This College of Wizardry in Poland is as Close to Hogwarts as You’ll Ever Get

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The College of Wizardry, a recent event organised by Denmark’s Rollespils Fabrikken and Poland’s LARPing communities, gave Potterheads the opportunity to experience the world of Harry Potter by actually being a part of it. This, they claimed, was a whole lot more fulfilling and exciting than visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park, in Orlando.

Through the event, they brought Potterheads from 11 different countries together to celebrate their love of the wizarding world. Close to 200 live-action role players (LARPers) participated in the first session of the fictional Czocha College of Witchcraft and Wizardry – it was the largest and most intricate J.K. Rowling-themed LARP adventure in history. The LARPers played the role of teachers, students and other characters from Hogwarts.

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Rototiller Racing – A Rural Motorsport Like No Other

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Tilling a field is hard work, so it’s hard to believe that there are people who actually do it for sport. However, rototiller racing is actually a thing!  The world championship is held every year during the PurpleHull Pea festival in Emerson, Arkansas, where the world’s fastest garden tillers get together to compete for the highly coveted $500 prize.

“There is simply no other event like it,” the PurpleHull website declares. “Unique among motorsports, we like to say it is the highlight of the tiller racing season. ‘Course, to the best of our knowledge, our one-day event is the tiller racing season. Souped-up garden tillers from near and far come to compete in the world’s premier tiller racing event.”

The race begins with one competitor (a.k.a tiller pilot) per lane (200-feet-long), with the referees waiting at the finish line with their eyes on stopwatches. When the starter waves the flag, the racers are off, kicking up a huge cloud of dirt as they go. The fastest tiller is declared the winner.

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Man Trains for 14 Years to Set World Record for Most Consecutive Pinky Pull-Ups

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Indian weightlifting champion Maibam Itomba Meitei probably has the strongest pinky fingers in the world. The 26-year-old from Imphal city in the state of Manipur recently set the Guinness World Record for the most number of ‘pinky pull ups’ – he used his little fingers to pull his chin above the bar 16 consecutive times in 30 seconds.

Maibam broke the world record previously set by an American weight lifter, who was able to do only 16 pull ups in one minute. He completed the stunning feat quite comfortably during an event organised at the Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy. The audience, consisting of several local politicians, was left speechless by Maibam’s display of sheer strength.

A specially designed iron bar was used for the performance – it had two small hooks for Maibam to insert his two little fingers. Once he laced his pinkies through the hooks, he was able to lift his body (weighing 51 kilograms) up with tremendous ease, bringing his chin all the way over to the bar.

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Theatrical Groups Serve Shakespeare with a Twist – The Stage is a Bar and All the Actors Are Drunk

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Alcohol-fueled productions of Shakespeare’s plays are the latest trend among theater circles in New York and other American cities. Several theatrical groups are experimenting with boozy versions of some of the brilliant playwright’s greatest works – with amazing results! Audiences seem to love watching drunk actors bungling lines at their favorite bars and pubs.

The Drunk Shakespeare Society is one of the groups at the forefront of the movement. Founded by Scott Griffin in New York, the team of actors perform Shakespeare’s plays while drunk, weaving improv comedy into the text. They proudly describe themselves as a ‘company of professional drinkers with a serious Shakespeare problem’. They routinely perform at various bars across the city, and they’re currently putting on a limited engagement at Quinn’s Bar & Grill near Times Square. Anarchy rules at these performances, as they invite the audience to drink along with them.

Griffin believes that audiences are drawn to the spontaneity of the act – these are anything-can-happen performances that simply cannot be replicated. “You can see so many amazing things YouTube and digital entertainment. What’s the point of going out to see live performance?” he asked. “You have to do things people can’t get at home.”

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Indian Priests Smash Coconuts on Devotees’ Heads in Bizarre Good Luck Ritual

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Every year, thousands of devotees travel to a remote village in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu to put themselves through a gruesome ritual that they hope will bring them good health and success. Believe it or not, men, women and even children willingly permit priests to smash hard coconuts on their skulls!

