World records are an official declaration that someone’s the best in the world at something. Like if you’re the tallest human ever recorded, or the person who’s run the fastest mile of all time or who has the highest IQ—there’s even an entry for people with the world’s longest fingernails and ear hair.
Some folks master wacky skills to get their names in in the record books, like the guy who lifts weights using only his tongue, the dude in the Netherlands who owns the world’s largest barf bag collection or the guy who holds a record for extinguishing the most candles with his farts.
So let’s sit back and appreciate these 15 times The Guinness Book of World Records set records for stupidity.
15 Most toilet seats broken (46) by the head in one minute – Kevin Shelley
How did Kevin Shelley figure out that his special skill was breaking toilet seats with his head? Did he head-butt a toilet lid so hard one day as a wee boy that he cracked the lid in two, saw stars and at the same time, some light came on inside him and he knew then and there that breaking toilet seats with his head would be his destiny? He’d have to train like Rocky Balboa to become the greatest toilet-seat-head-butting champion of all time. He knew that much.
Did he, like Rocky, down raw eggs in the early dawn and run through the city streets and up many flights of stone steps and make too many sequels when he should have stopped after Rocky III?
14 Hardest kick to the groin
Kirby Roy took the fastest kick to the groin on record when, according to smosh.com, “American Gladiator Justice Smith kicked (Roy) in the junk at the rate of 22 mph with 1,100 pounds of force.”
What does training to make or break such a record involve? We wonder if there was some stage in Roy’s life where he realized that he could sustain groin trauma well over and above an average person’s tolerance and could, in fact, strive for greatness in this field. Perhaps he cold-called a bunch of coaches and trainers whose names he found in the Yellow Pages. We bet they all hung up on him, thinking his strange quest a joke, and now this steel-balled world champion record-holder gets the last laugh.
13 Car balanced on head
According to mentalfloss.com, “On May 24, 1999, John Evans from England balanced a 352-lb Mini on his head for 33 seconds.”
This looks so painful and we can't imagine what a ferocious headache this guy must have had the next day but we have to admit: this car seems a little on the light side. Of course, 352 lb is a substantial weight for any human skull to take, but don’t some cars weigh, like, half a ton? It’s not as if we expect the guy to balance a pick-up truck on his head, but this is lightweight. Call us slightly more than half-impressed.
And while this car may not weigh anything close to half a ton, those 33 seconds must have seemed like the longest half-minute of Evans’ life.
12 Gerard Jessie’s specialty is setting fart-related records
You know how some celebrities insure their body parts for a huge hunk of cash? Heidi Klum has reportedly insured her legs and J-Lo has reportedly insured her booty for millions. We wonder if Gerard Jessie has insured his butt for millions. He should. His sphincter, it turns out, is his golden ticket.
If you look at Jessie’s webpage where he lists his fart-associated feats, he’s the record holder in categories such as: Most Lit Candles Extinguished By Farting, Most Balloons Popped By Shooting A Dart From A Tube Propelled By Farting and Fastest Time To Topple An Empty Plastic Bottle By Farting. He also holds records for other random skills, like: Most Razor Blades Picked Up With Eyelids, Longest Time Covering Body With Ants.
11 Most snails on face
If you’re a tolerant, non-squeamish kind of person and don’t mind the ick factor of slimy snails all over your face, we think this record is probably one of the easiest on this dumb list to break. All you have to do is hold more than 43 snails on your face for 10 seconds, which is the current record set in 2009 by then 11-year-old Fin Keleher.
We think if this kid was only 11 years old when he did this, his head would be smaller than the average adult’s. In other words, an adult face would probably have room to fit more than 43 snails on it. And 10 seconds? Pfft! We can beat that easy. Get out of the way, kid! Your record’s going down!
10 Bursting balloons with her back
Before we saw this image and had only read about this feat, we had a very different vision of how someone would burst balloons with their back. We pictured the person who held this record must have somehow contorted their back superhumanly vertically to burst the balloons that would be held against their spine and then squashed by some crazy flexible double-jointed ribs that could contort backwards to squeeze the balloons till they burst. Once we saw this picture, however, how this feat’s actually accomplished made sense and we felt sooooo stupid. A-ha so she bends down backwards and bursts balloons that way.
By the way, this is Julia Gunthel of Germany and it takes her only 12 seconds to burst three balloons with her back.
9 Most watermelons chopped on the stomach in one minute
These two are like the “sawed-in-half-lady” carnival act—but in their case the danger’s real. Celia Curtis is the human cutting board and has to trust and tolerate machete-wielding, watermelon-chopping Jim Hunter swinging his blade around her vital organs. Jim Hunter, for his part, has to have enough control and precision over his swinging blade to precisely slice the watermelons in half on Celia’s belly without cutting her in half in the process.
These two set their record when Hunter halved 25 watermelons in one minute using Curtis's belly as a cutting board back in 2005.
What about the person balancing those watermelons on Celia’s belly every two seconds or so while Jim’s swinging that sharp blade around? Don’t they deserve some acclaim?
