By Karl Smallwood
We’ve all dreamed of having superpowers at some point (today), but the majority of us have to accept the sobering reality that preternatural abilities simply aren’t possible. That is, except for some rare cases of real, actual people with bona fide powers that defy explanation (and in some cases practical application). For instance …
#6. Ma Xiangang Is Impervious to Electric Shock
Ma Xiangang is a man capable of something not many others are or would have a practical reason to be — he can touch live wires filled with scrotum-popcorning electricity and feel no pain whatsoever.
As with most superpower discoveries, Xiangang found his by acting like a braying jackass. One day when his television quit working, he went to go monkey with the fuse box to try to get it to come back on, accidentally touching a live wire in the process. Normally this story would end with people standing around a pine box and telling their favorite Ma Xiangang stories, but instead of white hot electric death, Xiangang felt nothing at all. Rather than praise his good fortune and call an electrician, he decided to touch the wires again. You know, just to check.
#5. Dean Karnazes Can Run Forever
Dean Karnazes is an American long-distance runner capable of inhuman feats of endurance, such running 50 marathons in each of the 50 states … in 50 consecutive days. Which he totally goddamned did. He’s run a marathon on every continent twice over and run 350 miles nonstop over three sleepless nights.
Back in 2007, Dean attempted to run from New York City to San Francisco, but had to stop in St. Louis, ravaged by disappointment. That is to say, this man has such a level of endurance that running 1,000 miles is disappointing to him. Karnazes has such an impressive list of achievements that when Time magazine listed him as one of their 100 most influential people of 2007, stopping his cross-continental run short was pretty much the only negative thing they could come up with. Then Karnazes completed the very same run in 2010 in 75 days and shut Time right the hell up.
#4. Stephen Wiltshire Has a Perfect Visual Memory
Stephen Wiltshire can look at a city once and draw it from memory. So can we, big deal. The thing is, Wiltshire’s drawing will actually look like the city, with every single building in its exact place and perfectly sized in proportion to real life. Buildings, windows, arches, doorways — almost every detail is precisely correct in size and placement. Once again, he does this from memory. We, on the other hand, searched the Internet Movie Database five times in one hour because we kept forgetting Ray Winstone’s name.
Wiltshire has been drawing his entire life. His first words were “paper” and “pen” (which really throws his folks’ parenting skills into question, if you think about it), and he’s been traveling the world for 25 years on a continuing quest to draw different cities and landmarks, like if Caine from Kung Fu and Bob Ross collided in a time tunnel.