Breaking coconuts on a sacred stone as an offering to the deity is a common practice in South Indian temples. But breaking them on one’s own head is quite rare, and viewed as an extreme display of devotion. Several devotees squat on the floor in a line, waiting patiently as the temple priests approach with a sack of coconuts. One priest holds the heads firmly, while the other one brings down the coconuts without hesitation. The whole process is completed in a matter of minutes.

Some devotees can be seen wincing in pain as the coconuts come crashing on to their heads. Some massage their heads, while others promptly collect the broken pieces as holy offerings. Surprisingly, there are a few who don’t flinch at all – these people are often in a deep meditative state of prayer. Nonetheless, medical staff are always present to tend to serious injuries.

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Portland’s Unique Zoobombing Scene – Grown-Up Racers Riding Tiny Children’s Bicycles

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A group of bikers in Portland, Oregon, share the most unusual love of children’s bicycles. Several riders take to the hills of Washington Park every Sunday with a single mission – to speed downhill on tiny kids’ bicycles, after the sun goes down. Seasoned bikers ride at the front of the pack, while beginners follow their lead. They all take off at the same time, at the countdown ‘Three, two, one – Zoobomb!’

The unusual hobby is called ‘Zoobombing’, and it was born in Portland, one of America’s most bike-friendly cities. The ‘zoo’ denotes the fact that participants start at a spot near the Oregon Zoo, from where they speed downhill, while ‘bomb’ is a term used to describe biking downhill at very high speeds.

In zoobombing, the most glorious riders have the smallest wheels. The ideal size is the 12-inch, designed for use by three-year-olds. Those who aren’t comfortable with wheels so small prefer to ride 16 and 20-inch wheels. “On a tiny bike, you feel like you’re going faster,” said April Cox, a 16-incher who has been zoobombing for the past nine years.

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The Great Horror Campout – A Real-Life Slasher Movie Experience

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 The Great Horror Campout is a camping experience unlike any other. It’s basically the camping trip of your nightmares packed into a single night of spine-chilling fun, and it’s definitely not for the feint of heart

The horror campout is the latest project from Ten Thirty One Productions, the companythat previously created The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride. According to their official website, “The Great Horror Campout is a 12-hour overnight interactive horror camping adventure.

The scary stuff begins at 8 pm and continues uninterrupted until 8 am the next day. During this time, campers are welcome to sleep, but they might experience ‘erratic interruptions’. The event comes with a disclaimer: “During Great Horror Campout, you may be forcibly handled, moved, bound, hooded, chained and subjected to simulated torture by our actors. You may witness strong verbal content, which may be considered offensive in nature. The content is part of the experience and is presented for entertainment purposes only.”

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A Sport Called Motoball – It’s Like Football Only with Motorcycles

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What do you get when you combine football and motorcycles? The answer is Motoball, a motorized sport generally unknown in America, but fairly popular in Europe. As you can guess, it’s no dainty game. Right from the noise and fumes, to the daredevil stunts that players perform on their motorcycles, Motoball is a truly hellish, cutthroat version of soccer. The relatively unknown sport is largely played in Europe, where many countries even have national teams. Some of the best Motoball players in the world are from Russia.

A Motoball match is played on a regular football field, complete with goal posts. There are two teams of five players each – four riders and a goalie, who is the only one not riding a bike. The players on motorcycles chase a large ball that is 40 cm in diameter and weighs about one kilogram. As the bikers speed towards the ball, they stop the motorcycle with just one foot and draw the other foot back to kick the ball. The matches are officiated by two referees, assisted by two linesmen. A match is split up into four 20-minute periods.