8 Weights lifted by the sense organs
Okay, so there are actually weightlifting records for lifts done by the tongue, eye sockets and ear. There are contenders, too, in this category since there’s a record for a person who’s lifted the most weight with one eye socket (30.86 lb, Manjit Singh, UK) and another person holds a record for greatest weight lifted using both eye sockets combined (51 lb. ~13 oz, Yang Guang He, China). The heaviest weight lifted by the tongue is 27 lb. 8.96 oz (Thomas Blackthorn, UK) and the heaviest weight lifted by one ear (using a clamp) is 178 lb. 14.40 oz (Rakesh Kumar, India).
Imagine going to the gym and training for these? Maybe you’d do reps of tongue deadlifts, earlobe curls or eye-socket presses as part of your regimen.
7 Typing out every number (in text) from zero to 1 million
When we first heard about this record we thought, “Who has time for this crap?” But then when we read the reason this man, Les Stewart, holds this record for typing all the numbers for one to 1 million in text (not digit-numerically) we felt like terrible people and remembered that we should never go about judging books by their covers until we hear the whole story.
It turns out that Les was in recovery from a serious illness and took on this typing task as part of his therapy. He started in 1982 and finally completed his list of numbers on November 25, 1998. Les seems to be on some kind of record-breaking crusade. He also holds the Australian records for treading water and for swimming continuously for 30 hours.
6 Michel Lotito AKA “Monsieur Mangetout”
No one should try any of this guy’s feats at home—especially because Michel Lotito was born with an anatomical advantage being that his stomach lining was more than twice as thick as an average person’s and this enabled him to chew up sharp and dangerous objects such as light bulbs, razor blades and glass bottles like no other person could.
In the 1990s, Lotito ate the entirety of a Cessna 150 airplane (including engine, glass parts, even the seats and tires—every bit of it) over the course of two years. He broke the plane into bite-size pieces, chewed it all up and swallowed. He supposedly completely wore his teeth down but this never stopped him. Lotito reportedly died of natural causes at age 57 in 2007.
5 World’s largest collection of barf bags
This is Niek Vermeulen of the Netherlands. As you can see, he’s something of a barf bag aficionado. He’s probably got enough to fill a spare room in his home. He’s even got a hat (likely specially made since we can’t imagine any factory stitching millions of hats emblazoned with “BARF BAGS WANTED” to be sold off the rack).
To date, Niek has probably since collected more than the 5,568 barf bags that he had at last count. Who else other than airlines offers barf bags? Hospitals. Rocket ships. NASA. Amusement parks (for rides or those no-gravity simulation places that can make people sick).
We have one question about Niek’s collection: are first class barf bags classier than economy’s?
4 Most people (177,000) brushing teeth simultaneously
This is a record probably only dentists pay attention to. Maybe it’s a bit of trivia they use to break the ice with new patients. Show how hip they are, rattling off the deets of the latest world record involving the most people brushing their teeth at once.
You might respond that this record’s probably broken on a daily basis all around the world, only we can never know for sure because the unseen tooth-brushing record-breakers are separated by walls, houses, cities and continents. Shouldn’t your dentist consider how many people in any given time zone are probably brushing their teeth simultaneously to catch the 7 a.m. bus, say?
Watch your dentist look at you quizzically, mutter “huh?” and then dispense with the small talk for the rest of your root canal.
3 Most T-shirts removed while heading a football
At the World Cup 2014, Marcelo Ribeiro da Silva was the keep-uppy champion. He’s been recorded doing 15,000 keep-uppies in 2 hours and 15 minutes. Maybe straight-up keep-upping (which is heading a soccer ball straight up into the air and continuing to head it so it doesn’t hit the ground or hit any other body part) wasn’t enough of a challenge anymore for Marcelo and he had to add the extra dimension of pulling shirt after shirt over his head to up the ante of his cool soccer field trick. Doing this, he was able to successfully keep heading the ball while pulling off a total of 21 shirts. Wonder how many shirts he’d layered on in anticipation of performing this record setting feat?
2 Josef Tödtling: longest distance pulled by a horse with full body burn
This is something that maybe a professional stunt-person would attempt to show a casting director what they’re made of. If someone approached you with a proposal to help them out in this endeavor, would you? Or would you tell them that they’re crazy? This Josef Tödtling guy actually finds accomplices and people to help him. There’s the camera operator, the guy riding the horse dragging him along, the fire-lighter and even someone riding alongside in an ATV pouring lamp oil over Josef to keep the flames alive from start to finish. This dude is hardcore. He was dragged fully aflame like this for 500 m. Josef also holds a 582 m record being tied to the back of a quad bike in full body burn.
1 Cycling backward while playing the violin
Christian Adam combines two very useful skills (bike riding and violin playing) into one useless world record here. Obviously, Adam rides with no hands because he needs his hands to play his instrument. He’s upped the ante of straight-up bike-riding by performing his ride backwards (which means he can’t see where he’s going) and probably with all of this, he doesn’t miss a beat off his sheet music. Adam must have incredible control over his bike to ride it backwards, blind and with no hands. He set a new world record traveling 60 kilometers in 5 hours and nine minutes this way. He even wears a tux as if he’s playing in a swanky symphony. How does he switch up his sheet music? What’s on his playlist?