The first edition of The Guinness Book of Records was published in London in 1955. It had been compiled after the managing director of Guinness, Sir Hugh Beaver and a friend could not resolve an argument over what was the fastest game bird in Europe. Sir Beaver decided other people must have similar arguments about the biggest or the fastest and so The Guinness Book of Records was born.
At first, the book, which was updated annually, focussed on naturally occurring phenomenon such as the oldest dog or the tallest man but later evolved to include records of human achievements.
The Book does not allow records involving anything they consider too dangerous such as most beers drunk. It also requires that any giant food records are entirely edible and that all food is distributed afterward to avoid food wastage.
15 Most apples held in own mouth and cut by chainsaw in one minute
There can’t be that many contenders for this record, and although the Guinness Book of Records states that it does not allow records that are dangerous, it seems that their definition of dangerous and ours might differ slightly.
The proud holder of this record is Chayne Hultgren who used a chainsaw to cut 21 apples which he held in his own mouth, one at a time of course. The feat was accomplished in one minute, as per the record rules and he did it on April 19, 2017, in Sydney Australia.
Chayne is also known by his stage name “The Space Cowboy” and makes his living as an extreme performance artist. He holds other records including the most blow torches extinguished by the tongue in one minute (48), the heaviest weight pulled with the eye sockets (907 lbs) and the most swords swallowed while juggling three objects (18).
14 Most spoons on body
You can just imagine it, the conversation the tiny village of Stubica, Serbia:
“I’m a big shot now you know?”
“Oh yes, how’s that then?”
“I’m a world record holder.”
“Wow, Dalibor, that’s actually impressive. What's your record?”
“I hold the record for balancing most spoons on the body.”
“Oh, well, that’s, erm, nice.”
Obviously, there is not a lot to do in Stubica. Dalibor Jablanovic, one of less than 2000 occupants of the tiny village in Serbia, broke the record for “Most Spoons On Body” with 79 spoons on June 26, 2016. The spoons are not of a set size, any teaspoon will do, and it is not clear if there is a time limit on how long the spoons must stay on the body.
13 Heaviest car balanced on head
For most of these ridiculous records you would be justified in asking “Why would you want to do that?” but for this one, the biggest question for me is”How did you discover this was where your own very particular set of skills lay?”
Is it not like you can accidentally balance a car on your head and realize you’re terrific at it is it? You weren’t sitting watching TV one night with a light car balanced on your head and suddenly thought “You know what? I bet I can balance a much heavier car than this one on my head.”
These are questions we would like to pose to John Evans who balanced a 352-pound mini on his head for 33 seconds on 24 May 1999.
12 Fastest time to eat a raw onion
For some records, you can understand why someone would want to do it. Anyone might want to be the fastest person to run a mile, the fastest driver to ever drive across the Utah Salt flats, the fastest person to circumnavigate the Earth, but the person who can eat an onion faster than anyone else? That does not seem to be in the same league for international glory and cool story at a party.
The fastest time to eat a raw onion is 29.56 seconds, set by Yusuke Yamaguchi in Sumoto, Hyogo, Japan on 31 December 2013. No technical specifications for the size, weight, strength or color of the onion could be found. Neither could we find evidence that anyone was prepared to sit next to him on the car ride home.
11 Most clothes pegs clipped to the face in one minute
The most clothes pegs clipped to the face in one minute is 51 pegs, achieved by Silvio Sabba in Pioltello, Italy, on 27 December 2012.
Sabba is one of the many people who has broken many records, in fact, he has broken over 200 of them and all from the comfort of his own home.
Contrary to popular belief, your record breaking attempt does not have to take place in the presence of an official Guinness adjudicator. Before the internet, this was usually a requirement because an impartial witness was needed but these days you can film yourself achieving your amazing feat and submit it to Guinness for verification.
Sabba has broken most of his records this way. He usually records his attempts, and once he is successful, he uploads the video to YouTube and asks Guinness to verify. Twenty-First-century record breaking at its very finest.
10 Most human targets hit with plungers in one minute
Not only do you have to speculate about some of the people who think up, set and break crazy world records but you have to wonder about those who choose to help them. For instance, take the case of Gerhard Donie of Germany.
On September 14, 2010, he hit 15 people with toilet plungers in one minute, one more plunger than on his previous record breaking attempt. Perhaps Doine has some kind of deeply repressed anger which causes him to feel the need to throw plungers at people. Maybe he was mistreated by a plumber in a previous life. Whatever his reason for this record, more puzzling is the reason why a large group of people would be willing to stand in front of him and be hit by rubber plungers. Are they self-hating plumbers who once overcharged someone and are participating as some kind of penance? We will never know.
9 Under Where?
For some records there is no need to go it alone, the record itself demands that you have a gathering of the most people to do XXXX. It would appear all you have to do is persuade enough people to dress up as something and bam; you’re a record holder. People dressed as trees? 1000. People dressed as cows? 1352.
A group of people in Utah, however, took it in the opposite direction. In an attempt to challenge the perception that Utah is an uptight state the Utah Undie Run was held on September 24, 2011. Before the run, all participants had to gather in one spot to claim the record for most people to gather in their underwear. In case you were wondering how many people would turn up to stand up and be counted in their underwear, in public, in Utah in September, the answer is 2270.
8 Longest human tunnel traveled through on a skateboard by a dog
Not content with making themselves do outlandish things in order to get into the record books, some pet owners have roped their animals into their exploits.
A case in point is the “Longest Human Tunnel Traveled Through By A Dog” record set by Otto the Bulldog on November 8, 2015.
