From full body tattoos to elf ears and tongue splitting, join us as we take an inquisitive look at the 10 most insane body modifications you just have to see!
10. Full Body Tattooing
When it comes to body modification, tattooing is certainly nothing new. In fact the word tattoo was first used by Captain Cook and naturalist Joseph Banks to describe the body art displayed by the natives of Tahiti and New Zealand in 1769. The oldest example of a tattoo was found on the mummy Otzi, whose body was discovered in glacial ice in the Alps. Otzi was found to have 61 tattoos that date back more than 5 300 years.
One of the most impressive examples of a full frame tattoo can be seen on body modification artist Rick Genest. Known at Zombie Boy, Genest decided to get tattooed after recovering from surgery for a brain tumor. Genest then shunned the normal world and began living under bridges, on rooftops and in dumpsters until 2006 when he featured in an article in the body modification publication, ModBlog. Since then, Genest has appeared in several movies, featured in Lady Gaga’s music video Born This Way, Modelled for GQ magazine and L’Oreal and in 2012, became the face of Jay-Z’ fashion label Roc-A-Wear for it’s re-launch in Europe.
9. Cheek Holes
As far as extreme body modifications go, cheek holes are about as crazy as you can get! German body artist Joe Miggler has capped holes in his cheeks measuring 1.4 inches (3.6 cm) wide! To create his gaping cheek holes, Miggler has had to cut his face on three separate occasions. Each time he inserts a slightly larger ring in the hole to stretch it out. However Miggler isn’t even finished as he eventually wants to widen the holes to 1.5 inches (3.8 cm). Miggler admits that eating food can sometimes be difficult especially soup which just pours out the side of his face, but he simply plugs the holes to avoid spilling any. The holes are so big that Miggler can blow smoke through them and even stick his tongue right out the side of his cheek!
8. Elf Ears
Ear shaping or ‘elfing’ is a pseudo medical procedure usually carried out by a body modification artist. This mod can be achieved several ways but the most popular way is to remove a portion of the upper ear then stitch the two exposed edges together. The ear lobe may also be removed to complete the elf ear making it appear more sleek and shapely. Healing times for this procedure vary and can range from weeks up to several months.
7. Tongue Splitting
Tongue splitting can be performed by cutting the tongue with a hot scalpel or a laser which splits and cauterizes the two sides of the tongue. Only oral and plastic surgeons are licensed to carry out this procedure however it is not uncommon for some body modification artists to also attempt this operation. Alternatively, a person may split their own tongue using the fishing line method. Firstly, a piercing is made at the base of the tongue which once healed acts as the anchor point for the fishing line. The line is gradually tightened over several weeks, slowly splitting the tongue right down the center.
6. Extreme Body Piercing
Body piercing has been around for a long time. In fact, earrings have been found amongst the oldest mummified remains dating back more than 5 000 years ago. Even nipple and genital piercing is nothing new with nipple piercing dating back to ancient Roman times while genital piercings were first seen in India around 320 A.D.
The most pierced woman in the world is Brazilian born Elaine Davidson. Now a resident of Scotland, Davidson has more than 9 000 body piercings with in excess of 500 piercings in her genitalia alone.
5. Festive Body Modifications
In Thailand the Taoist Nine Emperor Gods Festival is held each year on the eve of the 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar. Known locally as Thetsakan or The Vegetarian Festival this bizarre spectacle attracts crowds of curious onlookers as the locals perform unusual religious rituals. Participants work themselves into a trance-like state before impaling themselves and others with just about anything they can find. Everything from syringes and knives to wrenches and even guitars are used to pierce the cheeks of the devotees while they maintain their meditation. Strangely enough, there are very few serious injuries with most participants returning to their regular lives within days of the ritual.
4. Corset Piercings
A far more modern adaption of body modding is the corset piercing. Corset piercing requires 2 rows of symmetrical body piercings running bilaterally down the torso, back or legs of the modder. The piercings are then threaded with ribbon, rope or chain similarly to the laces on a pair of shoes. The ribbon can then be tightened pulling on the skin. The corset piercings may even run the length of a person’s body allowing their legs to be ‘laced’ together!
Created in Canada, this odd body mod has become somewhat popular in Japan’s underground scene. The modder is injected with around 300 – 400 cc of saline solution directly into the forehead and a depression is made in the centre of the lump making it resemble a bagel. Despite the appearance, the ‘bagel’ is not permanent and only lasts around 1 day as the saline solution is slowly absorbed by the body.
2. Teeth Sharpening
Teeth sharpening is a body modification that is believed to have been practiced by some South American and African cultures. Now primarily an aesthetic body mod, the procedure involves filing and capping the teeth. Perhaps the most well known example of someone with sharpened teeth was Dennis Avner. Also known as Stalking Cat, Avner began his gradual transformation in the early 1980’s after a meeting with a Native American Chief who encouraged him to embrace the characteristics of his totem animal – the tiger.
1. Total Transformation
A few take body modification to the extreme. Combining many modding techniques to completely alter their appearance from human into something else entirely.
The Lizardman Erik Sprague, is a freak show performer and member of the rock band Lizard Skynyrd. Sprague has had his entire body tattooed to resemble the scales of a lizard. He also has a split tongue, filed teeth, stretched ears and subdermal implants across his forehead!
Venezuelan Henry Damon has taken body modding to another level in his quest to look like Marvel character Red Skull. Apart from a full black and red face tattoo and subdermal implants in his forehead, Damon has also had his actual eyeballs tattooed black and has even had his nose removed in an effort to look like the comic book super villain.
But the most extreme body modification of all time has to be The Vampire Lady, Maria Cristerna. The former lawyer has had her teeth sharpened, body tattooed, ears stretched and has even had titanium horns grafted to her forehead. Despite looking like an evil demon, Cristerna is a loving mother of four and gives talks to women suffering from domestic abuse in her spare time.