The goalies stand in a red area that is marked as a driver-free zone. The rest of the grass, mud or concrete field is pretty much free for the eight riders to tear after the ball, at speeds as high as 65 miles per hour. Expert maneuverability skills and lightning-fast reflexes are key in Motoball matches, as is the ability to shoot the ball accurately from the motorcycle seat. There are a few rules set in place for safety, like no smashing, but that doesn’t keep the players from getting hurt.

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The Rocket War of Chios – A Fiery Easter Celebration

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We’ve seen a lot of bizarre traditions, but this is Greek custom involving two churches firing thousands of rockets at each other is pretty special. Every year on Easter Sunday, a fireworks war breaks out between two rival parishes on the small Greek island of Chios. Gangs belonging to two orthodox churches (Saint Mark and Panagia Erithiani) in the town of Vrodandos fire rockets with a single objective – to hit the other church’s bell. Of course, not all the rockets hit the target and locals can be spotted frantically running for cover.

The rocket tradition is of such importance that the townsfolk spend several months preparing for it. About 150 gang members are involved in the production of over 25,000 rockets that will be fired at the event. Derelict buildings are used to carry out the rocket-building work, with only one safety measure – they leave the doors open in case they need to make a speedy exit after an explosion. And they use bronze tools to prevent sparks that might ignite the volatile gun powder mixture.

“A good rocket has to fly fast, go far and stay lit until the end,” said rocket maker Vassilis Barkoulis. “You have to be careful in the details and process of its construction for a rocket to be good. If you do that carefully, you can have yourself a good rocket.” Good or not, producing rockets is actually illegal and there’s always the possibility the police raiding the premises. But it has never happened so far. The police prefer to entirely ignore the proceedings.

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New York Actually Has a Nightclub Service for Kids under Twelve

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New York has got to be the coolest place for kids. First they opened a DJ school for babies, and now they’re welcoming kids into their nightclubs. Fuzipop is a new company that organizes these daytime dance parties for children aged 6 to 12 and their parents. The three-hour parties happen once a month at Manhattan’s most happening clubs. Entry costs $20 for a parent and child, and $60 for a family of four. And here’s the best part – the DJ is nine-year-old!

According to the official website, “Fuzipop is a series of events focused on the celebration of music, dance and community for the next generation of city kids. This new generation has inspired us to provide a proper venue for them to experience what was once only available to a select few.” Fuzipop claims to provide an answer to ‘all our kids who constantly demand, ‘We want to have a dance party!’’.

Fuzipop is the brainchild of a husband and wife duo who also happen to be parents, DJs and music executives. Jesse Sprague, who spent years working in nightclubs around New York, met Jenny Song while dancing at a club. And when they had their first child, they threw a big bash at one of the clubs where Jesse worked. They invited almost all their club friends along with their kids – the party was a huge hit and no one wanted to leave. “All the parents said they would pay to do this, so we made a business out of it,” said Jesse.

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Team Fighting Championship – The Crazy Violent Sport Sweeping Europe

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Here’s a real treat for all you MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fans. It’s called Team Fighting Championship, and it’s played using standard MMA rules, sort of. The sport involves two teams of five members, who basically have a go at each other in a big ring as soon as the referee blows his whistle. The MMA-style fights usually start as one-on-one, with each member singling out an opponent, but as competitors are forced to tap out of the fight, contests can become two-on-one, or even five-on-one.

A video clip of a Team Fighting Championship (TFC) match has been doing the rounds on the internet. It starts off with a group of scantily clad women doing a seductive dance. Then, an announcer comes on the ring to introduce the teams – LPH from Poznan, Poland and the Wisemen from Gothenburg, Sweden. They all stand in the ring opposite each other. When the announcer blows the whistle, they’re all instantly at each other’s throats. Soon, some of the fighters are pinned to the ground while the others punch them repeatedly and rather mercilessly. And there’s only one rule for winning – take out all the members of the opposing team.