Otto’s owners Luciana Viale and Robert Rickards had previously seen former record holder Tillman the bulldog in videos online and, just as anyone else would, decided to get a bulldog of their own in order to teach it to skateboard through a tunnel of people.
After much training and many doggie treats Otto achieved Luciana and Robert’s dream and skateboarded through the legs of 30 people. There is no record of whether or not Otto or his owners received the record certificate.
7 Human Dominoes
Apparently not only is human dominoes a thing, but it is a record that has been around since 2009 when 80 people at the Channel Nine studios in Sydney, Australia strapped themselves to mattresses and toppled backward like dominoes. 2016 turned out to be a year where the record was fought for multiple times, but the final successful record-breaking attempt was on July 23, 2016, when people lined up in Wuhan, Hubei, China so they could be knocked back down again with a twin mattress measuring 200cm x 90cm tied to their back?
Exactly how many people took part? 2016. Yes, that’s the number of people who got up that morning and thought “You know what? Today I think I’ll be a human domino.” It took several hours to set up and 14 minutes and 47 seconds for everyone to be knocked down again.
6 Most consecutive stairs climbed while balancing a person on the head
We are all constantly told that taking the stairs is much healthier for us than taking the elevator but apparently Giang Quoc Nghiep and Giang Quoc Co, a pair of circus performers from Vietnam, took it a bit further.
Not only did they show off by climbing all 90 stairs of Saint Mary's Cathedral of Girona, Spain, in 52 seconds but they did it while one was balanced on the others head. That’s right, one did a headstand on the head of the other, and together they took the steps, smashing the previous record of 25 levels that was set by Tang Tao and Su Zeng Xian of China in 2014.
I think it only fair that there should be an accompanying record for “Most Consecutive stairs climbed while being balanced on someone's head.”
5 Most T-shirts removed while heading a football
Marcelo Ribeiro da Silva of Brazil is not only an expert in ball control, but he’s also pretty speedy at stripping off his clothes too.
On April 24 209 he removed 21 t-shirts while heading a football, without dropping the football once. The ball is required to be a standard FIFA approved match football, but there are no specifications about the t-shirts. I can understand become a whizz at football heading but how do you discover you can take off t-shirts at the same time? Who owns that many t-shirts? How big did the biggest one have to be to fit another 20+ underneath?
Marcelo Ribeiro da Silva has been doing ball control tricks to help support his family for as long as he can remember and the attempt was live on the set of Toda Sexta (Every Friday) a popular Brazilian variety TV show at the time.
4 Most rotations hanging from a power drill in one minute
Many records are set during the recording of “Guinness World Records” programs which are made and recorded all around the world. If I were going to attempt a record, this would be the last place I would try. If you fail to break the record, it must be crushing on a personal level but to have that happen in front of a camera? No thank you very much.
Such thoughts were not a problem for The Huy Giang who broke the record for “Most rotations hanging from a power drill in one minute” on the set of 'Guinness World Records,' in Madrid, Spain, on December 23, 2008.
I suspect there are would be DIYers from all over the world who have accidentally broken this record at one time or another, but none of them are going to admit to it.
3 Most Smarties/M&Ms eaten in one minute blindfolded using chopsticks
If this was the latest dieting fad it would probably have thousands of followers and at least one celebrity crediting it for them having lost hundreds of pounds in weight over the years.
However, it is just another bizarre Guinness Book of Records entry which goes to show some people have more imagination and time on their hands than is strictly healthy.
This record breaker is Ashrita Furman who ate 20 Smarties/M&Ms eaten in one minute blindfolded using chopsticks on December 8, 2011, in New York, USA.
Furman has broken over 600 records in his time and also holds the record for the most records held at one time by one person.
Beginning in 1989 Furman has held records such as “The fastest mile walking on shovels used as stilts” - 24 min and 25 seconds, “Inflating the most balloons to an 8 inch diameter in one hour” - 671 and “The fastest mile dribbling a basketball while hopping on a pogo stick” - 23 min 2.91 seconds.
If you are wondering where all of these weirdly specific categories come from then, wonder no longer. The Guinness Book of Records says that as long as it is something that can be measured, counted or weighed if could become a record so basically you can make up your own as long as it falls into one of those three measuring types.
2 Largest underwater human pyramid
The largest ever underwater human pyramid was built of 62 professional divers in the tastily named Mango Bay, Thailand on October 15 2013. Organised by Tyler Reiser, Manolo Cabasal (both USA) and John Shaddick (Australia) the pyramid must be completely underwater and be held for at least 30 seconds in order to qualify for the record.
Now, I don’t like to be picky, especially over something I could never do myself and have no knowledge of, but I’m going to be anyway.
Doesn’t this pyramid look a bit squiffy to you? The Egyptians wouldn’t stand for that kind of shoddy construction.
1 Most rings placed on a target by a parrot in one minute
Just as when a pair of people break a record they are both recorded as record breakers, so too are some animals and their trainers. However, I did find it a little unfair that the Guinness Book of Records web page for this record has Wendy Horton under the “who?” tab and not Skipper Blue the Macaw, the one who did the actual record breaking.
At least Skipper Blue the Macaw is named in the details section where it tells us
“The most rings placed on a target by a parrot in one minute is 19 and was achieved by Skipper Blue the Macaw and her trainer Wendy Horton (both USA) in Los Angeles, California, USA, on 13 November 2016.”
This listing also leaves me wondering - is the nationality of the parrot in question a big deal if their name isn’t listed under the “who?”?