forever and never die
It’s a question we ask ourselves in the foggy bathroom mirror each day: why is Ozzy Osbourne still alive?
The guy’s drank, snorted, smoked, injected and boofed more questionable substances into his body than an Amish girl on Rumspringa, not to mention survived cancer. Why is someone whose body has had the shit kicked out of it for decades still alive while others with a similar proclivity for partying have perished?
Because he’s a fucking mutant. In 2010, Ozzy had his genome sequenced and researchers said they found several gene variants "never seen before in his DNA. And yes, you, they are involved in the part of the genome that controls alcoholism, addiction, and how the body absorbs and processes meth and other party drugs. So smart, you are.
Given the hangover we have from the one beer we had six hours ago, we’re considering Ozzy’s unique biochemistry a legitimate superpower. Don’t argue.