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The Baikal Ice Marathon – The Ultimate Winter Endurance Race

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The Baikal Ice Marathon is one of the world’s toughest endurance challenges. Over the years, the one-of-a-kind event has seen participants from over 50 countries. These are athletes with a heart of steel – they race across a 42 kilometer course across the completely frozen surface of Baikal, the oldest and deepest freshwater lake on Earth. Every year, the Baikal Ice Marathon is held for a noble cause – the Preservation of Clean Water. This year its 10th edition took place on March 1.

Although the terrain for the marathon is predominantly flat, it is still considered to be one of the world’s 10 most challenging competitions because of the freezing Siberian weather. The cold northern winds and harsh, unpredictable climate is, in fact, the biggest challenge faced by runners. In past marathons conditions have varied in severity – from high winds and biting cold, to a sunny sky with almost no chills. The lake’s surface is another problem; at times it can be hard and uneven, covered in small hills of ice rubble. Geometric springs and seismic activity beneath the ice may weaken it to form holes.

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Taiwan’s Notoriously Dangerous Beehive Rocket Festival

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When I light a firecracker, I make sure to run at least 10 yards away before it pops. That’s how terrified I am of the noise and sparks. So when I watched a video of Taiwan’s Beehive Rockets festival, I was quite shocked. These crazy people deliberately run into bursting firecrackers. They dance in clusters as hundreds of crackers go off, allowing the sparks to rain on them. Like I said – crazy!

The Yanshui Beehive Rockets Festival is one of the oldest folk festivals in Taiwan and the third largest in the world. It has been celebrated for over 180 years in the southern district of Yanshui. Its origins date back to 1885, when a cholera epidemic had gripped the district. Due to primitive medical facilities, the disease consumed thousands of victims. Locals lived in a state of fear and prayed to Guan Di, the god of war, to save them.

So what exactly is a Beehive Rocket? Essentially, it is a multiple launcher of bottle rockets. Thousands of bottle rockets are arranged in rows in an iron-and-wooden framework that looks like a beehive. When the contraption is ignited, the rockets shoot out rapidly in all directions. A deafening, bee-like buzzing sound fills the air. The dazzling explosives whiz and whirl across the sky and into the crowds of dancing people surrounding the beehive.

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Goanna Pulling – Playing Tug of War with Your Neck

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If you’re as ignorant as I am, you’re probably scratching your head and asking yourself “what the heck is a goanna?” It’s a lizard species, but don’t worry, no animals are hurt in the unusual sport known as goanna pulling.

Goanna Pulling is basically tug of war with a bizarre twist – instead of their hands, competitors must use their heads to pull each other over the line and win the game. The rules are pretty simple: two people go (literally) head to head on the goanna pulling pad. They get down on all four, with their bellies touching the board and their heads held high. This position makes participants look a lot like goanna lizards, hence the name of the game, in case you were wondering. The two opponents each place their palms behind  a white line traced on the board, and a referee puts a large leather belt around their heads. As soon as he give the signal, the two contestants must use their upper body strength -their neck muscles especially – to pull the other guy past the line and win the game.

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X-Alps – The World’s Most Amazing Adventure Race

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For most people, the route from Salzburg to Monaco is by road. But who wants to go on a boring road trip, when you could climb mountains and paraglide across the Alps instead? Of course, to do that you’ve got to have a real taste for adventure. If you do, then the Red Bull X-Alps annual race is just the thing for you.

It is said to be one of the toughest challenges in the world, demanding not only expert paragliding skills but extreme endurance. Participating athletes need to hike or fly over a distance of about 1,000 kilometers between Salzburg and Monaco, through one of the world’s most unforgiving environments. For adventurers, this is the ‘ultimate’ race.

Each team entering the race consists of one athlete and up to two supporters to help with logistics, food and motivation. The contestants race between 5:00 am and 10:30 pm, hiking over 100 kilometers a day. A paraglider, harness, rescue parachute, helmet, emergency signal rocket, reflector belt and tracking device must be carried at all times.

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